Detailed Defense: ASU women's hockey's Molly Potter sees all aspects of the game

Molly Potter plays hockey at a highly intelligent level, making her a serious asset to the Sun Devils

Molly Potter, freshman defenseman for ASU's inaugural women's hockey team, is using her detail-orientated thinking to elevate her game. She is working to bring a solid defensive edge to ASU's blue line that should help the team be in contention the next four years. 

But she's gone about developing her intelligent style of play a bit differently than most. 

Sea glass by the sea shore 

"Usually when someone asks me for an unusual fact about myself, I tell them that I play hockey," Potter said laughing. "Especially on campus because that's not that common down here."  

During hockey season, Potter spends a lot of her time inside cold hockey rinks. She thrives when venturing outdoors. One of her favorite things to do is go to the beach, but it's what she does there that reflects the kind of person she is. When at the beach, Potter hunts for sea glass.

Sea glass or beach glass, which is found in fresh water, are pieces of glass that have been physically and chemically weathered during their time in the water and can be found along the beach shore. The glass is naturally frosted and can take anywhere from 20-50 years to acquire its unique texture and shape. Now sea glass can be collected as a hobby, but most beach goers tend to pass over it. 

"My whole family collects sea glass," Potter said. "When we go to New Jersey, we're all looking by the ocean for it. We have jars and jars of sea glass, and a bunch of shells that are probably broken by now. When I lived in Minnesota we didn't have shells or sea glass because we didn't have an ocean. So instead, we went to the lakes and picked up the rocks there. We did what we could." 

Finding sea glass is hobby that has bonded her family. Each family member has their own way of looking for sea glass — her brother refuses to go to the lakes and will only go to the ocean. 

"Whenever we're by an ocean I can guarantee that we're all together," Potter said. "I brought a small jar of sea glass with me to college." 

Collecting sea glass is more than just a past time for Potter though, it is something that has helped to shape her approach to life. Since she was little she has been raised to be detail orientated. 

"When I was really really little, my mom would take me to the beach and she would be telling me to look in the sand," Potter said. "Now whenever we're at the beach I'm always looking in the sand. No one else is but I am. When we go to New Jersey with our friends from Pennsylvania we all have a competition to see who could find the first piece of sea glass, the best piece of sea glass, like the blue ones are really rare so whenever someone would find one of those we would freak out." 

From warm sand to cool ice

There could not be a starker contrast to the warm sands of the beach where Potter searches for precious sea glass, than the cool, frozen ice under her skates when she's playing hockey. But her approach to both actions are the same.

Be smart. Take everything in. Pay attention to the details. 

"I'm definitely someone who looks into things really in detail," Potter said. "I'm always looking really far into the sand. It relates to everything. When I'm doing homework I make sure I'm doing it really thoroughly. When I'm out on the ice I don't quit. I make sure I'm paying attention to the details of the game and make sure that I'm not missing anything." 

Molly played forward at one time in her hockey career, and that time spent in an offensive position has helped her to be able to see the ice in a different way. While it's easy for players to focus solely on their job on the ice, it can be extremely beneficial to be able to see the game as a whole. 

That detailed aspect of the game is something that Potter has worked really hard at and something that has not gone unnoticed by her coach or her teammates 

"Girls hockey is totally different, our minds are going 110 mph, where as the boys game is different," ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. "Girls just think more, that's the way it is. But you can definitely see with Molly that she definitely is always analyzing the play to see what play will work best." 

Team captain KC McGinley is one of the few players on the team who has seen college hockey before during her time playing in Boston. She knows what it takes to be successful in college hockey, and she thinks that players like Potter are exactly what ASU needs.

"Molly is amazing," McGinley said. "She's strong on the puck and she posses it well. She makes smart plays and she handles feedback like a champ. I'll give her something to work on and she not only does it but she takes that and runs with it. She makes it better than I could even have expected. 

"She is a very intelligent hockey player, and in that aspect she understands the game to a different level than a lot of girls do."

Off the ice, Potter is passionate about a lot of things. She loves to be outdoors, whether it's being by the beach tanning, hiking or just sitting out on the patio of her dorm. She loves to workout and be active, and she loves her major of engineering. Potter always strives to be going and better herself. Again, it's all about the details. 

Potter will focus on more details as she looks forward to the rest of the season. 

"I definitely want to score a goal," Potter said with a laugh. "But a goal for this year is to just get better and stronger. I was really tiny and weak my freshman year of high school and since then I've been going to the gym and working out and making sure I was getting better. I think that really helped. My goal is just to get even stronger." 

In a way, as Potter gets stronger, so does the rest of the team. She's one of the few four-year commitments and she'll be one of the girls to truly forge the team. The hard work that she puts in and the details she works on along the way will help the team solidify its legacy as the first collegiate women's hockey team in the desert. 

"I think it's awesome, I'm just really excited to be able to see where the program starts and when I leave I'll get to see where the program has gotten in four years," Potter said. "I expect it to get really, really good because we are really good now, but I think we'll get even better once we get more players and have some fresh faces. I'm really excited to see everyone who comes and goes and see the team develop and get better."


Reach the reporter at tsclark5@asu.edu or follow @taylorsedona on Twitter.

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