As the Warwick girls’ hockey team made the leap into the upper echelon of the state this past season, it’s no coincidence that its top player made a similar leap at exactly the same time.
Emily Fox, who just finished her junior year at Toll Gate, finished tied for first in the state with 37 points, and her 21 goals were second. With Fox as the team’s most indispensable player, Warwick became the top public school team in the state, going 11-5 and qualifying for the playoffs with perennial D-I powers.
“One of the biggest things was her work ethic in practice,” Warwick head coach Dave Tibbetts said. “She works extremely hard. She pushes all the other kids to keep up with her level of play.”
Also a standout on the soccer field, Fox played hockey growing up, but had typically played on boys’ teams.
When Fox got to high school and Warwick had a girls’ team, she was understandably excited to play. And this season, when Fox saw that the team had a chance to compete with the best, she was eager to seize the opportunity.
“We knew that we had to prove ourselves, because we were one of the only public schools in the division,” Fox said. “We thought we were going to have a really good season ahead of us, and we did.”
Fox’s energy was contagious, as Warwick improved throughout the season. Just about everybody got better, and it showed on the ice.
“We all work so well together,” Fox said. “My line was Abby Ellis, Claudia Collins, Casey McCormick and Juliana Mollo. I maybe scored the most, but they definitely played a significant role for the team as well.”
The team is now moving into Division I, as Rhode Island is splitting girls’ teams into two separate divisions. Warwick will be one of two public schools in D-I, and the competition will be tough. But in large part due to Fox, Warwick feels ready for that challenge.
“She’s helped the program grow by pushing all the other kids,” Tibbetts said. “We’re going to Division I next year, and she’s a big part of that.”
And Fox is thinking big.
“Last year didn’t come out as we hoped, but we hope that next year we’ll get a title,” Fox said.