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Penn College Men’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball Teams Enter Playoffs

Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams look to defend their Penn State University Athletic Conference championships as playoffs begin this week. The fourth-seeded volleyball team (11-5 PSUAC) hosts No. 5 seed Penn State Hazleton (10-5) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday while the second-seeded soccer team (9-1) drew a first-round bye and will host the winner of a match between No. 3 Penn State Brandywine (9-1) and No. 6 Penn State New Kensington (5-5) in a semifinal match on Thursday, time to be determined.

Men’s Soccer
“I think we have played well so far. Our first goal for the season was to make the playoffs and get home field for the playoffs. Having a bye will be a benefit, giving us two extra days to prepare for the semifinal game Thursday,” first-year coach Adam Matter said.

Penn College, Penn State York and Penn State Brandywine all finished the regular PSUAC season with 9-1 records with their lone losses to each other: Penn College lost in overtime to Penn State Brandywine, 3-2; Penn State York lost to Penn College, 1-0, and Brandywine lost to York, 2-1.

“Our team has come a long way from each of our first meetings with Brandywine and York. To beat both of these teams again will require us to apply what we learned from the first meeting and limit our mistakes on the field. We cannot rely on any one individual; we must work as a team to get the job done,” Matter continued.

“If we see these teams in the playoffs, it will be a great opportunity for us to be challenged in our other season goals, to win the conference championship and qualify for the USCAA National Tournament. We are building off the final games of the season to continue winning each and every game. We understand that a loss will end our season, but we have enough talent to prolong the season for another couple of weeks,” the coach said.

“I don’t think we have any key players that stand out above everyone else on the team. All 11 players on the field need to be difference-makers as every game in the playoffs are closely contested. One mistake doesn’t win or lose a game; it’s the mistake that compounds into another mistake that defines the outcome of a game. Each player needs to remain patient and focused on the present; we can’t dwell on past events nor be anxious about the future,” Matter added.

In the other first-round match Tuesday, No. 4 Penn State Wilkes-Barre (6-3-1) hosts No. 5 Penn State Beaver (5-4-1). The winner of that match faces York on Thursday. The championship is scheduled for Sunday at noon at University Park.

Women’s Volleyball
Last season, the Lady Wildcats were conference co-champs with Penn State Fayette after Superstorm Sandy wiped out the title match, and first-year coach Monica Brown believes a repeat is possible.

“It’s all coming together at the right time. We match well with Hazleton, we definitely like our odds against them, and we saw Fayette last weekend and took a game from them. … We know that we can beat them, too, as long as we play our game. I like our chances of winning the conference. It isn’t going to be easy, but we definitely have a shot,” Brown said.

Addressing the regular season, Brown said, “We had our ups and downs, but we definitely peaked when we beat Valley Forge Christian College. That was when we hit our full potential, and then we’ve gone up from there. We’ve beaten everybody that we should have, for the most part. We’ve been pretty consistent throughout the season.”

Key players for Penn College, according to the coach, are Courtney Gernert, of Palmyra; Loralee Lindemuth, of Tidioute; Catie Aviles, of Robesonia; and Rachel Heller, of Allison Park.

“Courtney, by far, has been our key player all year. She has been consistent and definitely is our go-to. Loralee has stepped up her game the past couple of weeks. My setter, Catie Aviles, has progressed significantly throughout the season, and, if (Heller) can have good games, it will be really hard to beat us,” Brown said. “We’re real excited. We’re ready to play.”

Top-seeded Penn State Fayette (16-0) drew a first-round bye. Other playoff teams and their records are Penn State Brandywine (15-1), Penn State Mont Alto (13-3), Penn State Beaver (10-6) and Penn State Greater Allegheny (8-8). Semifinals are scheduled for Thursday at Penn State’s Rec Hall and the championship game Sunday.

FLASHBACK
Cross-Country
Competing Saturday in the PSUAC Championships in Dunmore, Penn College finished fourth behind Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Penn State Scranton and Penn State Brandywine. Individually, junior Dan Flynn, of Blairstown, N.J., finished fifth in 30:59 to earn a spot on the All-Conference First Team while freshman Nate Mashack, of Bloomsburg, was 11th in 32:30 and earned second-team honors. Also for Penn College, freshman Tyler Pecora, of Drums, was 16th in 33:49; senior Ed Knyff, of Ocean Gate, N.J., was 23rd in 35:12; and freshman William Cox, of Ebensburg, was 30th in 40:56. Next up, Penn College travels to Syracuse, N.Y., for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Nov. 8.

Men’s Soccer
In a Penn College single-game record-setting performance Tuesday, Chris Brennan, of New Hope, scored five goals in a 6-1 win over Penn State Hazleton as the Wildcats closed out its regular season at 14-4. Penn College outshot the Lions, 41-11.

Also during the week, it was announced that Brennan had been named the PSUAC and USCAA Men’s Soccer Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 13. In the team’s 3-0 week, Brennan scored six goals, scoring two in each of the team’s wins. He also recorded two assists. Brennan has totaled 28 goals and 60 points for the season, putting him at the top of the PSUAC rankings and second in the USCAA.

Women’s Soccer
Penn College put up a good fight, but dropped a 3-0 decision on Tuesday to once-beaten University of Maine-Fort Kent. Goalkeeper Colleen Bowes, of Wayne, had 10 saves in the match for the Wildcats.

Facing NCAA Division III Susquehanna University at Selinsgrove on Wednesday, Penn College recorded a 1-1 tie. Robyn Beddow, of Lancaster, scored the lone goal for the Wildcats in the 63rd minute. Bowes recorded 12 saves as Susquehanna dominated play by outshooting Penn College, 32-3.

On Friday, Beddow and Madilyn Walters, of Lewistown, each scored three goals to lead the Lady Wildcats to an 8-0 win over Valley Forge Christian College. Penn College dominated the match, outshooting Valley Forge, 36-0.

On Sunday against NCAA Division II St. Thomas Aquinas, the Wildcats dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to end the regular season with a 9-6-2 mark. Penn College now waits to see if it will be awarded an at-large berth in the USCAA Championships, which begin Oct. 30.

Also during the week, it was announced that Bowes was named the USCAA Women’s Soccer Goalie of the Week for the period ending Oct. 13. In the team’s 2-1 week, Bowes recorded two shutouts and notched 17 saves against Alfred (N.Y.) State. She allowed only one goal in the three games with a .955 save percentage. Through Tuesday’s match, Bowes had recorded 44 saves and five wins. She ranked fifth in the USCAA in goals against average (1.04).

Women’s Volleyball
The Wildcats closed out their regular PSUAC season Thursday night with a 25-6, 25-15, 25-13 win over Penn State Scranton. Courtney Gernert, of Palmyra, led the Wildcats with 17 kills and added 11 aces while Catie Aviles, of Robesonia, had 27 assists.

On Saturday, the regular season ended with losses to NCAA Division III Alfred, N.Y., State by scores of 25-13, 25-20, 25-6 and 25-11, 25-11, 25-3, to go to 12-19 overall.

ON THE HORIZON
Basketball
In a recent poll of PSUAC coaches, the Penn College men were picked to finish tied for 11th with Penn State Greater Allegheny among 14 teams and the Lady Wildcats were picked to finish fifth among 13 women’s teams. Penn State Beaver was the coaches’ choice to win championships in both the men’s and women’s divisions. The Penn College men open Nov. 15 in the Dutch Burch Tip-Off Tournament at Lycoming College and the women open Nov. 16 against Vermont Tech at the Albany College of Pharmacy Tournament.

Wrestling
Wildcat wrestlers open their season Nov. 9 at the University of Scranton Duals.

SCHEDULE/RECORDS
Cross-Country
Saturday, Oct. 19 – PSUAC Championships at Penn State Scranton, finished fourth in a five-team field
Friday, Nov. 8 – USCAA Championships at Syracuse, N.Y.

Men’s Soccer
Overall record: 14-4
PSUAC record: 9-1
Tuesday, Oct. 15 – at Penn State Hazleton, W, 6-1
Thursday, Oct. 24 – host the winner of a match between No. 3 Penn State Brandywine (9-1) and No. 6 Penn State New Kensington (5-5) in a semifinal match

Women’s Soccer
Overall record: 9-6-2
Tuesday, Oct. 15 – host Maine-Fort Kent, L, 3-0
Wednesday, Oct. 16 – at Susquehanna University, T, 1-1
Friday, Oct. 18 – at Valley Forge Christian College, W, 8-0
Sunday, Oct. 20 – at St. Thomas Aquinas College, L, 2-1 OT
Wednesday, Oct. 30 – USCAA National Championships at Charleston, W. Va.

Women’s Tennis
Overall record: 2-7
PSUAC record: 1-2
Wednesday, Oct. 23  – at Penn State Mont Alto, 3 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 19-20 – PSUAC Championships, canceled

Women’s Volleyball
Overall record: 12-19
PSUAC record: 11-5
Thursday, Oct. 17 – host Penn State Scranton, W, 25-6, 25-15, 25-13
Saturday, Oct.19 – at Alfred (N.Y.) State, L, 13-25, 20-25, 6-25; 11-25, 11-25, 3-25.
Tuesday, Oct. 22 – host Penn State Hazleton in PSUAC playoffs, 7 p.m.

No. 10

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