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Penn College Men’s Basketball Opener Friday

The women’s soccer season came to an end and the wrestling season got underway last week at Pennsylvania College of Technology and basketball openers loom on the horizon with the men starting on Friday and the women stepping into action Nov. 21.

Women’s Soccer
Playing at SUNY Poly on Wednesday in a North Eastern Athletic Conference quarterfinal, the match was scoreless through 84 minutes but – eight seconds later – Poly’s Corrina Marconi tallied to give the home team a 1-0 win and end Penn College’s season at 8-9-3 overall and 7-4-2 in the conference.

“I was really happy with the way the girls played. They did everything we asked them to do, we just didn’t finish,” second-year Wildcats coach John McNichol said.

The Poly goal came off a corner kick. “I think we had an opportunity to clear it, we just didn’t get it all the way out. It popped to one of their girls and she found a player on the far side and chipped one in,” the coach said. “It was a well-placed shot.”

Forcing the offensive action, Penn College led in shots, 6-3, and shots on goal, 3-2, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

“In the first half, we did a really nice job of holding possession. I thought, of the two halves, that was the one where we really put it together. … Their keeper made a heck of a save on one of our restarts late in the first half,” McNichol continued. “I thought the second half was a lot more transition for both teams, where both teams had opportunities. … They did a great job of bottling up what we wanted to do.”

In discussing what he has learned after two full seasons with the squad, McNichol said, “I have a very hard-working, intelligent group of girls. I pushed them to a certain level this year and I think they showed they can be pushed even further. They want to win. They want to get better.

“… The more we can add through recruiting, the better they get through their off-season work, the more we can introduce within what we want to do in our system and I think it’s going to make us an even more well-rounded team going forward.”

Assessing what his players have learned, the coach said, “There never is an easy game. Regardless of who we play, they’re all NCAA athletes, they are all teams that train very hard and I think (his players) are learning that, if you lose focus for just one minute in a match, it can come back to bite you. … They really have to come ready for every game.”

The Wildcats will lose five players to graduation – Robyn Beddow, of Lancaster; Laresa Paden, of Mifflintown; Alexandra Brennan, of St. Clair; Morgan Lutz, of Lewistown; and Angela Maniscalco, of Muncy – and McNichol said their loss will be felt.

“It’s always tough to see girls go that do everything you ask them to do. … Through their leadership, through their work, it’s taught our younger girls the right way to do things and the right way to buy in and the way to make it a real family,” the coach added.

Also on Wednesday, it was announced that three Penn College players had received all-conference honors. Beddow was named to the second team, while junior Jordan Courter, of Mill Hall, and sophomore Hailee Hartman, of Lampeter, were named to the third team.

Beddow, a midfielder, led the Wildcats in points with 23 (11th in NEAC) and goals with nine (13th in NEAC) and tied for the team lead in assists with five (10th in NEAC). She started in 19 games and scored a season-high three goals against Cazenovia in October.

Courter, a defender, was the key member of the Wildcat’s defensive unit. She started all 20 games, and was charged with organizing the back and distributing the ball, as well as marking the opposition’s best offensive player. She was an All-NEAC Third Team selection as a sophomore.

Hartman, a forward, was second on the team in points (11), tied for the team-best in assists (five) and finished with three scores. She started in all 20 matches for the Wildcats and recorded a season-high two assists against Cazenovia.

On Friday, Beddow was named to the United State Collegiate Athletic Association Honorable Mention All-America team. She ended her career with a school-record 32 goals and added 12 assists. She was a USCAA Second Team All-American as a sophomore.

“This is a great honor for Robyn, who really worked hard and adapted well to fit a new system,” McNichol said. “Robyn played the last two years against NCAA schools and continued to excel despite the tougher competition. This award is a great recognition of that.”

In the Classroom
Penn College had seven soccer players named to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association All-Academic team that was announced Friday.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above.

Beddow earned the honor for the third time while junior Jordan Courter, of Mill Hall, and sophomores Hanna Williams, of Marion, New York; Breanna Cline, of Reedsville; and Kyra Shea, of Huntingdon, also represented the women’s soccer team.

Junior John Murray, of Dallas, and sophomore Daniel Hibbs, of Loyalsock Township, were named to the men’s All-Academic team.

Wrestling
In their season opener at the Electric City Duals on Nov. 1, the Wildcats topped Rowan University, 37-11, before losing to the University of Scranton, 42-9. Winners in both of their matches for Penn College were Mason Replogle, of New Enterprise, in the 149-pound weight class by decision and pin, and Tanner Leid, of Terre Hill, at 165, by pin and decision. Also, Connor Route, of Canton, won his lone bout by pin at 285 as the team went to 1-1 on the season.

On Saturday at the King’s College Monarch Invitational, Penn College finished 13th in a 14-team field. Dan Frankenfield, of Dushore, ended the day 4-3 and earned a sixth-place finish for the Wildcats in the 184-pound weight class. Also for Penn College, Replogle, went 3-2 with three pins at 149; Leid went 2-2 at 165; Ron Smith, of Belleville, New Jersey, went 1-2 at 141; and Ben Doll, of Glen Rock, at 125; Aaron Doll, of Glen Rock, at 133; Zach Fitzsimmons, of Portville, at 149; Route, at 197; and Pat Fitzgerald, of Port Royal; and Zach Kane, of Higganum, Connecticut, both at 285, all ended 0-2.

Men’s Basketball
With a new head coach and several key returning players, there is a renewed enthusiasm for the men’s basketball team as it prepares for its first game at 7 p.m. on Friday at Penn State Scranton.

“I’m very, very excited to have this opportunity to work with a great group of young guys who have been very enthused. … Everyone on the team has been very open-minded and come out and worked hard. … I think things are looking good for us this year,” coach Ryan Callahan said.

Callahan comes to Penn College with several years of serving as an assistant coach, most recently at Penn State Abington and before that at Alvernia University. He played collegiate ball at NCAA Division I Wagner in 2007 before transferring to Division II Mansfield University where he was a two-time team captain and an All-PSAC selection.

“I’m definitely trying to build the program. … The goal is, just as Penn College athletics are growing, we want a program here and have guys who want to come back, who want to be part of the future, who want to be proud of the basketball at Penn College,” the coach continued.

The top seven players who are expected to see the most playing time going into the opener are guards Marquis Delgado, 5-foot, 10-inch, junior, of Mansfield; Joe Mangiero, 5-8, sophomore, of Staten Island, New York; and Bryce Lonsway, 5-7, junior, of Tiffin, Ohio; center Kevin Laurence-El, 6-5, senior, of Milton; and forwards Thomas Ross, 6-3, junior, of Williamsport; Chris Johnson, 6-2, freshman, of Lorton, Virginia; and Laquinn Thompson, 6-2, junior, of York.

Callahan has especially high hopes for Laurence-El, saying, “He has been flat-out dominant the first three weeks of the season in practice and scrimmages. He had 30-plus points against Mansfield. I’m looking for big things from him this year. … He’s going to surprise a lot of people. … His versatility is going to make him tough. … He added a post-up game that he didn’t have before. … He’s thriving.”

Laurence-El led last year’s team in scoring with 221 points (11.1 average) while Ross was the leading rebounder a year ago with 150 (6 per game).

“We hope to get off on the right foot. We’ve put in a lot of hard work, we’ve changed a lot of things and it would be nice to get some validation early in the year. … We have some tough games, but winnable games early on before we get into the conference. We have eight games before the Christmas break – two conference and six nonconference – and our goal is to have more wins by the time we go on break than we did last year,” Callahan said.

At the holiday break a year ago, the Wildcats were 2-7. They ended the season 3-22 overall, 2-16 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference.

Callahan said play in the NEAC South Division, where his team competes, will be different this year as five of the seven teams are under new coaches and style of play will be a bit of an unknown. “There will be an adjustment for a lot of people,” he said.

The Penn College offense will run inside through Laurence-El, although if he is bottled up by opposing defenses Callahan is confident that his outside shooters will be able to handle the scoring pressure.

Defensively, the Wildcats look to mix it up with both man and zones.

Last year’s team averaged 64 points a game on offense and gave up 78.5. The new coach hopes for a better balance this season.

“We’ve really made that an emphasis that we expect this kind of effort, we expect this kind of energy and focus when we are playing defense. … I believe defensively we are better than we were last year, and offensively, with more of a system and a philosophy in place, I believe we will be better,” Callahan said.

“Our practices are very intense. They’re shorter, not so long, and it’s high intensity, quick transitions, a lot of teaching drills,” Callahan said. “… We are focused on correcting every little mistake. We are focused on making sure we are executing the right way. We’re not just playing we’re playing and thinking. And the goal is that once you get to the game I can be a little bit more hands off. It can be so well-oiled and fine-tuned that I don’t have to worry about driving and pushing them and correcting them in the game, they can play loose and they can play fast.”

Assisting Callahan this season are Ed Llewellyn and volunteer Xavier Warner.

The team’s home opener will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 20 against Cairn University at Bardo Gymnasium along West Third Street.

Women’s Soccer
Final overall record: 8-9-3
Final NEAC record: 7-4-2
Wednesday, Nov. 4 – at SUNY Poly (NEAC playoff), L, 1-0

Wrestling
Overall record: 1-1
Sunday, Nov. 1 – at Scranton Electric City Duals vs. Rowan University, W, 37-11
Sunday, Nov. 1 – at Scranton Electric City Duals vs. Scranton University, L, 42-9
Saturday, Nov. 7 – at King’s College Monarch Invitational, Wilkes-Barre, ended 13th in a 14-team field
Tuesday, Nov. 17 – host Alfred State, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 3 – at King’s College, TBA

Men’s Basketball
Friday, Nov. 13 – at Penn State Scranton, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 17 – at Shenandoah University, 8 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 20 – host Cairn University, 6 p.m.

Women’s Basketball
Saturday, Nov. 21 – at Lycoming College, 6 p.m.

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