By Patrick Anglin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions notched their first win of the season in Friday night's matchup with a 3-1 victory over Union. On Saturday, the Lions and Dutchwomen finished with one goal each to end in a tie, moving Penn State to 1-2-1 on the season.
During the week, the team stressed the importance of getting the offense going and putting more shots on goal. It seems as if their offensive work in practice paid off, as they put up 37 shots with three goals on Friday night. The first goal of the game, and on the season for the Nittany Lions, was a shorthanded goal from senior forward Chrsti Vetter during the second period (4:42).
"Honestly it wasn't anything I saw, it's what I didn't see." Vetter said about her goal to the media after the game with a wide smile. "I didn't see a defender, so I said 'okay let's go!'"
Other goals for the Nittany Lions came from junior forward Meike Meilleur in the second (8:14) and freshman forward Shea Nelson in the third (8:35). Nelson's goal was her first career goal at Penn State.
Head coach Jeff Kampersal was thoroughly satisfied with his teams' performance.
"It was nice to get a puck past another goalie for a change." Kampersal said. "The good sign is that we haven't given up many easy shots, and that's a sign of suffocating defense."
A point of concern was the amount of penalties called on the day, with four for each team, but Kampersal brushed off any worry.
"We played pretty clean... In the East they end up calling more than in the West, but it's good practice for us," he explained. "We haven't practiced it too much but to see our team have success on the kill is great."
Defense was a main focus of the game after letting up too many shots in the previous weekend, and they succeeded in locking their opponent down, limiting Union to only 16 shots on Friday night.
The second game of the series proved to be a much more physical battle, with Union in the penalty only two minutes into the game. The Nittany Lions were able to continue their offensive aggressiveness, totaling 28 shots on the day, opposed to Union's 21.
Union's only goal of the day came on a power play during the 2nd (9:30), but the Nittany Lions immediately picked up the intensity and were able to fire back with a goal by freshman forward Katie Rankin. Rankin spoke to the media on Wednesday about contributing as a freshman, and she was able to make a large one with her equalizing goal, the first of her career, that would secure the tie.
"It's a pretty incredible feeling." Rankin told the media after the game. "I've been thinking about it for a while, and I had a lot of opportunities. It was a special one for me."
"Our focus needs to be shooting from everywhere." senior captain Bella Sutton said on what the team needs to improve upon moving forwards. "We have a lot of chances, but we need to work on burying them."
Coach Kampersal entered his post-game press conference Saturday with his son, who was smiling brightly and flashing a balloon sword. While his son was enthusiastic, Kampersal voiced the need to keep improving.
"A little frustrated, I thought we played well for 40 of the 65," he said. "I think we thought it was going to be easy, and it wasn't. We have a lot to work on."
The Nittany Lions have a week to prepare and keep working for another home series next week at Pegula, against the Clarkson Golden Knights. Clarkson is 3-0-1 on the season and are led by head coach Matt Desrosiers.