Here is a complete transcript of the comments by senior defender Lindsay Reihl, junior forward Taylor Gross, junior forward Jenna Welch and freshman forward Jill Holdcroft at the women's team's media day Wednesday afternoon.
When you came here, was there any sort of sense or rumor that there would be NCAA Division I hockey?
No, when I came here as a freshman, I had no idea there was going to be a Division I team. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year when the rumors started coming out, and then it was made positive that we were having a team.
So that was in the spring of 2010 then…
Yeah, it was the spring of my sophomore year.
When was the first time you heard about it? Who did you hear it from?
It was probably March of my sophomore year, and there were rumors at first that it was just the men’s team, and so there was all the talk about the men going Division I, and we were like ‘well, that must mean that we have to too, that wouldn’t be fair if it wasn’t both.’ But then it was confirmed, we had a meeting with Mo Stroemel, and he told us that we were also going Division I.
But how did you first hear the rumor, was it just you heard it from…
I actually can’t even remember, I just – it was just going around, and everyone was talking about it.
When you came here as a freshman, was there any – did it even seem like a pipe dream that Penn State would have Division I hockey or anything?
I mean, it was a surprise that Penn State didn’t have a Division I hockey team, but I had just assumed that I had committed to Penn State and I was going to be playing four years of club hockey. I hadn’t thought about DI.
What has it been like preparing for it as one of the few seniors, and getting everyone else on the roster prepared?
It’s been great, it’s been a really fun transition, and I’m just so excited for this season to start. There’s only two seniors this year, it’s just me and Kate Christoffersen, we both started as freshmen on the club team together, we’ve been through it all, so it’s very exciting.
This is not only the first NCAA game for Penn State, it’s the first NCAA game for you personally. Are you at all nervous about that?
Yeah, I’m nervous, but I’m also very excited, and I feel like we’re ready, we’re prepared, and we’re…good [laughs].
Talk a little bit about the significance of [Taylor Gross and Jenna Welch] over here, and also Nicole [Paniccia]. Not only have they played against Vermont before, but they’ve never lost to them. That has to be kind of a good thing to have going in.
Yeah, right. I mean, not only for this game in particular, but just having them on the roster is great because they have the NCAA experience and they’ve been able to help us out and help us to know what to expect. They’ve really helped us in the preparation.
Who’s been good in practice so far – who should I be looking for when we go out to watch this?
Oh, everyone. You should just look at everyone. We look great.
Did you have a chance to check out any of the CHA games last weekend or no?
I did not. But I was keeping up with the scores, and I was following tweets and other things.
Any impressions going into the league, starting a couple weeks from now with Syracuse?
I haven’t really thought about Syracuse much. As of right now, my focus is Vermont.
|Lindsay Reihl (left) and Taylor Gross (right) at the jersey unveiling in September.|
You’re a Rangers fan, right?
Yes, I am.
Is it maybe a good thing that there’s a lockout this year to keep the Philly and Pittsburgh people off of each other, and maybe off of you too?
I don’t think it’s ever a good thing when there’s a lockout – I want to watch my NHL!
What has the transition to DI hockey been like for you?
It’s been very exciting and it’s been fun. Having Coach Brandwene last year work with us was helpful. We got to learn his coaching philosophies and the way he likes to work with his players. That definitely helped ease the transition, getting the experience of working with him last year and then leading into this year. It’s been a great transition overall, just can’t wait for our first game.
It’s been a short amount of time to prepare for this season, but do you think you guys have done a good job of doing that?
Yeah, I mean, we were on the ice before we could have our first practice, we had different captain’s practices. We’ve been in the weight room, and I think we’ve done everything we’ve needed to do to prepare, and we’re ready.
What has the transition to Penn State been like for you?
It’s been an easy transition. Everyone’s been really supportive, especially with me coming in last year halfway through the year, my teammates – back then it was a club team – did a really good job making me feel welcome. And now I feel like I’m doing the same thing for all the new freshmen coming in.
Do you have any expectations or goals for this season coming up?
Basically, one of the main things is to always keep improving as a team. Even if we have a good game, we strive to get better. You never truly peak, always just work hard to get to the top.
Why do you think it’s important to go up to Vermont and have a good start to the season?
Just the first game, it’s a new experience for everyone . I think it will show where we are as a team, and it will be a good stepping stone for us with our CHA games coming up.
What do you think you’re going to be feeling like as you take the ice for Penn State for the first time?
Definitely nervous, excited, just ready to start something new. It will be a new experience being with a different group of girls in a new environment, but I’m definitely excited for it.
You’re from Texas, right?
How does someone from Texas end up not only playing hockey, but doing it in Connecticut and now Pennsylvania?
I started in North Carolina actually, my brother – I always wanted to be like him, and following in his footsteps – then played Texas hockey and went to prep school up in Vermont, so that was the big turnaround where it took me…I got recruited to Connecticut, and then it took me here.
You scored a game-winning goal against Vermont before, right?
You have another one in you?
Hey, you never know! Let’s hope so.
This is the first NCAA hockey game at Penn State, men or women. What does it feel like to be a part of something like that?
It’s really special, it’s something that’s never been done before. We keep saying there’s a lot of firsts going on here, so it’s something we’re very lucky to be a part of.
Jill, you grew up around here and came up through all of the youth programs. Were you kind of like the rest of us and always saying ‘when is Penn State going to get DI hockey?’
Oh yeah. I knew a lot of people that were waiting for it and were really excited about it. I’ve been around the men’s games for a while, and when it was finally announced, everyone was super-excited about it. It was great.
Same question I asked Lindsay – who should I be watching at practice?
Same answer as Lindsay – everyone. Everyone has been doing really great and working hard during practice and preseason.
Talk about the significance of the team leadership – the captains and alternate captains…coach picked Taylor as captain and you guys voted on the alternates, is that how it went?
And what does it mean to have the two who have been [in NCAA hockey] before, and Lindsay’s been around for three years and has been a great defenseman. How are they going to help you guys coming into this weekend and going through the rest of the season?
They’ve been super-helpful, having upperclassmen as leaders. Not only on the ice, but also academically. Especially with Taylor, Jenna and Nicole, they’ve been around for a while and know what it’s like to play Division I hockey. They give us a lot of insight and help us to prepare for our games.
First college hockey game for you personally, beyond all of the stuff going on with the program, that has to be kind of cool, right?
Oh yeah, I’m super-excited to see what it’s like, to see how I’m going to compare to the Division I level. I’m really excited.
Best player coming out of this area, right?
That’s what everyone says!
[Laughs] There hasn’t been a lot of women’s hockey players coming out of this area. But I’m expecting that to change.