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UMD Senior Tricia Guest.

Senior Tricia Guest and her UMD Bulldog teammates are shooting for a fourth straight NCAA championship.

UMD Bulldogs become first dynasty in women's hockey

by Rick Moore

From M, winter 2004

It's quite a routine that the University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team has established over the past three years. Enjoy a successful season. Knock off your archrival--in this case, the University of Minnesota Gophers--when it counts. Skate past your elite competition in the Frozen Four to win the NCAA championship. Oh... and fly out to the White House in Washington to receive congratulations from the president. And while the Bulldogs may be hard-pressed this season to replicate their success for a "four-peat," they take pride in becoming the nation's first dynasty in women's Division I hockey. "We're extremely proud and feel very fortunate to have won three NCAA championships in a row," says Bulldogs coach Shannon Miller. "It's a real privilege to be in that situation... Now we just need to enjoy the success and continue to build on it." UMD wouldn't seem to be the logical choice as the stars of Division I women's hockey, especially with peers like Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of Wisconsin, and the Gophers. But when Miller, the former head coach of Team Canada, took over the team four years ago, she drew on her black book of contacts from international hockey and began assembling teams flavored with first-rate foreign student-athletes--from Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, and Russia--along with some talented Minnesotans. It's not every team that can say "Pleased to meet you, President Bush" in six different languages. "It's a unique environment because we have the international students," says Julianne Vasichek, a junior from Great Falls, Montana, who, in September, was named to the U.S. Select Team. She credits Miller for being hard-working, adaptive, and extremely supportive of her players. "She doesn't want us to just succeed as players and athletes, but to succeed in life, as well," Vasichek says. About half of this year's faces are new. "If we can just get to the [Final] Four, that's quite an accomplishment with 10 rookies on your team," says Miller. "And when you're there, anything can happen."

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