2015 Gameday Live - Penn State vs. Indiana

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live, interactive coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions will meet Indiana on Homecoming inside Beaver Stadium. Follow along for live updates from gameday.

Live Blog 2015 Gameday Live - Penn State vs. Indiana

Ten Years Later: Remembering an Epic Night in Beaver Stadium

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Tamba Hali sack - OSU 05.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Ten years have passed since an epic night in Penn State lore.

Few environments will ever compare to the one inside Beaver Stadium on Oct. 8, 2005 when the unbeaten and 16th-ranked Nittany Lions battled the sixth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in a primetime tilt of Big Ten heavyweights.

Having knocked off Northwestern in dramatic fashion two weeks prior, the Nittany Lions entered the Ohio State game on the heels of a 44-14 rout of Minnesota. The Buckeyes came in with one blemish on their record following a narrow 25-22 setback to eventual national champion Texas.

ESPN College Gameday set the stage outside of Beaver Stadium on what proved to be a special Saturday in Happy Valley.

Chilly, damp conditions under the lights proved to be the perfect setting for a slugfest between two of the conference's best defenses.

The Buckeyes got on the board first with a 30-yard field goal from Josh Huston in the first frame, but the Nittany Lions answered with a big second quarter. Freshman Derrick Williams capped off a nine-play, 74-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run on an option play with quarterback Michael Robinson to put the Nittany Lions on top by a score of 7-3.

With capacity crowd of 109,839 in a frenzy, defensive linemen Matthew Rice and Tamba Hali sacked Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith on the first play of the ensuing Buckeye possession. Two plays later, safety Calvin Lowry stepped in front of a Smith pass for an interception before racing to the Ohio State 2.

Robinson then plunged into the end zone to give the Nittany Lions a 14-3 lead. Ohio State answered on the next possession with an 81-yard drive, setting the score at 14-10 heading into the break.

Penn State added a 41-yard field goal from Kevin Kelly on the first drive of the second half to make it 17-10, Nittany Lions.

From there, the tenacious Blue and White defense took over with a spirited performance.

The Buckeyes managed 105 yards in the second half, including just 54 yards and two first downs in the final quarter of play.

It was only fitting on a night dominated by the Nittany Lion defense that the clinching moment came in the form of a sack. With Ohio State driving in the final two minutes of action at the Penn State 45, Hali raced into the backfield, sacked Smith, forced a fumble, and Scott Paxson pounced on the loose ball, which directed the boisterous crowd into a deafening roar.

Hali's senior season was filled with big plays, but none were more iconic than his sack of Smith.

Linebacker Paul Posluszny led stifling effort against an Ohio State offense that came into the game averaging nearly 400 yards per contest. The All-American finished with 14 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack en route to becoming the first player to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors in three consecutive weeks. Fellow linebacker Dan Connor has 12 tackles, while Hali finished with seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. The Buckeyes finished with 230 total yards.

In all, more than 30 players from the two teams that competed that night were selected in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 NFL drafts.

A last-second touchdown in Ann Arbor the very next week was all that stood between the Big Ten and Orange Bowl champions and an undefeated season.

Ten years may have passed, but Oct. 8, 2005 remains as a night Nittany Lion fans that were in attendance or watching at home will never forget.

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By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This year, one of the biggest goals for the soccer program is keeping the legacy of GoalkeeperU alive and well here in Happy Valley.


This program is designed to not only attract the best goalies to play for Penn State, but also to train the current goalies to perform to the best of their abilities.


A goalie arguably is one of the toughest players on the field; he's the last line of defense and sometimes the only thing preventing the other team from scoring.


Currently the Nittany Lions have four goalkeepers that range from freshman to redshirt-senior in class level.


Although these four guys all came to State College with the same goalkeeping dreams, they each come from different backgrounds and interests outside of Jeffrey Field.


Matt Bersano  


New to the program and starting goalie is redshirt-senior Matt Bersano. Before Penn State, Bersano graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in speech communication, and now is enrolled in the masters program for international affairs at PSU.  



Going from West coast to East coast, Bersano credit's the team for making the transition easier.


"It's a huge difference goring from West coast to East coast and since this is my first time on the East coast h for an extended period of time it's an entirely different experience. I've noticed a difference in weather and the people, but so far I'm enjoying my time here," stated Bersano.


"Although it was a huge adjustment, I figured it was something I needed to do and moving here to Penn State was the best move for my soccer aspirations," noted Bersano. "Additionally, being on the team and having my teammates to help me out with adjusting always makes the move easier."


Although Bersano's schedule is mostly dominated by soccer and academics, he also writes a blog for AthleteStory in his spare time.


"This summer is when I got asked by a friend to write for the blog, it's a great way to share my story about traveling to play with different teams and what it's like to be a professional prospect," Bersano said.


Danny Sheerin


Another redshirt-senior is veteran goalkeeper Danny Sheerin. 



Originally from Maryland, Sheerin grew up a Nittany Lion fan and always had dreams of attending Penn State.


"Growing up I was a huge Penn State fan. Both my parents went here and would always bring me up for football games and would take me to the soccer matches. Even as a kid I always knew this is somewhere I wanted to go," said Sheerin.


"It's a dream come true not only being a student here but being on the team makes the experience just that much better," continued Sheerin. "I've gotten so close with all the guys, we're a family. We can always joke around with each other but at the same time are there for one another, they for sure have impacted my time here at Penn State."


Not only is Sheerin dedicated to soccer, he also is dedicated to his academics. Currently a supply chain management major, he was able to intern with one of the top leading generics and pharmaceutical companies, Mylan Inc this summer.


"I worked at Mylan for about a month and did data management for them; it was great experience and taught me a lot about the business."


Sheerin is graduating in December and hopes to continue to pursue his career in supply chain management.


Evan Finney


Fellow veteran is junior Evan Finney. Originally from San Francisco, Finney left the California sun to pursue his passion for soccer at Penn State.


"It's definitely different here than in California but ever since I visited Penn State I loved it here and knew I wanted to come. It's a beautiful school and has a great soccer program," said Finney. 


During the summer, when Finney was back in California he spent time working with kids and helping them through the ReSet Foundation.


"It was a fun summer working with the foundation and it was a great experience being able to give back," said Finney. "The foundation gives kids a second chance whether that means getting them work experience or helping them achieve their GED, it really showed me how fortunate I am and allowed me to spend time improving the lives of those kids."


Although it was a great summer for Finney, he's happy to be back at Penn State and with the team.


"Being here and on the team is amazing. I love these guys they've made my decision to come to Penn State a lot more fun because of how close we all are," stated Finney.


Wes Bergevin


The fourth and final goalkeeper for the 2015 men's soccer team is freshman Wes Bergevin.


Although Bergevin counts Hinsdale, Ill as his hometown, he spent most his childhood moving around as his dad was in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 20 years.


"With my dad being a professional hockey player, we moved around a lot when I was younger to follow him around. When he retired I was about eight or nine," stated Bergevin.


However it was during his constant moving around where he found his passion for soccer.


"When I lived in Pittsburgh I actually played hockey just like my dad, but then when we moved to California since there wasn't a rink that close to us I decide to pick up soccer instead," noted Bergevin.  "It was actually my high school coach who suggested I try goalkeeping, I went to a summer camp to try it out and haven't looked back since."


With this being Bergevin's first year in college, he credits the help of his teammates for making the transition into college so easy.


"It's really cool being on the team as a freshman, everyone is always willing to help out with whatever we need and it has made the adjustment from high school to college that much easier. The older goalies are always willing to help me with training and that's a huge help," said Bergevin.


These four will be joining their teammates who are all gearing up to host the Maryland Terrapins Friday, October 9 for a whiteout game at 7 p.m. at Jeffrey Field.

Elizabeth Ball's Steady Presence Fueling Lions' Defensive Prowess

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11385851.jpegBy Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There's no substitute for dependability, but it's a trait that's hard to come by. Cal Ripken Jr's unbreakable record was dubbed unbreakable simply because it is. The wear and tear of a year-round sport puts even the strongest men and women in a cycle of fatigue and injury. Every once in a while, you have to sit one out.

Well, not Cal Ripken Jr., and certainly not Elizabeth Ball.

"E-Ball" has been a consistent force in the middle ever since her arrival to State College. In her freshman season, the center back recorded 23 regular season starts and logged over 1,800 minutes on the pitch. It's tough enough for a freshman just to get acclimated to the collegiate game, let alone become a model of dependability for the entire defense.

This season, she's been even better. The true sophomore leads the Nittany Lions with 1,093 minutes played. Ball has started every game so far at center back, and that trend doesn't look like it will change any time soon.

"She's so dependable," said head coach Erica Walsh. "You know you're going to get an honest effort out of her every day. I think her ups and downs of her freshman year are starting to smooth out. We're starting to see way more consistency out of her and I think our team believes in her. We're also starting to see more leadership out of her which is exactly what we need."

Her newfound leadership role is a recently acquainted piece to her puzzle. Ball possesses the most experience along the back line despite it being only her second year. Her fellow center back Kaleigh Riehl and right back Ellie Jean, both freshmen, have looked to Ball all year in pressure situations.

Ball has been an unbreakable wall in the back all year, but she's undoubtedly in her best form at this point in the season. Last week, she was awarded Team of the Week honors by TopDrawerSoccer after a dominating performance against Northwestern.

"It's awesome," Ball said. "It was a big honor and I'm really excited. We've been playing really good defense and I couldn't have done it without my back line and Britt [Eckerstrom]."

The Nittany Lions, led by Ball in the middle, allowed a quiet total of three shots to the No. 24 Wildcats in a convincing 3-0 victory last Sunday. The shutout marked the fifth time this season PSU has held their opponent scoreless.

"Elizabeth had a great game," said Walsh. "That's the best I've seen her in a Penn State jersey on Sunday. She was confident both on the defense and the attack and she's having fun. She definitely raises the level of our team when she plays that well. We've been talking a lot about blue collar and she's setting the example in that area."

Penn State's recent defensive success has lowered its average goals allowed to 0.75. Somehow, the defense is in fact improving as the year rolls on. This can be credited to the ever-growing chemistry along the back line. Their close ties and strong friendships off the field are contributing to their solid play on the field.

"Being good friends and being such a close family is awesome because we already know what we're going to do," Ball said. "If Kaleigh's going to play me the ball I already know what's coming. It's good to have that connection because it would be terrible if we hated each other, so I think it really helps."

It's clearly evident on the field how in-synch the back line has been of late, and it all starts with Ball. She's become a great communicator in the middle of the pitch, directing traffic and aiding Eckerstrom during opponents' attacks. With Ball feeling as comfortable as ever leading the defense, this back line's confidence is sky high.

"They're gaining more and more confidence with every game," said Walsh. "We always talk about 'defender nation' and coming together as a group and really taking pride in a shutout."

"We definitely have a lot of confidence, but we're also trying to stay humble," Ball said. "It's really important that we come out every game hard and don't get complacent."

Ball's consistency and steady play has brought the young defense to a new level. Trust is imperative on defense, and that's what Ball provides in one of the most crucial positions on the pitch. If she can stay healthy, scoring on the Nittany Lions will continue to be easier said than done.

Indiana Week Q&A - Ricky Rahne

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11385775.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return to Big Ten play on Saturday with matchup against Indiana at Beaver Stadium (12 p.m. on ESPN).

Leading up to the clash against the Hoosiers, quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne talked with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Take a look at a Q&A with Coach Rahne.

Q: Where do you think Christian (Hackenberg) has made the biggest strides since last year?
Rahne: "I think there are two things that he's done very well and made big strides with. He's made some great checks in the running game that have really helped us run the ball better, in terms of getting us into good plays and things like that. There have been a couple times where he's checked us into perfect gains and touchdowns and things of that nature. And then the other thing I think he's done very well; he's taking care of the football. That's been a huge point of emphasis and something he's done a great job of doing. It's helped win some games."

Q: Christian has talked about working on his footwork with shorter drops. How has he done with that and why is that important?

Rahne: "I think that is something quarterbacks work on forever. You see every time I watch an NFL game and a guy throws an incomplete pass, you see him look down at his feet, like, man I screwed that up. He's done a nice job with that in terms of working on that. The reason that it's important is because of the timing of some of those quick throws. You have to have your feet set in the right area. You have to have your weight set in the right place so that you can be accurate on those passes. If you are under center, it's one, two three and the ball is out. From the shotgun, you may be throwing it with or without the laces. The feet are the things that are going to make you be as accurate as possible on those passes."

Q: How would you evaluate the team's short passing game in the flat and over the middle? It looks like the timing isn't quite there yet.
Rahne: "It's something that we are continuing to work on. It goes back to the footwork that I discussed in the last question. We just have to make sure that the feet sync up with all of the routes and the consistency of that. I think Christian has done a really good job of working on that. It's just a matter of the wide receivers taking the exact right route, Christian taking the exact right drop and the guys up front that they are setting according to the route. It is a team game on that end of it. I think we have made some progress on some of those things, but we just have to continue working on it."

Q: How does an effective run game impact the way you are able to have a successful passing game?
Rahne: "It's very beneficial because it allows you to get in more manageable situations. I think if you look around the country, no one is really great in third-and-long. That's what defenses are striving to get into. You have all of these great pass rushers. We have Carl Nassib. He loves being in third-and-long. Being able to run the ball puts you in a position where you still have the defense in a run-pass conflict and that is when offenses are going to be most successful. You keep the defenses guessing. You make sure they are playing sound defense and not just teeing off and going after the quarterback. The run game is obviously critical. Christian's ability to read defenses and get us in and out of good plays has been a great asset for us this year and will continue to be so throughout the season."

Q: How important is that dialogue between series on the field to make adjustments and how has Christian grown in that area of making suggestions as he has gotten older?
Rahne: "I think when you get older you start to understand kind of what you are seeing a little better. Not only are you going to have more suggestions, but they are going to be more valid. You can actually think about things (based on what you have previously seen), as opposed to when you are younger and just throwing some stuff out there. His suggestions are great. We talk about a bunch of different stuff on the sideline. We are able to talk through the coverages; what he's seeing and what I'm seeing or what I thought he should have done. Sometimes I'm asking him tendencies of defenses and things like that because it may be hard for me to see that from the sideline. It's good dialogue. We trust each other enough where he can voice his opinion and I can voice mine. At the end, we are just trying to move the ball down the field, score points and win games. I think that process has gotten better this year and helped us make some adjustments."

Q: You guys have looked to throw the ball on the run, how would you evaluate Christian's ability to throw on the move this year?
Rahne: "I think he is throwing the ball fairly well on the move. There have been times where he threw the ball out of bounds on plays to avoid lost-yardage plays. He's done a nice job covering the play. Obviously all quarterbacks miss some passes, but I've been happy with his progress throwing on the move. I think he's done a nice job with that. In general, I've been happy with the way he has worked on his mechanics making sure he has a good athletic base and balance. I'm excited about this week for him to go out there and continue to improve; and our whole offense to go out there and improve and let our wide receivers and tight ends to make plays down the field."

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Freshman Features: Pedrie Finds Home in Big Ten

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11385428.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie is no stranger to the Big Ten. The hard-hitting Minnesota native may have grown up in enemy territory, but has now found his home at Penn State.

Coming off of a successful 2014-15 season with the Tri-City Storm, Pedrie spent four seasons in the USHL with various teams. Pedrie departed the league as the older player in the 2014-15 season, something Pedrie likes to occasionally joke about.   

"Being the oldest guy in the USHL it was nothing that I thought was awesome by any means but it was just a different way to look at it," said Pedrie. "Every guy hits different peaks in their career and maybe I was a late bloomer but I'm just very fortunate just to be here,"

Here in Happy Valley, Pedrie has settled in as part of the newest class of Penn State hockey. Eight freshmen have joined the Nittany Lions this season, and Pedrie has stood out even with only one exhibition game of experience.

During the exhibition game against Windsor on Oct. 3 where Pedrie had two assists, head coach Guy Gadowsky was pleased with the freshman's performance.

"He is an offensive player for sure, he's got a little jam to him as well," said Gadowsky. "The thing we thought would translate best to Penn State hockey is how he just loves to shoot the puck."

Having successfully completed his first game for the Nittany Lions, Pedrie has simultaneously succeeded in getting back into the swing of things when it comes to the academic part of college hockey. 

"I didn't have any issues getting adjusted to being a full-time student again," said Pedrie. "I graduated high school in 2012 so I took a little time off but it's been nothing too strenuous [starting school again]." 

A critical aspect of the transition Pedrie noted is having a strong familial support system. Pedrie is close with both his parents, but especially his father Larry. Larry Pedrie is no stranger to Big Ten hockey either, having been an assistant coach at Michigan from 1987-90.

"He coached at Michigan a while ago and was kind of a big part of turning their program around," said Pedrie. "He wanted me to be at a place where I could succeed as a student and as an athlete and I think he was thrilled when I decided to pick Penn State."

Picking Penn State was an easy task according to Pedrie, made easier by having the full support of his family no matter where he chose to attend school.

"For me first it was probably the coaching staff," said Pedrie. "They're phenomenal, and as soon as I met them and had a good conversation with them I felt at home."

For Pedrie his home may now be central Pennsylvania, but his parents have also since left his childhood home of Minnesota. Now in Chicago, Pedrie's parents are more likely to attend road games Penn State will play in Big Ten country this season.

"Unfortunately for me my parents aren't from around here," said Pedrie. "But they're kind of in a central spot in Chicago where any away game really is a makeable drive with Michigan only being four hours away and Michigan State even closer."

Having the support on the road is crucial, Pedrie explained. A familiar face or faces is welcomed anytime the Nittany Lions face a road test.

"They'll probably see more of my away games rather than games at Pegula but it's nice just to have them on the road and they'll be at Pegula when they can," said Pedrie.

As for his love of hockey, for Pedrie it all stems from his Minnesota roots and his close relationship with his father. And although he may have once been a Wolverine, the eldest Pedrie is more than thrilled to root for his Nittany Lion son.

"He couldn't have been happier for me and he has told me several times if he could pick a place for me to play it would be here," said Pedrie. "It's been nothing but a blessing." 

VIDEO: Player Interviews on the Trip to Cuba

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion baseball team will have a unique opportunity during Thanksgiving week when the team will travel for an educational and athletic trip to Cuba. GoPSUsports.com recently caught up with seniors Greg Guers and James Coates for their thoughts on the unique experience.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Indiana Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addressed the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex.

The Nittany Lions will host Indiana on Saturday at 12 p.m. in Beaver Stadium in second Big Ten game of the season. Take a look at the practice update from Indiana week.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

How Reading is More than Just Essential to Washington

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11383388.jpegBy Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There is more to Haleigh Washington than meets the eye.

On match day, she is the fired up middle hitter that's leading the NCAA in hitting percentage. But when she's not on the court, you can find her with her nose in a book and a cup of tea in hand.

Poetry, philosophy, history. No genre is out of the question for Washington. She's currently reading Road of a Thousand Wonders by Jeffrey Joe Nelson, a compilation of contemporary poetry. Not many college students, not to mention student-athletes, are reading poetry in the little spare time that they have. But that's what makes Washington different from the rest.

"She's not a typical athlete. She is so smart," roommate Ali Frantti said. "Haleigh will be successful in whatever she does because she's got that want and that knowledge. She's so witty and smart that it's going to carry her anywhere."

Head coach Russ Rose said Washington always has a book in her hand. When the team travels for matches, Washington is reading.

Rose said when he saw Washington reading on the bus, he asked if it was for a class. Her response? It was an assigned book for later in the semester because she had already read the introductory book. Rose said, "that's just Haleigh."

"She's incredibly bright, always reading, very inquisitive and a really happy human being," Rose said. er Her

Washington, a sophomore from Colorado, spent her days as a kid playing outside by the river with her siblings. When she arrived at Penn State in 2014, she found that she didn't have much time outside of her academic and athletic obligations. But reading books gave her a similar satisfaction that playing outside as a kid did.

"I've always been an 'out there' kind of person. In college, when I didn't have a lot of free time, I would still go 'out there', but I would use books," Washington said.

Frantti has seen Washington's love for reading since the first time they met.

"Her face is always in a book. Even after doing homework, I remember her just pulling out books. And she's one of those people that will take a highlighter and just start highlighting things [in books that weren't even assigned for a class]." 

In many of the books that Washington reads, she can apply them to her own life, to relationships, friendships and everything in between.

"This book last year that I was reading for a class was about existing on the planet and living harmoniously," Washington said. "It was all about balancing your time, which I thought was really good as a freshmen coming into college. How to balance all of your time and not spread yourself too thin, but just enough that you can figure everything out."

This love for reading runs in the family for Washington. She said her mother and brother finish books in two days, a day or even hours. But Washington is not the type to breeze through a book. She likes to take her time to truly understand the book she's reading.

"I don't devour books like [my mom and brother]," Washington said. "I'll sit down and devour a book, but usually I like to sit down and enjoy it, so I'll read a little, I'll understand it, I'll go over it, I'll annotate it, I'll look things up."

Washington's favorite spot to read is Webster's Bookstore and Café, located on Beaver Avenue. There, she will sit down with a good book and a London Fog, her favorite kind of tea.

Walk into any library or bookstore on campus and you will find many people drinking coffee to fight off the tiredness that comes with being a college student. But Washington, to no surprise, is different from most college students.

"I'm a tea person. I'll have a [cup of] black coffee every once in a while, but I'm a sucker for a good cup of tea," Washington said.

In addition to her literary brilliance, Frantti said Washington is the "queen of crazy, unknown facts".

"I just listen to all of the [facts] and I'm amazed at how she knows all of this stuff," Frantti said.

When Washington isn't doing homework, playing volleyball or reading, like most college students, she is usually hanging out with friends and teammates.

"I just like chilling with friends, talking and listening to music. Hanging out with [my friends] is awesome," Washington said.

Frantti, one of Washington's closest friends, cherishes her friendship with Washington. She said Washington is a great roommate, a trustworthy friend and that positive, energetic, happy-go-lucky attitude that fans see on the court, is the same Washington off the court.

"But she's a simple girl when it comes down to it," Frantti said. "It's books, tea, and volleyball."

Seniors Prepare for Final Season

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11383268.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Thee years ago, the Penn State men's hockey class of 2016 took the ice at Greenberg Ice Pavilion for their first Division I game. On Saturday, those same Nittany Lions will be stepping on the ice for their final season in the Blue and White.  

Eight seniors will be suiting up for the Nittany Lions this season. Among those eight is Matt Skoff, a goaltender, who thought his senior season would never come.

"I can remember during freshman year thinking I was going to be here forever," said Skoff. "It's just a little different thinking I'm going to be done in less than a year and how we as a class leave our mark is going to be up to us this year."

Head coach Guy Gadowsky noted that the senior class is filled with young men of great character and confidence. This class helped establish and define Penn State hockey when the program was new to the scene of college hockey. This class has helped bring the program to national attention.

"This is really the first class that came in here for the start of Division I," said Gadowsky. "I think they've learned a ton about Penn State University, they've learned a lot about Division I hockey."

This senior class has taken a bit of a different path than the grades below them. Most notably, the senior class didn't play their first collegiate game in Pegula Ice Arena. Instead they started in Greenberg Ice Pavilion, a 1,350-seat ice arena that paled in comparison to its successor that opened in 2013.

"They've learned a lot about transitioning to a new league and a new building," said Gadowsky.

Senior forward Curtis Loik reflected on his three previous seasons with the Nittany Lions.

"It's gone by so fast," said Loik. "I can remember my first game in Greenberg of Division I hockey, so it's insane how fast it's gone by."

Joining a new program didn't come without its uncertainties, however.

"A lot of people thought we weren't going to have our first Big Ten win until this year," said Skoff.

Loik agreed that committing to a program that has no records to go off of was a daunting idea.

"Of course [I had my doubts]," said Loik. "But when Gadowksy took me here and just talking to him, talking to the coaching staff, and talking to everyone involved, they were confident and proud of Penn State and that really translated into my decision."

Today, this senior class has brought Penn State hockey to the forefront of collegiate athletics. Gadowsky explained that the senior class has come a long way from its first season.

"This class has a lot of moxie," said Gadowsky. "I'm proud of them. They were really the original group that had to take a leap of faith. I think they deserve a lot of credit for the vision they had that could happen at Penn State and they've grown right along with it."

With the addition of Penn State's Division I hockey program, the Big Ten conference for hockey was born. Now other schools, notably Arizona State, are starting to implement their own hockey programs.

"Other schools are taking notice of the success we're having, not just in the Big Ten but the whole country," said Loik. "So it's something that is exciting to see and it'll be exciting to see when we leave what other schools do, whether it be more Big Ten teams or in other conferences."

Skoff explained how when he agreed to commit to the program, he didn't realize the historical importance of joining a new team during their years of establishment.  

"Honestly I didn't really think about it," said Skoff. "I just thought about coming here and doing what I had to do to play. I just wanted to help build this program and be established and I think we've done that. And this year we have an opportunity to expand on that."

As for the season ahead, all the seniors have individual goals they'd like to achieve. Loik has set the bar high for how he hopes to end his collegiate career.

"I think it's every college hockey players goal to win the national championship," said Loik.

Loik expanded on his goals on a more personal level, noting how personal relationships both on and off the ice have made his time as a Nittany Lion special.

"I've made a lot of friendships, a lot of close relationships on this team and throughout this school, and I want to have a great year with everyone on the team. It's bittersweet but I feel like with this squad I think we can go far," said Loik.

As the Nittany Lions prepare for Canisius on Saturday, the senior class will be embarking on their final journey as a part of Penn State hockey.

"It's something special we have being the first official class so it'll be interesting this year to see what happens," said Loik.

Penn State will play at Canisius on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.