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Penn College Golf, Cross-Country Teams to Open

Pennsylvania College of Technology golf and cross-country seasons get under way this week with the golfers at Penn State Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and the runners at Penn State Scranton on Saturday. During action Saturday, the college’s women’s soccer team opened with a win, the men’s soccer team dropped its opener and the women’s volleyball squad lost two matches.

Valeria Passalacqua provides the winning margin, driving home the Wildcats' second goal in Penn College's ultimate 4-1 soccer victory over Baptist Bible College on Saturday.
Valeria Passalacqua provides the winning margin, driving home the Wildcats’ second goal in Penn College’s ultimate 4-1 soccer victory over Baptist Bible College on Saturday.

Junior Alex Howe and sophomore Corey Teeple, both of Lake Ariel, and sophomore Nick Krupka, of Allentown, are the key returning players from last year’s team that placed third in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and seventh in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national tournament.

“Our team this season is one of the better ones we’ve had in the last couple years. I’ve seen improvement in our returners and I’m happy with what I see in our new guys. They have a lot of potential and I’m excited to see how they do in a competition round,” said Matt Haile, who enters his fourth season as head coach.

“Our team’s strengths will come from their hard work and dedication to the team. These guys have invested a lot of their time trying out and practicing for this season. They are all aware of the championship teams the late coach Chet Schuman once had and they are trying their best to get back to this point and add another year to the sign, which is proudly displayed at the entrance of White Deer (golf club),” Haile said. Schuman died unexpectedly last fall.

White Deer sign trumpets Wildcats' success.
White Deer sign trumpets Wildcats’ success.

“Course management is the No. 1 weakness, and I stress throughout the season on this. So many players love to hit as far as they can or try to pull off the impossible shot, which almost always ends in a large number on the scorecard. Once they have that big number, it’s mentally challenging to bounce back from it, so I do my best to harp on them to just punch it out when they get into trouble or lay up on the par 5’s when they are surrounded with trouble,” the coach said.

“(The) key to our success this season is our ability to adapt to new courses and just play smart golf, trying to eliminate the big numbers. All of our regular-season matches, except one, will be new for all of our guys. The guys who are able to keep it in play and adapt to the speed of the greens will do well,” Haile added.

“I think we have another team this year that will be in contention for the PSUAC title. I’m relying on our returners to play to their ability each match and the bottom half of our lineup will be there to pick them up if they have a bad round,” he said.

Looking ahead to the USCAA playoffs, Haile said, “Based on scores from last year at the USCAA, I don’t think we have the team to win a national title, but we will definitely be competitive. My outlook for this year is to make the top five in the USCAA as a team and hopefully see some of our players make top 10 on an individual basis.”

“In recent times, this is the most inexperienced team (I’ve had). I’m not saying they aren’t good runners, they just need to work out some glitches transferring from a 5K (3.1 miles) to a 5-mile race (for the men),” said coach Mike Paulhamus, who is entering his 13th season.

“I think we’re going to have a decent team. They’ve already shown they’re in pretty decent shape for the beginning of the season. We just have to learn how to race, and that doesn’t come until we get out there and start running against competition,” the coach continued.

Returning runners include Dan Starr, of Stewartstown; Dan Flynn, of Blairstown, N.J.; Will Fuka, of Clifton, Va.; Joe Chadowski, of Fairfax, Va.; and Ed Knyff, of Ocean Gate, N.J.

The Penn College men, who compete in the PSUAC, have won nine straight conference championships, and Paulhamus said that goal remains the same.

“I don’t put as much emphasis on the beginning of the season as I do for the month of October. We use September as a training month, we’re learning how to run races, and then we have two meets in October and one in November. The last three meets of the season are when we want to be reaching our peak,” he said.

Once again the squad doesn’t have enough women to field a full team, but freshman Eileen Harrington, of Springfield, Va., will run as an individual and is expected to make an impact. Women run 3.1- to 3.7-mile distance courses.

“This team reminds me of my early years when we trained somebody for two years and then they left because that was all they had (eligibilitywise). That’s how young my team is. … It’s exciting for me. … We’ll know in a couple of weeks. I think they’re ready and I’m expecting great things from them,” Paulhamus added.

Men’s Soccer
On the road at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, the Penn College men fell, 4-1, limited to a second-half goal by Ben Shade, of Fleetwood, at 78:48 that was assisted by Jose Gomez Zavala, of Kennett Square.

“We didn’t play very well. We’ve got to get better quickly,” said coach Enrique Castillo. Penn College was limited to 12 shots on goal, while its opponent had 22.

Former South Williamsport Mounties Jamie Steer (with ball) and Sara Larson move downfield during Saturday's action.
Former South Williamsport Mounties Jamie Steer (with ball) and Sara Larson move downfield during Saturday’s action.

Women’s Soccer
Valeria Passalacqua, of McAllisterville, scored the game winner as the Wildcats topped Baptist Bible College, 4-1, to go to 1-0.

Jamie Steer opened the scoring at the 29-minute mark with an unassisted goal. Passalacqua made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute with an assist by Kierstin Steer. Lady Wildcat Sarah Zeigler scored at the 35-minute mark on an unassisted goal, and the final Penn College goal came at 55 minutes on an own goal by deflection by Baptist Bible.

“Winning feels good,” said Penn College coach Markus Rybak.  “We had a slow start. Baptist Bible was pretty dominant during the first 15 minute, but then we got a lucky break on a free kick that Jamie scored on and that turned the game around. … Overall, I was very pleased.”

Women’s Volleyball
At home against crosstown rival Lycoming College and Baptist Bible, Penn College fell twice and went to 1-2 on the season. Scores against Baptist Bible were 5-25, 24-26, 25-15 and 18-25, and, against Lycoming, were 25-27, 17-25 and 21-25. Against Lycoming, Tara Powell, of Burgettstown, had two aces, seven kills and 13 digs; Melissa Lake, of Winburne, had seven kills; and Caitlyn Curley, of Middletown, had 12 assists.

No statistics were available from the Baptist Bible match.

“It was a good test of how our team can potentially play. We got to see some really strong volleyball,” Wildcats coach Bambi Hawkins said.

Men’s Soccer
Overall record: 0-1
Saturday, Sept. 1 – at Southern Virginia University, L, 4-1
Wednesday, Sept. 5 – host Alfred (N.Y.) State, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 – at Penn State Brandywine, 1 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 10 – host Valley Forge Christian College, 5 p.m.

Women’s Soccer
Overall record: 1-0
Saturday, Sept. 1 – host Baptist Bible College, W, 4-1
Wednesday, Sept. 5 – host Rosemont College, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 – at Cedar Crest College, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13 – at Mount Aloysius, 4 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball
Overall record: 1-2
Saturday, Sept. 1 – host Lycoming College, L, 25-27, 17-25, 21-25; host Baptist Bible College, L, 5-25, 24-26, 25-15, 18-25
Wednesday, Sept. 12 – host Mount Aloysius, 4 p.m.; host Valley Forge Christian, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 4 – at Penn State Leigh Valley, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 11 – at Penn State Mont Alto, 11 a.m.

Saturday, Sept. 8 – a Penn State Scranton, 12:45 p.m.

Team Tennis
Tuesday, Sept. 11 – at Penn State Hazleton, 3 p.m.

No. 3

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