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A Devil of a time for Eatinger

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

There is one game where an athlete can make a name for his, or herself, that will last forever. It could be going for 50 points in playoff game. It could be scoring the game-winning goal in the third overtime to win the Stanley Cup.

It could be making 70 saves in a single playoff game.

Arizona State women’s goaltender Quinn Eatinger had the game of games in the Sun Devils’ playoff loss to Liberty earlier this spring. The sophomore from Chicago, IL was on her game making 70 saves, despite the loss.

It seemed the more shots Eatinger faced the better she was getting. Eatinger elevated her game even more as the shots were coming at her fast and furious. The Sun Devils had nothing to lose, while Liberty had everything to lose.

It was the most fun Eatinger has had in a game in a long time.

“When I face strong teams, I play up. My confidence boosts and so does my game, so facing lots of shots during that game was probably the most fun I’ve had, considering we had nothing to lose and Liberty had everything to lose,” stated Eatinger. “As the shots kept on, I just kept saying to myself, “keep ‘em coming, that’s my puck.”

The physicality of the game can take on toll on any player. The best advice is not to look at the clock. When the game just keeps going and going, it’s about staying in the moment - and worry about what you can control.

As the game was going on, and Eatinger was getting peppered by shot after shot, it would have been easy for her let her game dip a little. After all, no one would have blamed her. But, she stayed in this game mentally.

As an athlete she wants to win. She wants to do everything she can to help her team get the victory. She may have been tired physically at times, but she wanted it. She wanted this victory for this team. The playoffs are a completely different animal. It’s win or go home.

“You can’t look at the clock. It’s a distraction to the plays happening right in front of you,” stated Eatinger. “Mentally, you have to want to win no matter how you feel physically, and because I truly did want it, staying in the game did not prove difficult.”

In this game against Liberty, Eatinger experienced what fews athletes do. She was in the zone. It doesn’t matter what was thrown at her on this night, it wasn’t going in. It didn’t matter if it was 70, 80 or 100 shots, that puck wasn’t going in the net.

Eatinger was in position for every shot. She wasn’t giving up those big juicy rebounds. Everything that was coming her way wasn’t going in the net.

“I’ll do my best here - it’s like, there’s this amazing opportunity to show off how hard you’ve worked all year versus the best team in the nation, you’ve got nothing to lose so leave it all on the ice,” stated Eatinger . “The feeling is so empowering, exciting and also there is honor in competing at such a high level.”

Doing what she does is even more amazing considering she plays hockey at the club level. While Arizona State plays at the ACHA D1 level, which is the highest for club hockey, it’s still not a Division I sport, which means it’s not sponsored by the college.

That means the team is out there fundraising to keep the program going, so they can travel to their away games - and to the national’s to compete for a championship. It also means these young ladies are the true definition of student-athlete.

They are balancing their school work with hockey and everything else to keep the program going at the high rate they are accustomed to.

“Our program is ACHA D1, and we treat it just as seriously as NCAA programs. Because we don’t get University support, we do a lot more community involvement and fundraising ourselves,” stated Eatinger. “It is pretty tough balancing out everything on my plate but the more busy I am, the more productive I am, so no complaints besides a little lack of sleep.”

What makes things even more impressive for Eatinger is that she is an engineering major at ASU. So, not only is she killing it on the ice, but she is killing it in the classroom as well. It can get difficult at times trying to balance both her academic duties with her athletic, but the busier the better.

During the season things can get overwhelming at times. There is a lot of homework, a lot of math, plus Eatinger is trying to balance the rigors of her schoolwork with practice and games. Doing homework on that bus trip, when they are traveling for away games, is so much fun.

“My major is Engineering Management, with a focus in Electrical Engineering, and I am getting a certificate in Mathematical Concepts in Engineering,” stated Eatinger. “So I take a wide variety of courses which include a lot of math, and yes it does take up a lot of time. Ask anyone on my team from this season about me complaining about my homework load when we travel hahaha”

Eatinger also had to battle for the starting spot when the season began as well. Nothing was handed to her when the season got rolling back in October. Battling for the starting spot was not easy, but Eatinger wanted it.

She wanted to prove to everyone, and herself, that she could compete at the highest level. She did just that. She posted a 15-1-1 record with nine shutouts in the Western Conference. It showed she could easily compete at this level.

“Battling for the starting position this season was not easy, but I wanted this opportunity more than anything and I worked so hard all season to get here,” stated Eatinger. “With nine shutouts from my games in the Western Conference, I knew I had the ball rolling and my team was confident in me having their back when we faced ranked teams.”

Now that the season is over, it’s time for Eatinger to rest up. She isn’t someone that likes to just sit still and do nothing. She does like to be active, expect for her naps. Eatinger loves her naps.

She also has time to study. The playoffs were happening during midterms, and finals are coming up now, so there is a lot on her plate when it comes to the academic side. As for hockey, she will play some pickup games here and there, but doesn’t start getting back up in high gear until the summer time.

She also makes sure she spends platy of time with her friends. After all, this is Arizona, Hanging out with friends is the best way for her to detox after the long season, and academic school year.

“I give myself plenty of rest, but I have to stay active because I don’t like to sit still (except for my naps, I love taking naps). With the end of the season happening during midterms and the preparation for finals also picking up, I will only play pickup hockey every couple weeks until the summer when I get into better development for the fall season,” stated Eatinger. “I love hanging out with people! My friends and I like to be up late and go for food runs or relaxing by the lake at night, movie nights, concerts, or dancing. As long as I’m with them I feel sane (until we have been up for too long and everyone gets silly).”

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