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Men’s Volleyball Team Opens Season

With new players joining as recently as Wednesday, the Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s volleyball team has had little time to jell before its season opener Sunday.

“They’re a little rough. But without a doubt there’s some talent there and hopefully I can whip them into shape and we can have a pretty good season,” said Wes Strayer, who enters his first season as coach.

“They’re already getting better,” Strayer continued. “Some of the ones who haven’t played much have really picked it up. I have a good feeling on the season, even though it is a short season.”

Sunday, the Wildcats will compete in a daylong tournament involving five other teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference North Division at Harrisburg Area Community College. They also have multi-team events April 3 and 24. The top two teams in the division advance to a season-ending tournament May 1.

Last year, Penn College was 2-7.

Wildcat starters are expected to be middle hitters Cody Umberger (6-foot-1 freshman, Lower Dauphin) and Gregg Stoneham (6-6 freshman, Hunterdon Central, N.J.), outside hitters Dave Atkinson (6-2 sophomore, State College) and Matt Staub (6-1 freshman, Millersville), weakside hitter Derick Shofkom (5-8 sophomore, Susquehanna) and setter Kyle Flook (5-8 setter, Cedar Cliff).

Also on the squad are hitters Clint Cullison (6-5 freshman, Central Dauphin), Kevin George (6-1 sophomore, Lebanon), Joe Statella (6-foot freshman, Dallastown), Justin Rigg (6-foot sophomore, Twin Valley), Nickolas Ophof (6-3 freshman, Delaware Valley, N.J.) and Pete Cecchini (6-1 freshman, Eastern Camden, N.J.).

“We’ll see how they handle a tournament situation in all-day play because the stamina is going to be a big thing,” said the coach, who pointed out that he has played competitively himself for 26 years and brings knowledge and experience to the program.

“They’re listening. They’re excited. So it’s easy to teach,” Strayer added.

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