Ali Binningon: An MVP's Final Season
by Alexander Jones | published Nov. 7th, 2014
Anyone who has been following RIT's women's hockey team as of late knows one thing above all else: we're pretty hard to beat this season.
Despite a recent 3-1 loss to Lindenwood, the Tigers have been having a great season, especially when stacked up against what has been a fairly disappointing season for the men's team. The women's team currently stands 5-3-2, chalking up a four-game undefeated streak prior to their loss against Lindenwood, and even amongst excellent performances from the entire team, fourth year goaltender Ali Binnington still manages to stand out from the pack.
"Like any team, we’ve already experienced ups and downs through this season," Binnington says. "As we get into league play now, we’re going to have to play a lot more consistently and we’re going to have to find a way to win the one-goal games."
While a 5-3-2 record certainly isn't perfect, it's nothing to turn one's nose up at. The streak-breaking loss against Lindenwood helped fuel Binnington's desire to step things up a notch.
"The home games this weekend did not go the way we wanted them to," Binnington says solemnly. "Playing in front of our home fans in our amazing new facility, we always want to perform to the best of our ability. However, over the weekend, the overall effort we needed from everyone wasn’t there."
Still, even in the midst of a spirit-weakening loss, Binnington feels conflicted about playing her last season for the Tigers. With four years of RIT hockey under her belt, it's certainly tough to leave it all behind, but Binnington feels optimistic.
"It’s bittersweet playing my last regular season for RIT. I’m a part of a big senior class right now with a lot of leadership and players with big roles," Binnington says. "Through the transition from D3 to D1, our class has experienced so much growth from year to year, and we all want to end our career at RIT on a good note. It’s going to be hard leaving after this year, but I think we’ve all helped in the development of the RIT hockey program and are looking to leave our legacy this year."
"My accomplishments in women’s hockey are directly linked to the team’s accomplishments," Binnington continues. "Winning the [College Hockey America] CHA championship last year was huge for our program, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without every player. Goalies tend to get a lot of recognition, but the amount of help I get from the other players, whether its blocking shots, clearing rebounds or back checking, is what ultimately leads us to success."
The success that Binnington speaks of is easy to see this season. For example, fourth year forward Kolbee McCrea and Binnington were both awarded MVP status from CHA recently, and several other women's hockey players have been awarded special honors this season. It's clear to see from the team's accomplishments why Binnington is so optimistic about the team's future.
"I think the women’s program will continue to develop every year," Binnington says. "My class was a part of the transition from D3 to D1, and the program has shown improvement each year that I’ve been here. The possibilities for RIT women’s hockey are endless. As the program continues to develop, RIT will be a national contender."
"It’s going to be hard leaving at the end of this year to face the real world, but because of the coaching staff and the hockey program, I now have the tools to do so," Binnington concludes. "I’ll leave feeling confident and prepared in ways that a classroom alone couldn’t have done."