Thursday, May 31, 2012

Inaugural NCAA Women's Roster Announced

Jess Desorcie (left) and Taylor Gross are two of the six members of last year's Lady Icers who will be making the jump to this year's NCAA team. Photo:

Head coach Josh Brandwene has announced Penn State's 25-player 2012-2013 roster, PSU's first at the NCAA Division I level.

Defenders (7)       Yr Hometown            Previous Team
Paige Jahnke        Fr Oakdale, MN         Roseville HS
Taylor McGee        Fr Pearl River, NY     Taft School
Jordin Pardoski     Fr Rochester Hills, MI Honeybaked
Lindsay Reihl       Sr Cheshire, CT        CT Polar Bears
Madison Smiddy      So Grand Rapids, MI    Honeybaked
Stephanie Walkom    Fr Moon Township, PA   Pgh. Penguins Elite
Sarah Wilkie        Fr Ashby, MA           Williston N'hampton

Forwards (15)       Yr Hometown            Previous Team
Jeanette Bateman    Fr Greeley, CO         Colorado Select
Micayla Catanzariti Fr R. Santa Mrgta, CA  Gilmour Academy
Kate Christoffersen Sr Trumbull, CT        CT Polar Bears
Jess Desorcie       So Westford, VT        Connecticut College
Taylor Gross        Jr Colo. Springs, CO   Univ. of Connecticut
Hannah Hoenshell    Fr Plano, TX           Alliance Bulldogs
Jill Holdcroft      Fr PA Furnace, PA      Pgh. Penguins Elite
Darby Kern          Fr Venetia, PA         Pgh. Penguins Elite
Emily Laurenzi      Fr Townsend, DE        Nat'l Sports Academy
Kendra Rasmussen    Fr Sartell, MN         Sartell/Sauk Rpds. HS
Birdie Shaw         Fr Troy, MI            Honeybaked
Tess Weaver         So Windber, PA         Pgh. Penguins Elite
Jenna Welch         Jr Austin, TX          Univ. of Connecticut
Shannon Yoxheimer   Fr Jackson, MI         NAHA - White
Katie Zinn          Fr Coquitlam, BC       Gilmour Academy

Goaltenders (3)     Yr Hometown            Previous Team
Brooke Meyer        Fr Naperville, IL      Chicago Huskies
Nicole Paniccia     Jr Oakville, ON        Univ. of Connecticut
Celine Whitlinger   Fr Garden Grove, CA    Gilmour Academy

Because freshmen make up the vast majority of the team (17 of 25), let's start there. Here are some previous TYT posts with more information on several of them:

Laurenzi: Laurenzi Becomes First 2012 Recruit // A Conversation with Emily Laurenzi

Wilkie: "Exactly What I Was Looking For"

Holdcroft/Kern: Brandwene Snags Two More

Whitlinger/Catanzariti/Zinn: Gilmour Girls

Bateman: Brandwene Brings In Bateman

Rasmussen: Rasmussen Delivers Horsepower, Brainpower

Of that massive freshman class, Laurenzi, Holdcroft, Whitlinger, Catanzariti, Zinn, Bateman, Hoenshell, Jahnke, McGee, Pardoski, Shaw, Wilkie and Yoxheimer signed their National Letters of Intent during the early signing period back in November, so they've been on everyone's radar for a while. Walkom, Kern and Rasmussen either committed after the early period or are recruited walk-ons (Kern definitely is the latter), but the three of them were already known as well.

Goalie Meyer is the remaining freshman. She played with the boys on the 2012 USA Hockey nationals participant Chicago Huskies, but also on Neuqua Valley High School in Illinois with her brother.

One obvious highlight beyond the newcomers, of course, are the six players who were Lady Icers last year. Weaver, Gross and Desorcie were offensive dynamos after being united during the second half of the season and finished as the team's top three scorers. Smiddy, Reihl and Christoffersen were equally effective in their different roles. Additionally, Reihl and Christoffersen will hold a special place in team history as the only "club originals" who made the jump to NCAA hockey, since the other four members of last year's team on this year's roster came to PSU with full knowledge of the coming transition. An added dimension to Christoffersen's story is that her career was "ended" by concussions in early 2011. Now she's playing NCAA hockey. That's pretty special.

The small number of club players, of course, means that 16 players from last year's team still in school will not make the jump. They are forwards Abbey Dufoe, Kirsten Evans, Katharine Gausseres, Denise Rohlik, Sydney Sherman, Carly Szyszko, defenders Lisa Frank, Paige Harrington, Julie Horn, Cara Mendelson, Katie Murphy, Allie Rothman, Ashton Schaffer and goalies Katie Vaughan, Sarah Eisenhut and Mary Tonetti. Of that group, Vaughan comes as the biggest surprise. She was named the Lady Icers' MVP last season and was often spectacular in net, keeping PSU in games where they may have otherwise been blown out. Regardless, here's hoping that this group forms the core of what should be a good ACHA women's program this season.

Nicole Paniccia will team up with Gross and Jenna Welch at a second DI program.

Gross, who was named the team's captain by Brandwene Wednesday night after transferring from Connecticut in the middle of 2011-2012, will be teammates with incoming transfers Welch and Paniccia for a second time. Paniccia, an Ontario-native goalie, played in 24 games for the Huskies in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 and has a career 2.51 goals against average, to go with a .924 save percentage. Welch, a forward from Austin, TX, has seven career points in 67 games over those same seasons. The trio were at their best on November 27, 2010 in a blowout of Sacred Heart, when Gross had a hat trick plus an assist and Welch added another assist to give Paniccia and her 21-save shutout more than enough offense. On January 9, 2011, Paniccia stopped 26 of 28 and Welch and Gross each had two points in a 6-2 win over Robert Morris. Paniccia has also shut out both Vermont and Union before. Basically, the three UConn transfers, who will all be juniors this year, do good work against teams on Penn State's schedule this year, which is nice.

Despite playing for a brutal team last year - UConn was seventh place of eight Hockey East teams - Paniccia was fourth in the league in GAA, with a 2.00 in conference games. Her .942 save percentage ranked third.
"Nicole and Jenna are terrific additions to our program, and I appreciate their enthusiasm and excitement for being a part of the Penn State community," said Brandwene. "The skill level and Division I experience they possess are tremendous assets to our young team, and I am looking forward to working with them."
In case you're wondering (I certainly did as a relative novice in the women's game and looked it up), women's hockey transfers are able to get exemptions from the NCAA's year-in-residence (before playing for a new school) rule unlike their male counterparts or those who play other high-profile sports like football and basketball, courtesy of NCAA Bylaw In addition to Welch and Paniccia, that rule also benefits Gross, since she's still less than a year removed from UConn as well.

This Nittany Lions roster will make its debut on October 5th and 6th at Vermont before playing its first home games on the 13th and 14th against CHA foe Syracuse. Click here for the full schedule.


  1. What happened to UConn? Did they kill their program? I hadn't read that, if so.

  2. Not as far as I know. Clearly though, something is up, although I have no idea what. Even outside of the three to PSU, they had five players from 2010-11 with eligibility remaining not on the 2011-12 team. Monique Weber went to North Dakota and Jenny Saxon went to DIII St. Thomas. Claire Francis played in one game in two years and probably just left the team. I'm not sure about the last two, identical twins Nicole and Jaclyn Camarado. Jocie Slattery, who was on this past year's team, is transferring to Lindenwood. This is a program that was 79-44-19 from 2006-07 through 2009-10 and has had the same coach for its entire existence.

    So yeah, like I said, something HAS to be up. I just don't know what.