By Jean DePlacido
For over a year, Beverly High girls hockey star Olivia Konaxis has known she wanted to go to Holy Cross.
This week, she received her early decision acceptance letter and verbally commited to continue her career for head coach Peter Van Buskirk and the Crusaders.
“Holy Cross was my first choice all along,” said Konaxis, who has started at center for Beverly all four years of high school. “Coach Van Buskirk has been talking to me for over a year. It wasn’t final until this (Wednesday) when I got my acceptance letter. I’m so excited and happy about it.”
Konaxis is the fourth member of her family to captain a Panther hockey team. Her brother Jake captained the Panther boys while the three Konaxis sisters: Rachel (who graduated from Bryant University), Corey (who attends Sacred Heart) and Olivia all filled that role for the Beverly girls in this hockey family.
Beverly High’s all-time leader in assists, Konaxis is chasing after her sister Rachel’s record as the program’s all-time leading scorer in school history (110 points).
“I never got the chance to play with Rachel, but I was able to play with Corey my freshman year,” she said. “My goal this year is for us to make the tournament again and go far this time. I also want to beat my sister’s record, and she says if anybody does it she wants it to be me.”
Konaxis said she received a substantial four-year scholarship from Holy Cross. She wants to be a veterinarian, and part of the reason for choosing the Worcester school is because of the outstanding pre-med program it offers.
She was also recruited by Penn State, Syracuse, Wesleyan and Colby.
“I visited Colby College and had a lot of contact with the coach, but I felt Holy Cross was a better fit for me,” said Konaxis, who also played field hockey for the Panthers.
“I went to watch a hockey game at Holy Cross last year, and I met with the coach lots of times. I loved the campus and felt I could fit in there. I had an official tour, and coach Van Buskirk showed a lot of interest in me. I hope I can step in and play right away.”
Holy Cross is a Division 1 school, but the women’s hockey team plays a split Division 1/Division 3 schedule. Konaxis has heard the Crusaders would like to move completely up to the Division 1 level, but doesn’t know when that might happen.
Van Buskirk, who was formerly the men’s head coach for the Crusaders, is in his 13th season at the helm of the women’s program. Over his first dozen years he compiled a 180-111-20 record and took the team to the ECAC Open Championship the past four years. They won it three consecutive times before losing in 2012.
As much as Konaxis liked the campus and the hockey program, she was even more impressed with the school’s pre-med program.
“Holy Cross has a really good program, with a 98 percent acceptance to medical schools after graduation,” said Konaxis. “That’s one of the big reasons why I’ve always wanted to go there.
“It’s great to have the big decision behind me and know where I’ll be the next four years. I’m done worrying about college applications and visits. That feels great.”