Sports

Tuesday, Oct 15 2013 06:00 AM

Vanessa Brock: local woman joins college hockey ranks

Related Photos

Vanessa Brock, a 2012 Tehachapi High School graduate, is currently a freshman playing in goal for the Adrian College Bulldogs in Adrian, Mich. Photo courtesy of Mike Brock.

Vanessa Brock, a 2012 Tehachapi High School graduate, pictured here as a member of the Lady Ducks Hockey Club in Anaheim, is currently playing in goal for the Adrian College Bulldogs in Adrian, Mich. Photo courtesy of Mike Brock.

Vanessa Brock, a 2012 Tehachapi High School graduate, pictured here as a member of the Lady Coyotes Hockey Club in Phoenix, Ariz., is currently playing in goal for the Adrian College Bulldogs in Adrian, Mich. Photo courtesy of Mike Brock.

Vanessa Brock, a 2012 Tehachapi High School graduate, makes a save for the Pasadena Maple Leafs. Brock, a freshman is currently playing in goal for the Adrian College Bulldogs in Adrian, Mich. Photo courtesy of Mike Brock.

You have to stop a lot of pucks to win hockey games and Vanessa Brock is really good at it.

That skill has garnered the agile 18-year-old goaltender a spot on the Adrian College Bulldogs' roster, where she is playing ice hockey this season.

Although, a fledgling Division I team in just their second season under head coach Zach Galia, the Lady Bulldogs are poised to be one of the top teams in the Women's Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.

The Bulldogs finished last season ranked No. 11 in the country with an 11-7-3 record, and will aim to build on a successful inaugural season with a new crop of recruits from across the continent, including Brock who joins the team as a true freshman.

A 2012 Tehachapi High School graduate majoring in the medical field, Brock has already impressed Galia, who first saw his new recruit play during last year's Nike Bauer World Invitational in Detroit, Mich.

"Right away you could see her passion for the game and dedication to her position," he said. "Although her team wasn't as strong as the opponent, she never gave up, constantly battling through any adversity. She had that fire to keep the puck out of the net at all costs."

Being a goaltender at any level is not an easy task, and Brock will definitely be expected to take her game to the next level in her first year in the college ranks.

"It's more competitive than what I am normally used to," she said. "The girls are bigger and stronger with faster, harder shots."

However, she is no stranger to working hard and Galia said that Brock has that ethic, and then some to spare.

"She is one of the first players on the ice and one the last ones off," he said. "She is a very positive leader for our team and has the mindset and determination any coach would be lucky to have as a part of his team."

The road to college hockey has been short for Brock, but not easy, starting out as 12-year-old roller hockey goalie on a local Tehachapi team.

"I chose hockey because my dad got my family season tickets to the [Bakersfield] Condors, and every time I would show up to a game I would get a rush," she said. "One day, I decided that this looks really interesting. I got into roller hockey and I got that same rush, but even more intense."

Nevertheless, after one season, Brock traded in her wheels for a set of blades, joining an in-house ice hockey league in Bakersfield.

From there she earned a spot on the Anaheim Lady Ducks travel team the following season, where she garnered an opportunity to play at the 2011 USA Hockey Nationals.

Following a two-year stretch, including a short stint with the 2012 Lady Coyotes in Phoenix, Ariz., she decided to ply her trade closer to home, serving as the backstop for the Pasadena Maple Leafs -- the oldest team in the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association.

"What I love most about it [hockey] is the sounds and the adrenaline that I get from just being on the ice," Brock said.

The Bulldogs opened their season on Sept. 21, and are 5-1-1.

Brock played 40 minutes during Adrian's bout with Ohio State University on September 29, turning away eight shots en route to preserving a 2-0 win. Impressive for her first collegiate competition, but Brock already has her sights set on the future, and she wasnt wants to continue on to a good coaching job for women's hockey and to peruse an even bigger dream.

"I've made it to college, I know I can work harder and make it to the Olympics," Brock said.

Print
Subcribe icon

Subscribe

Real Estate

2014/10/15
Local Advertisers

Social Tehachapi

Updates from local businesses