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Three Penn College Fall Sports Teams Open This Week

Three of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s six fall sports teams open their seasons this week as the women’s volleyball team gets underway at 7 p.m. Friday at Keystone College, the men’s soccer team starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Alfred (N.Y.) State University and the women’s soccer team begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at Rosemont College.

Men’s Soccer
With seven starters returning from last year’s team that finished 15-4-1 overall and won its third straight Penn State University Athletic Conference title, first-year coach Adam Matter has a solid nucleus.

Key players include Chris Brennan, of New Hope, forward; Tarik La Roche, of Milton, center midfielder; Christian Dressler, of Mifflintown, defensive midfielder; Jacob Tuck, of Hollsopple, defensive midfielder; Phil Bair, of Harrisburg, center back; Cody Sollenberger, of Leola, center back; and David Munn, of Athens, goalkeeper.

“All of these guys started every game last year and will provide leadership and experience to the team,” said Matter, a Montoursville native, said. “Along with contributions from our freshmen, we are looking to be more successful than last season.”

Assessing his team, Matter said, “Our strength is our attitude toward where we want to go as a program and what we want to achieve, and holding each other accountable for the actions we make on and off the field.”

The key to success, he said, is “being able to compete on a daily basis and giving our best work to the team each and every practice and game. Another key will be staying healthy and fresh during the grueling season; playing three or four games a week is far from ideal.

“Our goal is to win the PSUAC in our final year in the conference (next year Penn College will compete in the North Eastern Athletic Conference). We want to win every game. Our goal is to go to nationals and perform at a high level in the tournament,” Matter continued.

“I bring a highly organized and structured program to Penn College that focuses on academics, character (leadership) development and soccer. Our focus is on reliability, accountability and time management,” he said.

For the past three seasons, Matter served as the assistant women’s soccer coach at Lycoming College. Prior to Lycoming, he was the assistant women’s coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Women’s Soccer
After back-to-back seasons with losing records, the Lady Wildcats rebounded a year ago to finish 8-6-2 overall and reached the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national championships, where they went 0-2.

Key players returning from that team are goalkeeper Reda Vermilya, of Turbotville; forward Val Passalacqua, of McAlisterville; and midfielder Sarah Zeigler, of Liverpool. Vermilya was the college’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2012-13 after a season in which she had 141 saves and recorded six shutouts. She also was a member of the USCAA All-American Second Team.

“The team is even more competitive than it was last year,” said coach Markus Rybak, who is entering his fourth season. “I have 27 players on the roster. I have depth at most positions and, during the preseason, everyone is working very hard to make the team better and to make my decision harder to come up with the first starting 11. I think that we can have a very successful season.

“I have a fairly young, yet a very smart squad. I am looking for continued improvement in play over the course of this season. My outlook is to have a successful season, which would mean to qualify for the national tournament, to keep the Lumber (trophy awarded to the winner of the match between Penn College and Lycoming College) here at Penn College and to make sure that all the players are also successful in the classroom,” the coach continued.

“The team just finished the preseason. I was pleased with all the test results and cohesion of the team. The schedule is a very tough one. With having a new assistant (Ashley Sitler), it will take some time to get used to each other’s coaching style, but she already has been a great help and contributed to the successful preseason. I am looking forward to working with her during this season and hopefully many more after this year,” Rybak added.

Women’s Volleyball
The women’s volleyball team returns just three players from a year ago and all will play a crucial role, first-year coach Monica Brown said.

“Courtney Gernert, of Palmyra, a junior outside hitter, brings us the most playing experience and strongest all-around skills. We expect her to be one of the top hitters in the conference this season. Loralee Lindemuth, of Tidioue, a sophomore hitter, returns with a year of playing experience. As a freshman, she contributed to the team’s success as a right-side hitter. This year, we feel confident that she will be able to fill in any role we place her and execute well. Rachel Heller, of Allison Park, a senior defensive specialist, returns as our only true senior. We are expecting her to be the core of our defense and possibly step into the role as libero,” Brown commented.

“Although we are a young team, and are low on numbers, we have high expectations. We have a wide range of experience, so going back to basics was a big part of our preseason. The team progressed very quickly as we went through preseason and is at a good level now where we can start to put all our skills together and get ready to compete,” said Brown, who played on the collegiate level at Iowa Western Community College and Lock Haven University.

“The key to our success is going to be keeping all the girls healthy throughout the season and improving our communication skills on the court. Along with communicating, if we can acquire the desire to keep the ball off the ground on our side, teams will have a hard time scoring on us,” Brown continued.

“I think we will be very competitive in the PSUAC this season, which will prepare us well for the move to our new conference (NEAC next season). I think, if we play to our potential, we most definitely have a shot at making the USCAA playoffs, but it won’t be easy,” the coach assessed. Last year, the Wildcats were 23-11 overall and co-champions in the PSUAC with Penn State Fayette.

“I’m very lucky to have my assistant coach Shawn Bradley join me this year. He brings a lot of experience, most recently with Penn College as a volunteer coach. He brings a lot of knowledge of the conference and his strength is definitely offense, which off-sets my strength in defense,” Brown said.

“My coaching philosophy is that, through hard work, we will find success. I like to create a fun, relaxed atmosphere, but, when it’s time to work, then it’s time to work and I don’t put up with laziness. I encourage the team to work hard and together.

“I’m taking over a very successful program, which is very exciting, and, even though we’ve had a rocky start with participation numbers, I still have high hopes for this season. And then I’m excited to be able to get out on the road and start recruiting for next year to build an even better program that can have continued success at the next level,” Brown added.

Men’s Soccer
Friday, Aug. 30 – at Alfred (N.Y.) State University, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7 – host Penn State Brandywine, 1 p.m.

Women’s Soccer
Saturday, Aug. 31 – at Rosemont College, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7 – at Baptist Bible College, 1 p.m.

Women’s Volleyball
Friday, Aug. 30 – at Keystone College, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7 – at Penn State Harrisburg, 10 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7 – vs. King’s College at Penn State Harrisburg, 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 4 – at Penn State Mont Alto, 11 a.m.

Women’s Tennis
Thursday, Sept. 5 – host Baptist Bible College, 4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 7 – Dutchmen Invitational at Lebanon Valley College, 10 a.m.

No. 2

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