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Penn College Women Set for Basketball Opener

The Pennsylvania College of Technology women’s basketball team starts its season this week while the men’s basketball team got going Saturday and the college’s wrestling team had its first home match of the campaign, also on Saturday.

Women’s Basketball
With the experience and quality of his returning players, and a strong group of freshmen, coach Matt Wilt has high hopes for his team this season. The Lady Wildcats open at 6 p.m. Wednesday in conference action at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

Last year, Penn College finished 7-18 overall and failed to reach postseason play, but this year, Wilt believes a return to the playoffs is possible despite the fact that his team is in a new conference – the 14-team North Eastern Athletic Conference – and is playing a tougher schedule as a provisional member of NCAA Division III.

“This is, I feel, the strongest team we have had overall since I have been here. We have a good balance of scoring and should shoot the ball a lot better from the perimeter. We also handle the ball pretty well,” said the coach, who is in his fifth– season.

“If we do the things we are capable of, and myself as a coach has this team prepared for every game, I would see no reason why we cannot make the playoffs,” Wilt continued.

The Wildcats struggled during the first half of the season a year ago, but started to come around in the second half when 5-foot, 11-inch forward Jamie Steer, of South Williamsport, returned. Two years ago as a freshman, Steer led the team in scoring with 452 points. She tallied 196 last year, as Penn College won five of its last 11 games, and she will be joined by 5-10 center Charese Bova, of Beech Creek, who led last year’s team with 243 points and 222 rebounds, and 5-8 point guard Alicia Ross, of Williamsport, who scored 199 points a year ago. Both Bova and Ross are sophomores.

Other returnees are 5-8 senior forward Niesha Williams, of Loyalsock Township; 5-7 junior forward Danielle Mowery, of Shamokin; and 5-6 junior forward Nicole Reyes-Molina, of Lancaster.

“I expect leadership and guidance from them for the younger players getting ready for college life on and off the court,” Wilt said of his veterans.

A freshman who is expected to step into action early-on is 5-8 forward Hannah Schoenly, of Hamburg.

“We have a good mix of veterans and younger players that will give us prime minutes right away,” Wilt said.

“We shoot the ball much better and we run the floor pretty well. We need to keep working on knowing when to run and when to slow the ball down and run the offense, but we want to push it on every opportunity.

“As always, we must play better defense and handle the ball better, we also need to run our offense. When we run the offense we do a very good job at it. Everyone needs to understand their role on the team; not everyone needs to score, (but) everyone must play defense and rebound the basketball for us to be successful as a team,” the coach added.

In addition to Schoenly, other freshmen on whom Wilt is counting are 5-5 guard Brianna Carr, of Rahway, New Jersey; 5-8 forward Brittany Hartman, of Myerstown; and 5-10 center Gabby Battle, of Annville.

“(The freshmen) have to be a factor for us to be successful. If it’s giving us five minutes or 20, they have to give us minutes for us to be successful. And I think they will,” Wilt said.

Other keys, according to the coach, are “first, staying healthy and doing our school work. Keep working on our weaknesses and play as a team. As I said before, know your role, don’t try to do something you’re not used to doing.

“As always, we want to compete in each and every game. We, as a team, and as myself, as a coach, have very high expectations this year. Going into a new conference or not, we will compete and play hard and see what happens,” Wilt said.

The NEAC is divided into two divisions with Penn College, Lancaster Bible, Penn State Abington, Gallaudet, Penn State Berks, St. Elizabeth, Bryn Athyn and Wilson in the South Division, and SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY IT, Wells, Cazenovia, Keuka College and SUNY Morrisville in the North Division.

Men’s Basketball
Stepping up at NCAA Division II Mansfield University in the season opener for both teams on Saturday night, Penn College dropped a 100-62 decision.

The Mounties opened a 57-40 halftime lead and then pulled away in the second half by outscoring Penn College, 43-22.

Cass Wisniewski, of Bethel Park, led the Wildcats in scoring with 12 points while Thomas Ross, of Williamsport, added 11. Charles Pemberton topped Mansfield with 21 points and Joe Bell scored 19.

Mansfield scored 41 of its points off 33 Penn College turnovers. The Mounties outrebounded the Wildcats, 53-34.

“To say they are a solid program would be an understatement; they’re certainly a level up from what we normally play but … you’ve got to play good teams to be a good team,” Wildcats coach Chris Lemasters said.

“Even at the end of the first half … we hoped that we wouldn’t give up that many points, but I came away from that first half pretty happy with our effort, and I think if we bring that into the tournament (at King’s College Friday and Saturday) and into our conference schedule, that we’re going to be OK because I don’t believe there are a lot of teams that we’re going to match up with that are going to go 6-6, 6-5, 6-5 across the board and be that level of athlete (as Mansfield has), as well,” the coach added.

Penn College opens its NEAC schedule Nov. 23 at Gallaudet University. Both teams compete in the South Division along with Bryn Athyn, Penn State Berks, Wilson College, Lancaster Bible College and Penn State Abington. Teams in the NEAC North Division are Cazenovia, Keuka College, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY IT, Wells College and SUNY Morrisville.

Wrestling at home for the first time this season, Penn College fell to Ursinus College, 51-0, on Saturday.

“A couple of the matches I really thought we would have won,” Penn College coach Schuyler Frey said.

“The most satisfying were at 184 (pounds) with Andrew Raskiewicz (of King of Prussia), even though he got majored. Andrew is just coming back off an injury and just wrestled very aggressive and we were really happy to see that. Also, Slade Storm (149) wrestled a really good match against a really good kid and it slipped away from him at the end of the match,” the coach continued.

The Wildcats’ next outing is Tuesday at Alfred State College and Frey said, “we have to regroup and rethink what we are doing and get more aggressive. … It was a tough day on the mats (Saturday), but it was nice to have a home match. Hopefully, we can do better in the next one.”

Men’s Basketball
Overall record: 0-1
NEAC record: 0-0
Saturday, Nov. 15 – at Mansfield University, L, 100-62
Friday, Nov. 21 – vs. King’s College at King’s Pepsi Tip-Off Tournament, 6 p.m. (others competing are Susquehanna University and Penn State Scranton)
Saturday, Nov. 22 – at King’s College Pepsi Tip-Off Tournament, TBA
Sunday, Nov. 23 – at Gallaudet University, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 25 – host Alfred University, 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball
Overall record: 0-0
NEAC record: 0-0
Wednesday, Nov. 19 – at Gallaudet University, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 22 – vs. Albany College of Pharmacy at Albany College of Pharmacy Panther Tip-Off Tournament, 6 p.m. (others competing are Briarcliffe and University of Maine at Augusta)
Sunday, Nov. 23 – at Albany College of Pharmacy Panther Tip-Off Tournament, TBA
Tuesday, Nov. 25 – host Alfred University, 5 p.m.

Overall dual record: 1-5
Saturday, Nov. 15 – host Ursinus College, L, 51-0
Tuesday, Nov. 18 – at Alfred State College, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 4 – host King’s College, 7 p.m.

No. 14

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