Katrina Manoukarakis makes mark on OUA

Third-year forward ends season as province’s top scorer

Katrina Manoukarakis leads the OUA in goals with 15.
Katrina Manoukarakis leads the OUA in goals with 15.
Supplied by Shawn MacDonald

With the women’s hockey team recently clinching the number-one spot in the OUA, it’s no secret forward Katrina Manoukarakis has been at the forefront of their success.

In a MVP-calibre year, Manoukarakis’ statistics speak for themselves. Currently, the forward leads the OUA in goals (15), points (30), power play goals (5) and game-winning goals (5). She also has the second-most assists in the league with 15.

“I feel like it hasn’t really hit yet but it’s just really exciting,” Manoukarakis reflected in an interview with The Journal, citing the thrill of having a career-year alongside such a successful team.

Despite having career highs this year, the success is nothing new for the third-year player. In her first season at Queen’s, Manoukarakis finished second in the OUA in goals with 15 and fourth in points with 25. Her performance resulted in her being awarded the OUA Rookie of the Year for 2015-16.

Following her stellar first season, Manoukarakis was held off the scoresheet for the large part of her sophomore year. Scoring just four goals, she finished the season with a meager 15 points. 

Now a year removed from when Queen’s hosted the U Sports National Championship, not only is Manoukarakis the OUA’s top scorer, but she’s also on the province’s best team. 

With the playoffs about to start, she said she’s “pumped but also nervous” for the team’s post-season run. “We just need to push through the first round and I feel like we’re going to kill it after that.”

When asked about what has been different about how she worked to improve between last year’s 15-point season and the 30 she accumulated this year, Manoukarakis credits it to the significant changes she made to how she approaches hockey. 

While many athletes often credit a leap of success to fitness and training, Manoukarakis has seen the largest improvement in her mental strength.

“I just won’t let things distract me,” Manoukarakis said of her pre-game rituals that have helped her improve. “Before the game I try to get in the zone and don’t try to think of other things, like school or if I’m stressed.”

This shift has allowed Manoukarakis to reflect on her mental strength in previous years, which she believes impacted her play.

“Last year it would just get the best of me sometimes, so I guess I know how to deal with it.”

Manoukarakis was also quick to compliment her teammates, to whom she credits much of her success to.

“I don’t know what I’d do without them, we just gel so well,” Manoukarakis said. “Without them I couldn’t have done what I’ve done this year.”

With the Gaels’ first-round matchup slated for next Wednesday, Manoukarakis is bursting with excitement and hopes to finish a historic season with an OUA gold medal and a trip to the U Sports Championships. With the success they’ve had this season, she’s confident in the team’s ability to achieve their goal.

“We’re definitely a good team that can make it to the OUA finals,” Manoukarakis said. “I’m just really pumped.”

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