Sports

Talent, tradition keep Nobles girls’ ice hockey team at the head of the class

The Noble and Greenough girls’ hockey team competed at the Harrington Invitational Tournament in December and left with the Harrington trophy.
The Noble and Greenough girls’ hockey team competed at the Harrington Invitational Tournament in December and left with the Harrington trophy.Credit:

Tom Resor could say he has been blessed.

The 13-year girls’ hockey coach hasproduced considerable talent from the Noble and Greenough School’s athletic program and was even lucky enough to have coached his own two daughters.

Resor’s name can be linked with the elite performance of the girls’ sport and its long tradition of success at Nobles since its inaugural season in 1971. Resor has produced 13 Independent School League titles, qualifying each year for the New England Prep Girls Ice Hockey Association Division 1 Tournament, he said.

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In his 282-24-16 career, coming into this season, Resor has been responsible for 11 national team players, and girls committing to schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Boston College. He has even sent girls to the Winter Olympic Games.

For Resor, a successful program needs two things: good players and tradition.

“Nobles was one of the first schools that offered girls’ hockey, adding to a long tradition of girls who grew up playing hockey and that’s continued,” he said.

“We’ve attracted better club players who want to play high-level hockey and aspire to the independent school’s motto of really trying to do as many things as you can.”

Resor added that the major advantage prep schools have over public programs is access to facilities on campus, allowing enough time for boys’ and girls’ programs.

His elite program this season has seven seniors, seven juniors, three sophomores, six freshmen, and two eighth graders, three of whom were ISL all-stars last season — Brianna Laing, Lexie Laing, and Robyn White.

Many of Resor’s girls are tri-sport athletes, including senior co-captain Robyn White (two goals, four assists), who plays hockey, lacrosse, and soccer.

“It’s hard for most girls but for her, it’s been at a high level. She’s really an all-around player and had decided which one she wanted to focus on so in the last two years, she’s amped up her hockey,” said Resor, who has known White since her freshman year.

White’s teammate, Natasha Rachlin (five goals, six assists), who started with Resor in seventh grade, is a player with “sheer will and determination to get better,” said Resor.

“She’s added the fine-tuning parts of the game that elevated her from good to a nationally ranked player,” he said.

Last but not least in his powerhouse lineup is goaltender Brianna Laing, who has worked in summer camps with USA Hockey. Laing has posted seven shutouts this season, a 0.48 goals against average, and a 95.0 save percentage. She has won several national titles on the U18 national team.

“She came in with very highly developed skills and by skating out, it’s helped her mobility and understanding of the game,” said Resor. Laing also competed at the International Ice Hockey Federation U-18 Women’s World Championship in Finland.

“She has a fine-tuned game by working both off and on ice with goalie coaches and has just become a student of the game,” said Resor.

Resor’s front line is made up of juniors Haley Mullins, Bri’s sister, Lexi, and Kenzie Kent, leading the team with a combined 24 goals.

“This team is as skilled as any team that I’ve had, maybe even a little deeper. Some other teams have had one or two who have been fortunate to make a national or Olympic team as prep school hockey and girls’ hockey has gotten much stronger,” said Resor.

White and U.S. National Under-18 teamers Rachlin and Laing are all on the radar, all having committed to Harvard. Fellow senior Kimmy Ganong (three assists) has committed to Bowdoin.

“I’m blessed with a very talented and deep team. I have a strong and deep junior class, who will play Division 1 hockey and an experienced mixture of young and old. All but two or three were with us last year for winning New England,” said Resor.

Nobles edged Lawrence Academy, 2-0, last season to clinch the NEPSAC championship.

Resor’s squad is an up-tempo, puck-possession team with a strong forecheck and with the abiity to put pressure on other teams at a high rate of speed, defending Nobles’ 15-1 record.

Despite his individual and team successes, Resor most treasures his squad’s high level of commitment.

“Sometimes you sort of feel like a parent. Sometimes you spend six years with these girls and find out later on what they’re doing after college, and fortunately, a lot have wanted to play college hockey,” said Resor.

“It’s one of the bonuses of doing what I do,” he said.

Resor, an English teacher, a college counselor, and assistant coach to the boys’ lacrosse team, would describe his program as consistent, athletic, and full of character. Resor spent 14 years with the boys’ hockey program and switched to girls’ hockey to coach his daughters. He also coached his niece, Helen Resor, a Yale graduate, who won the bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics, the first Nobles alum to achieve that status.

Resor has sent over 35 players to play college hockey and has coached for USA Hockey, Assabet Valley, and the Cape Cod Whalers.

“I’m a lucky person to coach such great kids and talent. I’ve been blessed,” he said.

Games of the week

No. 13 Acton-Boxboro at No. 17 Lincoln-Sudbury, Wed., 3:15 p.m. — Despite momentum-building wins over Westford and Reading, the Colonials hit a road block with Billerica, a common foe that also conquered Lincoln-Sudbury. Cali Loblundo, who has been solid in net (1.56 GAA), is paired up against Sarah Provost, who posts a 1.00 GAA.

No. 11 Lexington at No. 1 Woburn, Wed., 6 p.m. – The Tanners remain undefeated in Middlesex Liberty League play, handing Lexington a 5-2 league loss at The Edge Sports Center on Dec. 22. The unbeaten Tanners are the favorite in this matchup with Kayla Smith and Ashley Moran heading the offense, collecting 37 of the team’s 55 goals. Courtney Davis has been sensational between the pipes with three consecutive shutouts and a 0.92 goals against average.

Walpole at No. 7 Wellesley, Wed., 6:40 p.m. – The unbeaten Raiders will make an appearance in the tournament but still have work to do in Bay State Herget with four consecutive league matchups. The two squads tied earlier this season, 3-3, on Dec. 22 adding intensity to this meeting.

No. 4 Duxbury at No. 2 Falmouth, Wed., 6:50 p.m. – Falmouth stripped Duxbury of its 34-game win streak with a 1-0 win Jan. 5. Green Dragons coach Friend Weiler acknowledged the matchup between the pipes with young goaltenders Madison Scavotto and Rachel Myette each posting under a 1.00 GAA. This will be the Green Dragons’ biggest test if they want to repeat at the Garden.

No. 3 St. Mary’s at No. 5 Hingham, Wed., 7 p.m. – Despite an upset by Hingham on Dec. 22, 4-2, the Spartans have rallied since, taking their last eight matchups, even collecting three consecutive shutouts. The Spartans will have to keep pressure on Jane Freda, who scored all four goals for Hingham and currently leads the team with 17 goals and 11 assists.

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