“It’s very special,” Ruggiero said. “Obviously it’s a huge honor. It doesn’t happen very often in a team sport that you get individually recognized. It’s very special to me and to have the opportunity to thank people in my life that have made a difference.”
Ruggiero is the third Harvard player to win the award, and this is the fourth time in seven years that a Crimson skater has received the honor.
A.J. Mleczko ’97-’99 won the award in 1999, while Jennifer Botterill ’02-’03—the award’s only two-time recipient—brought home the Kazmaier in 2001 and 2003.
This was the fourth year that the Harvard defenseman was a finalist for the award and the second-straight year she finished in the final three.
Ruggiero is the top-scoring defenseman in the nation. She finished the season ranked ninth in the nation and third on Harvard with 52 points on 23 goals and 29 assists.
Prior to being named the most outstanding player in women’s college hockey, Ruggiero had already racked up her share of awards this season to go along with all the accolades she has amassed over her career.
She was named the 2003-2004 Ivy League Player of the Year, while being named to the Ancient Eight’s first team. Ruggiero was also voted to the 2003-2004 JOFA All-American first team by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association for the fourth time in her career.
Ruggiero was selected in lieu of two other finalists—Northeastern goalie Chanda Gunn and Minnesota-Duluth forward Jenny Potter—for the top prize.