PSU Begins Preseason Preparations, Welcomes New Faces to Deep Squad

The WIHC's first dryland session of the 2014-15 season took place on Tuesday

At Penn State, the fall semester began Monday with a tradition known as syllabus week, named for the large number of opening classes involving little more than distribution and discussion of the professor's plans and assignments for the course.

But while most University Park undergrads are enjoying the light responsibility and heightened social opportunities of the grab-it-and-go period, the Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club jumped straight from summer to preparations for its first season in ACHA Division 1 and the ultra-tough Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League.

The WIHC conducted its inaugural 2014-15 on-ice session Monday evening, followed by dryland training on Tuesday. Practices will repeat themselves every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday, with full-squad off-ice efforts taking up the time on Tuesdays on Thursdays.

As the 2014-15 opening series at Vermont on September 27th and 28th approaches, the Sunday practice will be dropped (as games are played primarily on weekends, of course) and dryland will evolve into a series of smaller groups. The rigorous preseason will help ensure Penn State's immediate competitiveness against top D1 programs, including ECWHL powers Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as defending national champion Miami.

These early sessions - in addition to the payoff coming in the third period of some game during the typical mid-season drag - represent the (re-)introduction of former NCAA team players Cara Mendelson, Katie Murphy, Darby Kern, Madison Smiddy and new assistant coach Jess Desorcie to PSU ACHA hockey, as well an orientation for a promising collection of freshman that will be formally unveiled in the coming days. Those two groups, of course, are joined by a standout core of returning players from PSU's back-to-back Division 2 national championship game teams, including 2013-14 ACHA All-Americans Devon Fisk and Geneva Wagoner, as well as club officers Mary Kate Tonetti, Jackie Saideh and Ashton Schaffer.

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