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Penn College Women Seek Volleyball Crown This Weekend

After winning its first conference women’s volleyball championship in 2004, Pennsylvania College of Technology has recorded three consecutive second-place finishes. But, it gets another shot at being No. 1 this weekend. The Wildcats face Penn State Schuylkill at 1:45 p.m. Saturday in the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs at Penn State Fayette. Also competing in the tournament are Penn State Mont Alto, Penn State Beaver, Penn State Brandywine, Penn State York and Penn State DuBois. Play is single elimination. The tournament concludes Sunday. Only the champion will advance to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national tournament. Penn College (13-9 overall and 11-6 in the conference) closed out its regular season Wednesday with a pair of wins at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, taking the first match, 25-5, 25-8 and 25-6, and winning the second, 25-8, 15-16, 25-11. Statistically in those victories, Kate Todrich (Mountain Top) had two aces and five kills; Karlee Shubert (Hanover) had five kills and two blocks; Lyndsey Smith (Mechanicsburg) had five aces, two kills, seven digs and 20 assists; Alyssa Covas (Pottsville) had four aces and 15 kills; and Courtney Barton (Liberty) had two kills, four assists and 20 digs. Penn College split in regular-season matches against Penn State Schuylkill, losing in five games on the road Sept. 9 and winning in three at home on Oct. 9. “I’m really excited because our team started playing really well the last couple of weeks,” Wildcats coach Bambi Hawkins said. “There are very few teams that we might see this weekend who have actually seen our team play as well as it can.” Hawkins attributes the improved play to some position changes, especially putting Kristin Bernard (Hastings) in the libero spot.

“That has made a big impact on our passing. She’s a very vocal team leader, and she’s not about to let the ball hit the ground,” said the coach, who is in her ninth season. Penn State Beaver and Penn State Fayette both come into the tournament with only one conference loss, but Hawkins said her team isn’t intimidated. “We need to pass consistently,” Hawkins said about what it will take for her squad to become the conference champion. “I know the hits are there, it’s just that when we get our passes up to our setter that’s when we can capitalize. “The girls have to dig in and not worry about nerves “¦ They have a tendency to get tight. They need to stay loose.” (Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s Athletics Web site ).