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Penn College soccer coaches reflect, wrestlers get underway

Soccer coaches at Pennsylvania College of Technology reflected on their recently completed seasons, while the college’s wrestlers saw their first action and crowned an individual invitational champion.

FLASHBACK
Women’s soccer
After falling behind second-seeded Penn State Harrisburg, 3-0, the third-seeded Wildcats staged a second-half comeback that fell just short in a 3-2 United East semifinal on Friday as they closed out their season with a 9-9-1 mark overall, 6-3 in the conference.

Penn State Harrisburg, which had beaten Penn College 5-0 during the regular season, got its early lead by the 53rd minute before Sara Darlington, of West Chester, found the back of the net in the 68th minute on an assist from Cassie Johnson, of Richland. Darlington and Johnson then combined on another goal and assist, respectively, in the 83rd minute to close out the scoring.

“It’s been a really great season. Coming in, there were kind of low expectations for us with a new coach and not really knowing what we had in terms of player numbers. So, for me, everything was kind of ‘OK, what can we do?’” coach Ian Scheller said.

“This has exceeded my expectations beyond anything. This has been about as good as it gets. Obviously, you want to win. But in year one, if you had told me that we would make the semifinal and be competitive against the team that won the conference last year, I would definitely have taken that,” Scheller said.

Thinking back on his team’s slow start Friday, Scheller said, “It’s been since 2019 that a team from Penn College made the playoffs, so none of the players have felt this environment and the pressure that was kind of put on ourselves. Everyone admitted to me how nervous they were going into the game and it really showed.

“We were on the back foot for 40 minutes in the first half and Harrisburg put so much pressure on us and eventually got a goal –that they deserved – and went up 1-0 at halftime. It was unfortunate because if we could have gotten to the break at halftime (scoreless), I believe that we could have changed it a little bit.

“The team talk at halftime was just ‘We can be nervous all we want, but now we need to make a change.’ We weren’t sticking to what we do. We weren’t doing the things that had made us successful up to that point, so one of the goals was to at least give a good account of ourselves for the remainder of the game. Once we started doing what we know we are good at, we had a lot of success.”

Commenting on three scoring chances that narrowly missed the goal, Scheller said, “It’s the little things when you get to this stage of the season. Although we did enough to make it competitive and give ourselves a chance, we didn’t do what we had to do in order to get the result we probably wanted.”

Earlier in the week, Darlington, a sophomore, and junior Kaelynn Sheetz, of Elizabethtown, were named to the UE first team, while sophomore BillieGean Hennessy, of Holtzville, New York, was named to the UE second team.

Sheetz led the conference in points (50) and goals (21) and finished fourth in assists (8). The forward was named UE Player of the Week three times and recorded a hat trick in four contests – including a four-goal match.

Darlington ended the season with 32 points on 12 goals and eight assists. A forward, she recorded one hat trick this season and scored multiple goals in three matches.

Hennessy anchored a defense that recorded five shutouts and was fifth on the team in points with eight. She also netted three goals and handed out two assists.

Also last week, Johnson, a sophomore, was honored as the UE Offensive Player of the Week for Oct. 23-30. In a pair of regular-season-ending wins, she had four goals and four assists. For the season, Johnson had a conference-high 13 assists and she became the first Penn College player in modern program history (since 2014) in the 10/10 club as she also netted 10 goals. She ended with 33 points.

Teamwise, the Wildcats outscored their opponents, 71-37, and led in shots on goal, 203-141.

Commenting on those four and the team’s future, Scheller said, “Sara Darlington has been a revelation for us. Transferring from the University of Pittsburgh, obviously, there were high expectations. Over the season, she showed growth. It was good to see the progress she made and how she’s changed and developed as a player.

“Kaelynn Sheetz, you can’t say enough about what she’s done. She broke the (modern) goal-scoring record for the college, she set the (modern) points record and she deserves everything she got.

“Billie has been an absolute rock at the back for us. She’s given us a real chance to be successful down the line.

“One thing for Cassie: I’ve said that Cassie is, for me, the best well-rounded player on this team. She does everything for us. She really does it all. I think she was one of the most deserving players on our team to be on the all-conference list, but sometimes that’s how it goes.

“With us not graduating any of those players over the next year, it will give us something to build off in the future.

“One thing I keep hearing is the excitement for the future. They are as excited as I am because we understand that, with the amount of talent that we are bringing back next year, this is just the steppingstone for us, this is just where we’re starting. I can’t think of a better way to build off than this moment right here, getting some playoff experience and doing it on a very high level against some very, very great teams.”

Men’s soccer
Reflecting on his team’s season that ended a week ago, coach Tyler Mensch said, “We struggled to find consistency this fall and put together a complete 90-minute performance in every match. Some matches, our attack would be really strong, but our defense would let us down. Then there would be matches where we would play really strong defensively but have no attack. We just couldn’t consistently find that equal balance of attack and defending for a full 90-minute match.

“Once we settled on a formation to play, our defense was really tough to break down and caused teams to struggle. However, with that, we became super defensive-minded, which hurt us in the attack. We need to find more consistency in our attack and more dynamic characteristics in our players that help us be more dangerous in creating chances.”

Yet, with a 3-4-1 United East record (5-10-3 overall), Mensch’s seventh edition was one spot away from reaching the conference playoffs

“We were a very young team and improved our record from 2021. We return 35 out of 38 players (including 10 starters), which will bode well for 2023,” Mensch said.

“Our biggest result of the season was tying Penn State Harrisburg 1-1. They beat us in 2021, 10-0, so it was good to see us respond this year and play them really tough. Since joining the United East Conference in 2019, PSU Harrisburg is 24-1-2 overall in the regular season,” the coach said.

Looking ahead, Mensch said, “It is important our guys find the gym this offseason to work on their speed and agility, along with getting stronger by lifting weights. A lot of teams we play are bigger, faster and stronger than us and that athleticism is usually the difference in our matches.

“We finished the season fifth in the standings. The top four make playoffs, so we are right there when it comes to competing for a title.

“We are rebounding from the COVID era, which knocked us back a few steps as we lost some key upperclassmen who stepped away from the game. We have lacked senior-laden leadership and experience and have relied on a lot of freshmen and sophomores to make an impact where normally your juniors and seniors are playing a majority of the time, based on their experience of playing college soccer for a few years.

“We have a good nucleus of returners and now we need to get a bit more selective in terms of who we are recruiting. With our defense set for the next two years, we will really be looking to add dynamic attacking players who have a knack for the goal.”

Over the season, the Wildcats scored 20 goals on 87 chances and their opponents tallied 35 on 142 tries.

Individually, Sophomore Dylan Dailey, of East Stroudsburg, scored four goals and junior Tad Shellenberger, of Port Royal, added three. Freshman Nathan Schwartz, of Lancaster, and freshman Cooper Smith, of Carlisle, each had two assists. Sophomore Cole Catherman, of Selinsgrove, started 11 matches in goal and had 2.09 goals against average, while senior Braeden Eckard, of Danville, started seven matches and finished with 1.89 GGA.

Wrestling
In his collegiate debut on Saturday, Isaac Cory, of Montoursville, went 5-0 with three falls at the 184-pound weight class – including wins over the top two seeds – to become the first Penn College wrestler to capture a championship in the Ned McGinley Invitational at King’s College. Also for the Wildcats, Noah Hunt, of Muncy, went 2-3 and finished sixth at 141 as Penn College placed 10th in an 11-team field; Liam Goodrich, of Cogan Station, went 3-2 at 149; and Cullen van Rooyen, of Dresden, Ohio; and Nick Semon, of Norristown, both went 2-2 at 157.

Earlier in the week, in National Wrestling Coaches Association regional rankings, Hunt was ranked fifth at 141 and Patrick Snoke, of Northampton, was sixth at 133.

SCHEDULES/RECORDS
Women’s soccer
Final UE: 6-3 (6-2 regular season)
Final overall: 9-9-1
United East Playoffs
(At Penn State Berks)
Friday, Nov. 4 – Semifinal vs. Penn State Harrisburg, L, 3-2
End of season

Wrestling
Saturday, Nov. 5 – Ned McGinley Invitational at King’s College, 10 of 11
Saturday, Nov. 12 – host Penn State Mt. Alto, 4:30 p.m.; host Muhlenberg College, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19 – Empire Collegiate Championships Tournament at Oswego, N.Y., 10:30 a.m.

Men’s basketball
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – host Elmira College, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 11 – host John Jay College, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12 – host Clarks Summit University, 1 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 14 – host Juniata College, 5 p.m.

Women’s basketball
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – host Elmira College, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 9 – at Marywood University, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – host Mt. Aloysius College, 7 p.m.

Men’s/women’s cross-country
Saturday, Nov. 12 – NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Region Championships at Lock Haven University, 11 a.m.

Esports
Formula Four Championship
Monday, Oct. 31 – Circuit de Spa, 9 of 21
Monday, Nov. 14 – Watkins Glen, 9 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 28 – Red Bull Ring, 9 p.m.

Collegiate iRacing League GT3 Challenge
Tuesday, Nov. 1 – COTA, 7 of 25
Tuesday, Nov. 15 – Monza, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – Red Bull Ring, 9 p.m.

Collegiate iRacing League Premier Series
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – Phoenix, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – Dover, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 6 – Michigan, 9 p.m.

ENASCAR
Tuesday, Nov. 8 – Round 3, Charlotte Motor Speedway, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – Round 4, Nashville Superspeedway, 8 p.m.

Rocket League
Final record: 4-3
Monday, Oct. 31 – vs. Ontario Tech, W, 3-0; vs. RIT, L, 3-1

Valorant
Final record: 3-3
Wednesday, Nov. 2 – vs. Texas Wesleyan, W, 2-0

GS:GO
Final record: 0-7
Friday, Nov. 4 – Northwestern, L, 2-0

Overwatch 2
Final record: 4-3
Tuesday, Nov. 1 – vs. Michigan Technological University, L, 3-2

League of Legends
Final record: 1-4
Tuesday, Nov. 1 – vs. vs. Keiser University, L, 2-0

For more about the United East, visit the conference website.

For additional information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 12-B

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