|Captain Jackie Saideh (left) and four classmates will participate in 2016 senior day|
On Saturday night against Vermont, the Lady Ice Lions will honor an outstanding 2016 senior class, including captain Jackie Saideh and alternate Nina Elia, who (along with December graduate Devon Fisk) were a part of the first class to spend an entire four-year career as Lady Ice Lions. Others include Darby Kern who, in a two-year ACHA career, has destroyed the team record books, as well as Allyssa Long and Sumire Clevenger, also two-year players who have provided valuable stability in the crease this season.
Here is a little bit more about each player, including the thoughts of head coach Patrick Fung.
Sumire is a goaltender from Wallingford, PA and majoring in Kinesiology in Penn State's College of Health & Human Development. A branch campus transfer from Penn State Brandywine, Sumire formerly played for Brandywine's ACHA Division 3 men's team before joining the Lady Ice Lions in the fall of 2014 to finish her degree at University Park.
Fung: "Sumire is persistent and doesn't allow external things to affect her approach to each game and practice. A dedicated and loyal teammate who seldom misses, she has stepped in throughout the last two seasons to fill goaltending needs for the team."
Nina is from Skaneateles, NY and majoring in Health Policy Administration in Penn State's College of Health & Human Development. One of the remaining "original" freshman from the Women's Ice Hockey Club, Nina has been a constant and consistent piece of our program growing from a Division 2 program with just nine skaters to a nationals-qualifying Division 1 program in just three seasons. A hard-working forward who makes her mark in the ugly parts of the game, Nina's short scoring resume is highlighted by a double-overtime game winner against heavily favored Wisconsin-Stout to send the team to its first Division 2 national championship game.
Fung: "Nina is an everything-in-between player. Fun away from the rink. A rock in the locker room. A quintessential, 'stands behind you thick and thin' teammate. She's not going to score a ton of points, but she'll always give you effort, her best and bend over backwards to support everyone else's best, regardless of score or opponent. She has made growing this team in four short years a pleasure and hopefully has shown to her younger teammates that a legacy can't always be measured in points or a GPA (although hers is great), but by everything else in the moments in between."
Darby is from Venetia, PA and majoring in Kinesiology in Penn State's College of Health & Human Development. Darby joined the Lady Ice Lions last season after spending her first two years with the NCAA program. As a junior Darby led the ACHA in scoring and finished second in goal scoring, while earning first-team All-ECWHL honors and becoming only the second ACHA Division 1 first-team All-American in Penn State women's hockey history. In just two seasons, Darby has rewritten the Lady Ice Lion record books, with the most career goals, assists, points and shattering the single season marks for each as well.
Fung: "Darby is a soft-spoken person who will never get to blend in - blessed with size, speed and skill with outstanding vision, she is impossible to miss on the ice. A gifted playmaker who creates space for her teammates, Darby is consistently noticed for her attributes on the scoresheet. She doesn't get enough credit for some of the little things - blocking shots, penalty killing and her desire to win - things that are easy to miss in the mix, but are such important and underappreciated parts of the game."
Allyssa is a goaltender from Emmaus, PA and majoring in Journalism in Penn State's College of Communications. Allyssa joined the team as a practice goalie and became a rostered player last season after making significant technical improvements. Allyssa was sidelined for 11 months recovering from a car accident last spring and was finally cleared to play in December. After the lengthy rehab process, Allyssa performed admirably in her first career start, recording a 4-3 overtime victory over defending ECWHL champion Massachusetts.
Fung: "Allyssa is a big, athletic goaltender who has a great compete level and instincts. She came back from 11 months off and beat a very good UMass team in her first start and has given her team an opportunity to win in every game she's played since. While she is early on in her return to the ice and still learning many technical aspects of the position, her desire to improve and refusal to accept excuses set her apart, and when factored in with her competitive streak make her upside and continued development extremely exciting."
Jackie is from Concord, MA and majoring in Management in Penn State's Smeal College of Business. The other remaining "original" who made it through from day one through senior year, Jackie has been the team's steady identity on and off the ice through the years. She served as an alternate captain last season and assumed the role of captain this year as a senior, while also filling the underappreciated role of club president and vice president the last two years.
Fung: "Jackie is a player who makes you feel good about your efforts as a coach. We converted her to forward as a freshman and I've watched her work hard over the last four years to become a consistent and reliable two-way player. One of our best penalty killers and defensive forwards, Jackie makes her biggest impact in the thankless parts of the game, blocking shots, tying up defensive assignments and going to the dirty areas of the ice."
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