Peering from behind her goalie mask, Acton-Boxborough (Mass.) Regional High goaltender Cali Loblundo probably looks like your average varsity hockey goalie. She’s called “mature” by her high school coach and “excellent” by the opposition.
She plays without fear.
Loblundo is the exact player you’d want in net with a hockey game on the line. “I don’t get nervous,” she told the Boston Globe in a recent article. “I just try my best.”
There’s just one thing that separates Cali Loblundo from the rest of her varsity peers: she’s only 12-year-old. No, you didn’t read that wrong; she’s only in seventh-grade and is already the starting goalie for her high school team.
With pads wider than her body frame, Loblundo has taken hold of the starting position this season, after her Acton-Boxborough girls hockey team fielded only 12 players from the high school level.
As the Boston Globe reported, that’s when the school went looking for players to fill out the rest of the roster.
After being granted an age-restriction waiver by the league, the school ended up taking roughly six players from seventh- and eight-grade to fill out the squad.
Loblundo is only 12, head coach Brian Fontas said she was already on his radar. Loblundo’s brother, Andrew, is the starting goalie for the boys’ varsity team, so the position was already in her blood.
“I knew she was down there, I just didn’t know if she would play because sometimes parents don’t want their kids that young to play varsity," Fontas told the Boston Globe. “She’s just a little bit more mature than maybe some seventh-graders would be."
Small in stature, Loblundo still has a lot to learn as a goaltender. But if a 2-0 shutout in her first game was an indication of where she’s headed, there could be a bright future in the sport for this feisty 12-year-old.
When told she was going to make her first start of the season, Loblundo replied with “awesome,” Fontas told the Globe. She also said she expects her team to “win it all” this season.
“It’s just crazy to hear that from a seventh-grader," he told the Boston Globe. “She’s a small kid, but she’s got no fear. I don’t consider her a seventh-grader, I really don’t.”
Could Lobolundo be the next Molly Schaus (Team USA goaltender)? It’s probably too early to tell. But with an attitude like that, she’s definitely headed in the right direction.