Penn State Lady Ice Lions coach Patrick Fung has announced the addition of five student-athletes to the squad for the 2016-17 season. They are incoming freshmen Trisha Cierniak (Forked River, NJ), Kate Lombardozzi (Ridgefield, CT), Keara Sullivan (New Providence, NJ) and Megan Lydick (Indiana, PA) as well as rising sophomore Jillian Foster (Johnstown, PA).
Forward/Defense | Shoots Right | Forked River, NJ | Brick Hockey Club U19/Lacey Township HS
Prior to Penn State
Cierniak has a deep hockey background, playing not only for Brick Hockey Club's Tier II U19 team, but also for the boys' team at Lacey Township High School, where she helped launch the program as a junior in 2014-15 and served as a Lions captain during both of her seasons there. Those two years capped an impressive six total captaining boys teams, extending back to travel teams prior to the Lacey squad's inauguration. With Brick, Cierniak was part of a storied program that finished as the third-place team in USA Hockey's Atlantic District in 2015-16.
Patricia Maria Cierniak was born on February 24, 1998 in Trenton, NJ to Stan and Fran Cierniak and has one brother, Chris. As a high schooler, Cierniak was a three-sport athlete, playing field hockey and lacrosse in addition to ice hockey. Beyond her rink exploits, she was very accomplished at both of the other sports, winning All-Shore Conference recognition in field hockey as a senior captain, helping Lacey to an undefeated league championship season in lacrosse as a sophomore, and winning defensive player of the year honors with both teams. Academically, the intended nursing major qualified for both high honor roll and National Honor Society, and also won the Lions' lacrosse team's award for the highest grade point average.
Fung on Cierniak
"Trisha is a product of the Brick AA program that produced NHLer Jim Dowd and several other NCAA-caliber hockey players from an AA level in NJ. She brings a versatile skill set to us at defense - athletic with speed and physical grit, and has the vision and ability to develop into a great offensive contributor for us as well. Trisha is a daughter of a coach, with high hockey IQ and compete level to match."
Defense | Shoots Right | Ridgefield, CT | Hartford Jr. Wolfpack
Prior to Penn State
Lombardozzi spent the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons with the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack of the prestigious New England Women's Junior Hockey League, a circuit that places more than half of its players with various college hockey programs. In her first season with the Wolfpack, she tied for the team lead in assists, then followed that up the next year by finishing second in defense scoring. Lombardozzi also played for Ridgefield High School from 2013 through 2015 (her play with the Tigers earned her an All-Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference second team nod), as well as with the Mid-Fairfield Stars Tier II program prior to joining the Jr. Wolfpack. In 2013-14, she helped the Stars' U16s to a New England District runner-up finish and an appearance at USA Hockey nationals.
Kate Elizabeth Lombardozzi was born on March 9, 1998 to Andrew and Cristina Lombardozzi and has a younger brother, Thomas. As a Ridgefield High School student, Lombardozzi ran up an impressive list of academic credentials, including National Honor Society, high honor roll status, and winning the school's Scholar-Athlete Award for both athletic and academic excellence. She intends to major in nursing with the career goal of becoming a certified nurse, then a nurse practitioner.
Fung on Lombardozzi
"Kate has been in touch about Penn State for several years and I believe has grown, as a hockey player, to be a perfect match for the program we have become. A standout student who is in Penn State's elite nursing program, Kate brings the same well-rounded, refined presence on the ice. A Mid-Fairfield Stars product and two-year veteran of the NEWJHL, Kate routinely played heavy minutes against the top girls competition in the northeast. She brings steady, smart two-way play as a defenseman and has the skating ability and skill set to develop into a standout with our team."
Forward | Shoots Right | New Providence, NJ | New Jersey Rockets U19/The Pingry School
Prior to Penn State
Sullivan skated with the noted New Jersey Rockets program, both for the Tier II U16 team from 2013-14 through 2014-15, and as a member of the Tier I U19 team's taxi squad in 2015-16. Scholastically she played at The Pingry School, where she was heavily decorated as a team captain, winning team MVP honors as a junior in 2014-15 as well as the Pingry Girls Ice Hockey Award the following year.
Keara Di Mare Sullivan was born on September 13, 1998 in Livingston, NJ to David Sullivan and Maria Di Mare and has one brother, Nolan, and two sisters, Brigit and Fiona. She was a superb athlete at The Pingry School, playing soccer (both for the school and a club team) and lacrosse in addition to her hockey experience for all four years. In her junior year, Sullivan helped a vastly improved Pingry girls lacrosse squad to the state quarterfinals, while the school's girls soccer team is perennially strong. She is an environmental resource management major in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Fung on Sullivan
"A late addition, Keara is a pleasant surprise who will give us much needed depth at forward. A graduate of The Pingry School, which has a tradition of developing extremely high-achieving and well-rounded young men and women, Keara is a talented three-sport athlete who was part of a dedicated and hard working group in establishing the girls hockey program. A captain at Pingry, Keara also practiced with the U19 New Jersey Rockets team that represented the Atlantic District at Tier I nationals yet again last season."
Goaltender | Catches Left | Indiana, PA | Mid-State Mustangs U19/Indiana Area HS
Prior to Penn State
Lydick has an extremely deep hockey background, including playing for Indiana Area High School's varsity boys team in addition to the Altoona, PA-based Mid-State Mustangs Tier II U19 team, which she captained during the 2015-16 season. Prior to that, Lydick played for the Armstrong Arrows Tier II U19 squad. She helped backstop the Arrows to a Mid-Am District championship in 2014-15 - including a shutout of the Steel City Selects in the district tournament opener. That trip to USA Hockey nationals was one of three for Lydick, as she also visited youth hockey's biggest stage in 2010-11 and 2011-12 as a U12 and U14 player, respectively.
Megan Nicole Lydick was born in Indiana, PA on August 25, 1998 to Doug and Fran Lydick and has a younger brother, Owen. The academically-inclined netminder was a National Honor Society member in high school, while also qualifying for high honor roll during every period of her high school career. In addition to hockey, Lydick also played on the Indians' varsity lacrosse team, serving as a three-year captain. The architecture major is artistically talented as well, and was featured in a show at a local gallery, along with other IHS seniors, in the spring of 2016.
Fung on Lydick
"Megan is the next in our long line of outstanding Pennsylvania native goalies. An athletic, explosive goaltender who cut her teeth playing boys hockey in the Indiana Convention Center, Megan has the ability to change any game she plays in. A multiple-time district playoff and nationals qualifier with both Mid-State and the Armstrong Arrows, she has USA Hockey nationals experience on the girls side as well. I anticipate she will become one of the very best in the league as she develops with us."
Forward | Shoots Left | Johnstown, PA | Armstrong Arrows U19
Prior to Penn State
Foster played for the varsity boys team at Greater Johnstown High School, as well as for the Armstrong Arrows program, the latter stint continuing through her freshman year at Penn State in 2015-16. The 2014-15 Arrows Tier II U19 team won the championship of USA Hockey's Mid-Am District to advance to the national championship tournament, while the following season's squad were district runners-up. Prior to her time with the Arrows, she also played for the Pittsburgh Vipers, where she served as a U19 team captain in 2013-14.
Jillian Rose Foster was born on January 31, 1997 in Johnstown, PA to John and Joyce Foster (Joyce is a Penn State alumna) and has two sisters, Kasia and Nina. She is an architectural engineering major, with plans to one day own or be a partner in an architectural firm. At Westmont Hilltop High School (her school when not playing hockey), Foster graduated in the top ten of her class and was a National Honor Society member.
Fung on Foster
"Jillian is a sophomore who missed most of her senior season in high school with a broken leg and complications rehabilitating. She practiced with us last spring and continues to show promise as she comes back after being out a year. Jillian is a strong kid who has a good shot and offensive instincts. She will be able to contribute once she has some skating under her again and adjusts to the speed in college."
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