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By Patrick Anglin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior forward Christi Vetter spoke about her teammates with great pride following a question about their impressive performances over the past two weeks.
"We don't give up," Vetter said. "That's one of those things that I can trust every single one of the girls on this team that they are not going to give up. Even when that final buzzer is done we are going to work all the way through that period. We are going to keep pushing that team and make them earn a win over us."
Vetter's words rang true and her statement was made apparent after taking ninth-ranked Robert Morris to overtime in back-to-back games. The team also fought hard into extra time in their last two games the weekend previous, against Merrimack.
During the first game of the series against Robert Morris, the Nittany Lions showed just how much fight they have in them, and why they choose to never give up.
Down 2-0 heading into the second period of the game, Penn State refused to give up, and would not be deterred in the efforts. The entire team showed their passion and fought hard to even the score, and even took the lead at one point during the third period before ending in a 3-3 tie. Junior defender Kelsey Crow explained how the team's mentality aided them in the comeback performance, and what message she wants her teammates to receive.
"We're mentally tough," Crow said. "Who cares if your down 2-0? Fight!"
Head coach Jeff Kampersal was proud of his team for not quitting and fighting back until the very end of the game.
"To be down two and battle back, it's certainly admirable," Kampersal said. "They are determined, they have grit. I love them for that."
Going into the second game, Crow made it clear that the team wanted to outperform themselves from the night previous.
"Our first couple series, we had a slow second game," Crow said. "But I think we recently we've shaken that."
The team came out ready to fight in the second game, and it was anything but slow as Vetter and sophomore forward Brooke Madsen each scored in the second period. After a late goal by RMU in the third, the teams battled it out in overtime before tying again, this time with a score of 2-2.
"We worked hard... I thought we were great," Kampersal said. "We competed. It's just down to working harder and doing better."
Kampersal credited his team's tenacious defense as a key to tying against a talented offensive team like Robert Morris.
"Our kids really defend hard. We don't give up many shots," Kampersal said. "[Vetter] is an insane shot-blocker. She knows what the shooting angles are and when to go down, so I give her a lot of credit for that."
Vetter ended the weekend with seven of the team's 49 blocks.
Moving forward, the team will continue to fight side by side for one another, and hopes to turn their close games into wins.
"I think what our coaches have taught us is that they have confidence in us, and certainly we have confidence in ourselves because we're fighters," Crow said. "We don't care what the score is, we're going to be keep going until the last minute."
Kampersal agreed with the sentiment that he and his staff has absolute confidence in their players.
"We have great expectations to win every game," Kampersal said. "They should too, when they play they are a very good hockey team."
Penn State will have the chance to showcase the fight in them in the upcoming home series against Mercyhurst next weekend.