For the first time in her five-year career, Sara Walsh’s girls hockey season will go on a bit longer than originally planned.
Walsh, a team captain and five-year starter for the Red Devils, is among the key players for the Burlington team that will head to the playoffs this year for the first time in school history.
“It’s been a long road,” said Walsh. “We’ve had a losing record every year I’ve been here and there have been some tough times. But now to have turned that around, it’s been awesome to be a part of it.”
In the early stages of the campaign, it appeared it would be more of the same for the Red Devils. Burlington came out of the gates with a 2-6 start to the campaign, but they’ve lost just once since, winning seven times in that stretch.
On Wednesday, the team clinched its playoff berth with a 1-0 home win over Wilmington. Head coach Marty Conley said Walsh is a major reason why the team is in this position.
“It’s very gratifying as a coach to see all of her hard work over the years, which were losing seasons, pay off,” said Conley. “To see her experience a winning season and an invitation to the state tournament has been awesome.”
According to Conley, Walsh is an excellent skater who makes solid decisions with and without the puck. And the Burlington mentor said that as talented as Walsh is on the ice, she’s even more valuable as a leader off it.
“She sets a great example for our younger players,” said Conley. “They look up to her and she sets an example of what it takes to play at the varsity level.”
The Red Devils have two games remaining in the regular season, followed by at least one game in the playoffs. But Walsh said she hopes she and her teammates will have more than just one tilt in the tournament.
“It’s the first time in school history making it this far,” said Walsh. “So we’re hoping to make the road last as long as possible.”