The college ice hockey player’s journey does not begin freshman year. It...
Jess Rusin’s record-breaking career well deserved, says Becca Main
By Zack Daly, Broadcast Manager
When the Quinnipiac coaching staff first saw Jess Rusin play, they knew she was a great player. Three and a half years later, Rusin has become the greatest scorer in Quinnipiac field hockey history, surpassing Heather Cady’s program record for goals and points in a career.
Rusin scored her 32nd career goal against Sacred Heart on Oct. 13 to set the program record for career goals. She added her 33rd and 34th career goals against Robert Morris five days later to pick up four points, setting the new program points record at 82.
“When she broke the record, I got so many text messages from her former teammates and emails saying, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. That’s awesome,’” head coach Becca Main said. “She is an overall, well-liked kid, and everybody emulates her in terms of how she goes about her game.”
The New Jersey native has set a new standard for Quinnipiac forwards, but if not for her interest in physical therapy, Rusin would be playing at Northeastern, and not Quinnipiac.
“She contacted us first to be recruited because she wanted physical therapy,” assistant coach Cheryl Canada said. “She sent us in all of her newspapers saying, ‘Leading scorer, New Jersey, 90-something goals,’ and her DVD. The second I watched it, I said, ‘Becca, we have got to offer this girl an athletic scholarship.’”
Canada and Main saw that Rusin could have an impact on their program, but the reputation of the Quinnipiac coaching staff was what finally got Rusin to commit to Quinnipiac.
“The thing that won me over with field hockey was the coaches,” Rusin said. “When I came here the girls were so excited about the coaches. They really put the student before the athlete. They said Becca was like a mom and it definitely shows.”
Rusin came into the year with 23 career goals, eight short of Cady’s program record of 31. Her career high for goals in a season came during her sophomore year when she recorded ten goals, so she knew the record was attainable. Even with the pressure of breaking the record, Rusin has thrived this year, setting a new high in career goals with 11.
“I try not to think about it before the game I think because everybody is so competitive,” Rusin said. “If you do have an opportunity, and you do miss it, you know you’re coming off the field. You have to take advantage of everything and every opportunity.”
Over the last couple of years there have been many different players to come through the field hockey program that have left their impact and made the team better, and Rusin is no different.
“She makes everyone around her better, including the forwards around her and the incoming freshmen,” Canada said. “They see the hard work. It didn’t just come natural to her. She is always asking questions, always trying to improve herself, and make herself better.“
The records may belong to Rusin, but she knows she would not have accomplished anything if she did not have strong teammates to help her out.
“The ball has to come through ten other people behind me,” Rusin said. “It’s not just me. The ball comes through the midfield, Christa [Romano], Jennalise [Taylor], Amanda [Danziger] in the backfield, Cate. It was never all me.”
At the end of the season, Rusin and six other seniors will graduate and move onto the next chapter in their lives. When the seniors finally close the book on their field hockey careers at Quinnipiac, their impact will be long lasting.
“Everybody else whose played on the team in these three years, who has joined the team, who has joined the squad, they have really gotten them on board to the point where we have a team that is really unified,” Main said. “We have a team that is fun, they know how to be with each other, and I think Jess’s group has set the tone for what’s acceptable and what is mandated as a program.”
As for the records, Rusin still has time to add to her career totals and separate herself from whoever the next great goal scorer for Quinnipiac may be.
“I want to rack up a couple more goals so the next girl that comes in to break the record has a little bit of a challenge,” Rusin said.
Whether her records stand for five years or 50 years, Rusin’s impact on the Bobcats’ field hockey team will not be easily forgotten.