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Penn College golf, tennis teams look to openers

After being idled by the pandemic last spring and fall, Pennsylvania College of Technology golf and men’s and women’s tennis teams are more than ready to get going again.

The golf season is scheduled to start Wednesday when Lycoming College and Susquehanna University square off with the Wildcats at Williamsport Country Club while the tennis season begins Saturday at Lancaster Bible College. And one thing athletes in both sports face is getting back into a competitive-play mode after their long layoffs in a very short time as North Eastern Athletic Conference playoffs will be held in just three weeks.

Over this past weekend, the college’s men’s lacrosse and women’s softball teams both saw action while the scheduled baseball games were postponed.

Golf
“This has been the most challenging aspect of not having a fall season last year – keeping everyone competitive,” coach Matt Haile said. “Players have been putting in the time practicing indoors, but there is only so much you can do indoors to keep your game competitive-ready. As we get outside and get more reps in and compete in a couple tournaments before the NEAC championships, my hope is that the competitive edge will come back to their games. It’s going to be a sprint to the finish with the very short schedule, but I’m excited to see how it plays out.”

During the Fall 2019 invitational season, Penn College recorded one first, two fourths and two fifth-place finishes, and at the time Haile noted that team scores were down by five strokes over the previous season and things were “trending in the right direction.”

The improvement was thanks, in part, to the play of sophomores Kohltin Bartlow, of Montgomery, and Alex Acree, of Brookville; and senior Sean McNamara, of Lancaster.

Freshmen Karson Felty, of Pine Grove; Dyson Renn, of York; and Nathan Hoyer, of Windsor, are among those vying for the other spots in the five-man starting lineup.

“We have a fairly young team with some new faces that will be looking to make a mark in the lineup. For some, it will be their first collegiate event playing new courses, which is always challenging because you don’t have that level of knowledge of knowing where to miss and judging different undulations/speeds of greens,” said Haile, entering his 12th season as coach.

“Strength is going to come from (McNamara, Bartlow and Acree). We are going to lean on them to set the tone for each match and, depending on how the No. 4 and No. 5 player scores, will determine our success,” Haile said.

Parts of their games that need improvement are consistency and course management, the coach said, adding, “Consistency comes with getting the reps in, which in turn should boost the confidence in their games. Golf is a game of failure because no one is able to perform the same shot 100% of the time, so knowing how consistent you can be in certain situations will help with course management and knowing when to attempt certain shots versus playing it safe to minimize the big numbers on the scorecard. Over the past several years, these two items are what we are missing to make us a championship team.

“(The) key to our success will come from each player being patient with their game and understanding that they may not shoot the score that they may be used to shooting with the amount of time that each of them have been out of competition. If they are able to stay patient and focused, I’m confident in the talent that they’ve shown thus far in posting some good scores.”

Nine-time NEAC champion Rutgers University-Camden is defending its 2019 title. Also among the challengers will be Penn State Berks, the 2019 runner-up, and conference newcomer Penn State Harrisburg, which captured the Capital Athletic Conference title in 2019.

Haile said his outlook for the NEAC season is the same as always, “compete at the highest level that we can and have fun while doing it. If we can stay focused and play smart golf, I’m confident that we have the team to compete at a high level in our conference.”

Tennis
“The teams are hungry for action. They both want to get out and play matches. We only played one match last February (2020) and we lost, so they want to come back from that loss and prove that they are winning teams,” said coach Jessica Bower, entering her third season.

To stay competitive over the last year, Bower said, “Many of them played over the summer. Tennis is the perfect socially distant sport. When you are swinging a racket, you don’t want to get close to anyone or you will get hurt. In many of their hometowns, it was acceptable to continue playing tennis since it is a no-contact sport.”

Anchoring the men’s squad is junior Tucker Phillipe-Johansson, of Mattituck, New York, who earned NEAC Rookie of the Year honors in 2019 after winning the No. 2 singles title and was half of the championship No. 2 doubles team. He also was named to the all-conference first team.

Bower also expects big contributions from freshman Wade Woolley, of Monson, Massachusetts, along with sophomore Jesse Kight, of Williamsport; sophomore Zackary Burkhart, of Milton; junior Tommy Cavanagh, of New Hope; and senior Daniel Gianelle, of Salisbury, Maryland.

“The men’s team is mostly veterans. We have a freshman, Woolley, who is a great addition to the lineup and will most likely land in the No. 2 (singles) spot. We only have one senior, Gianelle, who is a hard worker. Johansson is eager to get some wins under his belt,” Bower assessed.

In doubles, Phillippe-Johansson is expected to be paired with Kight to start the season while other pairings will be Woolley-Burkhart and Cavanagh-Gianelle.

“Since they are veterans, they work well together for doubles since they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The men are also very consistent hitters and can outlast their opponent in long rally points,” Bower said.

For the women, Bower will count on freshman Delaney Bouton, of Milton; junior Alexis Youse, of Pottstown; freshman Georgia Macensky, of Wellsboro; freshman Amber Leitzel, of Mifflinburg; and senior Cassie Shook, of Westport, in singles, and Oswald-Bouton, Macensky-Leitzel and Youse-Marcie Harman, a junior from Nescopeck, in doubles.

“The women’s team is young with three freshmen. We were able to pick up Coryn Oswald, of King of Prussia. She is a volleyball player but also enjoys playing tennis, so she is joining us this semester even though she is a sophomore. That leaves two veterans in the singles lineup of Youse and Shook, and Harman rounding out the doubles,” Bower said.

“The ladies are fit. They are able to cover the court well and place their shots. Tennis doesn’t have to be about hitting the ball hard you just have to be consistent and keep the point going,” said Bower, who is assisted by Erica Logan.

Assessing both of her teams, Bower said, “We need to work on winning key points. We might be consistent but we need to make sure that we are winning the key points.”

The key for the season, the coach said, is “playing together as a team and lifting each other up when it is needed. We need to cheer each other on and encourage a positive attitude to be mentally fit.

“We are just excited to be playing even though it is a short season. Of course, we would like to play more but our time will come, we will have to be patient. We can use this as a warmup to hopefully a full season next year.”

To begin the season, fans are not permitted at any Penn College home athletic event. All home games will be streamed live at pctwildcats.com/live and live stats will be available at pctwildcats.com.

Men’s Lacrosse
In their first-ever NCAA Division III action on Saturday, the Wildcats lost to five-time defending NEAC champ Morrisville State College, 10-2. For Penn College, Daniel Jackson, of Phoenixville, and Charlie Suchanec, of State College, scored single goals in the second and third periods, respectively. Morrisville led in shots on goal, 27-14. Wildcats’ goalie Andrew Gobbi, of Haymarket, Virginia, made 17 saves.

Softball
Saturday at home, Penn College stayed unbeaten at 4-0 with a 10-2 and 7-2 doubleheader sweep of Penn State Harrisburg.

In the first game, Kyla Benner, of Bethlehem, improved to 2-0 on the mound. Among the offensive leaders were Jaylynn Cochran, of Cogan Station, who had a two-run double in the first inning and finished with three runs batted in; Jordan Specht, of Frederick, Maryland, who went 3 for 4 with two runs scored; Lesley Fritz, of Muncy, who went 2 for 3 with three RBIs; and Maddie Hurst, of Mechanicsburg, who went 2 for 3 with two runs scored.

In the second contest, pitcher Kassidy Svenson, of Auburn, went to 2-0 and was backed on offense by Olivia Hemstock, of Northford, Connecticut, whose two-run double in the fourth inning helped break the game open.

Also last week, Benner was named the NEAC Pitcher of the Week after hurling a five-inning perfect game, striking out eight and walking none, in the team’s 14-0 opening game win March 27 against Morrisville State College. It was the junior’s second Pitcher of the Week award after doing so as a freshman in 2019.

SCHEDULES/RECORDS/RESULTS
Baseball
NEAC: 0-2
Saturday, March 27 – host Penn State Harrisburg at Bowman Field, L, 14-7; L, 12-2
Wednesday, March 31 – at Wells College (2), postponed to April 16
Saturday, April 3 – at Penn State Abington (2), ppd., TBA
Wednesday, April 7 – at Lancaster Bible College (2), noon
Saturday, April 10 – host Penn State Berks (2) at Bowman Field, Noon
Thursday, April 15 – at Penn State Harrisburg (2), 1 p.m.
Friday, April 16 – at Wells College (2), 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 – host Wells College at Bowman Field (2), 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 21 – host Penn State Abington at Bowman Field (2), 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – host Lancaster Bible College at Bowman Field (2), 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 28 – at Penn State Berks (2), 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 15 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Softball
NEAC: 4-0
Saturday, April 3 – host Penn State Harrisburg at Elm Park (2), W, 10-2; W,7-2
Wednesday, April 7 – at Penn State Berks (2), 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 10 – host Lancaster Bible College at Elm Park (2), 1 p.m.
Wednesday, April 14 – host Wells College at Elm Park (2), 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 – at Penn State Abington (2), 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – at Morrisville State College (2), 1 p.m.
Thursday, April 29 – at Penn State Harrisburg (2), 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – host Penn State Berks (2), 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 6 – at Wells College (2), 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 15 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Men’s Lacrosse
NEAC: 0-1

Saturday, April 3 – host Morrisville State College, L, 10-2
Sunday, April 11 – at La Roche University, 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 – host Medaille College, 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – at Wells College, 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – at Hilbert College, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, May 5 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Saturday, May 8 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Golf
Wednesday, April 7 – vs. Lycoming College and Susquehanna University at Williamsport Country Club, TBA
Sunday, April 11 – vs. Susquehanna University at Susquehanna Valley Country Club, TBA
Wednesday, April 14 – NEAC Preview at Harrisburg’s Dauphin Highlands Golf Course, TBA
Saturday-Sunday, April 24-25 – NEAC Championship at Harrisburg’s Dauphin Highlands Golf Course, TBA

Men’s Tennis
Saturday, April 10 – at Lancaster Bible College, 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 11 – host Penn State Harrisburg, 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 – at Penn State Berks, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, April 20 – host Penn State Abington, 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Tuesday, April 27 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 1 – NEAC Championship, TBA

Women’s Tennis
Saturday, April 10 – at Lancaster Bible College, 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 11 – host Penn State Harrisburg, 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 – at Penn State Berks, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, April 20 – host Penn State Abington, 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA
Tuesday, April 27 – NEAC Semifinals, TBA
Saturday, May 1 – NEAC Championship, TBA

For more information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

For more about NEAC, visit the conference website. (NOTE: All playoff schedules are taken from that site).

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