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May 31, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Rising junior Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has been named the first-ever captain for the Penn State women's hockey team, head coach Josh Brandwene announced. Gross will serve as team captain for the 2012-13 season, Penn State's inaugural campaign at the varsity level.
The Colorado Springs, Colo., native, who played on the University's club hockey team during the 2012 spring semester, came to Penn State after playing the 2010-11 and part of the 2011-12 seasons at Hockey East member Connecticut. She appeared in 46 games during her Huskies career and totaled 25 points (13g, 12a). In 2010-11, the forward was named the team's Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in scoring among league freshmen with 23 points (12g, 11a).
"Taylor is absolutely the ideal person to lead this team. She has significant experience and success at the Division I level, and has demonstrated the commitment to Penn State's academic and athletic values in her time here already," said Brandwene. "She will be a tremendous leader for our program and a great mentor to our many young student-athletes."
Eleven additional players, including three transfers, will join Gross on Penn State's 2012-13 roster. Among the newcomers are rising juniors Nicole Paniccia (Oakville, Ont.) and Jenna Welch (Austin, Texas), both of whom played with Gross at Connecticut.
Paniccia, who hailed from the Toronto Jr. Aeros program, compiled a 7-12-3 record with a 2.51 goals-against average and .924 save percentage during her two seasons with Connecticut, while Welch, a forward from the North American Hockey Academy, recorded seven points (3g, 4a) in 67 games from 2010-12.
"Nicole and Jenna are terrific additions to our program, and I appreciate their enthusiasm and excitement for being a part of the Penn State community," said Brandwene. "The skill level and Division I experience they possess are tremendous assets to our young team, and I am looking forward to working with them."
Rising sophomore Jess Desorcie (Westford, Vt.) rounds out the transfers and joins the squad from NCAA Division III's Connecticut College, where she recorded six points (2g, 4a) in seven games during the 2011-12 season before transferring to Penn State.
The eight remaining newcomers include forwards Kate Christoffersen (Trumbull, Conn.), Darby Kern (Venetia, Pa.), Kendra Rasmussen (Sartell, Minn.) and Tess Weaver (Windber, Pa.); defensemen Lindsay Reihl (Cheshire, Conn.), Madison Smiddy (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Stephanie Walkom (Moon Township, Pa.); and goaltender Brooke Meyer (Naperville, Ill.).
With the addition of the 13 incoming freshmen who signed National Letters of Intent during the November early-signing period, the 2012-13 roster currently sits at 25.
The Nittany Lions will join College Hockey America for their inaugural varsity season, joining Lindenwood, Merychurst, RIT, Robert Morris and Syracuse in the six-team conference. In addition, Penn State will open Pegula Ice Arena - a 200,000-square foot, 6,000-seat state-of-the-art facility - prior to the 2013-14 campaign.