Photo: Minnesota Sports Awards/Sports Minneapolis
As the Nittany Lions prepare to take on Robert Morris in their second CHA road series, freshman forward Loli Fidler is sure to have a good weekend if the month of October is any indication.
October certainly treated Fidler well.
Not only did she score her first career goals, but she also earned two awards: CHA Rookie of the Week for her play Oct. 26-27, and Minnesota High School Athlete of the Year for her outstanding senior season in her home state.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, Fidler scored two goals in the second period during the matchup at Mercyhurst. The first goal was her first collegiate career goal, and that meant a lot to Fidler.
“It was really cool. I had kind of a slow start to the season, so I knew once I get one, the others would just come with it, so it was definitely a really cool experience and it got our team up at that point in the game,” Fidler said.
She also got the assist on a goal by sophomore Katie Rankin during the first period.
Following her performance in that game and her four-point weekend, Fidler was named the CHA Rookie of the Week for the first time. Head coach Jeff Kampersal was proud of his newcomer and knows that she deserved to win that award.
“Some of those awards are solely based on points,” Kampersal said. “For Loli she did get her points, but she also made good plays along the wall [and] in the breakout. She’s probably our best winger on the wall in getting the puck out and that’s a stat that wouldn’t show up. So she did deserve it not only for the points that she got but for the solid play that she put in and other aspects of her game too.”
Prior to the series against Mercyhurst and the Rookie of the Week Award, the Edina, Minn., native, was back in her home state on Oct. 24, to accept the Minnesota Female High School Athlete of the Year award at the Minnesota Sports Awards at U.S. Bank Stadium. The graduate of Edina High School played three sports in high school: hockey, soccer and lacrosse.
As a hockey player in high school for the Hornets, she won back-to-back Minnesota High School League Class AA state championships (2016-17 and 2017-18). She scored 197 points with 80 goals and 117 assists in 120 games at Edina, good for a 1.64 points per game average.
The award was a great honor for Fidler and Kampersal acknowledges what her individual representation means for the Penn State program.
“That was a really cool experience for me,” she said. “I got to meet a lot of really interesting people, really important people in Minnesota. I was really blessed to have won that because it was a really big deal so it was really cool to win that.”
“It's actually a pretty incredible honor,” Kampersal said, “considering just alone the elite hockey players they have in Minnesota, and she’s obviously one of those elite players, but to be an amazing soccer goalie and lacrosse player [too]… So for her to win that award it’s awesome for her, but it also brings recognition to our program too and that’s the kind of player we're trying to recruit at Penn State.”
Playing three sports in high school has helped Fidler immensely in becoming a better hockey player, and the impact is easy to see already. Both Kampersal and Fidler note the benefit that those sports have had on her hand-eye coordination as a hockey player.
“Training for soccer and lacrosse were both all hand-eye coordination stuff, especially being a goalie in soccer,” Fidler said.
“All the sports probably help each other,” her coach added. “Her lacrosse helps her hockey, her stick skill. Her hand-eye coordination is extremely high. That’s how she scored her 5-on-3 goal…She redirected the puck that was kind of two feet off the ice. So she’s really special. Before the game she actually does a lot of hand-eye coordination things.”
It is not surprising to Kampersal that Fidler is having such a successful start to her collegiate career, and he knows that she is only going to have more success as the season progresses.
“Loli is just an extremely talented player. She is a player that has really good vision, so in her career Loli is going to have amazingly nice aesthetic goals,” Kampersal said.
Kampersal knows that Fidler is the type of player the Penn State women's program needs.
“Watching her play hockey, you could tell she loved to compete. That’s kind of a thing that we want here. A 60-minute ‘compete’ person all the time, and then someone that will bring it every day in practice, and she's doing that right now,” Kampersal said.