Park girls hockey: Morse picks FriarsPark senior goaltender Allie Morse has committed to play for Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island next year.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Allie Morse has wanted to play Division I hockey for as long as she can remember.
Next year she will.
Morse, a senior goalie at Park, has committed to play for Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island next year. Providence plays Division I hockey in the Hockey East Conference. She will sign her National Letter of Intent on April 11.
“I’m extremely stoked,” Morse said. “I went on an official visit out there and absolutely loved it. It’s unbelievable. I’m so excited.”
Morse was a four-year starter for Park. This past season she earned All-Conference and All-State Honorable Mention honors and was one of 10 semifinalists for the 2012 Let’s Play Hockey Senior Goalie of the Year Award, presented to the top senior girls high school hockey goaltender in Minnesota. She finished the year 11-10-1 for the Wolfpack with a 2.39 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and one shutout.
Morse visited Providence in late January and gave her verbal commitment on Feb. 15.
“I feel like a huge weight has been lifted,” Morse said. “Since that weight was lifted I’ve been playing so much better. Not having the stress that I don’t have to impress everybody and knowing that I’m going somewhere helps me play like I can.”
The commitment to Providence concluded a year-and-a-half long recruiting process, in which Morse looked at somewhere around 14 different schools, according to Park head coach Steve Morse, who is also Allie’s dad. She also made an official visit to Cornell and had a visit scheduled at Princeton.
“We all had faith that the best thing would happen and that’s exactly how it worked out,” Steve Morse said. “With the schools she chose not to go to and the schools that chose to go a different way, none of that matters, because she’s going exactly where she wants to go.”
Morse began playing goalie when she was 6 years old. In her first game between the pipes, she allowed 15 goals in a 15-0 loss. But, she’s come a long way since. For the past three years Morse, who began playing goalie in part because of former Minnesota Wild goalie Manny Fernandez, has been selected to compete in the highly elite USA Hockey Player Development Camps and is a member of the exclusive Minnesota Junior Whitecaps hockey team in the offseason.
Steve Morse said he felt those experiences will help Allie transition to college hockey.
“I think she’s a very fundamentally sound player,” Steve Morse said. “I don’t think she gets by on luck. She has great athleticism and I think that should help her adjust to the college game. She’s had some opportunities to play against players of that caliber and she’s been able to make the adjustment. She still has a fire in her belly to compete and I think that’s what it takes.”
The Providence College women's ice hockey team finished the 2011-12 season with a 16-17-4 overall record and reached the Hockey East Championship, eventually falling to Boston University, 2-1, in double overtime. Providence is the only program to advance to the Hockey East semifinals in each of the conference's 10 seasons and has now reached six of the 10 championship games.
At Providence, Morse will help fill the skates of Friars’ decorated goalie Genevieve Lacasse. Lacasse, who starts for the Canadian Under-22 National Team, holds every major goaltending record at Providence. Lacasse finished her career with 64 career victories, 20 career shutouts, 3,482 career saves, and 127 career-games played – all Providence records. She also finishes with a goals against average of 1.96 and a save percentage of .933.
Providence is led by head coach Bob Deraney, who has been with the Friars for 13 years. He has won the past two Women's Hockey East Association Coach of the Year awards and has a career coaching record of 227-151-48.
“I think this is a great opportunity for her,” Steve Morse said. “Providence is a great combination of a place she can get a good education – she’s a really good student – and a good hockey school. They have a good, competitive team in a good conference.”
Steve Morse said having Allie chose a school so far away from home wasn’t a big deal.
“As a dad is it difficult that she’ll be on the east coast instead of here? I don’t think so,” he said. “With everything I’m doing I don’t think I’d get to see her play that much anyway. I think she’ll be fine. She’s pretty independent and has a couple of really good friends that will be playing with her out there. Their coach has been around a long time and knows how to take care of players. I think it’s a good opportunity to see a different part of the country.”
There were six Minnesotans on the Friars’ roster this past season, including Woodbury’s Maggie Pendleton, who is a sophomore defender out of Hill-Murray. Also, there’s a total of five Minnesotans committed to Providence out of this class.
“My best friend through hockey committed there and we’re going to be roommates and everything, so that will help a ton,” Allie Morse said. “There’s a ton of Minnesotans out there, so that will be nice.”
Allie Morse is one of three Wolfpack players to reach the Division I level recently, following in the footsteps of 2008 Park graduate Jac Daggit, a defender at St. Cloud State and Missy Elumba, who was a four-year player at Northeastern University.
“I know a lot of the younger goalies look up to Allie,” Steve Morse said. “Of course it’s fantastic anytime Park High School can send somebody into Division I athletics. It’s good for the school and good for the program.”