Penn State Women’s Hockey 2021-22 Season Recap
As the time expired to zero in last Friday’s contest with Mercyhurst, the Nittany Lions saw their program-best 18 win season come to an end.
Despite a disappointing 4-2 loss to the Lakers in the CHA Tournament, the loss does not underscore the success that the team had during the season, completing the season with a record of 18-10-5.
Coach Jeff Kampersal completed his fifth season with the blue and white. Kampersal led the Nittany Lions to a strong start, but when the calendar flipped to a new year, the Nittany Lions took a jump, finishing the season with an 8-4-3 stretch.
The team saw upheaval from COVID-19 and other added issues, but stayed steadfast and grew as a unit, and that’s a testament to Kampersal, as the 2020-21 CHA Coach of the Year only continues to grow and get better as a coach.
This season, Kampersal helped coach his second consecutive CHA Player of the year, with senior forward Natalie Heising winning the honors, a year removed from teammate Kiara Zanon winning.
Heising had a fantastic year that saw her break Penn State program records like most goals and most points in a single season for a Penn State player.
Heising also set the new benchmark and surpassed Laura Bowman, a 2017 graduate, to become the new leading scorer.
Heising finishes her career with 74 career goals placing her 10th all-time in the CHA. Heising now moves on from Penn State, and the team has big shoes to fill.
Despite being the pulse of the program for the past few years though, the fifth-year senior leaves the team in good hands.
Sophomores Kiara Zanon and goaltender Josie Bothun provide the team with two building blocks that already have had immense success early in their career.
Zanon, the aforementioned CHA player of the year in 2020-21 had a season where she posted 13 goals and 39 points, both marks placing second to Heising.
With Heising leaving, the pressure will be on Zanon to step up, something she should be more than capable of handling.
Bothun broke a program record with 10 shutouts on the season and posted a .925 save percentage.
Bothun was a finalist for CHA goalie of the year, and with two years remaining, she will continue to be a fixture in the battle for the title.
Aside from Zanon and Bothun, the depth on this team moving forward is encouraging for the Nittany Lion faithful.
On defense, Renee Gangarosa, the senior defender earned all-CHA honors along with junior Mallory Uihlein. Uihlein will return next season and join alongside all-CHA rookie team recipient Karly Garcia, who has the potential to anchor this Penn State defense throughout the next few seasons.
Offensively, juniors Racheal Weiss and Julie Gough came on strong as top tier scoring options in the latter half of the season, with Gough going on a seven-game goal streak to wrap up the regular season. The two can continue to elevate the offensive attack next season and provide veteran answers behind Zanon.
All and all, the Nittany Lions conclude a strong 2021-22 season, that although did not yield the intended result, provides the team immense momentum moving forward into next season.
Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
First Year / Broadcast Journalism
Dylan Price is a first year student at Pennsylvania State University studying Journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
Dylan currently serves as a member of CommRadio at Penn State where he works with other students to cover Penn State and national sports. Outside of sports media, Dylan is an Eagle Scout and serves as a board member for FOTO, a special interest organization benefiting THON. Dylan also hosts his own podcast called, “Ambitious with Dylan Price” where he interviews NFL players, College Football coaches, NASCAR Champions, NHL Legends, Mental Health Advocates, ESPY Award Winners and Former U.S. Senators. Dylan also works as a staff writer for Empire Sports Media and Turn On The Jets covering the New York Jets, New York Yankees, Baseball, Boxing and NASCAR. Dylan intends to graduate and pursue a career in media or coaching as his biggest passion is entertaining and helping others.