WATERLOO, Ont. - In the early days of the recruiting process, hockey player Rachel Marriott already knew she would be playing out her Ontario University Athletics career with the Waterloo Warriors. She had no idea that she would become the team’s all-time leader in points before her final game, though.
The record-breaking point came by way of an assist on Maryn Caragata’s goal in a 3-2 shootout win over Laurentian on Nov. 30 to break the previous total of 80 points, which good friend and former teammate Marissa Redmond set just last season.
“To be honest, I didn't know what the record was … until last year when she beat it. And then people said that I was within range, so that’s when it kind of started the conversation about it,” said Marriott.
Reflecting on the new benchmark, she spoke of the realization that, had she gone to a top hockey program rather than the growing success at UW, she might not have played for a few years and had a chance to break records.
“I had multiple offers … but the options that I did have, they were either too far away from home or just didn’t seem like a good enough fit for me,” said Marriott, adding, “It’s really satisfying that I … was able to have personal success and team success (with Waterloo).”
With 40 goals and 42 assists in 96 career regular season games, the Resurrection Catholic Secondary school graduate conceded how “in Grade 12, I definitely wouldn't have envisioned this kind of personal success at all.” She was quick to praise head coach Shaun Reagan and the close-knit environment he has fostered among her teammates as being the catalyst for success.
“He’s pretty hard on us at times, but one-on-one with him, he’s told me that even though I’m relied on to contribute offensively, to not get too wound-up … worrying about points. That’s taken pressure off me,” said Marriott.
The approach has had a trickle-down effect on the rest of the team, which currently sits fourth with eight wins in eleven games. It was especially evident last season when a veteran-laden squad made a run to the OUA semifinals before succumbing to the back-to-back champion Guelph Gryphons in three games.
“We’re taking a step in the right direction. Even though we didn't win it all (last year), it still means a lot that we did better than the previous year. It kind of sets the stage for this year,” she said.
Having been introduced to Marriott by her coach Ken Lubert (who would serve as an assistant on the Warriors bench for a couple of years) during one her final seasons playing lacrosse, Reagan reflected how “she came in pretty shy and quiet … but she’s leaving the school with great leadership skills.”
“She’s a good character player and is great in the dressing room; one of our leaders,” said Reagan. “She hasn't disappointed since she’s come in (to the program),” he added when comparing today’s version to the player he recruited out of District 8 hockey.
“With her strength and conditioning, she’s definitely improved. She works pretty hard … in the off-season. She’s on the ice pretty much all year round,” he explained of the player who he had a chance to represent Canada with at February’s Winter Universiade.
“It’ll be a sad day when she leaves the program for sure.”
Marriott certainly sees the end of her hockey — playing days coming-up quickly on the horizon, as the therapeutic recreation student has already started applying to grad school in hopes of pursuing a degree in gerontology.
Knowing that she overcame a multi-game absence in the middle of her second season due to a shoulder injury (which then resulted in off-season shoulder surgery) on her way to becoming school’s best-ever on the stat sheet makes the soft-spoken leader feel accomplished.
“(Playing here) for five years, I already knew it was an extended period of time. Leaving on that note is definitely special.”
Source: Dan Polischuk, Waterloo Chronicle