Ranked and Rising: A Special Season for Penn State Women’s Hockey

Story posted January 29, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Kyle Cannillo

When head coach Jeff Kampersal took over the Penn State women’s hockey program in 2017, he immediately hit the ground running on the recruiting trail. Now he’s seeing the fruits of his labor.

No. 8 Penn State is 8-1-1 and is on the road to take on Lindenwood tonight. The ranking in the USCHO.com Poll is not only the highest but also the first in program history.

“We try not to pay too much attention to it,” Kampersal said. “Statistically, we think we could be ranked higher, but we are focused on the task at hand.”

The difference between last year’s team and this year’s is night and day. Penn State is averaging over 10 more shots per game and has swept the conference’s best.

“[I’m] really proud of the commitment every day,” Kampersal said. “This is a special group, and I am very grateful to be coaching them.”

Systematically, Kampersal said nothing has changed from year to year. Instead, he said the additional talent has pushed the pace of play.

“We like playing aggressive,” he said. “We trust our defense and want to play on the forehand. Players like Natalie [Heising], Kiara [Zanon], Rachel [Weiss] and Lyndie [Lobdell], are super competitive, and their pace of play is a lot quicker. This forces everyone else to pick up their pace.”

Penn State swept Lindenwood in its first meeting. The Nittany Lions scored seven goals that weekend, allowing only one. A sweep again this weekend would mean Penn State has clinched its first winning season ever, both overall and in conference.

“We have a mark on our back now,” Kampersal said. “Lindenwood has nothing to lose.”

 

Kyle Cannillo is a broadcast journalism major at Penn State. To contact him, email kcannillo1@gmail.com.