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Penn College Athletics Teams Excel in Busy Week

Vol. 8, No. 29 (Through Sunday, Feb. 28)

Penn College Wildcat Tales Pennsylvania College of Technology athletes were in the thick of the fight last week, playing for championships in men’s basketball, bowling and archery. Flashback Men’s BasketballAs disappointing as losing in the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship game may have been for coach Gene Bruno, learning the next day that his team had been bypassed for its second straight berth in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II playoffs was an even bigger setback. The Wildcats’ season ended with a 91-68 loss to Penn State Beaver in the title game Tuesday and brought to a close a 14-14 overall campaign during which three 1,000-point career scorers played together for the first time in college history. Senior Joe Simon (Renovo) ends his career with a men’s record 1,425 points (he averaged 13.3 on the season), junior Greg Solyak (Lancaster) has 1,146 points (he averaged 17.8 on the season) and sophomore Leroy Joiner (Williamsport) has 1,019 (he scored 527 points in 27 games and averaged 19.5 on the season). As a team, Penn College averaged 79 points per game on offense and allowed 85. In the championship game, the score was tied early at 4-all before Penn State Beaver got untracked and opened a 47-31 halftime lead. Joiner scored 11 of his team-high 21 points during the half, including the 1,000th of his career.

Penn State Beaver maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half, although the Wildcats, using good defensive pressure, got back to within 13 with about 8 minutes to play. But that was as close as they could get. “We just didn’t get it done,” Bruno, in his 14th season, said afterward. “But give Beaver credit, they are a good team.”

After knocking off third-seeded Penn State Schuylkill on Sunday, the Wildcats outscored second-seeded Penn State Wilkes-Barre 8-3 over the final 3:10 of Monday night’s semifinal game for a 69-64 win that lifted them into the conference championship game for the first time.

With Monday’s game tied for the sixth time at 61-all, Solyak hit a 3-point shot and Simon, playing with a broken nose, connected on 4-of-6 foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory.

Solyak finished with a team-high 20 points, while Noor Ford (Williamsport) added 16. Bruno called Ford his team’s “unsung hero,” noting that he scored 14 first-half points and provided some great defensive play throughout.

Women’s BasketballPenn College was eliminated in the PSUAC quarterfinals for the second straight season to finish 9-15 overall. Two freshmen from South Williamsport led the team offensively this year, as Kierstin Steer scored 301 points (12.5 per game average) and Jessica Hohman scored 267 (11.1). The Wildcats averaged 56 points per game on offense for the season and allowed 64.BowlingFor the first time in seven seasons, Pennsylvania College of Technology bowlers failed to win any gold in the Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association championships, but they put up a good fight with three second- and four third-place finishes. “Our men’s team brought home silver in the closest match I’ve ever seen in this type tournament,” fourth-year coach Deb Vincenzes said after the Wildcats were edged by Northampton Community College, 10,829 to 10,795, Feb. 20-21 at the Moshannon Valley Superbowl in Philipsburg. Representing Penn College were Aaron Smith (Waynesboro), Bill Staggert (South Williamsport), Travis Rupert (Lock Haven), Eric Kennedy (Lewistown), Peter Stuut (Williamsport) and Ian Hickey (Middleburg). “They were gold winners in my opinion because of the way they came together as a team and grew right at states. They didn’t have any previous experience bowling together,” Vincenzes said. “I was probably more excited about that than any of our championships.” Also taking seconds were Smith in men’s singles, with a three-game series of 695, and the women’s doubles team of Evelyn Furman (Montoursville) and Caitlin Wagner (Northumberland), with a 949. All three are freshmen. Smith was third in the men’s all-events with a 1,908, Furman was third in women’s all-events (1,531) and women’s singles (508) and she and Wagner were third in the women’s team competition with a 2,909. “Overall, we had a good season. We didn’t bring home the gold, but a lot of people learned a lot of things and I think a lot of them will be back next year and we should do quite well again,” the coach added.ArcheryCompeting Feb. 19-21 at the World Archery Festival, the Penn College compound team of Zachary Plannick (Corapolis), Brad Ferguson (Lewistown) and Lindsey Fackler (Halifax) placed first with 2,661 points and the college’s recurve team of Glen Thomas (Mercer), Tyler Gale (Kennedyville, Md.) and James Fanelli (Glastonburg, Conn.) finished second with 2,431 points. Individually, Thomas was second in the men’s recurve and Plannick was third in the men’s compound. Men’s Club Volleyball Thursday’s scheduled match at Kutztown University was postponed due to snow. On Sunday at home, the Wildcats improved to 9-0 with a five-set win over Harrisburg Area Community College and four-set win over Juniata College. Recent Results/Upcoming GamesMen’s Basketball Final overall record: 14-14 Final PSUAC record: 12-6 (10-5 regular season)Monday, Feb. 22 PSUAC Final Four at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, W, 69-64 Tuesday, Feb. 23 PSUAC Championship at Penn State Beaver, L, 91-68

Women’s Basketball Final overall record: 9-15 Final PSUAC record: 8-7 (8-6 regular season)

Archery Saturday-Sunday, March 6-7 at U.S. Indoor Eastern Regionals, Harrisonburg, Va.

Men’s Club Volleyball Overall record: 9-0Thursday, Feb. 25 at Kutztown University, postponed Sunday, Feb. 28 host Harrisburg Area Community College, W, 23-25, 25-18, 26-24, 26-28, 15-11; and Juniata College, W, 25-12, 20-25, 25-15, 25-12 Saturday, March 6 at Messiah College Tournament, 8:30 a.m.