Meghan Agosta’s reputation preceded her before she ever arrived at Mercyhurst College, but the senior from Ruthven, Ontario, Canada, has officially done more than live up to the hype. She’s exceeded it.
With three goals and an assist in a 6-2 win against College Hockey America rival Wayne State (Mich.) on Feb. 4, Agosta became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, breaking the previous record of 285 points set by Julie Chu at Harvard from 2002 to 2007. A week later, at Syracuse, she tied the NCAA career goals record – which she currently shares with former Harvard star Nicole Corriero – when she lit the lamp for the 150th time in her four-year career in a 4-2 win over the Orange.
“Obviously, from a young age, she was a phenom,” said Lakers head coach Mike Sisti. “Everyone knew she had great skills. The one thing you never know is how kids are going to adjust to college. There’s so many obstacles along the way with the schoolwork, social things that can distract kids, and injuries, so you never know. Meghan had amazing potential, and we really felt that if she came here and worked hard every day and used her talents both academically and athletically, she could do amazing things.”
It would appear that Agosta – a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Canada – has the “amazing things” part well taken care of.
With the one game left in the Lakers’ regular season – Feb. 25 at home against Robert Morris – Agosta’s career totals currently stand at 150 goals and 144 assists for a total of 294 points, and her 77 points (31g, 46a) this season make her a front runner for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in women’s college hockey. With Friday’s game against the Colonials, the CHA tournament and a likely trip to the NCAA Tournament remaining, Agosta stands an excellent chance of breaking 300 points for her career.
“She’s worked extremely hard,” Sisti said. “I think what’s great is that she’s found a major she loved and she’s doing outstanding and thriving, and certainly athletically, her résumé’s as long as anyone with all her accomplishments.
“The neat thing is just to see all the improvements in her game, from conditioning to how strong she’s gotten and how much better she understands the game and how she’s developed as a leader. It’s certainly been a work in progress, but she’s been dedicated to getting better every day, and it’s just been enjoyable watching her move forward.”
For her part, Agosta is focused on team accomplishments — specifically, the NCAA Championship that has eluded the Lakers for years, even as they’ve built up a reputation as one of the top programs in women’s hockey.
“It’s definitely a great honor,” Agosta said of her individual accolades, “but I don’t really think about breaking records. My No. 1 priority is to be a great leader, bring experience to the team and bring this team to that next level. And that’s winning an NCAA championship.”
Since Agosta arrived at Mercyhurst, located in Erie, Pa., the Lakers have lost twice to Minnesota Duluth in NCAA regionals – twice by a single goal, once in overtime – and reached the 2009 NCAA title game, only to be shut out by Wisconsin.
“We’re very proud of everything we’ve accomplished,” Sisti said. “One thing we try to do every year is have the best season our team can possibly have. Obviously, you always want to win championships and win it all, but especially in our early years, we’ve done an awful lot with our programs and our seasons. Minus a national championship, our track record and our success is as good as anyone out there.”
With this season’s NCAA Championship set to be played in Erie, Pa., at Tullio Arena, Agosta certainly senses the potential for a storybook ending to her historic career, even if she won’t allow herself to look past the more immediate challenges.
“Everyone’s been working so hard to make this Frozen Four the best Frozen Four ever,” Agosta said, “and there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be the best. We just need to worry about winning each day.
“Of course, we want to be there, and we are going to be there, but we’re going to worry about the game coming up, not worry about the future. Obviously, it’d be amazing to win on home soil, but I can’t look too far ahead. We need to get there first, and in order to get there, we need to be in the now.”
When it’s over, Agosta will graduate with her degree in criminal justice, which she’ll look to put to use in her home province of Ontario as an officer in a police K-9 unit. As much as she hopes to work with dogs to help keep the public safe, though, her dogged pursuit of victory on the ice is something that will take precedence for now.
“We did think the sky was the limit with what she could accomplish,” Sisti said, “and even though she’s done so much, she still has a way to go.”