Although Jess Desorcie may not be the most vocal player on the ice, she leads by example and lets her actions speak for her.
The sophomore forward transferred less than a year ago from Connecticut College and has assumed a vital role in the Nittany Lions’ offense. Desorcie is tied for second on the team in assists with eight and is also tied for the best plus-minus.
The Westford, Vt. native said she knew she would be playing this season, but did not realize how important it would be. She also said she is fine with being the quiet assassin.
“I’ve always kind of been a silent player,” Desorcie said. “[I] just try to help out wherever I can on the ice year-round and support people.”
Desorcie’s decision to transfer came around Christmas last year and she got involved with the Penn State club hockey team the following month.
Assistant coach Gina Kearns said Desorcie came to work right away and has not faltered one bit.
“One advantage she has is coming the year [prior] and being able to work with us as coaches for just that little bit of extra time,” Kearns said. “While she may not be a veteran player on another team, she’s definitely a veteran for us.”
Head coach Josh Brandwene said the experience Desorcie gained at Connecticut College as well as during her club hockey years prior to college have prepared her well and she is doing a “phenomenal job” this season.
Kearns, a Boston University graduate, also said Desorcie asks for extra work and raises the bar for the players around her.
“She’s not a perfectionist, but if there are some things she can get better at, she asks questions,” Kearns said. “She just sets the example to do the right thing even when no one is watching.”
Brandwene said the 5-foot-4 player is tremendously committed to the Lions and playing two-way hockey at both ends of the ice. Brandwene also said Desorcie brings a lot to the table with her hockey IQ and her ability to see the ice well.
“She distributes the puck well,” Brandwene said. “She works very well with her linemates [and] that’s part of her well-roundedness and why we’re so happy she’s here at Penn State.”
Forward Shannon Yoxheimer said Desorcie’s calm attitude helps because Yoxheimer is not always as calm as Desorcie and Desorcie simplifies the game.
Desorcie has a earned a reputation for her calm demeanor, but Kearns said her favorite memory of Desorcie was seeing a picture of her screaming after Yoxheimer scored the first goal in Penn State women’s hockey Division I history against Vermont Oct. 6. Kearns noted the irony captured in the picture, but said the team needs the quieter players to show the same amount of emotion.
Yoxheimer, the team’s leading scorer, also said Desorcie is a strong player due to her skating with her head up looking to make a play rather than skating through the ice and have it taken away.
“The opportunities wouldn’t come if I didn’t get the puck from her,” Yoxheimer said. “Especially that she’s center cause she can kind of dish to both sides, so it’s really important.