Haley Frade, Victoria Virtue stepping up as sophomores for Providence women’s hockey

Frade (top) and Virtue
Frade (top) and Virtue
Tom Maguire

Skaters reunited at Providence College

Haley Frade skated for the Massachusetts Spitfires and starred at Tabor Academy in Marion, her hometown. Walpole’s Victoria Virtue won a pair of national championships for the Assabet Valley program, skated for the East Coast Wizards, and played on the first varsity girls’ hockey team at the Winchendon School. The two each also participated in USA Hockey’s National Development camp.

When the pair arrived as incoming freshman at Providence College a year ago, “we definitely remembered each other,” recalled Virtue of their club days.

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“Now we’ve become good friends and last summer, we worked out together in the weight room.”

Providence College women’s coach Bob Deraney calls Frade, a 5-foot-8 winger, and Virtue, a 5-9 sophomore defenseman, “diamonds in the rough.”

“Haley is a naturally gifted athlete who has good size and is beginning to realize the extent of her strength,” said Deraney, whose team was 8-7-4 overall (5-4-2 in Hockey East) before Friday's game at Harvard.

“She's strong on the puck and she's like a magician in finding that small space to hit the open skater with her passes.

Frade, who collected 4 goals and 8 assists in 37 games last season, has already topped that total through the first 19 games this season (7 goals, 7 assists). Four times, she has been named of one the three stars of the game, three times in Hockey East play.

“Working out over the summer definitely helped,” said Frade. “I'm matching up better against my opponents and I'm working hard in the corners and trying to win the one-on-one battles.”

She credits Tabor coach Eric Long  with helping develop her shot and with making quicker and smarter decisions as a puck carrier.

“We had some good teams at Tabor, and the game I'll never forget was when I was a freshman and we beat Westminster in the (NEPSAC) quarterfinals in double overtime,'' said Frade, whose older brothers, Ben  and Joey, played hockey at Old Rochester Regional.

Virtue was sidelined with an injury earlier this season, but “since she came back, we’ve played some of our best hockey,” said Deraney.

“She gives us stability on the blueline and there's an offensive side to her game that she's ready to unleash. Both bring great character to our program.”

As a sophomore at Winchendon, she was on the inaugural girls’ hockey squad and also played two seasons of baseball when the school did not field a softball team.

Virtue was a member of two national club championship teams (U-12 and U-16) with the Assabet Valley program in Concord.

She also has memories of a double OT win.

“I was on the ice when we scored the winning goal in the U-12 final against a team from Wisconsin,” recalled Virtue, who said the development camp helped step up her game. She also credits her brother, Jordan, who played collegiately at the University of Massachusetts and is an assistant coach at Boston College High, for helping refine her skills.

“I wouldn't be playing Division 1 hockey if not for Jordan. He's always been encouraging,” added Virtue, who had three assists in 37 games as a freshman and one assist in eight games this season. “I've been mainly a stay-at-home defenseman over the years but I've been seeing more time on the power play and penalty kill lately.”

Keisha Johnson back

Randolph's Keisha Johnson  made a triumphant return to the women’s track team at Bentley University in the season opener Dec. 1 at the UMass-Boston Invitational. The senior captain, competing for the first time in 19 months, won the long jump (16 feet, 3 inches) and triple jump (a personal best 35 feet, 11.5 inches, second all-time at Bentley). Johnson was away from the Waltham campus while volunteering at City Year in Florida, a program in which volunteers serve as tutors, mentors, and role models in schools. Her classmate, Caitlin Fahey  of Bridgewater , was a fourth-place finisher in the 3,000 meters (10:27.14), also a personal best.

Newbury honorees

Newbury College basketball players Tim Young  of Brockton and Alex Pezzela  of Rockland were honored, respectively, as the New England Collegiate Conference Player and Rookie of the Week. Young averaged 21.3 points while shooting 61 percent on his 3-point attempts over a three game span, highlighted by a 25-point effort against Massachusetts Institute of Technology that included — threes. Pezzella averaged 12 points per game in a similar span for the women's team, including a career-high 22 points against Pine Manor.

Notables

The New England Small College Athletic Conference has honored Bowdoin College senior Brooke Phinney  of Dedham as its Defensive Player of the Year for field hockey. Bowdoin junior forward Katie Riley  of Hinghamwas also tabbed for the first team. Sarah Duncan, a Trinity College junior from Dedham, was a second-team pick on defense. . . .

Bridgewater State University senior Michael McPherson  of Mansfield was named Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Field Athlete of the Week after winning the shot put at the UMass Boston Invitational and breaking his own school record with a toss of 53 feet, 9.25 inches. . . .

Worcester State sophomore Terence Gibson  of Rockland, who set a school record with his second-place finish (6.94 seconds) in the 60-meter dash at the Brown Alden Invitational, was MASCAC Track Athlete of the Week and Hanson's Caitlin Ryan,  a Westfield State junior, was the conference's Women's Field co-Athlete of the Week. She was first in the 2,000 meters (11:28.26) at the Springfield Invitational. . . .

Babson College freshman netminder Jamie Murray  of Scituate has been on a roll for the Beavers, posting a 4-1-1 record through last weekend with a 1.82 goals against average, .929 save percentage, and one shutout, (3-0) vs. St. Olaf.