The Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s and women’s soccer teams and the women’s volleyball squad are headed for United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship playoffs.
On Saturday, the men’s soccer team claimed the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship to earn a spot in the national limelight. Earlier in the week, based on its national USCAA ranking, the women’s soccer team was awarded its berth, and, Sunday night, the women’s volleyball team nailed down a USCAA position with a win in the PSUAC semifinals that put it into the championship.
Taking advantage of what it was given on offense and playing outstanding defense, Penn College blanked Penn State Hazleton Saturday to win its third straight PSUAC championship and eighth in nine years.
Tarik LaRoche, of Milton, scored two goals, and Blayne Allen, of Trumbull, Conn., added the other. David Munn, of Athens, was perfect in goal for the Wildcats, who improved to 11-0 in the conference and 15-2-1 overall.
“We were prepared (for Hazleton),” said coach Enrique Castillo, who was informed before the match that he had been named the conference’s Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven years as coach of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats now will next travel to Asheville, N.C., for the USCAA Championships where, as the No. 7 seed, they will take on No. 2 West Virginia University Institute of Technology at 1 p.m. Thursday in first-round action at the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex.
“We’re going for the championship. That is our goal,” Castillo said. “It’s going to be a tough first game. West Virginia Tech is a tough team. They’re very skillful, well-organized, well-coached and fast.
“They like to put pressure on right away, so they’re not a team that is going to give us much time to think and make decisions. We need to react and put the ball in the back of the net,” the coach said.
In PSUAC semifinal action Wednesday, Ben Shade, of Fleetwood, and Christian Dressler, of Mifflintown, scored goals while Munn recorded seven saves in goal as the Wildcats eliminated Penn State New Kensington, 2-0, to advance to the championship for the seventh straight time.
For the first time since 2009, Penn College will compete in the USCAA National Championships Thursday through Saturday at Ashville, N.C. The Wildcats go in as the No. 3 seed and will face No. 6 seed Daemen College at 11 a.m. Thursday at the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex.
“Overall with the regular season, I am very, very pleased. A tie against Lyco and tie against Susquehanna speak for themselves and the program here,” coach Markus Rybak said.
The coach knows his team has its work cut out against Daemen, “but if we continue to play the way we have been we have a shot of winning in the first round.
“My outlook for the national tournament is, hopefully, to win it. We just have to make sure we play well. … I want us to play well, to the best of our ability, and give a good showing for Penn College,” the third-year coach added.
Penn College competed in the national tourney in 2008, when it went 1-1, and 2009, when it went 1-1 and tied for third.
During action last week, after trailing 4-1, Penn College battled back to tie NCAA Division III Susquehanna University 4-4 in double overtime Thursday. Sisters Kirsten and Jamie Steer, both of South Williamsport, and Madilyn Walters, of Lewistown, each scored second-half goals to key the comeback. Robyn Beddow, of Lancaster, scored during the first half for the Wildcats.
Penn College closed out its regular season on Saturday with a 1-0 penalty-kick loss to Division III Alfred (N.Y.) University to go to 8-4-2 on the season.
Sunday night, the second-seeded Wildcats stopped No. 3 Penn State Brandywine, 3-1 (25-10, 25-23, 18-25, 25-10), in PSUAC semifinal action at Penn State’s Rec Hall to advance to the championship match against Penn State Fayette, also at Rec Hall. During the regular season, Penn College lost to Fayette, 3-0, on Oct. 14. The Wildcats enter the title match with a 17-1 conference record and are 23-7 overall.
That match, originally scheduled for Monday afternoon, will be rescheduled due to impending bad weather.
Against Brandywine, Courtney Gernert, of Palmyra, had 10 kills and 10 digs while Caitlyn Curley, of Middletown, had 16 digs and Tara Powell, of Burgettstown, had nine kills, five assists and 15 digs.
In PSUAC quarterfinal action on Wednesday, Powell recorded 17 kills to lead Penn College to a 3-0 (25-5, 25-16, 25-15) sweep of PSU Mont Alto. Gernert added 11 kills and Curley totaled 23 assists.
USCAA pool play begins Friday. In Pool A, Penn College will face Daemen College at 1 p.m. and UC Clermont at 3:45 p.m. at the State University of New York at Canton, N.Y.
Matt Haile was named PSUAC Golf Coach of the Year. In his fourth season, Haile led the Wildcats to one of their strongest showings in several years with the regular-season championship and a second-place finish at the PSUAC Championships.
“I definitely was excited, and shocked at the same time,” Haile said. “It’s just a great honor.
“When I first took over, it was more work than I had anticipated, but, over the last four years, it’s been pretty great. With the talent that I’ve had and the individuals that I’ve the opportunity to coach; they’re just all great. The greatest thing about the job is the people you meet, the talent you see and these kids growing up. It’s just neat,” he added.
Nov. 8-9 – USCAA Championships at Lake Placid, N.Y.
Overall record: 15-2-1
PSUAC record: 11-0
Wednesday, Oct. 24 – host Penn State New Kensington in PSUAC semifinal, W, 2-0
Saturday, Oct. 27 – host Penn State Hazleton in PSUAC Championship, W, 3-0
Thursday, Nov. 1 – vs. West Virginia University Institute of Technology at USCAA National Championships at Asheville, N.C., 1 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 2 – at USCAA National Championships at Asheville, N.C., TBA
Saturday, Nov. 3 – at USCAA National Championships at Asheville, N.C., 1 p.m.
Overall record: 8-4-2
Thursday, Oct. 25 – host Susquehanna University, T, 4-4 in 2 OT
Saturday, Oct. 27 – host Alfred, N.Y., University, L, 1-0
Thursday, Nov. 1 – vs. Daemen College in USCAA National Championships at Asheville, N.C., 11 a.m.
Friday, Nov. 2 – USCAA National Championships at Asheville, N.C., TBA
Saturday, Nov. 3 – USCAA National Championships at Asheville, N.C., TBA
Overall record: 23-7
PSUAC record: 17-1
Wednesday, Oct. 24 – host Penn State Mont Alto in PSUAC quarterfinals, W, 3-0 (25-5, 25-16, 25-15)
Sunday, Oct. 28 – vs. Penn State Brandywine in PSUAC semifinals at Rec Hall, W, 3-1
Monday, Oct. 29 – vs. Penn State Fayette in PSUAC championship at Rec Hall, postponed
Friday, Nov. 2 – vs. Daemen College in USCAA National Championships at Canton, N.Y., 1 p.m.; vs. UC Clermont in USCAA National Championships at Canton, N.Y., 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 3 – USCAA Championships at Canton, N.Y., TBA
Monday, Nov. 12 – host Pitt-Titusville, 8 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 12 – host Pitt-Titusville, 6 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 9 – host The Apprentice School of Newport News, Va., 6 p.m.