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WIHC Announces Team Awards, Celebrates Season at Annual Banquet




The Penn State Women's Ice Hockey Club formally capped the 2016-17 season on Saturday afternoon with the team's postseason banquet, held at The Atherton Hotel in State College.

As always, the event was a light, casual affair, including a summation from head coach Patrick Fung, touching tributes to and from seniors Jordan Chiavacci, Darian DempseyAnna MarcusLucy Yeatman and Cassie Dunne, as well as the off-ice and locker room highlight video, formerly produced by 2016 graduate Nina Elia, but taken over this year by Marcus.

The "paper plate awards," a team tradition dating to the pre-2012 Lady Icers era, is always a highlight as well. The awards, quite literally, are drawn on paper plates with each player on the team receiving a high-school-yearbook-style "most likely" honor like "Most Likely to Become an Olympic Sprinter" (Tarika Embar), "Most Likely to Ask For an Autograph" (Julia DeRose) or "Most Likely to Dab" (Rachel Kapoian).

Fung announced the winners of the Lady Ice Lions' four formal annual awards, the first three of which were decided by a team vote.

Kelly Watson took the headlining honor as the Maurice H. Stroemel Most Valuable Player, capping what's been an award-heavy postseason for the junior captain. During the ECWHL playoffs in late Feburary, she was announced as an all-conference honorable mention selection, her second consecutive season receiving league recognition. More recently, the ACHA selected her as their annual Community Playmaker award winner, thanks largely to her record-breaking efforts as chairperson of the Women's Ice Hockey Club's fundraising efforts in support of Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. Watson, whose six goals in ACHA play (part of seven overall) tied for 11th nationally among defensemen, was also an Academic All-American thanks to outstanding work in her biology major.

The Billie S. Willits Player's Player award, named for the long-time Lady Icers coach, general manager and faculty advisor, is given to the "player who best embodies success, honor, unity, team, family and leadership." Somewhat appropriately, it's only been won by those wearing a C or an A for the team, and this year proved no exception as alternate captains (and best friends) Marcus and Yeatman shared the honor. The pair are two of the Lady Ice Lions' most improved and hardest working players - both began their careers as Division 2 recruits and were playing heavy minutes and pivotal roles in Division 1 by their senior seasons. Arguably though, they were even more important off the ice: Yeatman has been the WIHC's treasurer for the last two years, while Marcus took on a leadership role in team fundraising activities, while each was a universally-respected, team-unifying leader within the locker room.

It's often said that a team's goaltender is the single most important player on the ice, so it would be hard to be more important than Kyle Rossi Rookie of the Year Meg Lydick, who played every available second in the crease for Penn State this past year. Lydick became the first PSU goalie to singlehandedly carry the load at the position over a whole season in recorded history (since 2002-03). Unsurprisingly given that reality, her 842 saves set a new team single-season record, while her 64 at Michigan State on January 21st are the single-game high mark in the post-2012 era. She collected her first career shutout with a 31-save effort against NCAA Division III Lebanon Valley College on February 4th.

Dina DuBac, as first announced in February, was formally presented as the winner of the team's Freshman Academic Achievement Award. DuBac posted a 3.53 grade point average in her first PSU semester to lead her class.

PENN STATE TEAM AWARDS (SINCE 2012)


Season
Maurice H. Stroemel
Most Valuable Player
Kyle Rossi
Rookie of the Year
2012-13
Katie Vaughan
Devon Fisk
Mandy Mortach
2013-14
Katie Vaughan
Devon Fisk
Geneva Wagoner
2014-15
Darby Kern
Riley O'Connor
2015-16
Darby Kern
Meghan Miller
2016-17
Kelly Watson
Meg Lydick

Season
Billie S. Willits
Player's Player
Freshman Academic
Achievement Award
2012-13
Carly Szyszko
Devon Fisk
2013-14
Carly Szyszko
Lucy Yeatman
2014-15
Jackie Saideh
Claire Gauthier
2015-16
Jackie Saideh
Rachel Cole
2016-17
Anna Marcus
Lucy Yeatman
Dina DuBac

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