COURTESY PHOTO | SYRACUSE ATHLETICS
Nicole Ferrara is leading the Syracuse women’s hockey team.
By JOSHUA KUMMINS
It is not uncommon for siblings to share a love for the same sport. For sisters Janelle and Nicole Ferrara, however, hockey has evolved into a lot more than just a sport they play.
The Winthrop natives have taken their careers to the Division 1 level together, both currently captaining their respective teams. Janelle is wearing the ‘C’ at Yale, while her older sister Nicole is in her fifth year at Syracuse.
They may be at different schools, but they are both focused on the same goal: helping their team go out on top and enjoying the ride together.
“It’s definitely been a huge part of my life. We grew up playing hockey together for as long as I can remember,” Janelle said. “(Nicole) was always older than me and I always looked up to her. … In college, we’ve never played against each other, but it’s just fun to have her there.”
This is an especially exciting year for Nicole, back on the ice after sitting out last season following a second ACL tear of her hockey career. She also suffered the same injury during her junior year at The Rivers School in Weston, where she attended high school.
It’s been a long road back for Nicole, but the Orange (11-12-3, 7-3-2 in College Hockey America) is happy to have her return to the ice. Her 25 points this season include a team-best 12 goals.
The recovery process was nothing new for Nicole. Sitting out an entire season and beginning the road back was not less difficult the second time around, but she did know what to expect every step of the way.
“It’s definitely a different perspective for me sitting in the stands watching,” Nicole said. “I think I got to learn a lot of things by watching. I had a lot of time to work on stuff on the ice also, just getting back in shape and getting a feel. It definitely took a little longer, but it was good to have time off and really watch. You don’t take it for granted, I guess.”
Nicole was an assistant captain at Syracuse last year, so being injured did not take away her responsibility of being a leader. Watching the games with a different view allowed her to fulfill those duties in an alternative way.
“It definitely gave me a chance to be a different kind of leader,” Nicole said. “I try to lead by example, but I had to be more vocal. It was a good chance to work on communicating and leading my team that way.”
Janelle has had the opportunity to play regularly over the course of her entire four-year career with the Bulldogs (6-13-1, 5-7-1 ECAC), but this year has been different.
“Coming in, our senior class had higher expectations that we had in the past,” said Janelle, who is also leading her team with seven goals.
“So far, we’ve played a pretty hard schedule, played a lot of the top ten teams in the country and didn’t get all the results we’d hoped for. We’ve been getting a lot better as the season goes on.”
Janelle continues to play on a line with classmate Jamie Haddad, a teammate ever since the two skated together with the Assabet Valley club program during their youth.
Hockey players, especially those from this area, are very close-knit. Janelle has enjoyed the chance to continue her career in New England and see familiar faces all around, on both sides of the ice.
“The hockey community is definitely pretty small, so it’s been awesome to play college hockey with people I’ve played with and against for years,” Janelle said. “Now, to be on the same team as them is really fun.”
Janelle and Nicole have not been on the same team since high school or played against each other.
They still support each other from afar, but Janelle still thinks her older sister has the upper hand.
“I still think she’s better than me,” Janelle said, “but we battle it out.”
They may battle it out on the ice within the family, but there’s no battling the fact both Ferrara sisters are leaders on their teams’ sheets of ice.
Names and notes
Lynn native and Lynn English graduate Nneka Iloba won the Little East Conference Rookie Track Athlete of the Week thanks to her performance for the UMass Dartmouth track and field team last week. In the Wesleyan Invitational last week, Iloba finished third in the 60-meter dash in 8.23 seconds, which set a personal record for the freshman and was good for the fourth-best time in UMass Dartmouth history women’s track history. She also finished fourth in the 200 (28.06)…Swampscott’s Samnell Vonleh was named the Spalding Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Week (for the second time) last week for her play with the Saint Anselm women’s basketball team. Vonleh scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Saint Anselm’s win over American International on Wednesday…Lynn’s Erick Rosario scored 20 points and grabbed six assists off the bench for the Pine Manor men’s basketball team in their 96-76 win over Lyndon State on Friday…Marblehead’s Lexie Laing scored a goal for the Harvard women’s hockey team’s 2-0 win over Dartmouth at Saturday…Peabody’s Marcus Vieira finished first in the shot put for the Worcester State track and field team at the Springfield College Maroon and White Classic on Saturday with a distance of 51 feet, 6.25 inches. His teammate and fellow Peabody native, Michael Ricci, was part of the 4×800-meter relay team that came in third place (8:44)…Lynn’s Uche Nwokeji led the Plymouth State men’s basketball team with 15 points and nine rebounds in their loss to Rhode Island College on Saturday…Winthrop’s Quinton Dale scored 10 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Wheaton College boys’ basketball team on Saturday…Peabody’s Heather MacLean set a meet record and rebroke her UMass Amherst women’s record in the 1000 on Friday at the Joe Donahue Indoor Games. MacLean finished in 2:47.21…Peabody’s Nik Dotolo scored his first collegiate goal for the University of New England men’s hockey team in their 9-2 win over Southern Maine on Friday…Peabody’s Andrew Bucci scored a goal in the Salem State men’s hockey team’s 7-2 win over UMass Dartmouth on Saturday…Peabody’s Kate Lipka added 10 points off the bench for the Salem State women’s basketball team in its 75-50 win over Fitchburg State on Saturday…Swampscott’s Matt Duquette led the Suffolk men’s basketball team with 28 points in their loss to Anna Maria on Saturday…Saugus’ Norma Waggett chipped in six points in the Saint Joseph’s women’s basketball team’s win over Johnson and Wales on Saturday…Peabody’s Jessica Higgins won the 800-meter freestyle (10:26.99) and 100 butterfly (1:14.30) for the Regis College swim team in their win over Elms on Saturday.