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Wildcat Wrestlers to Open, Women’s Soccer Team Playoff-Bound

The women’s soccer team is playoff-bound and the wrestling squad is set to open this week while seasons ended last week in cross-country, men’s soccer, women’s volleyball and golf at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Wrestling
Young, but loaded. That is how coach Schuyler Frey views his seventh edition that takes to the mats for the first time this season on Saturday at the King’s College Monarch Invitational.

“It’s a small team, as far as numbers, but the quality of guys is excellent. There is a lot of talent and we’re just anxious to get them on the mat and start competing. I think if we can keep everyone healthy it should be a pretty good year for us,” Frey said.

Starters are expected to be senior Tanner Leid, of Terre Hill, in the 157-pound weight class; junior Zach Fitzsimmons, of Eldred, at 141; and freshmen Cam Newman, of Leck Kill, at 133; Dison Myers, of Three Springs, at 141; Jonathan Mendez-Acevedo, of Allentown, at 149; Seth Young, of Jersey Shore, at 149; Chase Schaeffer, of Klingerstown, at 165; Josh Bennicoff, of Allentown, at 174; and Dylan Otis, of Towanda, at 285.

“Tanner has been the go-to guy since school started. He organized captain’s practices, organized everything we needed to do before we officially started. He’s at every practice. He’s working hard, he’s pushing guys and is a great leader by example. I’m just really thankful that we have him with us,” Frey said, noting this is Leid’s fourth year with the program.

“(With nine wrestlers) we will have the ability to bump people around. We will probably cover eight (weights) and what that means is that we’ll more than likely, in most matches, start out with a 12-point deficit. We’re hopeful and working for guys to get those bonus points to help us overcome that deficit. With the talent that we have, I think it’s very doable maybe for not all of our matches, but for a nice number of them,” Frey said.

With 17 dates on its schedule, Penn College faces some challenges.

“It’s a real mix. There are some teams at our level that we’re going to be very competitive with. A couple of teams might have a few more horses in the barn than we do, but I anticipate that we’re going to be competitive. With the individual tournaments, I’m looking to have a number of guys placing,” Frey said.

Last season, the Wildcats ended 6-10 overall and fifth during their final year in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. In the postseason next March, Penn College grapplers will compete in the National College Open in Cleveland, Ohio, against wrestlers from some NCAA Division I and II schools that Frey said will be good preparation for next season when his Wildcats compete for the first time in a NCAA Division III regional qualifier.

Women’s Soccer
“The girls did a great job all year. They came in very fit. They came in ready to roll,” Wildcats coach John McNichol said moments after his team closed out its regular season at home with a 5-0 win over North Eastern Athletic Conference foe St. Elizabeth College on Saturday. The win upped its overall record to 11-8-1 and conference record to 9-4. The 11 wins tie a college record for most victories in a season set in 2013.

“Nineteen of our 24 players are freshmen or sophomores so it’s a very young group. The upperclassmen have done a great job helping teach and facilitate how we want to run our program. … The girls deserved everything that we’ve got so far and we’re really looking forward to the next part of our season,” the third-year coach continued.

Penn College, seeded fourth in the playoffs, will host Penn State Abington (9-6-1 overall and 8-4-1 in the NEAC) at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. When the teams met at Penn College on Sept. 10, the Wildcats won, 2-0, with Tiffany Brown, of Mechanicsburg, and Hailee Hartman, of Lampeter, scoring goals. Both teams ended the match with nine shots, six on goal.

“It will be a very tough match for us, but we’re looking forward to it,” McNichol said.

On Saturday against St. Elizabeth, Brown scored a goal and had two assists while Hartman scored once for her 15th goal of the season, tying a school record set a year ago by former teammate Robyn Beddow and passing Beddow for points in a season with 36. Penn College led in shots, 28-1 (18-1 on goal), and in corner kicks, 7-0.

In recent matches against the conference’s top teams — Penn State Berks, Lancaster Bible College and SUNY Poly — Penn College dropped each by a 1-0 score. But McNichol believes his squad is capable of reversing those outcomes.

“We’ve got to play a little bit better. … We’ve had a significant number of starters miss time with an injury, but we’re getting them healthy now. With the right amount of work rate in our next couple of games, we should be right there with those teams,” the coach said.

The key in the playoffs, McNichol said, is being able to “defend. We need to be able to hold possession and defend. We can’t give up any soft goals. We’ve got to make sure that we have numbers behind the ball, hold possession and play the way we’re capable of.”

The Wildcats reached the playoffs last year, losing in the quarterfinals to SUNY Poly, 1-0.

A 4-1 nonconference win on Tuesday at Summit University assured the Wildcats of just their second 10-win season ever. Brown scored two goals; Hartman had a goal and two assists; and Alexis Trkula, of Leechburg, had a goal and an assist for Penn College. The Wildcats led in shots, 15-9 (10-7 on goal), and corner kicks, 7-0.

Assessing some of his players, McNichol said, “Collectively, as a group, they’ve done great. Hailey Hartman has had a fantastic year. She’s tied with the program record single-season for goals; she has the single-season point record. Colleen Bowes, of Wayne, has done a fantastic job in goal. Her goals against average is under one, which I believe has only happened once in program history and that was by a non-starter.

“Our center-midfielders have done a fantastic job — Jane Herman, of Greencastle, Cait McCarthy, of State College — and when you look at our girls in the back, the starters have just done a fantastic job and it’s led by Breicia Beck, of Lancaster; Lauren Herr, of Manheim; and Jordan Courter, of Mill Hall. The three of them have been there the entire year and they’ve done a great job — it’s the least amount of goals we’ve given up as a team in a season. And Hanna Williams, of Marion, New York, and Francesca Timpone, of Smithtown, New York, have done an awesome job when they’ve been at outside back as well.”

Win No. 12 would be a new program record and, McNichol said, “It would be great. It would be very well-deserved for the girls.

“The great part about this team is the girls who have gotten individual records had no idea they were even close to them … they were very focused on team first, let’s make sure we get wins. … We’ve had very tight games all year and I think playing in those games is really going to help us come playoff time. Getting a program-record win in the first round of a playoff game at home as the first-ever NEAC playoff game on this campus, I can’t think of a better time to get it.”

In North Eastern Athletic Conference action this week: host Penn State Abington (9-6-1 overall, 8-4-1 NEAC through Sunday), 2 p.m., Tuesday.

Last meeting vs. Penn State Abington: won 2-0 on Sept. 10 with goals from Brown and Hartman. Both teams took nine shots, six on goal.

Statistically speaking through Sunday: Hartman was fifth in NEAC scoring with 14 goals while Bowes was second in save percentage at .840, fourth in goals against average at 0.88 and fifth in goals against with 17.

NEAC standings through Sunday: Penn State Berks 13-0, Lancaster Bible College 12-1, SUNY Poly 10-3, Penn College 9-4, Penn State Abington 8-4-1, Keuka College 8-4-1, Cazenovia College 7-6, Wells College 6-6-1, Morrisville State College 6-7, Bryn Athyn 4-8-1, SUNY Cobleskill 2-10, Wilson College 2-11, Gallaudet University 1-12, St. Elizabeth 0-13.

Cross-Country
In NEAC Championships on Saturday at Lancaster Bible College, two Penn College men earned all-NEAC honors as the Wildcats placed fifth among 12 teams while the Penn College women ended last in a 12-team field. The men’s finish was its best during its three years in the conference.

Men
Freshman Josh Velez, of Lewistown, covered the 8K course in 27:48.06 and finished seventh while sophomore Tom Runner, of Elkridge, Maryland, was 10th in 28:31.56 and both were awarded all-conference honors. Also for the Wildcats, sophomore Liam McGarvey, of Cogan Station, was 28th in 30:10.01; Nathan Mashack, of Bloomsburg, 36th in 30:41.96; Chris Traugher, of Bath, 37th in 30:50.20; and Chris Hogan, of Halifax, 47th in 31:32.50. Byron Evans, of Morrisville State, led the 101-runner men’s field in 26:43.07.

“Josh had a really great race. … There was a lot of good competition. I think the league was a lot stronger this year than it was last year. And Thomas coming in 10th was great to see, too,” coach Nick Patton said.

In team competition, it was: SUNY Poly 34, Penn State Abington 67, SUNY Cobleskill 79, Morrisville State 104, Penn College 112, Wells College 183, Lancaster Bible College 186, Penn State Berks 223, Keuka College 263, Cazenovia College 281, Bryn Athyn 291, Gallaudet University 310.

In a preseason poll of the conference’s coaches, the Wildcats were picked to end 12th. After ending fifth, Patton was elated.

“Not one of my guys was off today. Everybody was where they needed to be, or better. I’m really happy with the way the season ended. It (preseason poll) fueled their fire the whole year. They just wanted to prove themselves, which they certainly did,” the second-year coach said.

“We’ve had, in the past month, three key workouts that made it successful. They were all pretty tough and I think that’s what made us successful (Saturday),” Patton added.

Women
Annika Miller, a freshman from Lancaster, led the Penn College women by placing 39th over a 6K course in 29:02.35. Also for Penn College, Kylee Kalnas, of Easton, was 77th in 34:11.67; Tiffany Griffie, of Carlisle, 78th in 34:15.97; Ashley Mahaffey, of Hughesville, 79th in 34:43.54; and Kaitlyn Anderson, of Mastic, New York, 88th in 39:33.48. Emma Bayuk, of SUNY Cobleskill, led the 92-runner women’s field in 23:21.22.

In team competition, it was: SUNY Cobleskill 25, Cazenovia College 99, Penn State Abington 125, Keuka College 128, Lancaster Bible College 141, Morrisville State 166, SUNY Poly 173, Wells College 184, Bryn Athyn 190, Penn State Berks 196, Gallaudet University 270, Penn College 316.

Patton had praise for his women’s team, noting that “we made progress. The last time we raced at Lancaster Bible College, we didn’t fare so well, but (Saturday) we ran anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute quicker. It was encouraging to see, even four weeks later, that they were able to drop in their times.”

Men’s Soccer
On Thursday in nonconference action at Delaware Valley University, Penn College lost, 2-0. Delaware Valley led in shots, 29-12 (13-4 on goal), and in corner kicks, 6-3.

Wrapping up its season at home on Saturday in NEAC play against St. Elizabeth College, the Wildcats won, 9-0, to end 4-16 overall and 3-10 in the conference. Jonathan Myers, of Shippensburg, scored a goal and added an assist as Penn College outshot its opponent 30-2, 15-1 on goal, and led in corner kicks, 5-1.

“I wish we could have had a few of those (Saturday goals) during the course of the year, but it is what it is,” second-year coach Tyler Mensch said.

“Obviously (our record) wasn’t what we wanted at the end of the year. I thought, on paper, we had some players who could give us a chance to make a playoff spot. … We just never seemed to click in the offensive third of the field. That seemed to be our struggle all year, we would defend pretty well and then didn’t have the horses to get any goals in. … In my opinion, we gave up a lot of soft goals this year,” Mensch said.

During NEAC play, Penn College scored 20 goals and allowed 43.

“The freshman class is my first recruiting class and I have a lot of faith in those guys that they’re going to be in the weight room getting stronger. I have some quality freshmen who didn’t adapt as quickly as I thought they would to the speed of play and the physicality. … For the guys who are returning, the key is going to be getting stronger, faster, more athletic and agile,” Mensch said.

The recruiting season starts soon and Mensch and his assistants will be “looking for quality players that have a chance to get some time right away next season. At 4 and 16, there’s nothing that guarantees the guys that are returning a spot; these guys coming in next year can really make an impact if they’re ready to go. Hopefully that creates some good competition in practice and we can get things back to where they should be.”

Mensch had praise for his goalkeepers, Malcolm Kane, of Ardsley, and Hunter Gosnell, of Westminster, Maryland, both of whom should return next season.

“They had a really good season, kept us in a lot of matches that the score could have been a lot worse,” he said.

Statistically speaking through Sunday: Kane was fifth in the NEAC with 77 saves and Gosnell fifth in goals against with 43.

NEAC standings through Sunday: Morrisville State 12-1, Penn State Abington 10-2-1, Keuka College 8-2-3, Penn State Berks 9-4, Wells College 8-3-2, Lancaster Bible 8-5, SUNY Poly 8-5, SUNY Cobleskill 5-6-2, Wilson College 5-6-2, Gallaudet University 3-9-1, Bryn Athyn 3-9-1, Penn College 3-10, Cazenovia College 3-10, St. Elizabeth 0-12.

Women’s Volleyball
On Wednesday in nonconference play at Penn State Harrisburg, Penn College lost, 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-7). Lauren Slater, of Littlestown, led the Wildcats with 16 assists and Felicia Webber, of New Bloomfield, was tops with 13 digs.

Closing out its season at Penn State Altoona on Thursday in a nonconference match, Penn College lost, 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 11-25, 22-25), to finish 8-23 overall. The Wildcats ended 4-9 in the NEAC. Slater ended with 30 assists and Sophie Coldsmith, of Gettysburg, had 30 digs.

For the season, Coldsmith led the team with 393 digs, Slater had 607 assists and Breana Hayward, of Morrisdale, 171 kills despite not playing in the team’s final six matches, three in the conference, after being injured.

“I was significantly impressed about a lot of portions of how we played this season. Defensively, we were one of the top teams in the conference (Penn College finished second to Penn State Berks in digs); the flip side of that is where we struggled, on offense and putting the ball away,” second-year coach Tom McLaughlin said.

“We did much better than last season (the Wildcats were 1-25 a year ago). Numerous other coaches around the league noticed how much we improved, too,” the coach said, pointing to the individual contributions of Coldsmith; Slater; Jordyn Smeltzer, of Manchester; Jillian Persing, of Littlestown; Kaitlyn Young, of Harrisonburg, Virginia; and Maddi Deibert, of Herndon.

In the offseason, “our hitters need to work on getting a higher contact point on their approaches … and putting more balls away. We got in a lot of long rallies where we were doing good defensively and were keeping the ball up, but we just weren’t able to put balls away on offense.”

McLaughlin is hopeful of bring in freshmen with some height next season to help with blocking.

Statistically speaking through Sunday: Coldsmith was fourth in the NEAC with 393 digs.

NEAC standings through Sunday: SUNY Poly 12-1, Gallaudet University 11-2, Morrisville State 11-2, Penn State Berks 10-3, Wells College 9-4, Penn State Abington 8-5, Lancaster Bible 8-5, Keuka College 7-6, St. Elizabeth 5-8, Penn College 4-9, Bryn Athyn 3-10, SUNY Cobleskill 2-11, Cazenovia College 1-12, Wilson College 0-13.

Golf
The Wildcats closed out their four-match fall season by shooting a 345 and finishing third among seven teams on Monday at the Lebanon Valley College Dutchmen Invitational. Tyler Marks, of Forked River, New Jersey, led the team with an 83, good for fifth; while Ned Baumbach, of Elizabethtown, shot an 84 and tied for sixth; Zach Yost, of Johnstown, fired an 85 and tied for 10th; and Evan Johnson, of Towanda, recorded a 93, tied for 20th.

In their four outings, Penn College golfers averaged 331 as a team — 82.75 per player — and coach Matt Haile is hopeful that, by working out over the winter months, those figures will come down when the conference season rolls around in the spring.

“I was pleased (with the fall season). As I said at the beginning of the season, I was excited about the possibility of practicing at the Williamsport Country Club and I think it really prepared them for the courses that we played,” Haile said.

“Looking at the scores from last season to this season, Marks and Justin Geedey, of Turbotville, really stepped up their games and dropped several shots,” the coach related. “Having those two guys in the lineup, along with freshman Zach Yost averaging 81, that really helped.

“The hard thing is keeping them active (over the winter). In order to be able to bounce back quick in the spring, they need to be practicing. Whether it’s taking their putter and just making practice strokes in their dorm room … they need to be thinking about golf. We do have a practice net they have access to. I’m not allowed to coach in the offseason, but we talked about the opportunities they have at the college as far as the net,” Haile said.

SCHEDULES/RECORDS/RESULTS
Men’s/Women’s Cross-Country
Saturday, Oct. 29 – at NEAC Championship, Lancaster, men fifth in a 12-team field (Josh Velez seventh and Ryan Runner 10th individually); woman 12th in a 12-team field.
(end of season)

Men’s Soccer
Final overall record: 4-16
Final NEAC record: 3-10
Thursday, Oct. 27 – at Delaware Valley University, L, 2-0
Saturday, Oct. 29 – host St. Elizabeth College (NEAC), W, 9-0
(end of regular season)

Women’s Soccer
Overall record: 11-8-1
NEAC record: 9-4
Tuesday, Oct. 25 – at Summit University, W, 4-1
Saturday, Oct. 29 – host St. Elizabeth College (NEAC), W, 5-0
Tuesday, Nov. 1 – host Penn State Abington in NEAC quarterfinals, 2 p.m.
Friday, Saturday, Nov. 4-5 – NEAC Playoffs, TBA

Men’s Golf
Monday, Oct. 24 — at Lebanon Valley College Dutchmen Invitational, 3rd in a seven-team field
(end of fall season)

Women’s Volleyball
Final overall record: 8-23
Final NEAC record: 4-9
Wednesday, Oct. 26 – at Penn State Harrisburg, L, 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-7)
Thursday, Oct. 27 – at Penn State Altoona, L, 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 11-25, 22-25)
(end of regular season)

Wrestling
Overall record: 0-0
Saturday, Nov. 5 – at King’s College Monarch Invitational, 9 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12 – New York/Pennsylvania Duals at Riverdale, N.Y., TBA

Men’s Basketball
Overall record: 0-0
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – host Penn State DuBois, 7 p.m.

Women’s Basketball
Overall record: 0-0
Wednesday, Nov. 16 – at Thiel College, 7 p.m.

For more, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

No. 11

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