A fourth-year forward for the Maine Black Bears field hockey team, Danielle Aviani, has been a leader for her team since the very beginning. She’s always in a position to score and does whatever she can to help her team win.
Aviani was born on Sept. 20, 1995, in Surrey, British Columbia and studies zoology at the University of Maine. She has three brothers, Jason, Chris and Mike and has watched Mike play in the Western Hockey League for the Spokane Chiefs.
“I love field hockey, but ice hockey is by far my favorite. There will always be a special place in my heart for it,” Aviani said.
Attending North Surrey Secondary School, Aviani made the honor roll every year in high school. She played on a U16 ice hockey team, where she won a gold medal at the 2010 British Columbia Winter Games and was also a member of the U17 National Team in 2012 where she scored a game-winner against Team USA.
“I didn’t start playing field hockey until I was in grade 7, when I was 12 years old. Then it wasn’t until I was in grades 8 and 9 that I got comfortable playing it everyday,” Aviani said.
From 2010-2012, Aviani played for the Division I Surrey Sharks, where she scored seven goals with five assists in 15 games. She led her team to a first-place finish three times, once at the 2012 Mexican Nationals. The other two times were at the 2011 and 2012 USA Festivals, while she played for the True North Hockey Club.
“My best friend Samantha from high school encouraged me to play field hockey, where she wanted me to find a position I was best at. I played forward, center and midfielder, but forward is the place I want to be,” Aviani said.
During Aviani’s freshman year at Maine, she played in 20 games, starting 17 of them. She registered 21 points, tying for third on the team and ended the season tied for fourth in the America East Conference for freshman scoring. Her best game occurred on Nov. 2, 2013 against Vermont, where she scored a goal and assisted two more. Aviani was also a unanimous selection to the America East All-Rookie Team this year.
“I’ve seen much improvement in her play since her first year here, and she only seems to get better. She’s one of the most hard-working players on this team, and her teammates definitely see that,” Associate Head Coach Courtney Veinotte said.
As a sophomore, Aviani played in 20 games, starting all of them. She tallied 24 points, scoring 11 goals, which tied for the team lead and added two assists. Her one multi-goal game of the season came on Oct. 7, 2014 against Dartmouth in a 5-2 win. She finished the season in second on the team in shots and shots on goal and was named to the 2014 America East All-Conference Second Team and Academic Honor Roll.
“She’s always riled up, loud, positive, and she’s able to get everyone to work just as hard as her. She certainly makes a difference, and we’re glad she’s on our team,” second-year back Samantha Wagg said.
In Aviani’s junior year at Maine, she played in 23 games and didn’t miss a start. She scored 11 goals with five assists, totaling 27 points, which led the team. In no surprise, she also led the team with five game-winning goals. In 11 of those games, she recorded at least two points, with two three-point games against Boston University on Sept. 7, 2015 and Quinnipiac 10 days later.
“My favorite memory of playing field hockey is the game-winning goal I scored in overtime against Stanford last year. We won 2-1, and there hasn’t been a bigger goal than that one,” Aviani said.
“She came up big in that Stanford game, and they’re such a good team. She always gets us ready to play, and the more she says, the more focused we are,” Wagg said.
Meanwhile, in her senior year, Aviani has played in 18 games and started them all. She’s scored six goals with eight assists for 20 points. In seven of those games, she recorded at least two points, including three straight from Sept. 24-30. Her best gam
e of the season came on Sept. 2 against Hofstra, where she scored one goal and had two assists.
“Danielle is a player with tremendous energy, she’s always emotional, and encourages her teammates even when they’re losing. She brings a positive vibe, and tries to get everyone on the same page and ready to play,” Head Coach Josette Babineau said.
Aviani looks to extend her last season at Maine as far as possible into the playoffs, where they travel to the West Coast after the conclusion of the regular season to face the University of California.
“It’s crazy that we’re going there and we’re definitely looking forward to it. Hoping to get some revenge on California after that 3-1 loss not that long ago, and we’re confident that can get a win and extend our season,” Aviani said.