Jincy Dunne, a fifth-year senior for Ohio State women’s ice hockey, was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
“I’m just super honored, super excited,” Dunne said. “Obviously, I’ve got a great team with me. I have teammates that support me every day and I think I’m really fortunate. I don’t know what other cultures are like, but I know I have a culture that backs me up.”
Dunne has been an essential piece of the turnaround of the Buckeye program, making history along the way as the first Ohio State defenseman to earn the defensive player of the year award for consecutive years. The O’Fallon, Mo., native became the fourth back-to-back winner in WCHA history.
“When you win defensive player of the year back to back in a nonOlympic year in one of the best league’s in the country – and she has the opportunity to be a three-time All-American, to win three times, that’s a hell of an accomplishment,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said.
As a fifth-year senior, Dunne tied her career high in points with 28, dishing 21 dimes with a career–high seven goals as a defender.
The two-time defensive player of the year totaled 11 points on the man advantage and blocked a career-high 76 shots, winning two WCHA defenseman of the week awards as well as two defenseman of the month honors. She became just the second player to earn back-to-back player of the month laurels and the first defenseman.
“For me senior year coming in, I wanted this to be my best year,” Dunne said. “We talk about leaving a legacy, and that’s what I wanted this year to be about, and not just on the ice, but off the ice as well. To have this recognition on the ice is super humbling.”
The phenomenal play of Dunne as a senior was far from a flash in the pan. She thrived for four seasons on the ice, leading all WCHA defensemen in points and assists when she became just the second ever Buckeye first-team All-America player.
Dunne was a second-team All-America and first-team All-WCHA defender as a redshirt sophomore, giving her three straight first-team all-conference accolades.
“I know Jincy would take her hat off to her teammates and applaud them, but she’s got to take some ownership in her skill and her ability to play the game and her IQ,” Muzerall said of Dunne. “She’s just such a phenomenal hockey player.”
For Dunne, who has been one of the best Buckeyes for four years, there is more to life that is important other than one’s performance in a game.
“Character is everything, because it’s what you do when people aren’t looking as well,” Dunne said. “ I don’t know exactly how it gets picked, but for other people to think that of me just really makes me feel grateful and just really makes me want to continue down that path and just be grateful for what I have and keep doing the right thing when I can.”
Muzerall, who unsuccessfully recruited Dunne to Minnesota, was beaming when Dunne was named the conference’s top defender for back-to-back years.
‘I’m so grateful for Jincy coming to OSU. I’m so happy I’ve had the ability to coach her,” Muzerall said of Dunne. “She’s a fine young woman that one day I hope my daughter grows up to be. If Isabella can grow up to be like Jincy Dunne one day, I’d be a very lucky mom.”
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