Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

January 23, 2014

Senior goes from JV player to varsity girls hockey captain

Ritzer skates naturally into tri-captain's role for girls varsity hockey

It was the moment she had waited four years to achieve, but had dreamed of for even longer.

It was the moment she had worked toward since she was a freshman, overcoming disappointments that would have caused countless other athletes to simply give up.

When the puck found Laura Ritzer’s stick, she knew exactly what to do.

“It was off a rebound and the puck came right to my stick,” Ritzer remembered. “I had an open net and I put it into the net. It was amazing.”

After being sent to the JV team each of the past two seasons, Ritzer not only made the varsity team this season as a senior, she was named a captain and, last Wednesday, scored her first career varsity goal in a win over archrival Central Catholic.

But long before that goal, Ritzer established herself as one of the leaders of the red-hot Andover girls hockey team, which entered the week 7-2-1.

“Laura is a natural leader and the girls really look up to her,” Golden Warriors coach Liz Keady said. “She is hard-working, consistent and does whatever she needs to do to succeed. She stuck with it when things weren’t going her way. She is also the greatest teammate anyone could ask for.”

After catching the hockey bug as a child, Ritzer began playing in the youth ranks. As a freshman at Andover High, she tried out for and made the Golden Warriors varsity hockey team.

“It was exciting,” she said, “I didn’t play very much, but it was a really good team and I learned a lot from the older kids. It was fun.”

Following that season, however, Ritzer’s hockey career would hit a disappointing snag.

As a sophomore, she was sent down to the junior varsity hockey squad. A season later, she once again tried out for the varsity team, only to again end up back on the JV team.

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