As the Brunswick weather is getting colder, women's ice hockey player Kayte Holtz '13 is heating up. This Monday, for the second time in four weeks, she was named the NESCAC Women's Ice Hockey Player of the Week.
After scoring eight points and seven goals in two games against Sacred Heart last weekend, including her second four-goal game of the season, she is now leading both the NESCAC and D-III women's hockey with 1.17 goals per game.
With 21 goals thus far, Holtz is tied for the most in a season at Bowdoin since the 2004-05 season, when two athletes finished with as many. If Holtz is able to maintain her current scoring rate through the season's final six games, she will finish with 28 goals, Bowdoin's fourth-highest season total ever.
Holtz, a sophomore forward, is currently leading the third-ranked Polar Bears (6-3-1 in NESCACs, 11-5-2 overall) with 21 goals and 28 points. As a rookie last year, she led the team with 27 points (15 goals and 12 assists).
"I started playing roller hockey when I was really young," she said. "Then I went from there to ice hockey. [The decision] was between that and speed skating when I was nine or so, and I've been on the rink since then."
After originally playing for an informal league, Holtz joined the Wisconsin Wild AAA team at the U-12 level. Because Wisconsin state rules stipulate that an athlete can play either for a high school team or a private one, Holtz stayed solely with the Wild up until the U-19 squad.
"We had girls from other states on our team," she said, "and [current teammate] Kim [Tess-Wanat '13] has played with me since back then."
When looking at colleges, Holtz focused mostly on NESCAC schools.
"It was kind of hard to visit the schools out here," she said, "so I had to wait for tournaments in the area to do so oftentimes."
Now starring for Bowdoin on the same line as Tess-Wanat and Jill Campbell '11, Holtz continues to be drawn to hockey because of the unifying team aspect of the sport.
"The fact that you're only on the ice for 45 seconds or so before the next line switch means that we all really have to work as a team," Holtz said. "I think having 15 or so of my teammates routinely playing in our games is really cool because we all feed off each others' energies."
"My favorite thing is to see my teammates score," she said. "Us girls are always together, and because of Bowdoin hockey I now have 20 really close friends who I always get to hang out with."
The team has had a nearly flawless transition to new leadership under head coach Marissa O'Neil '05 and assistant coach Lisa Batchelor.
"We all love the new coaches," said Holtz, "and it's cool how they're so close to our age. It's easy to talk to them because they were just here and know what it's like for us."
Holtz believes that the upcoming final six games are the biggest of the season for the Polar Bears, because the NESCAC standings, and resulting tournament seeds, usually come down to the last few weeks.
Bowdoin plays home games against Amherst at 7 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday and ends with a game against Middlebury, the two teams currently tied for first in the conference.
"The whole team is so excited," she said. "We've played every team so far this year besides Amherst, so this weekend will really be exciting. We know that we can play."
Last year, Bowdoin lost in overtime in its NESCAC tournament semifinal game against an Amherst team that went on to win it all.
For Holtz, the consummate team player, nothing is more important than the Polar Bears' group success.
"As long as I work my hardest, I'll be fine scoring fewer points than last weekend," she said.
"I think that if there are no goals scored against us while I'm on the ice, that's just as important as scoring a goal," she added.