Pennsylvania College of Technology golf and cross country seasons get under way this week with the golfers at PSU Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and the runners at PSU Scranton on Saturday. During action last Saturday, the college's women's soccer team opened with a win, the men's soccer team dropped its opener and the women's volleyball squad lost two matches.
ON THE HORIZON
Junior Alex Howe and sophomore Corey Teeple and sophomore Nick Krupka are the key returning players from last year's team that placed third in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and seventh in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national tournament.
"Our team this season is one of the better ones we've had in the last couple years. I've seen improvement in our returners and I'm happy with what I see in our new guys. They have a lot of potential and I'm excited to see how they do in a competition round," said Matt Haile, who enters his fourth season as head coach. "(The) key to our success this season is our ability to adapt to new courses and just play smart golf, trying to eliminate the big numbers. All of our regular season matches, except one, will be new for all of our guys. The guys who are able to keep it in play and adapt to the speed of the greens will do well.
"I think we have another team this year that will be in contention for the PSUAC title. I'm relying on our returners to play to their ability each match and the bottom half of our lineup will be there to pick them up if they have a bad round."
Looking ahead to the USCAA playoffs, Haile said, "Based on scores from last year at the USCAA, I don't think we have the team to win a national title, but we will definitely be competitive. My outlook for this year is to make the top five in the USCAA as a team and hopefully see some of our players make top 10 on an individual basis."
"In recent times, this is the most inexperienced team (I've had). I'm not saying they aren't good runners, they just need to work out some glitches transferring from a 5K (3.1 miles) to a 5-mile race (for the men)," said coach Mike Paulhamus, who is entering his 13th season.
"I think we're going to have a decent team. They've already shown they're in pretty decent shape for the beginning of the season. We just have to learn how to race, and that doesn't come until we get out there and start running against competition."
Returning runners include Dan Starr, Dan Flynn, Will Fuka, Joe Chadowski and Ed Knyff.
The Penn College men, who compete in the Penn State University Athletic Conference, have won nine consecutive conference championships, and Paulhamus said that goal remains the same.
"I don't put as much emphasis on the beginning of the season as I do for the month of October. We use September as a training month, we're learning how to run races, and then we have two meets in October and one in November. The last three meets of the season are when we want to be reaching our peak," he said.
Once again the squad doesn't have enough women to field a full team, but freshman Eileen Harrington will run as an individual and is expected to make an impact. Women run 3.1- to 3.7-mile distance courses.
"This team reminds me of my early years when we trained somebody for two years and then they left because that was all they had (eligibility-wise). That's how young my team is. It's exciting for me. We'll know in a couple of weeks. I think they're ready and I'm expecting great things from them," Paulhamus added.
On the road at Southern Virginia University in Buena Vista, the Penn College men fell, 4-1, limited to a second-half goal by Ben Shade at 78:48 that was assisted by Jose Gomez Zavala.
"We didn't play very well. We've got to get better quickly," said coach Enrique Castillo.
Penn College was limited to 12 shots on goal while its opponent had 22.
Kierstin Steer scored a goal and added an assist as the Wildcats topped Baptist Bible College, 4-1.
Steer opened the scoring at the 29-minute mark with an unassisted goal. Valeria Passalacqua made it 2-0 at the 32nd minute with an assist by Steer. Lady Wildcat Sarah Zeigler made it 3-0 at the 35-minute mark on an unassisted goal and the final Penn College goal came at the 55-minute mark on an own goal by deflection by Baptist Bible.
"Winning feels good," said Penn College coach Markus Rybak. "We had a slow start. Baptist Bible was pretty dominant during the first 15 minutes, but then we got a lucky break on a free kick that Jamie scored on and that turned the game around. Overall, I was very pleased."
At home against crosstown rival Lycoming College and Baptist Bible, Penn College fell twice and went to 1-2 on the season. Scores against Baptist Bible were 25-5, 26-24, 15-25 and 25-18, and against Lycoming were 27-25, 25-17 and 25-21. Against Lycoming, Tara Powell had two aces, seven kills and 13 digs; Melissa Lake had seven kills and Caitlyn Curley had 12 assists. No statistics were available from the Baptist Bible match.
"It was a good test of how our team can potentially play. We got to see some really strong volleyball," Wildcats coach Bambi Hawkins said.
SCHEDULE, RESULTS and RECORDS
Overall record: 0-1
Saturday, Sept. 1 at Southern Virginia University, L, 4-1
Wednesday, Sept. 5 host Alfred, N.Y., State, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 at PSU Brandywine, 1 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 10 host Valley Forge Christian College, 5 p.m.
Overall record: 1-0
Saturday, Sept. 1 host Baptist Bible College, W, 4-1
Wednesday, Sept. 5 host Rosemont College, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 at Cedar Crest College, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13 at Mt. Aloysius, 4 p.m.
Overall record: 1-2
Saturday, Sept. 1 host Lycoming College, L, 25-27, 17-25, 21-25; host Baptist Bible College, L, 5-25, 24-26, 25-15, 18-25
Wednesday, Sept. 12 host Mt. Aloysius, 4 p.m.; host Valley Forge Christian, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 4 at PSU Leigh Valley, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 11 at PSU Mont Alto, 11 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 a PSU Scranton, 12:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 11 at PSU Hazleton, 3 p.m.