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Wildcat Men Win Second Consecutive EPCC Volleyball Title

The Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s volleyball team closed out its season in grand fashion Saturday, winning all six of its matches and claiming its second-straight Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championship.

In pool play, the Wildcats defeated host Northampton County Community College, 30-15, 30-17; Delaware Valley Community College, 30-18, 30-12; Harrisburg Area Community College, 30-14, 30-24; and Lehigh Carbon Community College, 30-18, 30-20.

They then outdid Harrisburg Area Community College, 30-15, 30-22, in the semifinal before stopping Northampton County Community College, 30-20, 30-11, in the final to cap a 28-5 season.

Over the past two seasons, Penn College has gone 54-6 and is 64-8 in three years under coach Wes Strayer.

“What the kids did and how they went about it was fantastic. They play well, they enjoy each other’s company and they won. It’s not so much about winning, it’s a lot about playing together and enjoying playing with the people you are playing with. I think that really helps winning,” Strayer said.

“All of the kids played well. You take Cody Umberger (Lower Dauphin), nobody can stop him outside. He’s got a 40-inch vertical leap and is over top everybody.

“My two middles Gregg Stoneham (Hunterdon, N.J.) and Phil Neiderer (New Oxford) were just dominating. They’re very good.

“Freshman Ashlin Hollinger (Penn Manor) just is a devastating hitter. He’s a lefty; he’s tough to read and he’s a very smart ballplayer.

“And (setter) Kyle Flook (Cedar Cliff) was on the all-tournament team at the MAC conference. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Strayer continued.

“They played extremely well all year. They grew with each practice and each tournament. It’s not just a learning experience for volleyball; it’s a learning experience in life. If you put enough hard work into it, you’re going to get the results out of it,” Strayer added.

The Wildcats will lose four players to graduation: starters Stoneham and Dave Atkinson (State College) and reserves Josh Tomkiel (Springford) and Jeff Hortman (Red Lion).

“They’re going to be sorely missed,” Strayer said. “It’s going to be tough to replace a few of those guys.”

“We have a good start to a good program. If the (high school or other college) kids hear about it (the success Penn College has had) and see it; as a player I would want to go here if we’re offering what their majors are going to be,” the coach said.

“(The season) has been a great stepping stone to next year,” Strayer concluded.

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