fbpx
Favorites

© 2022 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

Favorites

Playing against boys helped Princeton’s Jen Olnowich become star goalie

Playing against boys helped Princeton’s Jen Olnowich become star goalie
Playing with and against boys early in her hockey career helped Princeton freshman Jen Olnowich develop into a standout goalie. (Credit: Princeton Athletics)

PRINCETON, N.J. (BVM) — If you’re great at something, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether you are a boy playing on a girls team or a girl playing on a boys team. Just ask Princeton freshman hockey goalie Jen Olnowich.

As a young girl, Olnowich played lots of sports. Her parents loved to watch hockey but never played it. They got her older sister, Allie, into playing hockey.

“I pretty much played every sport I could, but when I was 3 or 4, I started to learn how to skate, because my older sister was a player and she needed someone to practice shooting on so I played goalie,” Jen said. “Then at the age of 5, I started to play organized hockey and really enjoyed it. I narrowed it down to soccer and hockey in middle school and was not sure which I wanted to pick to play in high school.”

Once Jen arrived at Chatham High School, she also arrived at a decision.

“I chose hockey because I thought there was a better opportunity for me to go to a top school because fewer girls played and I also ended up liking the sport more than soccer,” Jen said.  

Chatham has both a boys and girls hockey team. During her freshman year, Jen was placed on the boys team. 

“It wasn’t all that big of a transition for me as I grew up playing for a travel team for boys,” Jen said. “This was because the shots were a lot harder which made it good preparation for me.”

It was a challenge that Jen embraced.

“Growing up my development was much different than goalies who probably played only girls hockey,” she said.  “I became a much faster skater pretty early on.  When you’re younger, girls are bigger than boys, but when you get to high school, all of the guys start growing. This made me really have to work on all aspects of my game in order to keep up with the size difference.”

However, Jen has played on some girls teams as women’s college coaches only watch the women’s games. As soon as Jen found out she had made the boys team, it gave her great recognition.

“It was very exciting once I made the boys team because I’m pretty sure I’m the first girl to play on the boys team which made it that much more special,” Jen said. “Even though I played boys hockey growing up, I didn’t think anything of it, but now that I got to high school and made the team, many people were talking about it which was a great honor to me, especially since I did really well.”

Jen’s years at Chatham were successful ones as she was an all-conference and all-county honoree in hockey and earned team MVP honors. She also had a career save percentage of 91%.  

Playing high school boys hockey was not only a milestone, but it was great preparation for the next step for Jen.

“A lot of my teammates at Princeton are from Canada and have played at a very fast pace with terrific players their whole lives, so I think playing on the boys team in high school was important for me as everything was much quicker and much stronger,” Jen said.

After Jen’s first season at Princeton, she already made a name for herself as the backup goalie. She played in four games with a 2-1-1 record including a shutout against Union. She recorded a 1.38 goals-against average in those four games and looks to continue that trend moving forward.  

Before Jen graduates from Princeton, she has some very high aspirations.

“Obviously I would love to win a national championship,” Jen said. “I’d like to win a couple of titles, including the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship and Ivy Championship, but I would just love to be the starting goalie. Coming in as a freshman there’s not that much expectation to come in starting and I got a few games in this year, but throughout my career, I would love to play the majority of the games.”

Jen’s sister Allie plays professional hockey for the NWHL’s Metropolitan Riveters. 

“She loves it a lot,” Jen said.  “I’m not entirely sure what post-college looks like for me depending on how school goes and how much I love hockey by the end of it, but I definitely have every option open to me.”

The Olnowich name is one that those in the world of women’s hockey should keep in mind throughout the next few years.

Get local sports news direct to your inbox

Originals

more
Notre Dame commit David Lally looking toward MLB future

Notre Dame commit David Lally looking toward MLB future

David Lally had a tremendous career at Grand Blanc that included a state title and…

Louisville commit Zion Rose concludes special junior season

Louisville commit Zion Rose concludes special junior season

Zion Rose is one of the top Class of 2023 players in Illinois and one…

Eric Brown’s journey from 0 offers to 2022 MLB Draft prospect

Eric Brown’s journey from 0 offers to 2022 MLB Draft prospect

Eric Brown put his faith in God and now he is a potential first-round MLB…

Mitchell Robinson back with New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Mitchell Robinson back with New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Mitchell Robinson is back with the Knicks after agreeing to a new contract. Here is…

Mark Johnson looks to climb the mountain again with Wisconsin

Mark Johnson looks to climb the mountain again with Wisconsin

Mark Johnson will look to add to his historic resume in his 20th season as…

Ryan Niblett ready to bring track speed to Texas football

Ryan Niblett ready to bring track speed to Texas football

Texas Longhorns’ four-star WR commit Ryan Niblett will team up in Austin with No. 1-ranked…

Future Badger Paytn Monticelli now a two-time Gatorade POY

Future Badger Paytn Monticelli now a two-time Gatorade POY

Two-time Gatorade Wisconsin Softball Player of the Year Paytn Monticelli is continuing her career with…

Bobby Portis returning to Bucks on four-year, $49 million deal

Bobby Portis returning to Bucks on four-year, $49 million deal

After being an integral part of the Bucks’ championship run in 2021 and having a…

Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets; Which team lands KD?

Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets; Which team lands KD?

Kevin Durant has requested out of Brooklyn to set up one of the biggest trades…

Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Jalen Brunson is finally a Knick. Here is everything you need to know:

Nick Van Exel is perfect for Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

Nick Van Exel is perfect for Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

Nick Van Exel, a fan favorite point guard from his time in the NBA and…

Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect

Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect

Cleveland Guardians shortstop prospect Tyler Freeman uses the motivation provided by his parents on his…

Ethan Davis brings elite TE versatility to Tennessee football

Ethan Davis brings elite TE versatility to Tennessee football

Tennessee's four-star TE commit Ethan Davis will team up with five-star QB Nico Iamaleava in…

Bayliss Flynn makes history with NIL deal

Bayliss Flynn makes history with NIL deal

Bayliss Flynn made history in Minnesota by becoming the first high school athlete to sign…

Bengals RB Trayveon Williams to teach at Texas A&M

Bengals RB Trayveon Williams to teach at Texas A&M

Cincinnati Bengals running back Trayveon Williams will be a co-professor of a course for the…

Francesco Capocci brings helping attitude to UNC baseball

Francesco Capocci brings helping attitude to UNC baseball

Francesco Capocci grew up with North Carolina as his dream school. Now he is a…

A.J. Tisdell joins Badgers’ Class of 2023 recruiting class

A.J. Tisdell joins Badgers’ Class of 2023 recruiting class

A.J. Tisdell can shine in Wisconsin under Jim Leonhard.

Ajani Sheppard: From one year starter to Old Dominion commit

Ajani Sheppard: From one year starter to Old Dominion commit

Iona Preparatory quarterback Ajani Sheppard rose from no Division I offers to more than a…

Northwestern commit Tyler Gant fueled by success on and off field

Northwestern commit Tyler Gant fueled by success on and off field

Three-star Class of 2023 defensive lineman Tyler Gant will look to continue his athletic and…

Nathan Rourke off to record-setting start for BC Lions

Nathan Rourke off to record-setting start for BC Lions

Taking over as the starting quarterback of the BC Lions, former Ohio University standout Nathan…