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Penn College Men’s Soccer Team Seeks Return to Top

After winning five straight conference championships from 2004 through 2008, the Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s soccer team slipped to second last season. Now, it is poised to return to the top.

The Wildcats finished their regular Penn State University Athletic Conference season unbeaten with a 9-0 record and, as the top seed, drew a first-round bye into the semifinals. At 4 p.m. Wednesday, they will host No. 4 Penn State Brandywine. Also on Wednesday, No. 2 PSU New Kensington will host No. 6 Penn State Hazleton.

When Penn College (13-3 overall) and Penn State Brandywine met Sept. 28, Penn College won, 2-0, on the road. Brandywine advanced to the semifinal match with a 1-0 win over defending conference champ and No. 5 tournament seed Penn State York on Sunday. Hazleton knocked off No. 3 seed Penn State Beaver, 2-1, to advance.

“(Returning to the top) was pretty much our main goal after losing last year against York. Among the goals we set this year were not only to make it (playoffs), but to win convincingly and let people know that we are still the team to beat,” said coach Enrique Castillo, noting that, in conference matches, the Wildcats outscored their opponents 43-3. “We took it upon ourselves to get better “¦ and I think we have managed to do that,” he continued.

Looking to Wednesday, Castillo said playing at home on a larger field than Brandywine is used to should work to the Wildcats’ advantage.

“We like to move the ball and spread the ball around,” he said. “We should be more confident and we’re in a playoff mode (mentally).”

Wildcats Tristan Smith (Bermuda) and Chris Brennan (New Hope) are among the conference’s scoring leaders and goalie Daniel Shaffer (Shermansdale) has been outstanding. Castillo also noted the strong, consistent play that has been provided by Patrick Massango (Cameroon), Joe Gallagher (Bethel, Conn.), Joe Ramsey (Langhorne), Billy DeAngelo (Dallas), Patrick Kehoe (Oley) and Ben Shade (Fleetwood).

“We’re counting on everybody. From one through 26, they all could play. “¦ We’re that good this year,” Castillo said. “If we can finish every opportunity that we create, we’ll be a really, really good team.”

Wednesday’s winners square off for the conference championship at 1 p.m. Sunday on the home field of the higher seed.

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