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Dunne Selected for United States National University Team Roster

Cassie Dunne (second from left) was picked to travel to the World University Games tournament



Senior defenseman Cassie Dunne has been selected for the 2017 U.S. National University Team's final roster, USA Hockey announced on Tuesday.

The team will compete at the 2017 World University Games women's hockey tournament, held Janurary 28th through February 6th in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The 21-player group heading overseas was picked from an initial roster of 28 and following an evaluation camp, held in Woodridge, IL and Wentzville, MO from December 28th through 30th. Camp included exhibition games against a Chicago Mission U19 team featuring 16 NCAA Division I commitments and Lindenwood University's NCAA DI program. Dunne, notably and despite heavy usage, was not on the ice for an even strength goal against in either contest, despite the stature of the opposition. She and her fellow defensemen were a crucial component in holding Lindenwood to a 3-0 victory.

"I can sum up my experience at camp with two adjectives: intense and amazing," Dunne said. "On and off the ice my experience was one to remember; the girls, the coaches and the rest of the Team USA staff are talented, amazing people.

"The level of play at camp was intense, fast paced and so much fun. It's hard to put into words the feeling you get when you're on the ice with your teammates and your passes are connecting, your making plays and each player is fighting hard - but it's a feeling you'll remember for the rest of your life."

"I'm thrilled and extremely proud of Cassie for her selection to the United States National University Team," Penn State coach Patrick Fung added. "This is a great honor for her and our program. Watching parts of camp and the exhibition games, I felt Cassie did a great job upping her game and playing within herself to be hockey effective."

Team USA is coached by 1998 Olympic gold medalist Shelley Looney, and her assistants are Scott Hicks (Miami) and Brett Berger (Adrian). USA Hockey's Katie Holmgren is the general manager.

"We'd like to extend our congratulations to coaches Shelley Looney, Scott Hicks, Brett Berger and Ashley Bevan and Katie Holmgren at USA Hockey for their hard work evaluating and selecting this team," Fung said. "They took it to the next level in holding an evaluation camp mid-season and left no stone unturned in finding the right 21 players for this team."

Dunne becomes the sixth Penn State player (and seventh selection, including one two-time member) picked for the U.S. National University Team over the four times USA Hockey has sent a women's team to World University Games. Former Lady Icers coach Mo Stroemel led the first two of those, in 2011 and 2013. Penn State and Michigan State are the only schools that have placed a player on each of the four teams and additionally, PSU remains one of the ACHA's top five programs in terms of the total number of selections.

Lady Ice Lions opponents during the 2016-17 season picked for the team include Maddie Wolsmann and Kelsey Jaeckle (a frequent defense partner of Dunne's at camp) from the aforementioned Michigan State team, as well as Brittani Lanzilli and Amber Greene from Massachusetts, and Britt Levasseur, Jessie Rushing and Sabrena Camp from Adrian.

Following a January 25th departure, Team USA will open up play in Group B against Russia, the tournament's defending gold medal winners, at 1:30 a.m. ET on January 28th. The following game will come against Japan, which won bronze in 2015, on January 31st at 9:00 a.m. ET.

From there, things depend on results. Should the U.S. finish in the top two of their three-team pool, it will advance to the semifinals on February 4th, with the gold and bronze medal games following on February 6th. If Team USA finishes third in Group B, it will enter a round robin with the third and fourth place teams from Group A to determine fifth, sixth and seventh place. Canada, China, Great Britain and hosting Kazakhstan are the four squads in the opposite group and will represent most of the red, white and blue's opposition following the Japan game under either scenario.

All games will be played in Almaty's Baluan Sholak Sports Palace, a 5000-seat venue built in 1967 but extensively renovated six years ago.

The return home is tentatively scheduled for February 7th. Domestically, therefore, Dunne will be unavailable for, at minimum, the Lady Ice Lions' series with Liberty (January 27th and 28th) and a pair of games against NCAA Division III's Lebanon Valley College (February 3rd and 4th).

Meanwhile, the Americans will hope to duplicate the success of Stroemel, goalie Katie Vaughan and their 2013 counterparts, which earned a historic podium finish - their bronze medals were the first won by Team USA since the ACHA began stocking the national university team rosters for the biennial World University Games, an era that began in 2001 on the men's side and in 2011 for the women. That inaugural 2011 team (featuring Vaughan, Heather Rossi, Lindsay Reihl and Denise Rohlik from PSU) finished fourth, while a Team USA including defenseman Madison Smiddy finished fifth two years ago in Grenada, Spain.

"[The evaluation camp] was our first time paying with each other but the intensity, skill and connection I saw between my teammates truly excites me for what is to come in Kazakhstan," Dunne said. "We have a lot of potential and we will definitely go far at the Games. I am honored to be selected for the United States Women's National University Team, to put on the jersey again and to fight with my teammates to win the gold medal at the World University Games.

"I've been dreaming about going to the Games since my freshman year when I watched my Penn State teammate, [Vaughan] prepare," she continued. "Now it's my turn to represent myself, my school, my team, my family and my country and I'm excited to experience my dream with the 20 other girls I now call my teammates."

WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES SCHEDULE


Date 
Game
Time (ET)Coverage/Result
Sat. Jan. 28
CAN-CHN (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Sat. Jan. 28
KAZ-GBR (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Sun. Jan. 29
USA-RUS (Group B)
1:30 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Jan. 30
CAN-GBR (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Jan. 30
CHN-KAZ (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Tues. Jan. 31
JPN-USA (Group B)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Wed. Feb. 1
GBR-CHN (Group A)
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Wed. Feb. 1
KAZ-CAN (Group A)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Thur. Feb. 2
RUS-JPN (Group B)
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Fri. Feb. 3
Placement Game 1
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Sat. Feb. 4
Semifinal 1
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Sat. Feb. 4
Semifinal 2
9:00 a.m.
TBD
Sun. Feb. 5
Placement Game 2
2:00 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Placement Game 3
2:00 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Bronze-Medal Game
5:30 a.m.
TBD
Mon. Feb. 6
Gold-Medal Game
9:00 a.m.
TBD

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