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Wildcat Men ‘Three-Peat’ in Soccer

Wildcat men's soccer team holds its third consecutive championship trophy at midfield Sunday.Pennsylvania College of Technology freshman Renny Walker wasn’t on the field when Sunday’s championship match against Penn State Harrisburg began, but, when he walked off it nearly two hours later, he was the most satisfied.

Walker, from Lewisburg, scored the game-tying and game-winning goals for the Wildcats, lifting them to a 3-2 overtime win and to the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship during action at University Park.

It marked the third straight season that Penn College has won a conference title, the first time it has had a men’s soccer “three-peat,” and closed out the team’s season with a 14-1-2 record. Penn State Harrisburg ends 12-5, with two of the losses coming in overtime at the hands of the Wildcats.

Penn College took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Shane Fuller (York), on an assist from Abdullah Al-Bahrani (Saudi Arabia) before Penn State Harrisburg rallied for back-to-back goals and a 2-1 lead.

In the late going, Castillo had to get instructions to his players through the voice of assistant coach Mark Anderson after losing his own voice because of a cold and overuse.

“I couldn’t scream because nothing came out of my mouth,” he said afterward, his voice just above a whisper.

Sensing that Walker was due to make something happen, Castillo switched him from his midfield position to striker late in regulation, and the move paid off.

Using his head, literally, Walker knotted the score at 2-all on a header with about 1:12 remaining in regulation and then scored the winning goal on a header with a little more than a minute left in overtime. Coleby Frye (Dover) assisted on the game-winner.

“We needed a spark and he (Walker) brought it. He wanted the headers. He was hungry for that goal, like it was meant for him to get it done that way. He’s not a starter, but he came through,” Castillo said.

“The fans went crazy and the bench went crazy. It was like a miracle,” Castillo said of Walker’s goal that tied the match.

Commenting on Walker’s second goal, Castillo said, “It was an unbelievable feeling. I can’t even describe it. What a great win! It was sweet. It was a heck of a season. For a first-year coach, I can’t ask for anything else.”

The key down the stretch, Castillo said, was persistence.

“The guys never gave up,” he said. “Some people give up the last five minutes, but our guys kept fighting and fighting.”

Although the Wildcats could lose four key players Jason Lapenna (Fairless Hills), Brendan Kemmerer (Quakertown), Peter Cecchini (Berlin, N.J.) and perhaps Bahrani Castillo thinks the combination of returnees and new players expected to step in could produce a fourth straight championship next season.

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