Pennsylvania College of Technology women's basketball and wrestling teams step into postseason play this week while the college archery team's season begins.
With its 48-12 win at PSU New Kensington last Monday, Penn College moved within one win of completing a perfect PSUAC regular season. The Wildcats, 5-0, conclude their conference regular season Tuesday hosting PSU DuBois. Against New Kensington, six Wildcats recorded falls.
"I'm pretty happy with what we've been doing. The guys have been stepping it up a notch. We've had some limited competition in some of our matches, some teams don't have a full lineup like we do, but the guys have been working hard and outside of some injuries, I'm pretty happy," said Penn College coach Schuyler Frey.
The wrestlers begin their postseason Saturday at the Penn State University Athletic Conference/United States Collegiate Athletic Association Championships at Penn State. Action begins at 10 a.m. A year ago, Penn College topped the PSUAC teams and was third in the USCAA field.
Looking ahead to the tournament, Frey said, "as far as the PSUAC, I think we're going to be nip-and-tuck with DuBois. They have some really good wrestlers and we have some guys who are doing very well. With the USCAA entries, those extra teams that come in are always very, very tough; some of the toughest teams in the nation in the NCWA (National Collegiate Wrestling Association). It's going to give us a real nice look at that upper echelon of our competition."
The Wildcats will send nine grapplers into action, including Ryan Hart and Camilo Serna at 133 pounds; Cesar Gonzalez at 141; Tyler Myers at 157; Austin Clark at 165; Dan Frankenfield and Logan Gresock at 174; and Paul Crutchlow and Alex Muller at 184.
It was announced last week that for the third consecutive week, and fourth time this year, Myers was named the PSUAC Wrestler of the Week. Thus far, Myers has gone 20-2 overall with 16 pins. As of last Saturday he was ranked fourth in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association 157-pound weight class.
"He is just a man on a mission. One of the things I've enjoyed this season is he's been a lot more patient. He's definitely being aggressive, but he's not forcing things. He's letting things come to him and capitalizing," Frey said.
The biggest factor for his team heading into the postseason, the coach said, is "staying healthy and, I think, trying to peak with conditioning.
"We need to pick up the intensity. We're going to be seeing a lot of good guys and we've got to want to win and out-will our opponents. We've got to continue to get more and more physical, wearing our opponents down and taking the match to them in the third period."
Losses to PSU York on Tuesday and PSU Scranton on Thursday put the Wildcats in a must-win situation Sunday, again against PSU Scranton, in order to reach the playoffs. Penn College built a 12-point lead early in the second half only to see Scranton rally to go ahead 83-81 with 3:17 remaining. The Wildcats then regained their composure, outscoring their opponent 12-6 the rest of the way for a 93-89 victory.
"After losing by 24 to them in the middle of the week we still knew we could play with them. They can shoot the ball like crazy, but we just sucked it up. It was a great team effort from everybody who stepped on the floor," Penn College coach Matt Wilt said.
Penn College will go into the Penn State University Athletic Conference playoffs as the No. 7 seed and will face the still undetermined second seed on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
"We had to win to get in. It's a big win for the girls, for the program and for the coach. We're in the tournament and it doesn't matter (who we face), we think we can win. This was our goal. We know we can beat anyone in this league so it's going to be fun," Wilt added.
Shooting just 27 percent from the floor and turning the ball over 29 times took a toll in a 70-54 loss to PSU York on Tuesday. Jamie Steer scored 19 points for the Wildcats while Jenna Matzinger added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Playing at PSU Scranton on Thursday, Penn College fell, 76-52. Kierstin Steer led the Wildcats with 18 points while Matzinger added 10 points and 16 rebounds.
On the road Saturday at Southern Virginia University, Kierstin Steer scored 15 points but it wasn't enough in a 68-44 loss. Steer's sister, Jamie, added 13 points.
In a game Tuesday during which it trailed most of the time, Penn College pulled within five points at 52-47 in the second half, but couldn't overcome PSU York and wound up losing, 66-55. Scott Fenton scored 16 points while Nathaniel Brown and Jesse Newman each scored 13. Brown also had 10 rebounds.
On Thursday at PSU Scranton, the Wildcats saw an eight-point lead slip away in the last four minutes of a 76-72 loss. Penn College got a balanced scoring effort with Jason Greenfield scoring 16 points; Fenton scoring 13; Chris Carrington scoring 12; Brown scoring 11; and Stephen Alford adding 10.
At PSU New Kensington on Saturday, Penn College dropped a 77-75 decision. Fenton scored 20 points while Newman added 19 points and Greenfield notched a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds.
The Wildcats open their season at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Penn State University Invitational.