As a college student, it can be hard to not get swept up in the chaos of homework, midterms and final exams. Add being a part of a sports team into the mix and this can become overwhelming. But family always comes first, no matter what, and for Rowan’s women’s ice hockey team, this is no different.
The Hollydell Ice Arena was filled with students and families alike on Friday, March 6 for a scrimmage match between the Lady Profs and the Montclair Blues. After winning a championship at the Delaware Valley College Hockey Conference, the Lady Profs have made history by being the first ice hockey team at Rowan to make it to the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Tournament.
The game against the Blues wasn’t just any regular scrimmage. This event was in support of freshman Giovanna Caruso’s mother, Rosa, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Pink the Rink” was the theme for the night, and the hockey rink was donned with pink ribbon and streamers. Donations were made in support of the Caruso family, where donors could either purchase shirts or baked goods.
“I didn’t know this was happening until my coaches organized the whole thing, that part,” Caruso said. “I wanted to have this game dedicated to her, but they made it the extra mile.”
Caruso, who is from Kenilworth, New Jersey and is majoring in psychology, balances schoolwork and dealing with the worst news anyone can receive. But with the support of family and friends, she is managing the best way she knows how. By the goodwill of her coaches and teammates, this event came together in one month in support of her mother.
“It’s been rough so far. From getting the news to me being in college, I’m only a freshman. And not being home, it’s been tough,” Caruso said. “I try very hard to do things for my mom and this was one of them, and she deserves it. I wanted to make this the best for her.”
One of the night’s attendees, Roseann Brandl, was not only at the match in support of the event but also to watch her daughter, Christina Brandl, play.
“We try to come to most of the games. We’re a little over an hour away, and my son also plays ice hockey at home, so as long as the games don’t interfere, we try to come to the games here as well,” Roseann Brandl said. “Ice hockey is a fun, fast paced sport and it’s fun to watch. The girls have fun playing. It gets addicting, especially if you know your friends out there and you know everybody.”
Janice Campbell is also a parent to a player on the team, Erin Campbell. Erin is a sophomore from Jackson, New Jersey and is currently undecided on a major.
“I just love the sport, and my son played for years since he was four. And I had Erin on the ice since she was three,” Janice Campbell said. “She’s just been playing, and she loves the game.”
Caruso calls her mom everyday and goes home on occasion. The team couldn’t be more supportive, she says, and it helps her stay positive through this tough time.
“Tonight’s event meant the world to me,” Caruso said. “It meant everything to me. To have my teammates be so supportive. My coaches helped me organize this whole event and everyone has been supportive about it.”
“My team has been there for me through literally everything. Thick and thin, I love them,” said Caruso.
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