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Penn College Men’s Soccer Team on Playoff Trail

Defender Roberto Barraza, in action against Penn State Schuylkill on Oct. 11. (Photo by Kenneth L. Barto, student photographer)Statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s soccer team during the regular season are impressive. It went undefeated (11-0 overall and 9-0 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference) and it outscored its opposition 40-4, including nine shutouts.

But Enrique Castillo, in his third season as head coach, hopes that is just the beginning.

“I’m happy with the attitude (the players) came in with this year, especially the upperclassmen. They came with an attitude that we have an opportunity to do something special, which is hopefully winning another championship (the Wildcats have claimed four conference titles in a row) and also going into the United States Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs and seeing what we can accomplish (on a national level),” Castillo said.

The road to Michigan, site of the USCAA national tournament to which Penn College already has been invited, begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday when the Wildcats will host Penn State Abington (5-7-3 overall and 5-2-2 in the PSUAC) in a conference semifinal. The winner of that match will advance to the PSUAC championship at 6 p.m. Saturday at Jeffrey Field on the Penn State campus. During the regular season, Penn College edged Penn State Abington on the road, 1-0.

“I give all of the credit to the kids. They knew what they needed to do, which I am proud of “¦ The guys who have been in the program have tasted a championship, and they take it upon themselves that we have to win another one,” said Castillo, whose team has won 27 straight matches over two seasons.

“Every year, we pride ourselves on playing good defense. We have excellent defenders in Brendan Muth (Macungie), Seth Rearick (Watsontown), Clayton Bretz (New Bloomfield) and Coleby Frye (York). They have a nose for the ball,” Castillo said. He also had high praise for goalkeeper Daniel Shaffer (Shermansdale).

Probable starters Wednesday will be Frye and Stephen Lis (Elliottsburg) at striker, Bretz at left defender, Steven Bull (Hampstead, Md.) and William DeAngelo (Dallas) at center midfielder, Patrick Kehoe (Oley) at left midfielder, Jevin Martin (Northumberland) at right midfielder, Muth at stopper, Rearick at sweeper, Sean Kowalik (Seven Valleys) at right defender and Shaffer in goal.

“We haven’t been blowing out teams, but that’s because everyone wants to get a piece of a champion. They see us as one of those teams that they need to come out and try to prove to themselves that they can beat us. We always hang in there and one way or another we toughen it out,” Castillo said.

“We have the mentality that we’re the team to beat and we’re the team that’s going to go to the championship it’s ours to lose.”

Commenting on co-captains Lis and Steve Bull, Castillo said, “They took it upon themselves to be leaders and they get everybody involved. They’re not only good people, smart, but they’re good on the field. They’re tough.”

“Mentally, they are ready for it. We’re at the end of the season. It’s that time of the year when everybody is nicked and banged up a little bit, but you just have to toughen it out,” Castillo added. “They know what’s at stake.”

(Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s Athletics Web site.)