Ohio State women’s hockey freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli is no stranger to success.
Before coming to Ohio State, she was a member of the Swiss National Team during the 2018 Winter Olympics as its backup goaltender.
Now, she has earned the starting job as a Buckeye and has been a key factor in the success for Ohio State.
In her 11 games played as starting goaltender, Braendli has impressed the nation with Rookie of the Week and Goaltender of the Week honors for her play against Minnesota State and Minnesota, respectively. Her save percentage of 0.939 is tied for No. 11 in the nation, and she is No. 6 in the nation for saves with 279.
“My season so far has been really good,” Braendli said. “First of all, I didn’t really know what I had to expect when I came into college hockey, so it was really cool to see how high the caliber of play is here. Those games so far have gone well for me personally. I want to keep that level going for the rest of the season.”
Much of Braendli’s success can be attributed to her talent as a goaltender, and her experience on the ice. As a former Olympian born in Zurich, Switzerland, Braendli brings a new dynamic to the Buckeyes that helps elevate the team.
“It was a dream that came true for me personally, making the Olympics,” Braendli said. “It’s a career goal and I reached that goal last year. The international experience that I got from this huge, amazing event is so valuable.”
Reaching a career goal like the Olympics so early in her life left Braendli searching for something new to accomplish, and she found that in collegiate hockey.
“It was hard after that to find a new goal,” Braendli said. “That was a new challenge I had to deal with. I saw all the other countries playing and several players were playing on different collegiate teams in the USA. Seeing them play helped me find a new goal to search for and now it’s playing at Ohio State and giving my best to see this team succeed.”
Transitioning from the Olympian level in Switzerland to the collegiate hockey level comes with struggles. Braendli views this as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than an obstacle to overcome.
“I can learn a lot from the experience here. I have to change personally to fit into the American culture, but it’s a good change,” she said. “I’m now more open to new things and I can learn so much from the girls here with how they play and how they behave. It isn’t just America, too, because there’s girls from Canada and Finland. I love that mixture and there’s so much I can take away from all this.”
The rest of Braendli’s teammates are learning, as well, relishing the opportunity to play with a former Olympian.
“Andrea just came in and stepped up as our goaltender,” redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne said. “She’s done an amazing job back there. She’s very solid and is someone we can count [on] both on and off the ice. She’s always working hard and is a Buckeye through and through.”
As the season moves forward, the Buckeyes are looking to compete and make it back to the Frozen Four for the opportunity to win the first national championship for Ohio State.
“That’s why we recruited her,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “We needed her to come in and play at such a high caliber. She’s an older freshman with experience at the Olympics so we weren’t talking to a true freshman. We expected her to come in and play like she has because she’s different and unique. That’s a key to our success as this season continues.”