Oct. 4, 2012
Game Notes | Yearbook | Live Stats | Live Video
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- For the first time since 1994, Penn State Athletics will have a new varsity program play its first game when Nittany Lion women's hockey takes the ice on Saturday at Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Not since the Penn State women's soccer team lost 4-1 at No. 24 James Madison on Sept. 3, 1994 has a varsity program started anew. That will change when Penn State takes on host Vermont on Saturday at 2 p.m. The two-game series, which will have live video streaming and stats through UVMsports.com, finishes on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Penn State has been devoid of varsity hockey since 1947 when the men's varsity team folded due to a lack of on-campus facilities. A year ahead of the state-of-the-art, $90 million Pegula Ice Arena, both Penn State hockey teams will be housed in Greenberg Ice Pavilion during the 2012-13 campaigns. The Nittany Lions are led by captain Taylor Gross (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and assistant captains Jenna Welch (Austin, Texas) and Lindsay Reihl (Cheshire, Conn.).
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (0-0-0) at VERMONT CATAMOUNTS (0-0-0)
Games 1-2: October 6-7, 2012 2 p.m. // 2 p.m. Gutterson Fieldhouse Burlington, Vt.
VENUE: Gutterson Fieldhouse (4,007)
STREAMING COVERAGE: UVMsports.com Video
SERIES RECORD: 0-0-0
LAST MEETING: First Meeting, 10/6
NEXT GAME: 10/13 vs. Syracuse, 7:00 p.m.
Penn State plays its first varsity hockey game on Saturday at Vermont
Vermont coming off 2-1 exhibition loss to University of Montreal
The Catamounts went 4-22-6 last season
Women's hockey is the first PSU varsity sport to be added since 1994 (women's soccer); Penn State men's hockey opens Oct. 12 vs. AIC
Head coach Josh Brandwene leads Nittany Lions in first year
Nittany Lions led by captain Taylor Gross, and assistant captains Lindsay Reihl and Jenna Welch
Nittany Lions skate with four collegiate transfers--Jess Desorcie, Taylor Gross, Nicole Paniccia and Jenna Welch
Gross, Paniccia and Welch bring 137 games of Division I experience
Westford, Vt. native Jess Desorcie returns home for the inaugural game
Penn State's roster has 17 freshmen of 27 members, eight former club members
The Catamounts open the 2012-13 season with a new head coach in Jim Plumer, who previously spent nine seasons at Amherst College going 127-30-14. Last season, Vermont went 4-22-6 (3-16-2 Hockey East) en route to an eighth-place finish in the conference.
Despite the numerous setbacks, the Catamounts return 19 of 21 letterwinners. Vermont has 86 percent of its scoring back with Amanda Pelkey (14 points), Emily Walsh (13), Kellie Dineen (12) and Erin Wente (12) leading the way. In net, junior Roxanne Douville is the projected starter after appearing in 26 games last year with a 3-17-5 record. Douville posted a .901 save percentage.
FIRST HEAD COACH
A 1991 graduate of Penn State, head coach Josh Brandwene is the first to lead the Nittany Lions. A four-year hockey player at PSU, Brandwene brings 20 years of coaching experience to Happy Valley.
CAPTAIN, OUR CAPTAIN
Junior forward Taylor Gross will lead Penn State as its first captain. The University of Connecticut transfer appeared in 48 games for the Huskies before joining Penn State's club side in January 2012. In September, the team voted fellow UConn transfer Jenna Welch and senior defender Lindsay Reihl as assistant captains.
When the puck drops at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Gutterson Fieldhouse, Penn State will initiate its first varsity program in 18 years. The last Penn State sport to be added was women's soccer in 1994, which was the year 11 Nittany Lions were born. Many things have changed since then.
Category // 1994 // 2012
U.S. President - Clinton // Obama
PSU President - Thomas // Erickson
NHL Champs - N.Y. Rangers // L.A. Kings
PSU Undergrads - 30,900 // 38,594
Beaver Stadium - 93,967 // 106,572
Olympics - Winter, Lillehammer // Summer, London
Postage Stamp - $0.29 // $0.45
Gallon of Milk - $2.29 // $3.41
Gallon of Gas - $1.09 // $3.71
PREVIOUS VARSITY EXPERIENCE
Taylor Gross, Jenna Welch and goaltender Nicole Paniccia played at Connecticut from 2010-12, while sophomore Jess Desorcie played seven games at Division III Connecticut College. The trio of former Huskies played a combined 137 games at the Division I level.
Forwards // GP - G - A - Pts.
Taylor Gross: 46 - 13 - 12 - 25
Jenna Welch: 67 - 3 - 4 - 7
Goaltender // GP-GS - GAA - Sv.% - Rec.
Nicole Paniccia: 24-21 - 2.51 - .924 - 7-10-3
While Penn State football celebrates its homecoming at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, the Nittany Lion women's hockey program will have a homecoming of its own. Jess Desorcie (Westford, Vt.) will usher in Penn State's inaugural season by playing in front of her hometown friends and family. Desorcie grew up just 20 miles from Gutterson Fieldhouse and the campus of the University of Vermont.
Desorcie won't be the only one celebrating a homecoming of sorts throughout the season. Penn State's second road trip of the year to Sacred Heart will bring the Lions to southern Connecticut, the home of senior Kate Christoffersen (Trumbull, Conn.) and Lindsay Reihl (Cheshire, Conn.).
As is expected with a brand new varsity program, there are a lot of freshmen on the team --- 17 in all.
CONTINUING PENN STATE HOCKEY
Eight members of the current varsity team played for the women's club team at some point. Seniors Lindsay Reihl and Kate Christoffersen and sophomores Cara Mendelson, Katie Murphy, Madison Smiddy and Tess Weaver played all of last season for head coach Josh Brandwene in Penn State's last year at the club level. Reihl and Christoffersen played three years for the PSU club team as well. Taylor Gross and Jess Desorcie joined the six players midway through the season in preparation of the 2012-13 season.
Pegula Ice Arena, a $90 million state-of-the-art facility, will serve as the home of the Penn State hockey programs in 2012-13. As of Oct. 1, 2012, almost all the steel has been put in place for the project. Construction is set to conclude in time for the 2012-13 season.
For more information on Pegula Ice Arena, visit page 5 of the game notes.
NEXT TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions return to Happy Valley for its first home game when it hosts Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 13 (7 p.m.). The game will also serve as the first conference game in Penn State hockey history. The two-game series wraps up on Sunday, Oct. 14 (2 p.m.).