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Fall PSUAC Playoff Season Nearing End for Penn College Teams

The fall Penn State University Athletic Conference playoff season will conclude later this week for Pennsylvania College of Technology athletes when the men’s soccer team steps into action. In competition over the weekend, the college men’s cross-country team claimed a conference championship and the women’s volleyball and tennis teams finished second.

On the Horizon Men’s SoccerFor most of the past decade, the Penn College men’s soccer team has dominated when it comes to winning conference championships. The Wildcats won a title in 2000, then, in 2004, started a string of five straight. After coming in second in 2009, they rebounded with another crown last season.

On Wednesday, the No. 2-seeded Wildcats begin their quest for yet another championship when they host third-seeded Penn State Brandywine in a 3 p.m. PSUAC semifinal. In the other semifinal, top-seeded Penn State York hosts the winner of a play-in match between fourth-seeded Penn State Hazleton and fifth-seeded Penn State New Kensington. The championship will be played at 3 p.m. Saturday on the field of the highest remaining seed.

“It’s been a roller-coaster. It’s been an up-and-down season so far,” said sixth-year Penn College coach Enrique Castillo. “Still, we’re where we want to be. We’re in the hunt.”

In its first conference match of the season on Sept. 3, the Wildcats, 6-1-1 in the PSUAC and 10-6-2 overall, tied with Brandywine, 2-2.

“Brandywine is a good team. They caught us by surprise, but we should be a lot better. I think it’s going to be a good game. “¦ I’m excited we’ve got an opportunity to play them again,” the coach said.

Castillo recently made an adjustment from a 4-3-3 alignment to a 4-4-2, which he hopes gives the squad more scoring opportunities with a better possession game.

“We need to maintain possession and we need to finish, capitalize on the opportunities we create and eliminate some mistakes,” the coach continued. “We’ve been outshooting opponents and creating opportunities, but we haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net. That’s what we need to do in order to win.

“We need to have the hunger (to win) and play our dominating style,” Castillo added. “Every minute is going to count and I have to make sure they understand that there are no other games after next week (if we don’t win).”

Flashback Cross-Country For the ninth straight season, the Penn College men’s cross-country team is a conference champ. Competing on Saturday with five other PSUAC teams, the Wildcats finished on top with 33 points. Runner-up Penn State Scranton had 63 points. Behind Penn College and Penn State Scranton were Penn State Schuylkill, with 71 points; Penn State Brandywine, 99; Penn State Greater Allegheny, 107, and Penn State Fayette , 145.

Individually for Penn College, junior Travis Cain, of Bloomsburg, finished second over the 8K course in 31 minutes, 40 seconds. Senior Corvin Oberholtzer, of Wellsboro, was fourth in 31:55 while freshman Dan Rose, of Albrightsville, was sixth with a season personal best of 32:14; freshman Dan Flynn, of Blairstown, N.J., was 10th in 33:30; freshman Dan Starr, of Stewartstown, was 12th in 33:58; junior William Fuka, of Clifton, Va., was 15th in 34:18, and sophomore Edward Knyff, of Ocean Gate, N.J., was 17th in 34:27.

“These guys keep amazing me a little bit,” said coach Mike Paulhamus. “It all came out positive for us. We won pretty handily. We hit all the buttons right on race day.”

Next, the Wildcats will travel to Lake Placid, N.Y. for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Nov. 10.

Women’s Volleyball In its semifinal match on Friday against Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Penn College rallied from a 24-26 first-game loss with wins in the next three games (25-22, 25-23, 25-12). Courtney Gernert, of Palmyra, notched 17 kills and Tara Powell, of Burgettstown, added 13. Gernert also led the team with 18 digs and Kasey Smith, of New Park, had 17. Lyndsey Smith, of Mechanicsburg, had 47 assists.

Facing top-seeded Penn State Fayette on Saturday in the championship, the Wildcats fell, 22-25, 16-25, 16-25, 8-25, to close out a 16-2 conference season and go to 20-9 overall. Kelly Hebert, of Wellsboro, had eight kills and Lyndsey Smith, of Mechanicsburg, had 23 assists during the match at Penn State’s Rec Hall. The squad now awaits word on a possible berth in the USCAA national championship tournament that begins Nov. 10 in Louisville, Ky. Bids will be announced Friday.

Team TennisOn Monday, Penn College topped Penn State Mont Alto, 7-2. Adam Smith, of Duncannon, Chris Morrison, of Hershey, and Caleb Wise, of Manheim, won both their singles and doubles matches.

After winning three consecutive championships, the tennis team finished second to Penn State Brandywine when competition ended Sunday in State College. In men’s singles, freshmen Adam Smith, of Duncannon, and Chris Morrison, of Hershey, and sophomore Caleb Wise, of Manheim, finished second at the Nos. 1-2 and 3 positions, respectively. Rounding out men’s singles was freshman Eric Isherwood, of Pocomoke, Md., who was ousted in the semifinals. In women’s singles, senior Rachel Emmons, of Washington, N.J., lost in the semifinals at No. 1 while freshman Laurea Lapp was eliminated in the opening round at No. 2. In men’s doubles, Smith and Wise finished second at No. 1 as did Morrison and sophomore Adam Groff, of Washington Boro, at No. 2.

Teamwise, Penn State Brandywine finished with 78 points, followed by Penn College with 55, Penn State Lehigh Valley 42, Penn State Hazleton 35, Penn State Mont Alto 30 and Penn State York 24.

Men’s SoccerOn Tuesday, Penn College dropped its first conference match of the season, 1-0 to Penn State Hazleton. The Wildcats outshot Hazleton, 24-14, but couldn’t convert.

At Penn State Scranton on Wednesday, Penn College won, 3-1, with sophomore Chris Brennan, of New Hope, scoring a goal and adding an assist.

On Friday against Penn State New Kensington, Brennan scored the only goal of the match in overtime. The Wildcats dominated possession for most of regulation, outshooting New Kensington, 22-5.

In its regular-season finale on Saturday, Penn College fell to Marywood University, 2-0. Also during the week, Brennan was named the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 16. He scored four goals in two games including a hat trick and the game-winner against NCAA Division III Alfred University. He also scored a goal in the teams’ 5-0 win against Penn State Beaver.

Women’s Soccer The Wildcats got goals from Elizabeth Greis, of Pottsville, and Valeria Passalacqua, of McAlisterville, in a 7-2 loss Saturday to Washington Adventist University. Penn College now is 3-6-2 overall.

Schedule/Results Cross-CountryOct. 22 PSUAC championships atPenn StateFayette, Uniontown, men finished first among six teams, Travis Cain, of Bloomsburg, finished second in 31 minutes, 40 seconds

Men’s Soccer Overall record: 10-6-2 PSUAC record: 6-1-1Tuesday, Oct. 18 host Penn State Hazleton, L, 1-0 Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Penn State Scranton, W, 3-1 Friday, Oct. 21 host Penn State New Kensington, W, 1-0, OT Saturday, Oct. 22 at Marywood University, L, 2-0 Wednesday, Oct. 26 host Penn State Brandywine in PSUAC semifinal, 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 – PSUAC championship at highest seed, 1 p.m.

Women’s Soccer Overall record: 3-6-2Saturday, Oct. 22 at Washington Adventist College, L, 7-2 Thursday, Oct. 27 at Centenary College, canceled Saturday, Oct. 29 at Alfred, N.Y., University, 1 p.m.

Team Tennis Overall-PSUAC record: 6-2Monday, Oct. 17 host Penn State Mont Alto, W, 7-2 Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Penn State Lehigh Valley, canceled Oct. 21-23 PSUAC championships at State College, second-place finish among six teams

Women’s Volleyball Overall record: 20-9 Final PSUAC record: 16-2Friday, Oct. 21 vs. Penn State Wilkes-Barre in PSUAC semifinal at Rec Hall, W, 24-26, 25-22, 25-23, 25-12 Saturday, Oct. 22 vs. Penn State Fayette in PSUAC championship, L, 22-25, 16-25, 16-25, 8-25

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