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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Halfway through their college careers, five Penn State juniors are starting to reflect on their careers. Two seasons remain and this class continues to leave their mark on the program.
"It's crazy that it has gone by this fast," said defenseman Bella Sutton. "It's both exciting and it puts into perspective how fast college goes. Starting this junior (year) is going to be a good one."
Sutton led all Penn State defensemen last season with four goals, eight assists and 12 points. She also excels in the classroom, being selected to the All-CHA Academic Team in each of her first two years as a Nittany Lion. With such a busy schedule as a Division I athlete, Sutton's accomplishments seem even more remarkable.
"It's basically you wake up, you're doing your lift, you're going to class, you're studying or eating lunch whenever you have a break, and then back to the rink for practice, class, or dinner after and then studying," Sutton said.
The Nittany Lions finally got a chance to go up against an opponent last Saturday as they defeated Guelph 4-1 at Pegula in an exhibition.
"It was a lot of fun," said Sutton. "I didn't know exactly what to expect with 12 seniors gone from last year and eight new freshmen, but I honestly couldn't have asked for anything better. It was really fun to get on the ice and get competing again after the long season off. In the summer, it's fun because you're scrimmaging and training, but it's really fun for the games and I'm really excited for this weekend."
"It's a lot of getting back to the basics," said Ehresmann. "Making sure that I have all those done and fixing any tweaks that I need to fix. But overall, I have the same playing style. Lisa's been really good at knowing what I like to do and not changing that, so it's been fun to work with her in that aspect."
Ehresmann was on the ice for the first 30 minutes of Penn State's exhibition victory, stopping 14 shots without allowing a goal.
"It's been a while so it was definitely nerve-wracking at first to be back out there," said Ehresmann. "Once we got into it, our team was really moving and we were definitely getting a lot of shots on their goalie. We were playing good defense, they left a lot of shots to the outside for me to handle."
Penn State also prides itself in being a family-oriented institution, and it's no different for the girls on the ice.
"We hang out a lot, we've had a few family-style dinners," said Ehresmann. "Irene [Kiroplis] for example, she's offered her place for freshmen to go if they ever want a home-cooked meal."
Penn State opens up the regular season Friday at Clarkson. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. The regular season home opener is Oct. 14 against Boston University.