When Genny Ladiges ’12 joined the Yale women’s ice hockey team, she didn’t expect to be the starting goalie at the beginning of the season. But goaltender Jackee Skinkeris ’09 suffered an injury that forced Ladiges to step up her game in the third game of the year.

Ladiges had an impressive 13 saves in the McGill (13-2-0) match, another 13 in Yale’s (2-3-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) victory over Union (0-11-1, 0-4-0), 23 saves against Renssalaer (5-5-1, 2-1-1) and 24 saves in last weekend’s game over ninth-ranked St. Lawrence (5-5-1, 2-1-1). She is also ranked No. 4 among Ivy League netminders in goals-against average (0.98) and No. 6 in save percentage (.949).

But for Ladiges, the privilege of goaltending as a freshman adds pressure.

“I was absolutely not expecting to play this early,” she said. “It’s kind of terrifying, but it’s what you want. Everyone wants that chance to play.”

Ladiges said that balancing practice and schoolwork has been difficult, but that having the support of her teammates has been very helpful. Being able to look forward to practices increases the communication and success of the team, she said.

The Bulldogs have a 2-4-0 record after this weekend’s matches against St. Lawrence and Clarkson (3-5-2, 1-1-0), which were both played on home ice. Ladiges has played four of six games since the start of the season, and has impressed her coaches and her teammates with her ability to keep her head in the game.

“There was so much pressure in all the games and I think that Genny was kind of nervous when our starting goalie got hurt,” Aleca Hughes ’12 said. “But she has played unbelievably well in every game. She proved that she’s a big deal. She works really hard in practice and she’s the nicest person ever.”

After 11 years of playing in the goal box, Ladiges says she still loves every moment of it. That is why she does not want to take any of her minutes on the ice for granted.

“It’s tough as a goalie to know how much I’m going to get to contribute,” she said. “So every chance I get I’m going to do my best.”

Ladiges also brings positive and hardworking attitude with her off the ice. She said that she definitely expects the Elis to make it to the ECAC championship playoffs this year. But she knows that some improvements are going to have to occur in practice in order for the women to get there.

“We need to work on giving a 100 percent efforts for all three periods,” she said. “Sometimes we have lost because we just break down and we don’t play [for a full] 60 minutes. We just need to take the lead.”

Perhaps her ability to set goals, both for the team and for herself, is what has led her to success so far this season.

Head coach Hilary Witt said that she is pleased with how well Ladiges is responding to the incredible amount of work she’s being asked to do.

“So far, she’s doing a great job and we’re happy that she’s been able to step in and play her role,” Witt said.

This Friday and Saturday, the Elis will face off against Colgate (6-5-0, 1-1-0) and Cornell (2-2-1, 0-1-1) respectively. Snatching two road victories this weekend could establish the firm base the team needs in order to achieve their hopes of making the ECAC tournament.