The RIT women's hockey team has a fair number of highly talented fourth years graduating and subsequently leaving the team this year, which would be a bitter thought to entertain had said players not been clocking in some amazing performances this season. Players like the previously covered Ali Binnington have received some notable honors this year in addition to chalking up excellent stats this season, and another player certainly worth mentioning (and missing) is fourth year forward Kolbee McCrea.

McCrea, though speaking with expected modesty, has high hopes for the Tigers as far as the rest of the season goes, holding tight to an admirable "upward and onward" mentality that surely rubs off on the rest of her teammates.

"Every year, your team has to overcome adversity, and this year it’s something we’ve had to do from the beginning," McCrea said. "Losing some key players to injury isn’t something a team plans for. Our season may not have started off the way we would have liked it to, especially [College Hockey America] CHA play, but all we can do is improve."

The team is currently overcoming the disappointment of having its undefeated streak broken by Lindenwood earlier this month, and seems to still be in search of its footing after the loss.  

"Our games this weekend against Lindenwood didn’t go as well as we wanted, with a tie and a loss we are now sitting in fifth place in our conference," McCrea said. "[The games with] Lindenwood were our first conference games, and we have learned from previous years that every point counts. At the end of the season, one point could be the difference between first place and third place."

Still, even in the face of loss and a tough rest of the season ahead, McCrea is more than grateful to play alongside teammates like Binnington.

"Ali is an amazing teammate, and I am privileged to share four years and my last season with her," McCrea said. "Ali is not only a strong presence on the ice, but also off the ice and in the locker room. She has overcome so much to be where she is today. Her perseverance and strength is something we all value and is part of the reason why she is such a successful player."

"Every year that I have played at RIT, there is a special memory that I will always carry with me," McCrea continued. "As a freshmen, putting on the RIT jersey for the first time and taking the ice for your first collegiate game. In my sophomore year, winning the Division III National Championship against the team we lost to the year before. Playing in RIT’s first outdoor hockey game was unforgettable. That was something that no one will forget, it was just like backyard hockey growing up as a kid, playing in the cold and the snow."

Although it is bittersweet, McCrea is leaving behind RIT and the Tigers with a lifetime's worth of good memories on and off the ice, and she will be dearly missed after this season.

"Before you leave for college, everyone is always telling you to treasure every moment because four years goes by quickly. It’s a cliché, but they are right," McCrea says. "I had the privilege to be a part of the team for five years, and I wouldn’t change that for anything, even those early morning workouts and practices."