Pennsylvania College of Technology sports fans had plenty to cheer about over the weekend as the men's cross country team and coed tennis teams claimed Penn State University Athletic Conference championships. The men's soccer team gave coach Enrique Castillo his 100th career win in just seven seasons, and the women's volleyball squad won a pair of matches.
Coming up this week, both the men's soccer and women's volleyball squads will be seeking PSUAC championships.
The Penn College men's team outdistanced, PSU Greater Allegheny, 32-53, on Saturday to capture its 10th consecutive conference championship - eighth in the PSUAC. Sophomore Dan Flynn led the Wildcats with a third-place finish in 30 minutes, 42 seconds. Also for Penn College in the top 10 were sophomore Dan Starr, sixth in 31:14, and freshman Dan Blauvelt, seventh in 31:23. On the women's side for Penn College, freshman Eileen Harrington placed 28th in 32:08.
"On the men's side, we finally got what I've been trying to achieve all season long and that is getting our first and fifth guy running within a minute to two minutes apart in a bunch. It's great, especially when we're headed for nationals," coach Mike Paulhamus said. "You can have the fastest runner at a race but if you don't have the other four guys doing their jobs it really puts a damper on team scoring. What I like about this team is if somebody is having a bad race, somebody else picks them up."
The Wildcats travel to Lake Placid, N.Y. for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Championships on Nov. 9.
Wrapping up two days of competition Sunday in the PSUAC championships, Penn College edged PSU Brandywine, 69-67, to claim its fourth conference crown in five years.
In championship matches, sophomore Adam Smith won the No. 2 men's singles title, freshman Jordan Rodgers took the No. 3 men's singles crown, and freshman Christopher Morrin captured the No. 4 men's singles championship. Sophomore Nathan Scott finished second at No. 1 men's singles. Rodgers and Morrin were victorious at men's No. 2 doubles while Scott and Smith finished second at No. 1 doubles, giving coach Robert Kemrer his first title championship.
"It feels great. I'm ecstatic," said Kemrer, who as a player had helped Penn College win title in 2008, 2009 and 2010. "All of my four singles players played incredibly well. They came through and played exceptionally well. And my doubles teams played very good as well. They played amazing."
Going up against NCAA Division III Alfred (N.Y.) State College on Wednesday, the Wildcats fell, 4-0, despite an 18-save effort by goalie Reda Vermilya. Penn College managed just six shots to 31 for Alfred. Penn College now is 8-3-1 overall.
"It's all a credit to the players. They've done a phenomenal job, all the guys we had before and all of the guys we have now," Castillo said after a 3-1 non-conference win Saturday over Bryn Athyn College which improved his career coaching record to 100-22-6, including 12-2-1 this season.
Earlier in the week, Penn College claimed the No. 1 PSUAC playoff seed when Ben Shade scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win Tuesday over PSU Hazleton. David Munn recorded the shutout with three saves as the Wildcats closed out their regular conference season with a perfect 9-0 record.
Penn College will host either PSU New Kensington or PSU Beaver in a conference semifinal match at 5 p.m. Wednesday. During the regular season, Penn College blanked Beaver, 6-0, on Sept. 22 and stopped New Kensington, 6-1, on Oct. 11.
Commenting on his team's unbeaten regular PSUAC season and playoff hopes, Castillo said, "This group of guys have been working extremely hard. This is one of those teams that meshes together. We have gotten better since the start of the season. I've very pleased and happy with the work ethic of the players. We're looking like a team, that's for sure."
"We're going to be ready to go (in the playoffs). They're ready mentally and physically. I just want to make sure they come out with the intensity that we should come out with, and I think we'll be fine."
Earlier in the week it was announced that striker Christopher Brennan was named the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) and PSUAC men's soccer Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 14. During the Wildcats' only game that week, Brennan scored a season-high four goals and added an assist to lead the team to a 6-1 win over Penn State New Kensington. Brennan, however, will miss at least the playoff opener with an injury.
Penn College is a two-time defending PSUAC champ and has won six of the last seven conference championships.
"We have a strong team. We will be working on how to play with greater intensity this week as well as some other technical aspects to work out before we get to the playoffs. I have no doubt that if our team plays the way it can, it has the potential to win the PSUAC this year. They are a pleasure to watch when playing the game with focus to win," said coach Bambi Hawkins. "Our regular season was quite a mix of the PSUAC teams interspersed with a variety of D-III schools that challenged us to improve our game. Hopefully those challenges and the things we learned from them will translate to a great team effort in the playoffs," Hawkins added.
On Wednesday facing NCAA Division III Elmira (N.Y.) College, the Wildcats fell, 3-0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-22. Tara Powell had 15 digs and sophomore Kelly Hebert added six blocks.
Back in PSUAC action on Saturday, Penn College swept Penn State Hazleton, 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-13). Powell and Hebert each had seven kills. Also for the Wildcats, Courtney Gernert had 16 digs.
In their regular-season finale Sunday at PSU Scranton, Penn College won, 3-0 (25-9, 25-8, 25-10) to improve to 21-7 overall and 15-1 in the conference, clinching the second seed in the playoffs, as Hebert had four kills and five blocks.
The Wildcats had to await the outcomes of other PSUAC matches Sunday, but most likely will host a playoff match in the quarterfinal rounds at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Penn College's lone loss during the regular season was against top-seeded PSU Fayette, 0-3 (6-25, 15-25, 21-25) on Oct. 14. Fayette has won six of the last seven PSUAC titles, including four in a row. Penn College won the championship in 2004.
Saturday, Oct. 20 - PSUAC Championship at PSU Brandywine, men won PSUAC Championship
Overall record: 13-2-1
PSUAC record: 9-0
Tuesday, Oct. 16 - at PSU Hazleton, W, 1-0
Saturday, Oct. 20 - host Bryn Athyn College, W, 3-1
Wednesday, Oct. 24 - host winner of PSU Beaver vs. PSU New Kensington in PSUAC semifinal, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27 - PSUAC Championship, TBA
Overall record: 8-3-1
Wednesday, Oct. 17 - at Alfred, N.Y. State, L, 4-0
Thursday, Oct. 25 - host Susquehanna University, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 27 - host Alfred, N.Y., University, 1 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 1-3 - USCAA National Championships at Asheville, N.C., TBA
Final PSUAC regular-season record: 7-1
Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 20-21 - PSUAC Championships at University Park, finished first in a four-team field.
Overall record: 21-7
PSUAC record: 15-1
Wednesday, Oct. 17 - at Elmira, N.Y., College, L, 0-3 (9-25, 16-25, 22-25)
Saturday, Oct. 20 - host PSU Hazleton, W, 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-13)
Sunday, Oct. 21 - at PSU Scranton, W, 3-0 (25-9, 25-8, 25-10)
Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 23-27 - PSUAC playoffs, TBA