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Penn College Men Win Soccer Championship

The Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s soccer team closed out its first season in the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference in grand fashion.

Getting second-half goals from Jochen Stein (Hamburg, Germany) on a feed from Shane Fuller (Northeastern) and John Swope (East Pennsboro), plus another standout effort in goal from Tristan Wert (Warrior Run), the Wildcats blanked Penn State Hazleton, 2-0, to capture the championship Saturday night at University Park.

“It was raining pretty hard and I thought we dominated play the first half. We missed a couple of opportunities we should have put in and that kept them in the game,” said Jeff Finn, in his first year as head coach after serving as an assistant for two seasons. “As always, our defense kept us in the game until we could score in the second half.”

A change in strategy at halftime that led to a stronger attack paid dividends.

“Our style of play in the first half wasn’t conducive because of the weather conditions, the balls were skipping too far,” Finn said.

“The second half was a lot like the first half in that we had possession of the ball for a majority of the time and dominated the play, but with those types of weather conditions it’s just a little bit harder to get everything to connect like it should and it took a little bit longer to stick one on the goal,” Finn continued.

“Our goalie had a phenomenal game. He only made four saves, but two of the saves probably should have been goals and he came up big time for us,” Finn added.

The team’s aggressiveness also paid off.

“We’ve got a good group of kids. They don’t play dirty, but they definitely play a physical game, they don’t shy off tackles and we’re not afraid to attack,” Finn said.

“We played with three forwards the second half of the season and putting those numbers forward really created a problem for the teams we played, including Hazleton,” Finn said.

With the loss, Penn State Hazleton dropped to 13-3 on the season while Penn College improved to 12-4.

Commenting on winning a conference title in his first season at the helm, Finn said, “It all comes down to the kids. They showed up for practice and worked hard every day. Everything they got they deserve.

“They listen to me. We’ve got a great core group of kids and a great support cast coming off the bench. They definitely exemplify the word “team,” there’s no greediness. Everybody understands their role on the team and I think that’s a lot of why we won the championship.”

This marked the second year in a row that Penn College has won a championship. Last season, it captured titles in the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference, Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Conference and Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference, the latter the forerunner to the PSUAC.

“We’re looking forward to next year. We have a really great core of kids returning, which makes it exciting, and hopefully we can expand upon what we’ve accomplished over the last two years and keep the ball rolling,” Finn added.

The Wildcats will lose captain Lathan Gross (Northeastern), Dan Hill (Muncy) and Swope to graduation.

Penn College is scheduled to finish its season at 3 p.m. today at crosstown rival Lycoming College, an NCAA Division III school.

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