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Lady Ice Lions Place Sixteenth in the ACHA Preseason Ranking




For the second time in team history, the Lady Ice Lions have placed outside of the numbered slots in the ACHA rankings, as Penn State occupied the first "receiving votes" spot (16th overall) in the Division 1 preseason survey, released Tuesday evening.

It matches the team's spot in the final ranking of the 2015-16 season.

However, there's a decidedly different air to things this time around. While last season's final poll represented something resembling one more kick in the teeth to cap a 5-20-2 season, this edition presents much more optimistically.

Most of that comes from the full slate of games stretched in front of the team, of course. Beginning on September 30th and October 1st at Vermont (placed two spots below PSU as the final team receiving votes), there is ample opportunity for Penn State to improve its station and eventually gain the top eight ranking necessary for inclusion in the ACHA National Tournament field at the end of the season. Following the games at UVM, games against No. 6 Massachusetts, No. 7 Rhode Island, No. 4 Adrian, then return engagements with UMass and URI are all part of the fall semester schedule.

Another piece of the puzzle originates in changes made to the rankings at the ACHA's annual meeting back in April. Beginning this season, the methodology will be much clearer, as computers and the collective opinion D1 competition committee (which counts PSU coach Patrick Fung as one of its eight members) each count for half, while the division-wide coach vote has been eliminated. Additionally, rankings will now be issued weekly - in previous seasons, teams had to wait until the end of October to learn whether their start to the year helped, hurt or did nothing.

Defending national champion Miami took the top spot, while Liberty, Grand Valley State and Adrian, the teams that have joined the RedHawks as ACHA semifinalists in each of the last two seasons, followed. Western Women's Collegiate Hockey League champion Lindenwood-Belleville rounded out the top five.

After UMass and URI, Michigan State and Michigan - both Penn State opponents in January - placed eighth and ninth. Colorado, Minnesota, Davenport, Robert Morris, new team McKendree and Colorado State rounded out the top 15. Arizona State, another new club for 2016-17, placed between the Lady Ice Lions and Vermont after receiving the second-most votes among unranked teams.

Here is the complete ranking:

..
1
Miami
9
Michigan
2
Liberty
10
Colorado
3
Grand Valley State
10
Minnesota
4
Adrian
12
Davenport
5
LU-Belleville
13
Robert Morris
6
Massachusetts
14
McKendree
7
Rhode Island
15
Colorado State
8
Michigan State
Others receiving votes: Penn State, Arizona State, Vermont

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