ST. PAUL -- University of St. Thomas defenseman Nicole Vallario and goaltender Saskia Maurer have been selected to be members of the Switzerland women's national hockey team that will compete in the Beijing Olympics.
"We could not be prouder of the official announcement of Nicole and Saskia making the national team for Switzerland," Tommies assistant coach Bethany Brausen said in a news release. "Nicole is a dynamic defenseman who separates herself with her elite skating ability and hockey sense. She has the ability to influence the game on both ends of the ice. Saskia is a gifted goaltender who plays a very tactical and structured game. She is a dire competitor that competes to make every member of our team better.
"The two are exceptional athletes who have earned this opportunity and we cannot wait to see them compete on the national stage."
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Maurer, who has been named WCHA Rookie of the Week twice, has played in 10 games while making nine starts for the Tommies. A freshman from Rothenbach, Switzerland, is 3-6-0 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 10 games.
Vallario, a freshman from Lagano Switzerland, has four goals, three assists, two penalty minutes and 22 blocked shots in 18 games for the Tommies. She is a two-time WCHA Rookie of the Week and was named WCHA Rookie of the Month for
"We are so proud and happy for Saskia and Nicole," St. Thomas assistant coach Martin Sertich said in the news release. "They have been exceptional student athletes so far and are well deserved of this honor. It's so exciting for the University of St. Thomas and our women's hockey program to have Saskia, Nicole, and (head) coach (Joel) Johnson in the Olympic Games."
Johnson is the head coach for the U.S. women's national team.
Switzerland will open up play against Canada at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 3, competing in Group A.