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New Captain O'Connor Set to Lead Lady Ice Lions into 2017-18 Season

Riley O'Connor, Rachel Cole, Meghan Miller and Tarika Embar will be the 2017-18 Lady Ice Lions captains



In 2017-18, for the second consecutive year and following a team vote, the Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club will feature an entirely new on-ice leadership group, led by new captain Riley O'Connor.

Tarika Embar, Rachel Cole and Meghan Miller will be the alternate captains.

"I'm excited about our captain group for the upcoming season," head coach Patrick Fung said. "They're a great mix of personalities, backgrounds and talents, but you'll notice a few common qualities: All four are elite students who have balanced academics, work, a social life and hockey without letting one be an excuse for not achieving the others."

"All four are also passionate competitors who have used the last few years develop themselves into quality hockey players at this level, and serve as examples that we're never done getting better."

With one full year remaining in her college career, O'Connor has already carved an impressive niche in team history. Her 46 career points are topped only by 2015-16 seniors Darby Kern and Devon Fisk among WIHC-era players, and she ranks 18th all-time when including the Lady Icers (statistics were recorded beginning in 2001-02). O'Connor was the ACHA's rookie of the month in November of 2014 en route to being named team rookie of the year, and has followed her freshman year up with ECWHL all-conference honorable mentions to end each of the last two seasons, as well as Academic All-American recognition this past year.

She will also serve as club president, a dual leadership role that is surprisingly rare. Jackie Saideh, a 2016 graduate, was both president and captain during her senior year, but that's the only other time it's happened since 2010.

Embar, who joins O'Connor as the Lady Ice Lions' only returning seniors, has been regarded as one of the team's hardest workers and most athletic players since arriving in 2014, and already had the respect of the room well before earning a letter. The big Pittsburgh native scored twice in the final five games of the 2016-17 season, including a crucial tally against NCAA Division III Lebanon Valley College that helped the WIHC to its first win over a varsity opponent. Embar, who was an Academic All-American in 2016-17 and will be the team's treasurer in 2017-18, has played in 69 career games to place second to O'Connor among the squad's most experienced players.

Cole is another player who has progressed steadily throughout her career. The rising junior scored her first career goal with 4:40 remaining in an early-season contest at Northeastern to supply Penn State's margin of victory, and went on to finish tied for fifth on the team in scoring (second among forwards). The former Steel City Selects teammate of Embar often played a key defensive role on the team as a checking-line center and saw heavy special teams usage. While not yet eligible for Academic All-American status, a distinction reserved for upperclassmen, Cole's 3.98 grade point average through a demanding biology/pre-medicine curriculum certainly would have qualified but for her class standing.

As the Lady Ice Lions' scoring leader last season, Miller was particularly effective late in the year after moving from center to O'Connor's left wing, delivering ten points over the team's final 12 games on the way to All-ECWHL honorable mention recognition.. The 2015-16 team rookie of the year has developed a reputation as a power play specialist, as she accumulated seven points on the advantage in 2016-17. As a freshman, she became the first documented Penn Stater to score in her first three college games since Alicia Lepore in 2006-07, with two of those tallies coming on the power play as well.

"We're fortunate to have a dedicated group that has played critical roles for the team on the ice for two and three seasons respectively," Fung concluded. "It is now their turn to fulfill the honor and responsibility of being named captains to the team."

PENN STATE CAPTAINS (SINCE 2005)


Season
Captain(s)
Alternate(s)
2005-06
Ashleigh Kinder
Lauren Johnston
Dana Voelker
2006-07
Dana Voelker
Chelsea Sacks
Jess Waldron
2007-08
Caitlyn Sawyer
Chelsea Sacks
Jess Waldron
2008-09
Chelsea Sacks
Jess Waldron
Alicia Lepore
Krissy Heard
2009-10
Alicia Lepore
Claire Slagis
Dana Heller
Sara Chroman
2010-11
Sara Chroman
Dana Heller
Michelle Clarke
2011-12
Sara Chroman
Dana Heller
2012-13
Carly Szyszko
Elizabeth Denis
Allie Rothman
Mary Kate Tonetti
2013-14
Carly Szyszko
Allie Rothman
Ashton Schaffer
2014-15
Ashton Schaffer
Kim Badorrek
Jackie Saideh
Geneva Wagoner
2015-16
Jackie Saideh
Ashton Schaffer
Darby Kern
Nina Elia
2016-17
Kelly Watson
Lucy Yeatman
Anna Marcus
Cassie Dunne
2017-18
Riley O'Connor
Tarika Embar
Meghan Miller
Rachel Cole

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Yeatman Recognized as Club Sports Program's Treasurer of the Year

Lucy Yeatman was honored as the top treasurer among Penn State's club sports



Senior Lucy Yeatman was honored as the Penn State Club Sports Program's treasurer of the year at its tenth annual honors reception, held Wednesday evening in PSU's Hetzel Union Building.

"I'm really humbled to receive this award," Yeatman said. "It's been a great two seasons as our team's treasurer, and I'm honored to be recognized by the club sports program. Thank you to my other executive board officers for all of their efforts as well, they made my job easier."

It's been a productive postseason for the alternate captain, particularly in terms of off-ice honors. The mathematics/actuarial science major is set to graduate in just over one week with a 3.91 cumulative grade point average (as of the end of the fall semester). Appropriately, Yeatman was honored as an ACHA Academic All-American this season, and also won the WIHC's Billie S. Willits Player's Player Award (along with classmate Anna Marcus) as "the players who best embody success, honor, unity, team, family and leadership."

In club sports, the treasurer is a vital position responsible for player dues collection and, of course, managing the numerous expenses demanding of dues income, including ice bills and travel. Yeatman served admirably in the role for two years, just the second player in post-2012 history to hold the same executive board position in consecutive seasons, following 2012-13 and 2013-14 treasurer Carly Szyszko. The product of Avondale, PA wrapped up her career with 91 games played and four goals, including the winner in a crucial revenge series against West Chester on November 10, 2013.

While Yeatman's honor is the team's third club sports award overall, it's the first of an individual nature and the first since the 2013-14 season, when the Lady Ice Lions were named the Outstanding Women's Club For Organizational Excellence. In 2012-13, the WIHC won Most Improved Club Sport.

2016-17 PENN STATE CLUB SPORTS HONORS


Athletic Excellence Awards
Aquatics Activities
Swimming
Indoor Non-Martial Arts Activities
Cheerleading
Martial Arts Activites
Taekwondo
Outdoor Field Activities
Field Hockey
Outdoor Non-Field Activities
Cross Country

Organizational Excellence Awards
Outstanding Community Service
Men's Soccer
Outstanding THON Involvement
Figure Skating
When It Rains, It Pours
Track and Field
Outstanding Men's Club
Men's Volleyball
Outstanding Women's Club
Women's Soccer
Outstanding Co-Ed Club
Powerlifting
Most Improved Club
Dressage

Individual and Officer Awards
Non-Traditional Officer of the Year
Erin O'Neill - Equestrian
Secretary of the Year
Maddie Hendricks - Swimming
Treasurer of the Year
Lucy Yeatman - Women's Ice Hockey
Vice President of the Year
Mark Puleo - Cross Country
President of the Year
Ryan Troy - Swimming
Nittany Lion Award
Ibrahim Almoaiqel - Men's Volleyball
Supervisor's Choice
Zach Lockley - Men's Soccer
Male Athlete of the Year
Paul Schoenberg - Wrestling
Female Athlete of the Year
Taylor Varner - Boxing

Club of the Year 
Figure Skating

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WIHC Hosts Canned Food Drive and Hockey Skills Demonstration

Members of the Women's Ice Hockey Club with skills demonstration participants



On Monday, the Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club furthered its status as one of the ACHA's best off-ice teams by hosting a dual canned food drive and skills demonstration at Pegula Ice Arena.

Cans were given to the State College Food Bank, which has distributed food and supplies to the needy throughout Centre County since 1982.

The team collected non-perishable food items, set for delivery to the State College Food Bank

Following the collection of cans, the Lady Ice Lions stepped on to the Pegula Community Rink to show and instruct their hockey skills to invited friends and the public, with the focus on slap shots and stickhandling.

Meghan Miller (right) coaches stickhandling technique with a demonstration attendee

It has been, of course, a fantastic year for the team off the ice, including its record-setting fundraising efforts in support of Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (culminating in the ACHA's annual Community Playmaker award for team THON chair Kelly Watson). Five players (of eight eligible), including Watson, Riley O'Connor, Tarika Embar, Lucy Yeatman and Cassie Dunne were Academic All-Americans this year. The team collectively posted a 3.41 grade point average during the fall semester.

While never a driving force behind community service efforts, the events also have a chance of helping the WIHC. Both the canned food drive and the skills demonstration will be considered for classification purposes by Penn State's Club Sports Program. All PSU club teams are classified as A, B, or C, with teams rated as an A receiving a 10 percent boost to their budgeted allocation for the upcoming year.

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WIHC Announces Team Awards, Celebrates Season at Annual Banquet




The Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club formally capped the 2016-17 season on Saturday afternoon with the team's postseason banquet, held at The Atherton Hotel in State College.

As always, the event was a light, casual affair, including a summation from head coach Patrick Fung, touching tributes to and from seniors Jordan Chiavacci, Darian DempseyAnna MarcusLucy Yeatman and Cassie Dunne, as well as the off-ice and locker room highlight video, formerly produced by 2016 graduate Nina Elia, but taken over this year by Marcus.

The "paper plate awards," a team tradition dating to the pre-2012 Lady Icers era, is always a highlight as well. The awards, quite literally, are drawn on paper plates with each player on the team receiving a high-school-yearbook-style "most likely" honor like "Most Likely to Become an Olympic Sprinter" (Tarika Embar), "Most Likely to Ask For an Autograph" (Julia DeRose) or "Most Likely to Dab" (Rachel Kapoian).

Fung announced the winners of the Lady Ice Lions' four formal annual awards, the first three of which were decided by a team vote.

Kelly Watson took the headlining honor as the Maurice H. Stroemel Most Valuable Player, capping what's been an award-heavy postseason for the junior captain. During the ECWHL playoffs in late Feburary, she was announced as an all-conference honorable mention selection, her second consecutive season receiving league recognition. More recently, the ACHA selected her as their annual Community Playmaker award winner, thanks largely to her record-breaking efforts as chairperson of the Women's Ice Hockey Club's fundraising efforts in support of Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. Watson, whose six goals in ACHA play (part of seven overall) tied for 11th nationally among defensemen, was also an Academic All-American thanks to outstanding work in her biology major.

The Billie S. Willits Player's Player award, named for the long-time Lady Icers coach, general manager and faculty advisor, is given to the "player who best embodies success, honor, unity, team, family and leadership." Somewhat appropriately, it's only been won by those wearing a C or an A for the team, and this year proved no exception as alternate captains (and best friends) Marcus and Yeatman shared the honor. The pair are two of the Lady Ice Lions' most improved and hardest working players - both began their careers as Division 2 recruits and were playing heavy minutes and pivotal roles in Division 1 by their senior seasons. Arguably though, they were even more important off the ice: Yeatman has been the WIHC's treasurer for the last two years, while Marcus took on a leadership role in team fundraising activities, while each was a universally-respected, team-unifying leader within the locker room.

It's often said that a team's goaltender is the single most important player on the ice, so it would be hard to be more important than Kyle Rossi Rookie of the Year Meg Lydick, who played every available second in the crease for Penn State this past year. Lydick became the first PSU goalie to singlehandedly carry the load at the position over a whole season in recorded history (since 2002-03). Unsurprisingly given that reality, her 842 saves set a new team single-season record, while her 64 at Michigan State on January 21st are the single-game high mark in the post-2012 era. She collected her first career shutout with a 31-save effort against NCAA Division III Lebanon Valley College on February 4th.

Dina DuBac, as first announced in February, was formally presented as the winner of the team's Freshman Academic Achievement Award. DuBac posted a 3.53 grade point average in her first PSU semester to lead her class.

PENN STATE TEAM AWARDS (SINCE 2012)


Season
Maurice H. Stroemel
Most Valuable Player
Kyle Rossi
Rookie of the Year
2012-13
Katie Vaughan
Devon Fisk
Mandy Mortach
2013-14
Katie Vaughan
Devon Fisk
Geneva Wagoner
2014-15
Darby Kern
Riley O'Connor
2015-16
Darby Kern
Meghan Miller
2016-17
Kelly Watson
Meg Lydick

Season
Billie S. Willits
Player's Player
Freshman Academic
Achievement Award
2012-13
Carly Szyszko
Devon Fisk
2013-14
Carly Szyszko
Lucy Yeatman
2014-15
Jackie Saideh
Claire Gauthier
2015-16
Jackie Saideh
Rachel Cole
2016-17
Anna Marcus
Lucy Yeatman
Dina DuBac

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