In her international debut for the US Women’s National Team, goaltender Nicole Hensley put up a shutout in 2016.
It was her only game at the 2016 Women’s World Championships en route to the team’s gold medal, but it was her first step in solidifying her place among the nation’s best - and now, almost two years later, she’s reaping the rewards.
It was announced on Monday that Hensley will join goaltenders Alex Rigsby and Maddie Rooney on the US Olympic Team this winter, as the women head to Pyeongchang, South Korea in hopes of winning a gold medal.
Hensley is the most recent starter for the women’s team in international play, as she backstopped the women’s team to Worlds with a three-game, .964 save-percentage performance at the 2017 World Championships following her debut the prior year.
A native of Lakewood, Colorado, Hensley spent four seasons at Lindenwood University - where she’s now an assistant coach - before making her national team debut.
She put up consistently elite numbers during her years playing NCAA, racking up three seasons with a .920 save percentage or better. She holds the record for NCAA all-time saves, finishing with 4,094 stops in her career - and while dominating in the crease, took home the Colorado Sportswoman of the Year award three consecutive years in a row.
Now, though, she’ll get her biggest test yet, as the US Women’s Program looks to win gold for the first time since 1998.
The US Team made a few surprising cuts ahead of their finalized roster announcement, but knowing that Hensley and Rigsby bring a seasoned presence to the roster is a huge reassurance.
Rooney is an easy choice, as well; with a shutout in her own World Championship debut one year after Hensley herself achieved the impressive feat. The youngest of the three, she’s less likely to get the nod, but shouldn’t be discounted as a strong member of the goaltending corps.