Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Depaul Girls Not Backing Down

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Depaul Girls Not Backing Down

Article excerpt

WAYNE -- DePaul coach Rob Vizard was able to do something this season no other North Jersey coach has probably ever done.

Put four girls on the ice at the same time.

"It was the scariest moment of my life," said Spartans senior Marlisa Falduto, laughing. "We are so used to going out there with two guys, or two of us on the same line. [When that happened] we all looked at each other and said, 'Let's just not give up a goal.' "

Falduto and her mates, sophomore Anais Tavolara and freshmen Jess Freeswick and Chloe Glass, achieved that minor victory that shift of keeping their opponent out of the net. In the grand scheme of things, they continue to show that girls can hold their own against the boys on the ice.

"They know how to play," said Vizard, in his first season on the bench. "They're good players. I think girls skate smoother than boys do. It's more of the strength of the shot and the passing [that are weaker].

"What I would also tell you is they also listen and follow direction so much better. You tell them to stand on a spot and they stand on the spot. Their positional play is really good."

Girls playing hockey on boys teams in North Jersey is not new, although four girls on one team is believed to be the most -- statistics on such things aren't kept. There are multiple all-girl club hockey programs in North Jersey and DePaul even mulled fielding an all-girl team this winter.

But one thing that is obvious is the skill level of the girls continues to rise. They may not have the strength to match up against the boys, but they don't shy away, in fact, the physical play is one of the things that have drawn them to the game.

"I didn't really like playing with the girls," said Falduto, a Clifton native. "You couldn't hit anyone."

Tavolara probably is the Spartans' most talented girls player. She has been a top-six forward this season, but recently has missed some time with a concussion -- yes, when a member of the opposite sex checked her.

"He was like 10 times my size and kind of leaned his shoulder in a little bit," she said. "My feet went over my head."

That has done nothing to diminish her passion for the game. She put on skates for the first time when she was 4 and joined her first team at age 6. …

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