Herr, Harvey Punch Their Ticket to Hershey February 23, 2018
Wrestling's second season began two weeks ago with the first of three stops on the way to the PIAA podium. District Three's Class 3A Section Two tournament was held at Hempfield High School on Saturday February 17 where 10 Donegal grapplers took to the mats in an attempt to punch their ticket to the District Three Championship.
Each weight class advanced four wrestlers to the Giant Center for a chance at a District medal with two Indians, Ethan Herr at 106 pounds and Romeo Harvey at 285, making the cut with fourth place finishes.
Donegal also had a wrestler just miss the cut when Will Small suffered heart breaking back-to-back falls in the final seconds of both matches to finish in fifth place at 160. Two others finished in sixth place with Dylan Bowers at 113 pounds and Dimitry Gonzales at 145 pounds.
Herr entered the tournament as the reigning L-L League champion at 106 pounds and advanced into the sectional quarterfinals with a 10-4 decision over Solanco's Dominic Flatt where, excluding a penalty point, the Donegal freshman only gave up one early reversal and an escape late in the third period.
Central Dauphin's Josh Miller awaited Herr after a first-round bye and, leading 2-0 in the third after a reversal at the end of the second period, was able to turn Herr for a quick pin at the 4:44 mark, sending him into the consolation round.
In his first wrestle back Herr met up with Brandon Kheuangthirath from Manheim Central where he cruised to a 12-0 major decision using a series of takedowns and 3-point near falls before scoring a late reversal for good measure.
Palmyra's Jacob Myers traded takedowns and reversals with Herr in the consolation semifinals before a heroic reversal with five seconds left propelled Herr into a rematch with Miller.
Herr's reversal midway into the second tied things up at 2-2, but Miller was able to hit a reversal 11 seconds later putting Herr directly to his back for the fall at 2:32.
Harvey, who only had 11 bouts under his belt before sectionals, found himself in a dogfight with Tyler Dougherty from Manheim and needed a sudden victory period to decide things.
Leading 3-1 after two periods of wrestling, Harvey surrendered a penalty point with 1:35 to go in the third and then went down 4-3 on a Dougherty reversal with 1:06 on the clock.
Harvey found a way to his feet with only 25 seconds left in regulation and then secured a winning 4-point move from the feet in the first sudden victory period, placing Dougherty on his back for the win.
Eventual champion Kyle Wuestner from Lower Dauphin was next up and Harvey briefly held the lead with an escape in the second period, but Wuestner's takedown with 49 seconds on the clock led to a fall for the Ram.
In his first wrestle back, Harvey met L-S's Owen Hess where the big Indian scored a takedown with 13 seconds remaining in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and earn a spot in Districts. All that remained was to determine if he would enter as a third or fourth place finisher.
In his final bout of the day, against Central Dauphin's Jaden Baylor, Harvey used a second period escape to take a 1-0 lead into the third, but it was a reversal late in the third by Baylor that led to an eventual fall at the 4:17 mark giving Harvey fourth place.
Wrestling at 160 pounds, Will Small's day was going very well as he used a quick 34 second pin to put away Palmyra's Ethan Alberto in the opening round and followed that with a dominating win over Jeff Elser from L-S in a bout where he was leading 7-0 before a fall at the 3:01 mark pushed him into the semifinals.
Penn Manor's Nick Baker met him there and used a 4-point move from neutral to open up a 6-2 lead in the second period but Small was able to close the gap with a reversal in the final seconds to pull within two points.
Beginning the third period in the bottom position, Baker hit a reversal five seconds in and then earned the fall at 5:45 to send Small into the consolation semis opposite Warwick's David Hnasko.
In that bout, Small built a 6-2 lead into the third period, but surrendered an escape midway through the period and then a takedown straight to his back where Hnasko earned the fall with only 13 seconds in regulation for the fourth qualifying position.
Both Bowers and Gonzales emerged victorious with a first period fall from their opening round bouts at 1:26 and 1:13 respectively, but then dropped into the wrestle backs after losing in the quarterfinal round.
At 113, Bowers ran out to a 10-0 lead over Milton Hershey's Josh Minners before earning another fall at 4:04 then dropped his next two for sixth place. Likewise, Gonzales lost his quarterfinal bout before a 6-4 decision over Joey Vandergriff from Solanco but lost twice after that as well.
Taj Younger, at 120 pounds, Mason Ober (132), Joe Fox (138), and Nick Grady (152) all had early exits with first round losses.
Herr and Harvey both looked to ride their sectional momentum into the Giant Center last Thursday night during the double elimination District Three Championship but ran into roadblocks along the way and were not able to make it out of the first day of competition.
Each wrestler dropped into the consolation rounds via an opening round fall, but it was Harvey who came the closest to surviving by making it into the second round of wrestle backs before falling victim to a 7-3 decision against Governor Mifflin's Jordan Espinosa as the night began to wind down.
Harvey's day began when he stepped onto the mat against Jeff Chisolm-Wilkerson from Harrisburg. After the two pawed at each other a bit trying to gain an upper hand, it was a takedown by the Cougar that put Harvey on his back halfway through the period with the fall not far behind.
Harvey bounced back with a fall of his own late in the third period of his next bout with Cedar Crest's Nick Stout after taking a 5-1 lead, and with nine seconds left in the match he was onto the second round.
It was there that Espinosa used a 5-point move from neutral in the second period and a stalling point and escape in the third to open up a 7-1 lead which was too much for Harvey to overcome as his season came to a close.
Herr's day ended in the first round of consolations where he attempted to wrestle through an injury he suffered in the opening round against Northeastern's Thomas Gradwell.
Re-aggravating his shoulder and needing injury time, Herr was not able to overcome the pressure of Canton Dolla of Daniel Boone and left Hershey on a 3-2 decision loss to the Scout.
While Donegal is considered a non-swim school, there are a contingent of athletes which represent the Indians in the pool and are able to qualify for the post-season meets. Coached by Alison Kreider, the eight swimmers have to be affiliated with a local aquatic club in order to be able to participate in PIAA sanctioned events.
In order to swim in regularly scheduled meets, the co-ed group has to compete during another school's events in an open lane and may only take part in the individual races with no relays allowed and each swimmer may only participate in two events apiece.
Even though they are a small group, the Donegal swimmers are making an impact as each of the eight members qualified through the L-L League meet to swim in Districts which take place Friday and Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School.
"This season has been the best one so far for me," commented Kreider on her special group. "The swimmers are working hard and you can see it when they enter the pool."
Two weeks ago, Jordynn and Jenna Park were both crowned as League Champions at Wilson High School when Jordynn clocked a best time of 1:05.39 in the 100 breaststroke and Jenna touched first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.19.
In addition to that accomplishment, Jordynn also finished third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.63 while Jenna tied for fourth place with Manheim Township's Hope Boldizar in the 100 freestyle, finishing in 54.20.
For the rest of the girls, Claire O'Neil took silver in the 500 freestyle by finishing in 5:23.97 and placed fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:13.98, Hailey Fry was seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.25) and finished 19th in the 200 freestyle (2:09.19), just ahead of Grace Wheeler who finished 20th in the 200 freestyle (2:12.30) as well as the 500 freestyle (5:51.37).
Jordynn also joined boys' team member Tyler Wilkinson in setting four new Donegal school records as both swimmers broke the existing records in their respective races.
Wilkinson's history making times came in the 200 freestyle where he finished sixth in 1:49.36 and the 100 backstroke where he touched third in 55.17.
Teammate Jake Houck finished fifth in the 50 freestyle (22.29) and third in the 100 butterfly (53.72) and Logan Fry placed 13th in the 200 freestyle (1:57.00) while taking 14th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.70).
Meanwhile, this weekend they will all have a huge supporter with them in Kreider. "I can't wait to see how they all do at Districts and States."
Both the boys and girls made it into the District Three Class 5A Championships, but each were eventually eliminated, thus ending their seasons.
For the girls it was a 59-40 loss to Lower Dauphin last Tuesday night while the boys initially lost 77-61 to Greencastle-Antrim last Monday and then suffered a 56-49 defeat to New Oxford in the consolation bracket three days later.
Lower Dauphin found a way to slow down the Donegal girls' attack, limiting Kiera Baughman to nine points. Carly Diffnederfer led the team with 17 while the Indians were outscored in the first three quarters of the game and trailed 46-27 heading into the fourth.
Cheyenne Livelsberger added six points followed by Morgan Creek (4), Alice Fernald (2), and Summer Steffy (2).
Michael Lyons (17), Elijah Swanigan (16), and Avery Walker (11) led the boys against Greencastle-Antrim but the Donegal defense was unable to slow down the Blue Devils attack which built a 39-26 lead by halftime and never looked back.
Abdalla Ibrahim dropped in two 3-pointers while scoring seven points on the night while Dalton Mullhausen and Reed Licopoli each added four, and Frank Devitz scored two.
Donegal Tops E-town, Qualifies for Districts February 9, 2018
After enduring a painful campaign in 2016-2017 where they only managed a single win the entire season, the Donegal boys' basketball team locked up a spot in the upcoming District Three 5-A Championship with a 57-47 win over backyard rival Elizabethtown last Tuesday in Mount Joy.
With that victory Donegal improved to 6-8 in Section Two and 12-10 overall and, most importantly, earned the number 15 spot in the District Three 5-A power rankings with the top 16 teams making the tournament.
The win also capped a 3-0 stretch during which the boys defeated Solanco 55-40 two Friday's ago before outpointing Daniel Boone 47-36 the next day.
While the Indians did not qualify for the L-L League tournament which began last Thursday, they will now have plenty of time to rest and prepare for their first-round matchup in Districts which begin on Monday.
Donegal's Avery Walker led all players with 17 points against Solanco and teammates Elijah Swanigan (15) and Michael Lyons (11) completed the trio of double digit Indian scorers in a game that the Indians ran away with in the second half.
Leading 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, Donegal's advantage dropped to three when the Golden Mules put up 14 in the second to make the score 27-24 at the break.
Donegal proceeded to outscore Solanco 28-16 in the second half, putting up 14 in each of the final two quarters and pulling away for the easy victory.
Walker netted nine points alone on 3-pointers and Swanigan went 7-8 at the foul line while Andrew Stwalley added six points on the night and Abdella Ibrahim, Frank Devitz, and Reed Licopoli all tallied two apiece.
Trailing 16-12 against Daniel Boone the next day, the Donegal defense blanketed the Blazers in the second quarter, holding them scoreless. However, the Indians failed to take advantage on offense scoring only seven points while overtaking the visitors for a slight 19-16 advantage at halftime.
With Lyons (13) and Walker (12) leading the way, Donegal extended that lead to 40-24 in the third helped by Swanigan's nine points, six from Licopoli, Stwalley's four, and Ibrahim's three for the game.
The Blazers then put up their second-best point total of the game with 12 in the fourth quarter, but it was all for naught as the Indians iced the game by outpacing them with 17 in the finish.
Winning both of those games set up a do-or-die situation against Elizabethtown in which the winner earned its way into Districts. Donegal entered the game already as the 15th seed while the Bears sat at No. 17 in the power rankings looking to leapfrog into the playoffs.
Elizabethtown's Ryan Parise drained one of his two 3-pointers of the night with two seconds on the clock to put the Bears ahead 18-15 heading into the second quarter but Donegal eventually found a way to get in the last punch before half.
After a back-and-forth second quarter and with time running down, Swanigan made a break to the basket and found Stwalley who was waiting on the outside. The senior calmly took aim from behind the arc and netted his own 3-banger just before the clock went to zero's, sending the tribe into the locker room with a 27-26 lead.
It was a lead that Donegal never relinquished and expanded from a one-point advantage to 13 before containing a last-minute surge by the Bears in the fourth that pulled them back to within six at 51-45, the closest they would get the rest of the night.
Walker's 17 points led another trio of double digit Indians with Swanigan (14) and Licopoli (10) joining the team leader. Following were Lyons (8), Stwalley (3), Dalton Mullhausen (2), Devitz (2), and Ibrahim (1).
With a Section Two race that wasn't decided until the night before the L-L League playoffs, Donegal's girls emerged out of the dust with third place firmly in hand, a League play in game against Cedar Crest, and a 16th seed ranking for Districts.
A week and a half ago the lady Indians began a four-game stretch with a 72-58 loss to Solanco and then reeled off three straight wins which included a 64-44 triumph over Daniel Boone, a 71-33 blowout of Lebanon, and a wild 41-39 stunner over the Falcons.
Kiera Baughman dropped 23 points on the Mares and Carly Diffenderfer added 22, but it wasn't enough to knock off the eventual Section Two second place finisher who had three players in double digits.
A costly second quarter, in which Solanco out scored the Indians 21-10, gave the Mares a 38-22 advantage at the break, and put Donegal too far behind to catch up despite a small rally in the fourth.
Only two other Donegal players made the scoreboard on the night with Summer Steffy putting up nine points and Cheyenne Livelsberger adding four.
In addition, Baughman nailed four from long distance while Diffenderfer drained two, and Steffy added one of her own.
Donegal had eight players score against the Blazers of Daniel Boone while racing out to a 35-16 lead by halftime and never looking back.
Baughman continued her sharpshooting ways as the sophomore drained another trio of 3-pointers on the way to 19 points on the day, but it was Diffenderfer's 21 that led all players, including a 5-7 effort from the line.
Livelsberger hit four shots from the field and a free throw to tally nine points, Steffy scored six, Ella DeBruin contributed four, Morgan Creek and Alexandra Daly each had two and Madeline Gohn added a foul shot to round out the scoring for Donegal.
Daniel Boone couldn't recover enough in the third, giving up 17 to the Indians while scoring 13 but pulled a bit closer in the fourth with a 15-12 advantage.
Lebanon fared even less against the lady Indians who dominated at every turn, racking up a 34-16 lead by halftime led by a 28-point effort by Diffenderfer, including two 3-pointers from the high-flying senior.
Donegal increased its lead to 26 after three quarters of play, finishing out with a 17-5 run in the final frame. Baughman added 18 points followed by Creek (8), Steffy (8), DeBruin (3), Livelsberger (3), Gohn (2) and Daly (1).
After their win over the Cedars, Donegal was caught in a tie with Manheim Central for third in the section and were awaiting the final of the Garden Spot versus Solanco game last Wednesday to truly decide the end of season standings.
Donegal held a tie-breaker advantage over the Barons, going 2-0 during the season, and following a Spartan loss to the Mares, maintained the hold on third place.
In what turned out to be a wild ending in the play-in game with Cedar Crest in which Diffenderfer was blanketed by the Falcons, Baughman was able to find her stride, putting up 20 points including the final two at the end of the game for the margin of victory.
With four seconds remaining in regulation and the score tied at 39-39, Donegal called a time out. On the ensuing inbound pass, Baughman caught a foul that was ruled intentional giving her two shots from the line, and Donegal possession.
She was good on both to make it 41-39 with two seconds left and the Indians were able to run out the clock to send them against Lancaster Catholic on Saturday.
Battling back from five points down, the ladies cut the deficit to two at halftime, 25-23. In an oddly low scoring third quarter, Donegal outscored Lebanon 8-4 to take the lead at 31-29 and then both teams put up 10 points in the fourth.
Rounding out the night for the Indians were Livelsberger (8), Steffy (4), Diffenderfer (4), Gohn (2), Daly (2), and Fernald (2).
Ethan Herr Claims L-L League Gold at 106 February 2, 2018
Donegal wrestling may not be able to win Section Three where, yet again, Northern Lebanon reigned supreme, but a champion was crowned, medals were earned and a bear was skinned as the Indians recently wrapped up a successful week on the mat.
In third place behind Annville-Cleona (4-2, 6-6) and the Vikings (6-0, 8-1) after a 36-27 nail biter of a win at Elizabethtown, Donegal (3-2, 5-2) began its recent run with a trip to the L-L League Meet two weeks ago at Garden Spot High School.
It was there that Ethan Herr, William Small, and Dylan Bowers all reached the podium with Herr claiming the gold at 106 pounds, Small taking fourth at 160, and Bowers placing fifth at 113.
Overall the Indians placed 14th out of 22 teams with 62.5 points scored, but it was Herr that provided the most excitement for the Donegal faithful as he worked his way through the bracket and used a timely takedown to earn a hard fought League Championship.
After a first round bye, Herr took a 10-1 major decision over Dominic Flatt of Solanco which then pitted him against McCaskey's Jordan Holland in the quarterfinals where he advanced to the semifinals with a 22-5 technical fall. It was there that the freshman eked out an 8-6 decision to punch his ticket to the finals.
Northern Lebanon's Brandon Breidegan used a second period fall over Jeremiah Pina of Conestoga Valley to advance into the semifinals where he worked a 12-3 major decision over Manheim Township's Micah Sams, setting up the showdown with Herr.
The two battled it out over two and a half periods with Breidegan gaining the upper hand at 7-6 before the resilient Herr came out on the top of a two-point takedown with only eight seconds on the clock and was able to corral the slim victory.
Bowers and Small achieved varying degrees of success before dropping into the consolations to finish out their respective weekends.
Small wrestled his way into the semifinals before tasting defeat at the hands of Northern Lebanon's Blaise Bressler via a first period fall.
Along the way, however, he pinned Travis Zang of Cedar Crest in only 33 seconds to advance to the quarterfinals where his 10-9 decision over L-S's Jeff Elser set him on the path to the wrestle backs.
Once there, Small decisioned Warwick's David Hnasko, 7-5, and was propelled into the third place match against Penn Manor's Nick Baker where he succumbed to a first period fall for the fourth place medal.
Bower spent a little more time in the consolation bracket, but made the most of it payback fashion with a third period pin of Trevor Grassel from Penn Manor to claim fifth place. It was Grassel who sent Bowers into the wrestle backs with a pin in the second period of the duo's quarterfinal match.
Bowers then defeated Ethan Carl of Elizabethtown 12-4 and lost to Kyler Anspach of Northern Lebanon before getting his second shot at the Comet.
Donegal's Taj Younger, Jeremy Algoe, Mason Ober, Joseph Fox, Dimitri Gonzales, Nick Grady Elliot Burnette, and Joseph Shaeffer all were eliminated with two straight losses while Ryan Stalnecker and Kyle Bixler each won once in the wrestle backs before ending their day on the mat.
Donegal then faced off against the Elizabethtown Bears last Wednesday on the road and led, at one point, by 15 points before a late 18-0 surge by the home team brought the entire meet down to one bout.
When Herr took to the mat against E-Town's Cayden Spencer, the Bears had overtaken the Indians and led 27-24 after a Blake Andrews fall at 220 and a Donegal forfeit at 285.
Earlier, Bowers and Younger put Donegal up 6-0 after respective 9-2 and 8-4 decisions to start the meet at 120 and 126.
Fox's fall at 138 followed by an 11-2 Gonzales decision at 145 widened the gap to 12 points at 15-3 before Small's 8-4 decision at 160 and Stalnecker's pin at 170 put the Indians up 24-15
From there it looked as if the Bears might steal the meet away with four straight victories, but Herr's first period fall over Spencer at 106 sealed the deal.
Donegal's boys played three and lost three while the girls won both of their games in the interim with the season winding down.
Facing Elizabethtown (6-6), Ephrata (8-4), and Cocalico (6-6) in three road games over the past two weeks the boys lost 64-47, 68-63, and 47-41, respectively, and were sitting in seventh place in Section Two at 4-8.
Avery Walker (64) and Elijah Swanigan (47) combined for 111 total points and alternated as leading scorers over that three game span which began in Elizabethtown.
Giving up a 23-6 margin in the first quarter, Donegal never recovered and was down 46-30 by the time the final frame began.
Swanigan had 15 points to lead the Indians and his 7-8 effort at the line contributed greatly to Donegal's hitting 75 percent of its free throws.
Walker scored 13 followed by Andrew Stwalley (8), Michael Lyons (5), Francis Licopoli (3), Abdalla Ibrahim (2), and Luke DeBruin (1).
Both Walker (29) and Swanigan (23) had a monster game against Ephrata on Friday but the Mounts found a way to extend a 45-44 third quarter lead in the fourth by outscoring the Indians 23-19 to finish a game that was tied 13-13 after the first. Lyons (5), Dalton Mullhausen (4), and Stwalley (2) rounded out the scoring for Donegal.
Donegal led Cocalico 9-5 heading into the second quarter of last Tuesday's game but could not manage a way to maintain that lead in a back-and-forth affair. Walker scored 22 points to lead all scorers. Swanigan added nine, Lyons had four, Licopoli had three, Frank Devitz scored 2 and Mullhausen added one for the night.
After the Eagles went up 20-17 at the break, Donegal came back in the third and tied the game at 42-42 but was outscored 15-9 in the third for the loss.
In a tight Section Two battle for second place for the girls, Solanco (7-5), Donegal (7-5), and Garden Spot (7-5) all trailed Lampeter-Strasburg (12-0) after last Tuesday's games and had two final league games each to sort things out.
As it was, the lady Indians solidified their place in the standings with a 62-55 victory over Ephrata and a 58-511 win at home against Cocalico last Tuesday.
Riding Carly Diffenderfer's hot streak, Donegal outscored the Mounts 20-11 in the first quarter and 13-11 in the second for a 33-22 advantage and then held off a small Ephrata charge in the second half that didn't really threaten much but pulled them within seven points at the end.
Diffenderfer, fresh off joining the 1000 point club, lit things up for a game high 27 and was an amazing 15-20 at the foul line while Kiera Baughman (16) and Cheyenne Livelsberger (14) joined her for double digits and identical 4-4 efforts at the line.
Madeline Gohn (2), Summer Steffy (2), and Alice Fernald (1) topped the scoring for the Indians.
Steffy took charge against Cocalico, however, as her 18 points not only led the team but everyone else on the hardwood as she also connected on one 3-pointer and had a 3-4 night shooting free throws.
Cocalico led right from the start and was up 20-14 after one quarter of play but the lady Indians fought back in the second to tie things up at the break, 32-32.
Baughman added 16 and Livelsberger tallied 12 as the trio of double digit scorers opened things up in the third during a 17-9 run that put Donegal ahead for good despite a 10-9 advantage for the Eagles in the fourth.
Fernald added seven, Diffenderfer put up two, and Gohn and Alexandra Daley each scored one point apiece on free throws to round out the Donegal scoring.
Diffenderfer Joins 1,000 Career Points Club January 26, 2018
For many youths who are involved in sports there is almost always a fantasy that plays out in their minds of winning the big game with a fantastic play. Many times, however, those scenarios never come to fruition. But sometimes, they do.
Carly Diffenderfer entered Donegal's recent basketball game with Section Two rival Manheim Central needing only 26 points to earn her membership into the 1000 point club. While that total is a tall order for a single game, she had done it before, so it wasn't an impossible feat to say the least and boy did she deliver in the 61-59 timber rattling Indians victory.
Facing a stingy Manheim defense which only allowed her six points in the first quarter of play Diffenderfer was held scoreless in the second and it looked like her special day would have to wait.
She was able to write her fantasy ending in the second half, however, as the senior turned it on and helped the Indians battle from 10 points down to a 59-59 tie with only 7.5 seconds remaining.
"In our final timeout they had a look of determination that they had never shown. For Carly it wasn't about just scoring her 1000th point but winning the game. I was very confident when they took the floor," commented head coach Thomas Baughman.
With Kiera Baughman looking to inbound the ball, the sophomore noticed a shift in Manheim's defense and signaled Diffenderfer to release down court.
She then launched a hail-mary that found Diffenderfer in the paint where she dribbled once, spun, and capped off a play for the ages that banked off the backboard and through the net with career number 1000 and only 0.9 on the clock after play was stopped for a celebration by the elated team and coach.
"I am super proud of what Carly has accomplished and happy to be there when she accomplished such a goal," said an elated Baughman.
Not to be lost was the fact that Donegal twice came back from double digit deficits and in addition to Diffenderfer's 26 points, Baughman put up 20 of her own including a first quarter buzzer beater that tied the game at 17-17.
Central, led by game high scorer Brooke Breinich (28), pulled ahead again in the second and led 35-28 at the break. The lady Barons extended that lead once again in the third to 52-44 before Donegal clamped down in the fourth where they held Manheim to seven points, setting the stage for Diffenderfer's masterful ending.
Baughman also drained four from long range while Madeline Gohn (6), Cheyenne Livelsberger (6), and Summer Steffy (3) also contributed to the win.
Donegal's next two games did not turn out well for the ladies as they dropped a 67-36 final to eventual Section Two champion Lampeter-Strasburg (10-0) and then suffered a 67-54 defeat at the hands of Garden Spot (6-4).
Following their win with the Barons (4-5), Donegal (5-5) eventually dropped into a tie for third with Solanco (5-5) as of last Tuesday's game results and with six games remaining on the schedule.
Hanging with the Pioneers through the first quarter, Donegal trailed by only two at 15-13. However, a monster finish to the first half by L-S carried over into the third quarter as the Indians were outscored 42-16 and found themselves behind 57-29 heading into the final frame.
Livelsberger scored a team high 12 points as the Pioneer defense clamped down on Donegal's duel threat, holding Baughman and Diffenderfer to a combined 13 for the night.
Alice Fernald (4), Steffy (4), and Alexandra Daly (2) added support against the highly touted Pioneer defense.
Donegal traveled to New Holland last Tuesday and despite only trailing by five points at halftime, saw Garden Spot run away with the game. The Spartans put up 22 in the third quarter to widen the lead to 15 with the score at 55-40 to start the fourth quarter.
Baughman (20), Diffenderfer (16), and Livelsberger (12) accounted for much of the Donegal offense with Baughman draining three 3-pointers and Diffenderfer converting 3-of-4 foul shots.
Madeline Gohn also had a good night at the line, going 2-4 for the night and Morgan Creek and Steffy each contributed two points apiece.
In similar fashion, the boys also pulled off a close victory over Manheim Central, 40-39, but likewise lost their next two as Lampeter-Strasburg claimed a 73-44 win and Garden Spot came away victorious, 63-44.
Despite only holding the lead twice against the Barons, it was a 7-0 run in the third capped by an Avery Walker put-away that sent the Indians ahead for good in a game that came down to the final shot.
Only 14.4 seconds remained on the clock and Donegal led 40-39 as Manheim set up for its final inbound of the game. With the Indians defense not providing any clear path to the basket the Barons were forced to pass the ball around on the outside looking for a break that never came.
As Walker desperately defended with his teammates, Manheim's Drew Mummau eventually had to take an off balance desperation shot with two seconds remaining from behind the arc with Elijah Swanigan's outstretched hand in his face.
The shot caromed off the front of the rim and into the arms of Frank Devitz who swallowed up the rebound, securing the exciting finish for the Indians.
Central opened the game with a 10-6 first quarter and just barely took a two point lead into the break after Donegal tied things up at 15-15 in the second. The Indians rebounded in the second half, though, outscoring Manheim 25-22 in the final two quarters.
Walker led the team with 13 points and his one bucket from long range accounted for half of Donegal's successful 3-point attempts. He was followed by Michael Lyons (8), Reed Licopoli (8), Andrew Stwalley (5), Dalton Mullhausen (4), and Swanigan (2) with Stwalley hitting the second 3-pointer of the night.
Lampeter-Strasburg visited the Indians next and despite trailing 27-24 at halftime, exploded for 46 after the break while holding the Indians to only 20. Donegal played even up with L-S in the first quarter, 14-14, but could not stay with them in the second half.
Ryan Smith's 30-point effort propelled L-S to victory even though three Indians scored double digits with Walker (15), Lyons (11), and Swanigan (10) pacing Donegal. Logan Nauman, Cameron Kurtz, Mullhausen, and Licopoli all scored two points apiece in the loss.
Donegal started and finished strong against Garden Spot, but it was the in-between that downed the Indians. Outscored 36-15 over the second and third quarters, they watched a 14-12 first quarter lead dissipate and turn into a 39-29 deficit heading into the fourth.
Jordan Shewbridge's game high 20 points and a stalwart defensive effort by the Spartans kept all Donegal scorers below 10 were Garden Spot's keys to victory.
The normally hot handed Walker joined Licopoli and Swanigan in scoring nine points each with Lyons putting up six, Stwalley and Ryan Zuch each scoring four and Mullhausen adding three. Swanigan and Walker each had a 3-pointer and Zuch was perfect at the line, going 4-4.
Sitting in third place in Section Three and headed into the L-L League tournament this past Friday, Donegal (3-2) finished out its league schedule with a 67-4 loss to Section champion Northern Lebanon (6-0) and a 52-27 victory over Pequea Valley (3-2).
No team was able to crack the stone wall that is Northern Lebanon as the Vikings put together another outstanding season on the mat in an undefeated campaign.
That prowess was on display as Donegal was only able to muster one win when Dylan Bowers scored a 9-1 major decision over Seth Fischer at 120 pounds in the third bout of the night to make it 9-4 in favor of the Vikings.
Any thoughts of an upset, however, were quickly put to rest as Northern Lebanon rolled to eight straight wins before Donegal surrendered three forfeits to end the match.
Putting that loss in the rearview, Donegal faced off with Pequea Valley last Wednesday and despite a spirited effort by the Braves, were able to earn the win that put them above the .500 mark.
Forfeiting the first three bouts of the night beginning with 120 pounds, Pequea Valley scored a major decision, technical fall, and pin at 138, 145, and 152 respectively to pull within three points at 18-15.
Three straight pins by the Indians put Donegal comfortably ahead 36-15 and by the time Bowers had his hand raised with a forfeit at 113, the Braves had won only two more bouts.
Beginning with 160 pounds, Will Small worked for almost three full periods before sticking Trevor Huber with ten seconds remaining, but it only took Ryan Stalnecker one minute into his bout at 170 to deck Chase Riehl to make it 30-15.
Kyle Bixler finished the trio of falls when he turned Brody Man to his back and stuck him at the 2:39 mark of the bout at 182 before Elliot Burnette accepted a forfeit at 195 to make it 42-15.
Nate Miller earned a pin at 220 for the Braves and Joe Coblentz took the forfeit at 285 for Pequea's final points of the night.
Ethan Herr then worked a 12-0 major decision over Jace Beegle at 106 pounds before Bowers stepped to the center of the mat for his forfeit.
Diffenderfer Nets 28 in Hard-Fought Section Loss January 12, 2018
After opening up with an extremely tense but hard fought 43-42 win over host Cocalico two weeks ago, the lady Indians found themselves in another nail biter when they took on Solanco last Tuesday on their home court. They came out on the other side of that one in a 72-70 win by the Mares in the final seconds.
The ladies finished with another home matchup, this time with Middletown on Thursday but only briefly held a lead on the Raiders who took off running and finished by handing Donegal a 75-60 defeat.
The results place Donegal (3-3) in fourth place in Section Two behind Solanco (3-2) and Manheim Central (3-2) in third place, Ephrata (4-2) in second place and Lampeter-Strasburg (6-0) in first.
In what was to be the first back-to-back wild endings for the ladies, they took to the court against Cocalico in a very evenly played contest in which Donegal only led 21-17 at halftime.
"We knew it would be a tough second half if we didn't have another player get hot on offense," commented head coach Thomas Baughman. "With Kiera Baughman running point guard and slowing down our half-court offense, it opened up Cheyenne Livelsburger for a career high game. She was terrific in the second half with 12 points and 18 total."
Baughman ended the game with 13, while Carly Diffenderfer added six, Sumer Steffy put up five, and Madeline Gohn tallied one.
After both teams put up 11 points each in the third and played a lot of back-and-forth through the final frame, it was the final 30 seconds of the game that decided it all.
Down by one point and forcing a turnover, Cocalico took possession with 22 seconds left and with only three seconds remaining took a shot that was tipped out of bounds by a Donegal defender, giving the Eagles one final chance.
Donegal was able to rebound the resulting errant shot and held on for a well-earned victory that garnered praise from their coach. "The girls really dug deep in the final minute of that game and showed a lot of character by picking each other up and working together to achieve the victory against a good section rival Cocalico."
Against Solanco it was the fourth quarter in which things turned against the ladies. After stretching an 18-17 first quarter lead to 53-47 at the end of the third, Donegal was outscored 25-17 in the final frame and surrendered the game winning shot with only two seconds remaining.
Led by senior guard Carly Diffenderfer's 28 points, the lady Indians took it down to the wire and with the Mares leading by three, Baughman hit a game tying 3-pointer only to have Solanco re-take a two point lead with less than a minute to go.
"Now it was a time out situation, I knew we needed to remain calm on offense and find the layup to tie this thing up," stated Coach Baughman.
Livelsburger was able to do just that when Alice Fernald's screen allowed Baughman to feed her for the game tying shot.
Solanco, however, found the game winner with only two seconds remaining to put an end to a well-played game by both sides. "It was a hard fought battle to the end. Our girl's just need to play with the same sense of urgency all four periods," stated Baughman. "I am proud of their fight in this game tonight."
Thursday's game with Middletown was less suspenseful, unfortunately, as Donegal held the lead briefly in the opening minutes of play, but watched as the Raiders widened a slight 17-15 lead in the first to 32-29 at halftime and then outscored a sleeping Indians offense 24-8 in the third.
Diffenderfer led all scorers with 24 while Baughman tallied 18, including two 3-pointers. Fernald had five, followed by Livelsberger (4), Summer Steffy (3), and then Gohn, Morgan Creek, and Alexandra Daly who each scored two.
The Donegal boys found themselves on the winning end of a three game stretch that began with a tight 56-53 victory over Cocalico two Friday's ago in front of the home crowd in Mount Joy and was followed the next day by a 63-37 losing effort on the road in a non-league matchup with Chambersburg.
The Indians were able to regroup, however, and finish with a solid 66-33 win over Solanco last Tuesday in Quarryville which, at the time, increased their record to 3-3 and placed them in a three way tie for third place with Elizabethtown and Cocalico.
Leading by 10 points after the third period against the Eagles, Donegal was able to withstand a furious comeback bid by Cocalico that saw the visitors put up 23 points in the fourth after tallying only 30 up to that point in the game.
With help from Abdalla Ibrahim and Avery Walker, who both put up 16 points to lead the team, the Indians answered with 16 in the final frame which proved to be just enough to hold off the surging Eagles.
A strong defensive effort by Donegal in the second quarter, where the Indians only surrendered five points, erased a 12-10 deficit and sent them into the locker room at the break with a 24-17 lead.
Ibrahim's efforts beyond the arc accounted for nine of the senior's total points on the night while Walker was on fire from the foul line going 6-8. Michael Lyons, Andrew Stwalley, and Elijah Swanigan scored six points apiece followed by Frank Devitz (3), Reed Licopoli (2), and Dalton Mulhausen (1).
Against Chambersburg, the boys never held the lead beyond the opening minutes of play, although it was close at 11-8 after the first quarter.
The Trojans were able to contain Donegal on offense for most of the game while steadily stretching the margin of victory over the course of the afternoon, but Walker was still able to slip through the cracks and put up 17 of his own while Swanigan managed eight including two 3-pointers.
Donegal was impressive at the line as they did not miss a single free throw, but the impact was minimal as the Indians only had five attempts throughout the game.
Lyons chipped in with four points while Ibrahim and Stwalley each accounted for three and Cameron Kurtz scored two in the loss.
Solanco proved to be just what Donegal needed as the Indians put the Trojans in the rearview and beat the Golden Mules by 13 last Tuesday. Walker lit up the floor on the way to a 27 point effort in a game where Donegal held only a slim two point lead at halftime.
Coming out of the locker room to start the third, an inspired Donegal team put up 22 points and increased that lead to 11 with a score of 53-42 before finishing things off in the fourth.
Lyons and Swanigan each scored 11 points in the winning cause while Licopoli added 10, and Stwalley tallied seven.
While Northern Lebanon maintained its stranglehold on Section Three and remained unbeaten, Donegal took its first loss of the season against Annville-Cleona last Wednesday at home as the Dutchmen stormed into Mount Joy and took down the Indians 48-26.
Facing a 30 point deficit after giving up a fall in each of the first five bouts, Donegal was finally able to get on the board when Will Small worked his way into an 8-2 decision over Daniel Tobias at 160.
Over the final eight bouts of the meet, the two teams traded wins, including one forfeit apiece, with Kyle Bixler making the score 33-8 with an 18-3 technical fall over Caleb Turner at 182 before Cael Rapp needed only 27 seconds to flatten Dion Lopez at 220 to make it 39-14.
Ethan Herr gave the Indians their final earned points of the meet with a 2:39 fall over Gavin Knox at 106 pounds in 2:39 and Jeremy Algoe accepted a forfeit at 120 pounds for the final points of the night.
With the loss, Donegal fell to 2-1 in the section and was in third place behind Pequea Valley (3-1) with both teams chasing Northern Lebanon (5-0).
Matmen Top Crusaders, Now 2-0 in Section 3 January 5, 2018
Now that we have had our fill of the 2017-2018 holiday tournaments it is time to move on from the appetizers portion of this year's sports schedule and get ready for the meat and potatoes.
Donegal's wrestling team began its regular season back on December 13th when it overcame an early deficit and held on to defeat ELCO 39-30 on the road for the first win of the year.
Last Wednesday they welcomed Lancaster Catholic to the Donegal Gym with a not-so cordial 62-12 greeting to the New Year. The result garnered them a third place seat in Section Three at 2-0 behind first place Northern Lebanon (4-0) and second place Pequea Valley (3-0).
The outcome was never in doubt against the Crusaders who did not earn any points until the ninth bout of the night when Evan Hart, at 120, pinned Taj Younger in the second period.
That, combined with the six points that were awarded to Lancaster Catholic as a forfeit at 285 pounds, made it 40-12 in favor of the Indians and marked the end of the scoring for the visiting Crusaders.
Donegal, which recorded five pins for the match, received its first when Will Small dispatched Ryan Kemmerly via a first period fall at 1:45 in the opening bout at 160 pounds.
Ryan Stainecker's 12-4 major decision over Dylan Joachim at 170 and Kyle Bixler's quick 32 second pin of Alex Cruz at 182 preceded two Lancaster Catholic forfeits and the lone Donegal freebie at heavyweight and set the Indians up with a 28-6 advantage.
Ethan Herr (1:49), and Dylan Bowers (:44) each needed less than one period of work to turn their opponents before back-to-back decisions by Jesse Thomas at 126 and Mason Ober at 132 pushed the lead to 46-12.
The Indians finished out the match with a 3:56 pin at 138 by Joseph Fox over Carlos Nezario followed by Lancaster Catholic's final forfeit at 145 and a 12-0 major decision by Dimitri Gonzalez over J.P. Jones at 152 pounds.
While both the boys' and girls' teams boasted identical 5-4 overall records after last Tuesday's games against Ephrata, the Lady Indians stood at 2-2 in League play and were in 5th place in Section Two while the guys were 1-3 and holding down the 7th place spot.
Each team suffered losses at the hands of the Mounts with the boys taking a 56-39 defeat at home and the girls falling 64-46 on the road. A scheduled non-league matchup last Thursday with the visiting Middletown girls was canceled due to weather conditions making the Ephrata game the lone contest for both teams.
A strong fourth quarter finish in which the ladies put up 20 points was matched basket-for-basket, plus one, by the home team as Ephrata racked up 21 in the final frame to put a cap on a game in which the Mounts gradually increased their lead over the course of all four quarters.
Donegal's Carly Diffenderfer led all scorers with 28 points including six from the line on eight attempts but was the only one on the team to reach double digits.
Meanwhile Gabi Gerola-Hill (19), Kyla McKim (13), Katherine Sola (12), and Kandice Liebl (10) led Ephrata in the same category as the Mounts led by nine points in the first, 13 in the second, 17 in the third, and 18 in the fourth.
Down 43-26 after three quarters, the Lady Indians lit a fire and found a way to crack the tough defense that was set all game by Ephrata but unfortunately could not find a way to shore up their own and take advantage of the positive situation they created for themselves.
In addition to Diffenderfer, Kiera Baughman put up nine points including the lone 3-pointer of the night for the ladies and was 2-5 from the line, Cheyenne Livelsberger scored six while hitting four of six foul shots, Morgan Creek added two points, and Alice Fernald added one from the line.
With Diffenderfer's 28 points for the game, the senior stands at 896 for her career and with 12 regular season games remaining after Ephrata she will only have to average nine points per game to break through the 1000 point barrier and become the 11th Donegal girl to gain membership into that exclusive club.
Rachel Robinson (1035) accomplished the feat last season and became the first player for Donegal in eight seasons to do so, following Nicky Hess who scored 1425 in 2009.
In opposite fashion, the boys played a strong first quarter and enjoyed a 17-11 lead heading into the second quarter before Ephrata came back in the second to claim a one point lead at halftime with a 24-23 score, increasing that lead to 13 after three and ending with a 17 point advantage.
Avery Walker paced the Indians with 15 on the night and was perfect from the line going 4-4 while also draining one from behind the arc.
Donegal had six other players that also contributed to the cause, but none with more than nine as Elijah Swanigan hit three field goals and went 3-4 on foul shots to claim that total.
Michael Lyons nailed the only other 3-point shot for the team and ended up with five points for the game while Dalton Mullhausen (4), Abdalla Ibrahim (2), Andrew Stwalley (2), and Reed Licopoli (2) rounded out the scoring for Donegal.
In an out-of-season announcement that came in the first week of the year, three Donegal players, two current and one graduate, were named to U.S. junior national teams.
Senior Katie Jean and junior Mackenzie Allessie made the cut for the U-19 team while Robinson, a former Donegal stand out, made the U-21 squad.
This marks the second consecutive U-19 appearance for Jean and Allessie while Robinson, who was on the U-19 team in 2016, makes her debut at U-21.
Donegal Closes its Season in State Semifinals November 16, 2017
Athletics, and those that play the games, are constantly surrounded by numbers. They are painted on the field and found on the jerseys and helmets of the athletes. Statistics and averages are used to determine the value of an individual as well as the team and a number is then assigned to that value.
On Tuesday night November 14th at Whitehall High School, the Donegal field hockey team's number was three. Not only were they the third ranked high school team in the country, but it was with only 3.3 seconds remaining in the PIAA Class 2A semifinal game against Wyoming Valley West that their amazing season came to a halt in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss.
Through 59:56.7 of play the Lady Indians controlled almost every aspect of the game but for one, and that was scoring. Despite out-cornering the Spartans 17-7, Donegal only held a one shot advantage at 9-8.
Wyoming Valley West, however, only needed one and that came on the final corner of the game when Cameron Forgash inserted to Madison Woods who then found a way to do what few players have done over the past several seasons, smack the board for the game winner.
Even though the Donegal offense was not able to manufacture any points from their scoring opportunities they did a good job of controlling the ball and not allowing the Spartans to get into any kind of a rhythm. Defensively the Indians stifled any attack Wyoming Valley West was able to mount.
Mackenzie Allessie, Donegal's main offensive weapon, was stymied several times by the Spartan's committee of goal keepers in Nikki Hartzel and Sydney Rusnock even though the junior standout was able to get some good looks. Fellow sharp shooter Lily Saunders was thwarted by Hartzel as well.
With diving saves in the cage and a relentless defense that was in a bend-but-don't-break mindset all night, Wyoming Valley West found a way to solve the rapid scoring style that is Donegal's forte and one which has decimated teams in the past.
Even though the Indians were not able to defend their title, they still stand as one of the top high school programs, not only in Pennsylvania but in the country.
This year's graduating seniors and their teammates have achieved a level of success that many teams can only aspire to and have done it better than any that have come before them.
With numerous Section and League titles as well as an historic four consecutive District Three Championships and a PIAA Championship under their belts, they have done their school and community proud, not only by their athletic accomplishments, but how they conducted themselves while doing it.
At the annual Lancaster-Lebanon League All-Star banquet which was held days prior to the semifinal game, this was underscored by the fact that Donegal was announced as the team with the highest GPA in the league with a combined 4.12.
Numerous other honors were bestowed upon the players and Coach Shellenberger as well with the latter being named as the Section Two Coach of the Year while four Lady Indians were named to the All-League Team.
Making the roster were Grace Miller as a back, Saunders as a forward, Allessie as a midfielder, and Katie Jean at goalie.
Lady Indians Capture 4th Straight District Title November 5, 2017
When success comes, as often as it does for the Donegal field hockey program, it is easy to take it for granted and not realize just how difficult it is to reach and then maintain such a high level of proficiency.
With an ever revolving roster of players it is not an easy task to stay consistent from one year to the next, however, the Indians manage to not only stay competitive but also improve each season.
That ability to overcome and adapt to changing conditions resulted in the school's first ever PIAA title last year and the defending champions are currently on the same path this year.
The Lady Indians captured their fourth consecutive District Three Championship on Saturday when they defeated Twin Valley 5-2 at Henry Hershey Field.
In doing so, they became the first team in district history to accomplish that feat, breaking their own record of three which they held with Lower Dauphin. It also marks their seventh district title making them the only team in the L-L League to accomplish that feat as well.
Twin Valley is no stranger to the District Three Championship game either, having lost the previous two in shutouts by the Tribe. Despite putting the beginning and finishing marks on the score board, the Raiders were not able to contain Donegal's high powered offense which was led by Mackenzie Allessie's hat trick and included goals by Kiera Baughman and Ashley Maxwell.
Mikenna Allen put Twin Valley into the early lead when she took a Riley Knapp cross and snuck it in for the score with 20:17 left to play in the first half.
After that, it was all Donegal as the ladies scored twice before the break and then added three more in the second before a Twin Valley corner was converted by Kara McClure with zeros on the clock.
Allessie accounted for two of her three goals in the span between the Raider's opening score and halftime with her first coming off a broken play in which she had a pass intercepted but tracked down the Twin Valley defender, stealing back possession of the ball in the process and hitting a reverse shot that knotted the score at 1-1 with 13:32 on the clock.
Almost 12 minutes later, on a corner insertion, she was able to work her way into position and fired off a shot that beat goal keeper Talayna Viscuso for the 2-1 lead with 1:56 to go in the half.
Donegal more than doubled Twin Valley's shot production over the course of the game sending 15 on goal to the Raider's seven while earning a 14-4 advantage in corners as well.
When play resumed in the second half Donegal needed less than eight minutes to expand its lead. Baughman positioned herself in front of the cage and took a shot that Viscuso was able to get a pad on but could not deny as the ball caromed in at the 22:37 mark for the 3-1 lead.
After almost 13 minutes of scoreless play it was Maxwell that struck next on an Indian's penalty corner late in the game. Allessie found her positioned on the right side of the cage after taking the insert and Maxwell was able to push the ball across with just under 10 minutes left to play.
Allessie added the final insurance with 4:20 on the clock before Twin Valley's final hurrah at the end.
Not lost in the shuffle was Donegal's semifinal win over Berks Catholic which set up the history making victory for the District trophy.
Leading up to that game, which the Indians won 10-0 last Wednesday, Berks Catholic had surrendered only 11 points the entire season before running into the buzz saw that is Donegal's offense.
Allessie accounted for five of those goals while both Maxwell and Amanda Beck scored twice and Lily Saunders added another.
The Donegal defense rendered the Saints offense almost useless as they only got off two shots to the Indian's 22 with Donegal also enjoying a 16-6 advantage in corners.
In the final game of regular season the Donegal football team knew it was also going to be the end of the line as the Indians were on the outside looking in at the District qualifiers.
In a huge outpouring of offense and with a hard hitting defense that produce six turnovers, which directly led to five touchdowns, the Indians had their way with Annville-Cleona in a 54-6 rout.
The three headed rushing attack of Cameron Ellis, Tyler Rupp, and Nick Ketner rolled through the A-C defense for 310 combined yards and four touchdowns and Ryan Buckius (2-6, 40YDs, TD) threw for another in the win.
Ketner (12-106, TD) put the Indians on board with a 3-yard plunge in the first quarter to make it 7-0 setting up a two score second quarter which was led by a Keeryen Stevens interception that stopped an A-C drive in Donegal territory.
His bobbling pick was made even more spectacular by the ensuing return in which the defensive back eluded a bevy of Dutchmen and made his way back across the 50-yard line.
A penalty on Donegal brought the ball back deep into Indian territory but on the ensuing drive, highlighted by a Rupp 41-yard carry, Buckius found Seiler Edwards (1-31, TD) across the middle for a 31-yard score.
Rupp (9-100, TD) put the Indians up 20-0 after the defense recovered a Dutchmen fumble on the next drive and he found running room from 21-yards out to close out the scoring for the Indians in the half.
A-C's Caleb Turner forced his way into the end zone from the 4-yard line to make the score 20-6 with 1:39 on the clock after a Donegal face mask penalty on a Dutchmen receiver set A-C up with great field position.
In the second half it was all Indians as they scored 34 unanswered points on two runs by Ellis (14-1-3, 2TD), a 61-yard punt return by Stevens, a Buckius keeper and a 30-yard scramble by Andrew Melville (2-37, TD).
Silas Buckwalter capped a stellar senior season for the Donegal boys' cross country team on Saturday with a 63rd place finish in the PIAA meet which was held on the Parkview course in Hershey.
Buckwalter finished the 3.1 mile course in 17:28 with a mile pace of 5:38. It was the last of three personal goals the senior had set for himself in the post-season that included finishing in the top 70 on Saturday.
"Ultimately, we would have been proud of him regardless of his finishing place," stated head coach Matthew Werner. "States is just the cherry on top of what was a great season for Silas. His goals were to medal at districts and to finally make states, and he accomplished both."
In reaching his place in the standings, Buckwalter put on a finishing kick that left his coach majorly impressed with his top runner.
During his first mile, Buckwalter ran 5:18 which placed him 85th. He saw that pace drop by 40 seconds in the second mile when he came in at 11:16 and 86th place.
Werner was following from the path on the sidelines and got his attention by yelling out to Buckwalter. "I told him his place and said, 'Run with no regrets.' That was our motto yesterday. From that point on he put his head down and started to put on a final surge."
And it was in that final 100 meter surge that Buckwalter found an intestinal fortitude that allowed him to blow through the pack and gain an amazing 22 spots while improving his final pace by 20 seconds.
"His form looked great, he was light on his feet, and he looked unstoppable to be honest. I got to the finish in time to watch his final 100 meters and he was passing people the entire way to the finish. He ended up passing 21 people over the last half mile of the race. That is almost unheard of in a cross country race," added Werner.
In his finish on Saturday, Buckwalter made his mark on Donegal boys cross country by becoming the highest placing finisher and setting a school record for fastest time by a boy on the Parkview course.
"It's going to be very hard to replace that kind of leader next season. He is not only an amazing runner, but a phenomenal leader and young man. Always giving me his everything in practice and focused on bettering himself on a daily basis. You can't teach that, it's just who he is. It speaks to his character as a young man. We are proud to have him represent Donegal."
Lady Indians Advance to District Semifinals October 29, 2017
When you are the defending Section, League, District, and PIAA champion and ranked number two in the nation, having a bullseye on your back comes with the territory.
Through 48 games spanning two seasons, Donegal's field hockey team never knew defeat. That is until a matchup with the number one ranked team in the nation, Penn Manor, occurred in the L-L League semifinals where the Comets managed a tight 2-1 win over the Lady Indians before claiming the League title.
"I believe the loss to PM actually hurt us more. We struggled a bit to get over it," head coach Jessica Shellenberger replied when asked about the pressure of carrying such a long streak and if maybe losing took a weight off the shoulders of her players.
She also noted that it was only the first time for some of the girls to lose while playing for Donegal. "We've done our best to redirect the energy, but I still think it stings."
That refocusing was on full display as the ladies picked up right where they were before by smoking their first two opponents in the District Three AA tournament with a combined score of 24-0.
Shippensburg, the 16th seed, was the first victim, falling to the tribe 14-0 in the opening round last Wednesday, while the number eight seed Lampeter-Strasburg went down 10-0 to the defending champions in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
While Shippensburg's season is now over, the Pioneers still have a fighting chance as they drop into the consolation bracket with the top six teams from District Three advancing to States.
With senior goalkeeper Katie Jean taking a rest, Aliza Johns seamlessly stepped in to the cage and recorded the shutout victory in the opening round.
As is the case in the majority of Donegal's games, Shippensburg failed to generate any offense and had no shots on goal with only one penalty corner, that coming in the first half.
On the other hand, the Indians were in full-out assault mode firing off 29 shots on goal while generating 18 corners.
Led by both Mackenzie Allessie and Ashley Maxwell who each scored a hat-trick on the evening, Donegal had eight players find the back of the cage with Amanda Beck and Kyra Olweiler both notching two goals and Lily Saunders, Rachel Overlander, Olivia Lechene, and Madison Leety scoring one apiece.
In yet another display of firepower, the ladies sent another 29 shots to the cage against the Pioneers and earned 22 corners while L-S could not manage one in either category.
Allessie blew up for six goals, her first coming with 25:21 left in the first half when she worked past two L-S defenders before finding the lower near corner on a rocket.
Beck and Saunders each tallied two goals. Beck also had four assists, three of which were to Allessie on corner shots, with Allessie, Saunders, and Grace Miller each adding one apiece.
Shellenberger understands the need for her girls to get back in the fire during this part of the season where every game is win-or-go-home and seems to feel as if they are doing just that.
"I think we're getting back to form. I am hoping for another challenging match up to really test our resiliency," Shellenberger stated.
After giving up a 6-yard touchdown to fall behind 24-17 in the second overtime of Friday's key Section Three matchup with Lancaster Catholic, Donegal faced a fourth-and-goal from the Crusader 1-yard line before quarterback Ryan Buckius plunged in to make it 23-17.
With the game on the line, the Indians went for the win with a two-point conversion try but Buckius lost control of the ball on a timely hit and Lancaster Catholic came down with the game winning interception.
In a bend-but-don't-break defensive battle through most of the night, the Indians ground game was able to churn out 152 yards on 35 carries and was led by Nick Ketner (14-87, TD) and Cameron Ellis (11-60).
After trading punts through the first four possessions of the game, Lancaster Catholic got on the scoreboard when Quincy Clark scored on a 1-yard plunge with only :46 remaining in the half.
Donegal answered in the third when Emma Hudson connected on a 26-yard field goal with 1:43 to go making it 7-3. That also marked her first attempt on the year making the senior kicker perfect in that category.
A Crusader field goal in the fourth put Lancaster Catholic up by a touchdown, but an electrifying 78-yard pick-six by Keeryen Stevens knotted the game at 10-10, setting up overtime.
Ketner put the Indians up 17-10 on the first play when he took a Buckius hand off straight to the house but Clark's score followed by C.J. Zimmerman's 6-yard touchdown in the second overtime put Lancaster Catholic in the lead for good leading up to its clutch play to end the game.
Saturday marked the running of the District Three cross country meet at Big Spring High School and Donegal had a total of 13 runners in the field with seven girls and six boys.
Silas Buckwalter helped lead the boys to an impressive eighth place finish in the team standings out of 28 teams registered and also stood as Donegal's lone PIAA qualifier.
He was able to finish 18th overall in a time of 17:04 followed by Aedan Wilkinson (54th, 18:00), Dylan Zuch (67th, 18:19), Matthew Wallace in (83rd, 18:32), Logan Fry 88th, 18:36), and Brandon Hess (170th, 19:47) for a total of 294 points in the meet.
In District Three, 15 boys qualify for the State Championship Meet and Buckwalter was able to lock up the 11th spot with his finish.
Out of 32 teams in the girl's field, the lady Indians were able to score 691 points and were led by Rachel Fernald who ran a 21:11 and finished 80th overall placing Donegal in 28th as a team.
Amanda Fry (125th, 22:00), Ella DeBruin (161st, 22:45), Kimberlyn Ebersole (185th, 23:21), Anna Hawbaker (192nd, 25:31), Myra Naqvi (222nd, 24:49), and Megan Myers (227th, 25:11) rounded out Donegal's finishers.
Donegal began its District Three AAA tournament by drawing neighboring foe Manheim Central in the opening round. Manheim is the defending District Three champion and a team the Indians defeated 2-0 to begin the season.
Unfortunately, the 10th seeded Lady Barons were able to turn the tables with a 2-0 upset victory over the number seven seed Donegal.
Using a blanketing defense, Manheim was able to hold the ladies to only one shot on goal while taking eight and scoring once in each half earn the win.
Buckwalter Leads Harriers in L-L League Meet October 22, 2017
The L-L League Championship meet was held last Tuesday at Ephrata Middle School. Silas Buckwalter led paced the boys with a 16th place finishing time of 16:53.3 while Rachel Fernald was top finisher for the girl's team with a 41st place finish in 21:14.4.
As a team, the girls finished in 11th place with 18 teams participating with a score of 324. Amanda Fry (21:42.7) placed 46th, Kimberlyn Ebersole (22:56.7) was 73rd, Anna Hawbaker (23:04.1) 81st, and Ella DeBruin (23:16.5) finished 84th for the ladies with Megan Myers (92nd, 23:40.1) and Myra Naqvi (93rd, 23:40.9) acting as displacers. Keri Anderson (23:45.4) finished 101st overall.
The boys landed in 13th place out of 20 teams with a score of 311 as Dylan Zuch (61st, 17:53.4), Matt Wallace (62nd, 17:53.9), Logan Fry (80th, 18:09.3) and Aedan Wilkinson (92nd, 18:34) rounding out the top five counters. Brandon Hess (19:28.9), and Hunter Williams (21:19.1) and Andrew Allen (21:49.4) also competed.
The headlines could easily have read, "Donegal Gets By Pequea Valley 14-0". But only if Nick Ketner had not taken the field Friday night in the Indian's Section Three matchup with the Braves.
Ketner, however, did suit up and what a difference he made. By the time the scoreboard hit zeros the senior running back had racked up 197 total yards of offense with 170 of them coming on the ground and scored five times in Donegal's 49-0 victory.
He had 10 carries in the game, scoring on half of them with runs of 40, 3, 63, 13, and 34 yards
Donegal scored on every possession in the first half for a 42-0 lead at the break and needed only two plays to open the second to make it 49-0 on a 34-yard Ketner scamper.
Defensively the Tribe held Pequea Valley to only 23 yards of offense and came up with two first half interceptions which led directly to 14 points for the Indians as well.
With great field position at the Pequea Valley 20-yard line after Keeryen Stevens snagged the game's first pick, the Indians used a five play drive to reach the end zone. Ketner's 3-yard plunge made it 14-0 with 6:27 remaining in the first quarter.
Later in the second quarter Ketner intercepted Lapp at the Pequea Valley 16 and Tyler Rupp, who had 42 yards rushing on eight carries, added his lone touchdown of the game, also from the 3-yard line to make it 35-0.
Stevens (1-16, TD) then finalized an eight play 51-yard drive on Donegal's next possession when he secured a Ryan Buckius pass from the Pequea 16-yard line for the final touchdown of the half.
Buckius ended the night with three completions for 85 yards including a 42-yard hookup with Seiler Edwards and a 27-yard pitch and catch to Ketner, all in the first half.
The margin of victory in the previous two matchups between Donegal and Penn Manor in the L-L League tournament was one with the Indians coming away with back-to-back 1-0 victories.
Meeting last Tuesday in the tournament for the third straight time the two teams again played to a one point decision, but this time it fell in the favor of the Comets 2-1. While the other two matchups came with the League Championship on the line, this year it was in the semifinal round when the two nationally ranked teams came together to hash things out.
Emma DeBerdine scored early for the Comets when she worked her way towards the cage after a botched pass by the Indians and managed to break through the tough Donegal defense with a shot that slipped into the corner of the cage with 23:09 left in the first half.
Employing a double and sometimes triple team against Mackenzie Allessie, Penn Manor still could not keep the high powered scorer from getting off a few shots. When Allessie received an insert off a corner by Amanda Beck late in the second half the junior was able to work her way through two defenders and fire off a reverse that lifted into the cage to tie the game at 1-1 with 10:29 remaining in regulation.
Things came crashing back down for the ladies, however, when Briana Harsh managed to fire a shot home on the Comet's final penalty corner a little over a minute later for the game winning goal.
The loss snaps Donegal's 48 game winning streak, but as the second ranked team in the nation the Lady Indians now have their sights set on defending their District and PIAA titles.
After advancing to the quarterfinals of District Three AAA singles play before being eliminated by eventual champion Amanda Hagino of Hempfield, Sophie May teamed up with Emily Ashley on Friday in the opening round of the doubles portion.
Unranked in the tournament, May and Ashley faced similarly unranked Vaishnavi Datta and Val Motter from Cumberland Valley. The duo proved too much for Donegal's number one team, however, as they were able to defeat the ladies 6-1, 6-3 before succumbing to second seeded Alexa Schwab and Maddie Schwab from Central Dauphin later in the day.
Indians Advance in Playoffs, Allessie Nets Milestone October 15, 2017
Donegal field hockey has been a solid program for years, accumulating scores of titles and hardware over time and sending numerous players on to successful college careers at all levels including national and international play.
With an elusive PIAA championship finally realized last year, the ladies have their sights set on defending that title and have blown through the regular season with yet another undefeated campaign and a streak that spans two years.
The Indians opened up post-season play last week in the L-L League Championship against Warwick and another milestone was met when Mackenzie Allessie scored her 200th career goal on a reverse with 24:21 to go in the first half to open up a 1-0 lead that eventually turned into an 8-3 victory for the defending League Champions. She ended the day with five overall.
That followed her 100th career assist in last Tuesday's contest at home, a 13-0 victory over Cocalico before the ladies finished out the regular season with an 11-0 win at Solanco last Wednesday.
With the win over Warwick on Saturday, Donegal advanced to a semifinal matchup with Penn Manor, a 3-0 winner over Manheim Central. The Comets have met Donegal the past two years in the championships, both times in the title game.
Warwick's Katie Pyle tied the game at 1-1 when she beat keeper Katie Jean on an insert off a penalty corner two minutes later, but by the time the Warriors were able to score again with 1:20 remaining in the half, Donegal had built an insurmountable 6-1 lead.
Scoring against Donegal is not an easy task as Jean has been a stalwart in the cage for the Indians over the past four years. The senior All-Star recorded 14 shutouts prior to Saturday's game and is a perfect complement to Allessie's offense.
Lily Saunders scored twice for the ladies and as of the start of last week's play was one of five Donegal players to lead Section Two in scoring for the year. Amanda Beck, Grace Miller, and Cassy Stauffer joined that list and all were in the top ten.
Saunders' first score of the day came on a play where she was able to work up field from about 40 yards out, moving around two defenders and sending a shot home into the lower near corner of the cage to make it 3-1 with 19:54 on the clock.
Fourteen minutes later she notched her second goal when she took a feed from Miller in front of the cage and scored with 5:45 to go in the half for a 6-1 Donegal lead.
Kyra Olweiler broke open a scoreless second half when she beat Catie Brubaker cross-cage on an assist from Saunders with 12:11 left in the game. Allessie followed two minutes later with a solo shot to close out the scoring for Donegal.
Donegal celebrated its 11 seniors to kick off the game with Cocalico and all received playing time in the first half. Stauffer, Miller, Jean, Olweiler, Rachael Overlander, Allaura Bohan, Taylor Hauck, Makenna Mader, Ashley Maxwell, and Taylor Altice were recognized during Senior Night ceremonies.
Mader put the ladies on board early when she took a corner insert and sent a shot past Eagle keeper Summer Halderman 1:38 into the contest for the 1-0 lead. Altice followed shortly after with a score off an assist by Olweiler that smacked the board exactly one minute later for a 2-0 score that held until halftime.
Donegal took over in the second half as Allessie recorded a hat-trick, and Saunders and Stauffer each netted two apiece in the lopsided affair.
Stauffer's second score came with a little over 12 minutes left in the game to make it 11-0 but it was off the stick of Allessie which marked the 100th assist of her career, adding to her growing list of hockey accomplishments. Miller, Maxwell, Catherine Moran, and Olivia Lechene also scored for the ladies.
Amanda Beck's first half goal with 23:48 on the clock opened the scoring for Donegal against Solanco and Allessies' fourth score of the day with 12:06 left in the second closed things out in yet another shut out by the Indians.
Jean stopped all three of Solanco's shots while Saunders scored twice, and Kiera Baughman, Bohan, Miller, and Stauffer added one each.
Last week marked the end of the season for the girl's tennis team as its run ended with a 4-1 loss to New Oxford in the District team competition while Sophie May fell in the quarterfinals in straight sets 6-0, 6-0 to eventual District Three AAA champion Amanda Hagino of Hempfield.
May drew a first round matchup with South Western's Michaela Sentz on Friday afternoon at Hershey Racquet Club advancing through with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Top seeded Hagino awaited her later the same day and proved overpowering on her way to District gold.
The day prior, 11th seeded Donegal faced off with number six seed New Oxford in the first round of team play. May the only Indian to record a win, defeating Kasi Conjack 6-1, 6-2 in number two singles.
Mariah Forrey put up a fight in number three singles losing in a tie-break to Maddie Markle 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 while Emily Ashley lost in number one singles to Kamdyn Balko 6-4, 6-4.
In doubles, Molly Socks and Eryn Little won 6-0, 6-1 over Grace Wheeler and Lyla Naqvi in number one doubles and Sarah Moyer and Emily Sterner defeated Madison Aument and Mary Murphy 6-0, 6-0 in number two doubles.
"Emily injured herself in the first round doubles match in leagues, limiting her mobility," said head coach Trent Hoffmaster. "And Sophie played a wonderful match in first round of districts beating the York county champ."
Last week's flight three and flight four singles in the L-L tournament were not reported. Forrey, playing in flight three, advanced into the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Manheim's Grace Roberts followed by a 7-6 (10-4), 6-0 win over Rachel Marcroft of L-S.
She then faced Sophie Granbois and lost 6-4, 6-3 to the number two seed and eventual champion from Hempfield.
In flight four, Naqvi took on fourth seeded Isabelle Brown from L-S in the first round and lost 6-2, 6-2.
May and Ashley also were in the respective brackets for the fifth and seventh place matches in flight one which were played last Monday. Ashley, who was injured during a first round doubles match defaulted against Hempfield's Lyla Jackson and May lost to MT's Emily Garvin 6-0, 6-0.
The harrier teams closed out the season last week with the girls beating Lancaster-Mennonite 25-39 and Manheim 15-55 while the boys lost to LM 26-32 and Manheim 27-28.
The Barons barely edged out the guys scoring the fourth and fifth positions in a race in which the two teams otherwise traded back-and-forth as Manheim also finished second, seventh and ninth for the one point win.
Silas Buckwalter finished first overall with a time of 16:56 while Dylan Zuch (18:09), Matthew Wallace (18:24), Logan Fry (19:00), and Aedan Wilkinson (20:35), and Brandon Hess (20:37) all finished in the top 20.
The Lady Blazers placed in the top two overall, but Donegal, led by Rachel Fernald's fourth overall time of 22:12, spear headed a run in which the ladies scored positions 3-10 to top the host team.
Amanda Fry (22:35), Ella DeBruin (22:42), Megan Myers (24:11), Kimberly Ebersole (24:11), Anna Hawbaker (24:16), Keri Anderson (24:28), Myra Naqvi( 25:19), Sarah Hinkel (25:59), McKenzie DuBuskey (26:11), and Jordyn Smith (27:52) finished out the field for Donegal.
Donegal fell behind early against Hazelton Friday night, but reeled off 20 unanswered points behind a stout defense to come away with a 20-14 road win.
Despite giving up 306 total yards, the defense held Hazelton to 60 yards on the ground while Cael Rapp recorded an interception and Keeryen Stevens knocked down a Sparky Wolk pass in the end zone to deny a Cougar touchdown before the half.
Nick Ketner (17-148, TD) and Cam Ellis (20-95, 2TD) spear headed a Donegal offense that put up 353 total yards with 287 of them coming on the ground.
With a 5-0 win over Northern Lebanon and a 7-0 victory over Lebanon Catholic last week, the Lady Indians finished the season with only one loss before facing off against undefeated Ephrata in the opening round of the L-L Championships.
The Mounts went up 1-0 in the 23rd minute before Maya Willing's goal with 11:25 left in the game tied things up. After two scoreless overtime periods the game went to penalty kicks where Ephrata came away as winners with a 4-2 advantage.
"It took us a little longer than we would have liked to get into the flow of the match in the first half," stated head coach Scott Summers. "We looked a bit nervous but we gained confidence and got more comfortable has the game went on."
Despite the early exit Donegal has Districts to look forward to next week and Summers believes they will be ready.
"I have no doubt that we'll use today as a learning experience, we'll get back to work next week and prepare for Districts. As I told them after the match, we did everything we could today and gave ourselves a chance to win, including coming back from 1-0 deficit. Nothing to be down about there."
Meanwhile, Donegal's boys finished out their season with two wins last week defeating Northern Lebanon 8-1 and Lebanon Catholic 9-0 to finish third in Section Three.
With five goals in the first half, the Indians out worked the Vikings last Monday earning nine corner kicks to none for Northern Lebanon while outshooting them 15-4.
Zac Runkle scored twice while Aaron Smith, Ryan McBeth, Philip Herzog, Nathan Ncube Jose De La Cruz, and Kieran Kramer added single goals. Nate Nimo made one save in goal.
Nine different players scored for the Indians in their win over Lebanon Catholic last Wednesday and Gavin Murren recorded two saves in goal as Donegal outshot the visitors 25-2 in the shutout victory.
Zach Kridler, Michael Linebarger, Smith, McBeth, Herzog, Runkle, De La Cruz, Kramer, and Heim all tallied goals while Rylan Brooks added three assists on the day.
Donegal Booters Blank A-C, Survive Elco in OT October 8, 2017
In a week that saw the Donegal boys' soccer team win two of its three games, it was a 2-1 overtime victory over ELCO last Wednesday that helped them the most. Their other two games began with a 5-0 win over Annville-Cleona and ended with a 6-0 loss at the hands of Lancaster Catholic.
Trailing the Raiders in the standings, the Indian's win combined with another ELCO loss helped Donegal to gain some ground and keep their hopes alive for a District berth.
"Right now, we are on the outside looking in as far as post season is concerned," stated head coach Andrew Wagner. "We have to hope others slip up and we may sneak in. Friday's loss was a critical setback and we will learn that we have to be ready to play."
In the win versus ELCO it was the play of Jose De La Cruz that propelled Donegal to victory. Though separated by almost 80 minutes, his two goals represented the difference in the game as he was able to hit an opening in the third minute of play and again in the 83rd minute for the win.
On the other hand, it was strong defense by the Indians and Nate Nimo's eight saves in goal that held the Raiders in check, giving De La Cruz the opportunities he needed.
"Jose has really stepped up his game. He gets himself in great positions and can read the game well," commented Wagner on his sophomore striker.
He did just that when, instead of trying to mix it up in front of the net on a corner kick in the first overtime, De La Cruz waited on the fringe and was rewarded with a ball that overshot the group which he was able to collect and tap in for the game winner.
Against Annville-Cleona Philip Herzog scored twice in the first half while Donegal outshot the Dutchmen 14-3 in the shut out win.
Kyler Enck worked in a goal between Herzog's scores while Zac Runkle and Austin Heim each added one apiece in the second half. Gavin Murren turned away all three A-C shots in goal.
Even though the week ended with a loss, Wagner knows his team's strengths and what they need to do to win. "The boys are playing some good soccer and when that happens we give ourselves a chance to win most games," stated Wagner. "We are not the most physical team and our opponents know this. We have to possess the ball and move it in order to be effective."
It was a night for the ladies on football Friday as not only did both Donegal and Northern Lebanon suit up female place kickers, but the Indian's Emma Hudson also reigned supreme in the homecoming court as she was crowned the 2017 queen.
She, as well as the Viking's Jenna Wentling, was perfect on all her PAT's completing three while Wentling converted five on the night.
Unfortunately for the Indians their homecoming wasn't as eventful. Northern Lebanon scored 21 unanswered points to break a 7-7 tie on the way to a 35-21 victory while maintaining its hold on first place in Section Three.
In spite of a dominating ground game that chewed up 299 yards, led by Nick Ketner who rushed for 204 yards on 13 carries including two touchdowns, the Indians fell behind in the passing game as Northern Lebanon's Michigan Daub completed 17 of 23 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns.
Two costly mistakes seemed to turn the tide against the Indians as an interception thrown by Donegal's Ryan Buckius on the opening drive of the game led to a 7-0 Viking lead after Daub's one yard plunge finished off the resulting Viking possession.
The second came in the third quarter when the Vikings, ahead 14-7 after an exciting 98-yard touchdown run by Ketner in the second quarter was nullified by an 80-yard catch and run by Christian Trader, added another Northern Lebanon score.
In that instance, Daub took the snap at the Vikings 29-yard line and had his pass picked off by Donegal, but a roughing the passer penalty resulted in an automatic first down for Northern Lebanon which converted that drive into a 21-7 lead that Donegal could not overcome.
Ketner's 54-yard touchdown sprint in the fourth quarter pulled the Indians within two touchdowns at 28-14, but Northern Lebanon scored once more before Brooks Bear (1-15, TD) added one more for Donegal on a 15-yard pass from Buckius.
Tyler Rupp led all Donegal receivers with 50 yards on two receptions while also rushing 12 times for 51 yards.
In what was a long, grueling week, Donegal came away with two wins and two draws while maintaining a hold on second place in Section Three.
The week began with a 3-0 win over Annville-Cleona followed by back to back 1-1 ties against ELCO and Garden Spot before a 3-0 victory over Eastern York closed things out.
Team leader Emma Hudson added four goals last week including two against A-C last Monday while Sydney Skirboll added another in the second half in the win.
Following that, Maya Willing's goal early in the second half against ELCO proved pivotal as the ladies held on for the 1-1 final. One night later it was Hudson who came through in the 66th minute to tie things up while Donegal held on for another draw.
Willing and Hudson teamed for the only three goals of the day against Eastern on Saturday with Willing scoring twice in the first half and Hudson in the second for the win.
After finishing the regular season in second place in Section Two, the girls' tennis team qualified for the Lancaster-Lebanon League team tournament.
Joining Hempfield, Manheim Township, and Lancaster Catholic in the four team playoff, the ladies drew the Blue Streaks in the opening match. Unfortunately they met with less than favorable results, losing in straight sets to the eventual League Champions who were also undefeated on the season in Section One.
Sophie May was able to crack the defenses of Township in her 6-0, 6-1 loss at number two singles and represented the only Indian to win a game.
Six players represented Donegal in the League Flight tournament as well. In flight one doubles, No. 5 seed May and Ashley began with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of McCaskey's Lindsey Strassenburgh and Maggie Larkin to advance into the second round opposite Catherine Scalia and Rachel Eby of Conestoga Valley where they came away with another victory, 6-3, 6-2 to make the semifinals.
It was there that number one seeded Taylor Kapan and Katie Moore of Manheim Township showed why they were the top team with a 6-0, 6-0 defeat of the Donegal duo.
Meanwhile Mariah Forrey and Lyla Naqvi, the No. 4 seed in flight two, met up with ELCO's Emilie Showers and Madi Groy who eliminated the ladies with an 8-2 defeat. In flight three, Grace Wheeler and Mary Murphy were also knocked out of the tournament with an 8-1 loss to Lauren Masser and Rebekah Long of Elizabethtown.
In flight one singles action, Ashley, ranked sixth, opened with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Strassenburgh and seventh ranked May defeated Ellie Hallquist of Garden Spot 6-1, 6-1.
The two did not fare as well in the second round, however, each losing their respective match and setting up an unusual situation where they were paired against each other in the playbacks.
Ashley defaulted to her team-mate in that situation leaving her in a position to play for seventh place with May facing a chance for fifth against Emily Garvin of Manheim Township. Those matches were scheduled for Monday of this week and will be reported on next week.
Donegal went up against Garden Spot and Lancaster Catholic last week in a tri-meet held on the Spartan's home course with the girls winning 15-55 over the host team and 20-44 over the Crusaders while the boys split their results, beating the Spartans 19-40 but losing to Lancaster Catholic by the barest of margins 27-28.
The lady Indians continue to take care of business and keep pace with Section Two leader Lampeter-Strasburg. Donegal's lone blemish on the season came at the hands of the Pioneers and they can only watch and wait for them to stumble as the season begins to wind down.
After Lancaster Catholic's Mary Zukus (24:05) took second place overall, all five of Donegal's place winners crossed the line before another Crusader was able to finish, ensuring another Donegal victory.
Garden Spot fared slightly better as Becca Rissler (23:47), who finished first overall, came in ahead of Donegal's Kimberly Ebersole (24:06), and Anna Hawbaker with Amanda Coblentz (24:14) following before Rachel Fernald (24:19), Amanda Fry (24:37), and Megan Myers 24:43) crossed the line for the win.
Keri Anderson (25:07), Sarah Hinkel (25:10), Ella DeBruin (25:15), McKenzie DuBuskey (26:00), Myra Naqvi (26:52), and Jordyn Smith (27:00) rounded out the field for the ladies.
Silas Buckwalter finished first overall in 15:43, five seconds ahead of Lancaster Catholic's Miles McCaskey (15:48) who was second, but it was Matthew Wallace (18:38) three minutes later whose finish proved pivotal in providing the margin of victory for Donegal over the Crusaders as he edged out Nick Card (18:41) for the number four spot in the narrow win.
Catholic's Jotham Ngarma (18:35), Wallace, and Card finished in a pack that was separated by only six seconds with Ngarma crossing the line first. Had Card been able to catch Wallace, the one point swing would have gone in Catholic's favor resulting in a Crusader victory.
Instead, Wallace was able to hold on for the finish while Dylan Zuch (18:59), Aedan Wilkinson (19:19), and Logan Fry (19:20) were able to respectively finish as number six, eight, and nine to seal the victory. Brandon Hess (20:05), and Hunter Williams (21:44) completed the day for the Indians.
Scoring 21 goals over two games, Donegal cemented its hold on first place in Section Two with a 15-0 win over Ephrata and a 6-2 defeat of second place Manheim Central, pushing their overall record to 16-0.
Donegal Football Crushes Elco 54-0 October 2, 2017
464-1 is what the stat line read for Donegal's lop-sided 54-0 victory over ELCO on Friday. That is total yards gained through four quarters of play in a game where the Indians showcased a defense that only allowed two ELCO runners to post positive yardage, but nullified that with a whopping -60 yards allowed to the other three.
After getting outscored 102-28 in their first three games of the season, the Indians have posted 115 points in two weeks of League play while surrendering only eight.
"Our kids are really starting to learn how to practice and transfer those skills to games," commented head coach Jeff Polites when asked about the progression. "They are becoming a more fundamental defense every week and it showed Friday night."
What little progress ELCO did make was in the passing game where Braden Bohannon was 4-10 for 24 yards, but it was nowhere near enough to slow down the Tribe.
Donegal's rushing attack chewed up 351 yards on 46 carries and was spearheaded by the two-punch combination of Cameron Ellis (12-113, 2TD'S) and Nick Ketner (8-90, 2TD'S) while Tyler Rupp led the charge in the passing game with two receptions for 78 yards including a 44-yard connection from Ryan Buckius (5-6-113, TD) that found pay dirt and put the Indians up 40-0 just before halftime. Rupp also scored earlier in the game on a 2-yard plunge in the first quarter.
"Our game plan has always been to run the ball with recognizing the opportunity to pass at any time," stated Polites in regards to the Indians' ability to grind down the Raider's defense. "More this year than most, we have confidence in our pass game as a threat at any time throughout the game."
Indeed, Buckius has provided Donegal that much needed option as he has amassed 399 yards through the air with Rupp and Seiler Edwards acting as the primary outlets with 120 and 80 respective yards receiving on the season.
Another weapon was added to Donegal's arsenal as well with Dale Houser (6-55, TD) returning after missing time with an injury. Subbing in for placekicker Emma Hudson who was fulfilling her duties on the soccer team, he accounted for the first touchdown of the second quarter when he took a Buckius hand-off from the ELCO 2-yard line and broke the plane to make it 28-0.
Zion Gibbs (3-18, TD) scored the final touchdown of the night on a 13-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter while Andrew Melville (5-35), Joe Fox (2-8), and Jordan Minnick (1-8) added to Donegal's overall yardage.
As mentioned, Hudson's full-time job takes place on the pitch where lady Indians are slowly pulling away from the pack in Section Three thanks in part to her team leading 10 goals and five assists on the season.
Donegal (7-1-1) trailed only ELCO (9-0) at weeks' end for the section lead after defeating Pequea Valley 2-0 and then Lancaster Mennonite 1-0 in overtime.
It was Sydney Skirboll's two goal effort in the second half that iced the win over visiting Pequea Valley last Wednesday as Donegal out-shot the Braves 12-4 with Lauren Stwalley shutting them out in the net.
Ellie Henriques set up from 40-yards out on a direct kick and sent a shot sailing over the Pequea Valley wall and an outstretched Kyrsten Jarvis into the top far corner of the net for the first score of the game with 14:08 left in the first half.
Skirboll increased the Donegal lead to 2-0 with 24:35 remaining in the game when she took a feed from Hudson and found the back of the net. Fourteen minutes later, with an assist from Jamie Walmer, she finalized the match with her second goal of the day.
Lancaster Mennonite hosted the ladies on Friday and through 80 minutes of regulation neither side found a way to crack the other's defenses. It wasn't until Hannah Dunn connected with Maya Willing on a pass in the fourth minute of overtime that Donegal found its opening and charged through on Willing's game winner.
That goal marked her fifth on the season as well as Dunn's fifth assist in a game that would have placed the Blazers in a tie for third with Pequea Valley had they won.
As it stood, the win kept the Indians in hot pursuit of first place and gave the ladies plenty of steam heading into the final stretch of the season.
Riding a four game win-streak, the Donegal boys entered last week with all the momentum they needed to continue making a case for a qualifying bid in District Three. That quest took a direct hit when the Indians lost to Pequea Valley 2-0 last Wednesday and then dropped a 4-0 decision against Lancaster Mennonite on Friday.
After going down 2-0 over the span of two minutes early in the first half, the Indians battled back and had a golden opportunity slip through their fingers when a penalty kick was denied by Malachi Glick in the final four minutes of the game which would have made it 2-1.
Aaron Smith fired his shot into the left side of the net where a diving Glick knocked it down and back into the field of play towards a charging Kieran Kramer who was shielded by a Pequea defender that tapped the ball into the waiting hands of Glick.
Donegal's Nate Nimo made four saves on the night while the Indians held a distinct advantage over the Braves in both corner kicks (14-3) and shots on goal (11-6).
In direct contrast, Lancaster Mennonite held Donegal in check allowing no Indian corners and connecting on four of eight shots on goal while limiting Donegal to only two. The Blazers scored once in the first half and added three more in the second.
Accounting for three of the top five finishers Donegal held off ELCO 22-42 in its tri-meet last week and had little problem putting away A-C by a score of 17-49.
Rachel Fernald (22:37), Amanda Fry (23:59), and Ella DeBruin (24:11) finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, respectively, while ELCO's Lily Brubaker (21:41) finished in the top spot and Emily Williams (24:15) was 5th.
Six more Donegal runners crossed the line, however, before another Raider hit the finish line sealing the victory for the ladies which gave Donegal 11 runners in the top 15 overall. Keri Anderson (24:39), and Myra Naqvi (24:58) finished 7th and 8th and scored the final points for the Indians.
Rounding out the field were Kimberly Ebersole (25:25), Sarah Hinkel (25:27), Anna Hawbaker (25:38), Megan Myers (25:55), McKenzie DuBuskey (27:15), and Jordyn Smith (27:58).
Silas Buckwalter finished first overall with a time of 17:54 before Dylan Zuch (18:54) crossed the line in seventh but it was ELCO that finished 2nd through 6th to put away the guys 20-40.
Meanwhile Buckwalter and Zuch scored the first three points against Annville-Cleona with the two squads alternating 3rd through 6th to give the slight 13-15 advantage to Donegal before the Indians pulled away with a 22-33 victory.
Matthew Wallace (19:22) finished 9th, Aedan Wilkinson (19:36) was 13th, and Brandon Hess (20:14) took 17th to finish out the scoring for Donegal.
Also finishing for the Indians were Hunter Williams (22:07), Nathaniel Jenney (26:17), and Andrew Allen (26:20).
Looking to build momentum heading into the L-L League tournament, the girls' tennis team added a 5-2 victory over ELCO last Monday before taking on New Oxford the following day in a 5-game format in which the ladies lost 3-2 to finish out the season.
"We finish our regular season 11-2!" stated head coach Trent Hoffmaster. "Our third straight trip to the team playoffs, only four teams make it. I am hopeful that we will also make our third straight trip to districts. Remarkable accomplishments by our team. They should really be proud of their feats."
Donegal held a slight 2-1 advantage against ELCO after Grace Wheeler and Mary Murphy dropped a close 8-6 match at number three doubles, Mariah Forrey and Lyla Naqvi put away Emilie Showers and Madi Groy 8-2 at number two and Sophie May and Emily Ashley won 8-2 at number one.
After a 6-1, 6-0 Naqvi loss at number four singles, Forrey (6-0, 6-3), May (6-0, 6-0), and Ashley (6-2, 6-1) notched respective wins to claim the Donegal victory.
Against New Oxford, Donegal struggled early as they dropped all three doubles matches, but Sophie May won at number two singles 6-0, 6-1 and Ashley pulled out a victory at number one with a score of 6-3, 6-1.
Hoffmaster also heaped praise on his team, stating, "Going into the season, we knew Sophie and Emily would be excellent. Mariah and Lyla really stepped up to help this team become one of the best in the league."
Reasserting herself into the conversation for the all-time best player in the L-L League, Mackenzie Allessie scored 14 goals over the span of three games last week, raising her total to 50 on the season with 24 assists after Friday's contest at Elizabethtown.
With wins in those three matches, 10-0 over Garden Spot, 12-0 against Lampeter-Strasburg, and 11-0 over Elizabethtown, Donegal maintained sole possession of first place in Section Two with a two game lead over Manheim Central.
Donegal is strong all throughout its lineup and has many weapons that can score from many different positions.
Grace Miller put up a hat-trick against Garden Spot and scored twice against Elizabethtown, Lily Saunders scored three times in the L-S match and Amanda Beck posted two double-score games against Garden Spot and Elizabethtown.
During that stretch Rachael Overlander scored once, as did Cayla Homsher, while Ashley Maxwell scored once against L-S as well E-Town.
Indian Gridders Notch First Win, Top Columbia September 25, 2017
If the first three weeks of the 2017 football season were nothing but a headache for the Donegal Indians, then week four was just what the doctor ordered as Columbia took the brunt of a 61-8 thrashing by the Tribe.
Nick Ketner (9-132, 2TD's), and Cam Ellis (10-108, 2TD's) led an offensive onslaught that racked up 389 total yards of offense and scored on all but one possession during the game.
Ryan Buckius only attempted two passes and was perfect for 49 yards as Brooks Bear (1-41) and Keeryen Stevens (1-8) both hauled in their respective throws.
"The kids were executing tonight," said head coach Jeff Polites. "That was the problem we had the first three games of the season. We didn't execute for four quarters in those games, so it was nice to put that together tonight."
Tyler Rupp (6-20, 3TD's) scored over the span of Donegal's first five possessions on runs of 3, 1, and 7-yards, respectively while Jordan Minnick (2-63, TD) accounted for the longest rushing score of the night when he broke free for a 55-yard scamper to make it 55-0 in the fourth quarter.
Dale Kauffman (3-6, TD) accounted for the final Donegal touchdown of the night when he plunged in from four yards out, also in the fourth quarter.
When two teams meet on the field of battle there has to be a winner and a loser, it is inevitable. Factor in two unblemished records and most times it will be a suspense-filled affair that may not be decided until the final second.
That was not the case last Monday when Donegal (7-0) hosted Elizabethtown (5-2) in a battle of two undefeated squads. When all was said and done, the Indians emerged as 11-0 winners.
Donegal finished the week with a 12-0 victory at Cocalico, a 14-0 win over Solanco and a hard fought 3-2 OT victory over Wyoming Valley West.
The game against the Bears was all about Mackenzie Allessie who scored five goals on the day giving her a league leading 23 on the season.
All of her scores came in the first half along with Lily Saunders and Cassy Stauffer giving the Indians a 7-0 lead at halftime.
Stauffer added a second goal after the break, joining Allaura Bohan, Grace Miller, and Ashley Maxwell who all scored once in the half as well to finalize the win.
A trio of Donegal players scored hat-tricks against Cocalico as the Indians put up an even six goals in both halves of Wednesday's game and the ladies out-shot the Eagles 29-1.
Allessie, Amanda Beck, and Stauffer each completed the feat of scoring three times while Bohan, Maxwell, and Kyra Olweiler added one apiece.
Beck took over in the Solanco game as she tallied five goals against the Mares with two in the first half and three in the second while single goals were scored by Allessie, Saunders, Rachael Overlander, Miller, Maxwell, Stauffer, and Madison Leety.
Those three matches were merely a warm-up for a pumped up Wyoming Valley West squad that rode into town for the proverbial showdown at high noon at the Donegal Athletic Complex and very nearly toppled the defending PIAA champions.
The Lady Spartans stunned Donegal with an early 2-0 lead in the first half but a Beck shot off an assist by Saunders smacked the hardwood with 11:38 remaining in the first overtime period to send the home stands into pandemonium as the ladies improved to 9-0 overall.
Katie Jean's three saves on the day loomed large in the end, though the all-star goalie did surrender her only two goals of the week.
The first came off the stick of Cameron Forgash who took a feed from Karaline Stelma and found the back of the cage with 18:43 left in the first half.
Less than a minute later the two reversed roles as Forgash assisted on Stelma's scoring shot with 17:20 on the clock for the 2-0 lead that held through the break.
Undaunted, Jean and her teammates came out in the second half and fought through the adversity until Allessie sent a penalty stroke rocketing into the cage with 24:35 left on the clock to make it 2-1.
Almost 20 minutes later Miller, working off a corner infeed, sent the tying shot home off an Allessie assist with only 4:51 remaining in regulation, setting up Beck's heroics.
The Donegal girls' team took a rare loss last Wednesday, but it was against another undefeated Section Two team in Lampeter-Strasburg. The Lady Indians faced off with the Pioneers as well as the Cocalico Eagles and came away with a split in an 18-37 loss to L-S and a 20-45 victory over Cocalico.
Meanwhile the boys dropped both races with L-S coming out on top 24-36 and Cocalico winning 20-35.
L-S was proven worthy of the top spot in the section as they placed five girls in the top ten, taking second and third as well as fifth through seventh. Rachel Fernald sandwiched herself into fourth, finishing in a team high 22:50.
Donegal's next finishers all came in within a minute of each other as Amanda Fry (24:39), Kimberly Ebersole (25:05), Keri Anderson (25:10), Ella DeBruin (25:19), and Megan Myers (25:27) placed ninth through 12th.
Following were Myra Naqvi (25:56), Sarah Hinkel (25:59), Anna Hawbaker (26:17), McKenzie DuBuskey (26:51), and Jordyn Smith (29:55).
Team leader Silas Buckwalter paced the boys with a second overall finish of 17:52 behind Cocalico's Evan Kreider who finished with a time of 17:39. Dylan Zuch represented the only other Donegal runner to finish in the top ten with a seventh place finish of 18:37.
Other finishers included Logan Fry (19:42), Aedan Wilkinson (19:54), Brandon Hess (20:56), Hunter Williams (22:31), Ayden Miller (23:38), Andrew Allen (24:02), and Nathaniel Jenney (25:58).
Two wins last week kept Donegal (5-1-1) in the running for the top spot in Section Three behind ELCO (7-0) which owns a victory over the Indians, but there is a chance at redemption when the two teams meet for the second time this season next week.
Last week, however, Donegal scored an 8-3 win over Northern Lebanon at home on Tuesday and then beat Lebanon Catholic on Thursday, 11-0.
During that stretch, even though the quality of play was down, head coach Scott Summers saw something in his squad that impressed him. "The positives I saw this week were really about our players' ability to continue to work hard in practice and in matches, trying to improve and build on certain areas of execution despite the challenge of not getting a lot of pressure in match play."
This also gave Summers a chance to see some things from players that do not see much if any match time. "The highlights for us were using this time to develop younger players and reserves," said Summers. "Thirteen different players contributed (goals or assists) in these two matches and 24 different players saw match time."
Some of those players scoring goals from the bench included Jamie Walmer, Kristin Kitch, Emily Shreve, Kasey Buchmoyer, Sydney Skirboll, and Hannah Dunn. A few junior varsity players got in on the action as well with Hayley Bauer and Karli Dunn scoring goals while Rena Rankin stepped up in goal against Lebanon Catholic for starter Lauren Stwalley. The freshman pitched a shut-out, turning away all three of the Beaver's shots on goal.
Three wins on the week helped keep the Indians in second place as they downed Northern Lebanon 10-4, beat Lebanon Catholic 6-2, and emerged as 11-3 winners over Muhlenberg.
Putting up five goals in each half against Northern Lebanon, Donegal had 10 individuals score in the contest. The Vikings attempted a second half comeback but fell six goals short as the Indians held on to win.
Scoring for Donegal were Kyler Enck, Caleb Yoder, Austin Helm, Philip Herzog, Nathan Ncube, Zac Runkle, Levi Sites, Jose De La Cruz, Ben Sanders, and Kieran Kramer.
Gavin Murren and Owen Ollar teamed up in goal stopping two and four shots, respectively.
Lebanon Catholic pulled within one goal when they scored in the 20th minute to make it 2-1 Donegal, but did not score again until the 63rd minute.
In between Beaver goals, Donegal added three more in the first half as Runkle scored twice and De La Cruz once within a five minute span to make it 5-1 at the break. Ryan McBeth added another score in the 53rd minute to finish things off for the Indians.
Donegal had already built a 3-0 lead on Muhlenberg on before Anthony Popescu ruined the shutout with 3:15 remaining in the match. Enck, Heim, and Herzog represented Donegal's three goals while Nate Nimo recorded six saves for the Indians.
Donegal's undefeated season hit a speed bump in the form of Lancaster Catholic which showed its strength at every level and was able to maintain its unblemished record with the help of a 7-0 victory over the Indians last Monday.
Rebounding with three straight victories, however, the ladies continued on with their winning ways as they beat Columbia 7-0, and edged out Manheim Central 5-2 and Lampeter-Strasburg 4-3 in a continuation of an earlier match that was stopped due to weather conditions.
The ladies only lost four games in the match against Columbia with the Crimson Tide forfeiting at number three doubles.
Mariah Forrey and Lyla Naqvi won 8-0 at number two while Emily Ashley and Sophie May also turned in an 8-0 victory at number one.
In singles play it was Naqvi 6-1, 6-1, Forrey 6-0, 6-0, May 6-1, 6-0, and Ashley 6-0, 6-1.
Manheim won two matches, at number three in doubles as well as number four singles while Forrey and Naqvi won 8-4, and May and Ashley won 6-2, 6-2. In singles Forrey won 6-3, 6-2, May won 6-2, 6-0, and Ashley won 6-2, 6-2.
Already down 2-1 against L-S, Ashley and May gave Donegal its only doubles win at number one with an 8-2 victory, while a drama was ready to be played out in singles
Forrey lost a heartbreaker by a score of 6-6, 7-1, 6-0 while May and Ashley both won 6-0, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-0, respectively.
It was Naqvi, formerly 12th and now 4th, who came back from down 4-2 in the first to win 7-4 in tiebreak. She came back in the second only to lose 8-6 in that tiebreak and ended fighting from behind to win three straight points and won 10-8 to snag the team victory.
Afterwards, Hoffmaster had nothing but praise for Naqvi, "She pulled it out for us," he stated, "I was so happy for her, she has worked hard and deserved a big victory!"
Donegal's Lady Booters Post Two Win Week September 18, 2017
Girls' soccer in Section Three has a clear-cut front runner in ELCO (5-0), although Donegal (3-1-1) is making sure to take care of business and stay within striking distance. Meanwhile Pequea Valley (2-0-2) and Lancaster Catholic (2-2-1) were also in the hunt as of last week.
Three games were on the slate for Donegal last week and they came out on top by going 2-1 with a 5-0 blanking of Annville-Cleona followed by a 4-0 loss to the Raiders before closing out with a 1-0 win over the Crusaders.
Annville-Cleona came to visit the Indians last Tuesday and ran into a buzz saw as India Foreman scored twice and Donegal put 20 shots on goal while Lauren Stwalley shut down both scoring attempts by the visiting squad.
Emma Hudson put the ladies on the scoreboard when she took a Foreman feed and fired a shot from 18 yards out that beat a diving A-C keeper and settled into the lower far corner with 11:34 remaining in the first half.
Four minutes later Elizabeth Henriques lined up a direct kick on the 40-yard line and with a strong stride sent it home, increasing the lead to 2-0 before Foreman worked her way directly in front of goal and netted her first of the night from 10 yards out with 4:14 on the clock sending Donegal into the break with a 3-0 lead.
Henriques was involved in the second half scoring as well when she sent one of five Donegal corner kicks into the box where Alice Fernald pounced and found the lower near corner from five yards out making it 4-0 with 22:53 remaining in the game.
Foreman capped things off in the final minute when she worked the ball up field and connected on a scoring shot from 12 yards out on her second goal of the game.
Traveling to ELCO on Thursday the ladies knew what was at stake as they looked to gain some ground on the section leaders but found themselves overmatched as the Raiders scored twice in the first half and twice in the second while only allowing three shots on goal.
Donegal squared off with Lancaster Catholic on Saturday in a game that held more importance in terms of standings as both squads stood at 2-1-1 and when the dust settled, Donegal was left standing.
The road leading up to this week's first round of Section Three play has been brutal for Donegal, to say the least. In those three non-league contests, not one of the Indian's opponents has yet to lose a game.
Palmyra called on Friday and a down-but-not-out Donegal squad rose to take the challenge. Despite a spirited effort that saw the Indians overcome a ten-point deficit in the second half they fell short in a 28-14 loss.
Nick Ketner accounted for both of Donegal's touchdowns, rushing 13 times for 100 yards to lead the Indians offensively including an exciting 72-yard scoring run.
After trading possessions in the first quarter, including a failed fourth down conversion by the Indians on their opening drive, Donegal began a nine-play 78-yard drive that culminated in a Ketner plunge from one-yard out with 3:55 remaining in the quarter.
Tyler Rupp was the workhorse on that scoring drive as he carried the ball three times for 44 yards including a 33-yard rumble down to the Palmyra 5-yard line. Rupp ended up with 11 carries for 76 yards on the evening.
A Palmyra field goal in the second quarter kick-started a 17-0 run for the Cougars before Rupp's second touchdown of the game closed the gap to 17-14 with 8:36 to go in the third quarter.
An opportunity arose when Ketner fell on a loose ball giving Donegal possession at the Palmyra 41-yard line, but a subsequent three-an-out preserved the Cougar lead.
Palmyra eventually tacked on another touchdown with 2:48 remaining in the game and then thwarted any chance of an Indian comeback with an interception of a Ryan Buckius pass on its own 22-yard line with 1:35 on the clock.
A 3-0 loss to ELCO (3-2) on Thursday loomed large as the Indians defeated Lancaster Catholic 3-2 in OT on Saturday, handing the Crusaders their only loss of the season.
Had they defeated the Raiders, Donegal (3-2) would have been tied in second place with Lancaster Catholic (4-1) and right on the heels of Section Three leader Lancaster Mennonite (4-0). Instead, Donegal and ELCO held the number three spot in the standings as of last week.
First up, however, was a road trip to Annville-Cleona last Tuesday in which four different Indians scored while the defense shut down the Dutchmen offense. Nate Nimo stopped all seven of A-C's shots on goal in the 4-0 Donegal victory.
Kieran Kramer put the Indians up 1-0 with his goal in the tenth minute of play and Jose De La Cruz and Kyler Enck each scored five minutes apart in the back end of the first half, giving Donegal a 3-0 lead to start the second.
Midway through the second half Philip Herzog increased the Indian lead to 4-0. Zac Runkle had two assists while Herzog and Enck each had one apiece.
In the pivotal matchup with ELCO, Donegal was outshot 7-3 but enjoyed a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks though they failed to convert on any of them.
The Indians played toe-to-toe with the Raiders through a scoreless first half before Clay Hain put up the first of three unanswered ELCO goals in the 46th minute.
Rather than put their tails between their legs, the Indians pinned back their ears and went straight after the Crusaders on Saturday even after a 1-0 first half deficit carried over into the break.
Zac Runkle emerged as the star of the game hitting the go-ahead shot off an Aaron Smith assist with 5:09 remaining in regulation and then teaming with Herzog to put away the game winner with 8:13 to go in the first overtime period.
It was Austin Heim, however, who first put the Indians on the board when he took a Smith feed and buried it to tie the game at 1-1 with 9:15 on the clock in the second half prior to Runkle's heroics. Nimo and Lancaster Catholic's Andrew Struminger each had six saves in goal.
Hitting an early stride, both the girls' and boys' teams are sitting pretty with identical 2-0 records after the ladies put away both Northern Lebanon and Columbia with identical 15-55 scores. The guys ran away from Northern Lebanon 19-40 and Columbia 15-55.
While it goes down as a win in the books it is only fair to show that Columbia fielded one boy and two girls, while Northern Lebanon only had two girls and seven boys running.
Roster woes aside, Columbia has a gem in Jordan Haberstroh who led all girls with a 20:55 while Rachel Fernald (23:08), Megan Myers (24:18), Amanda Fry (24:20), Kimberly Ebersole (24:39), Keri Anderson (25:02), Ella DeBruin (25:21), McKenzie DuBuskey (25:39), Myra Naqvi (26:22), Anna Hawbaker (26:48), and Sarah Hinkel (28:23) finished 2nd-11th, respectively, with Jordyn Smith (29:59) placing 13th.
Silas Buckwalter finished first overall for the boys with a time of 17:58, also finishing in the top ten were Dylan Zuch (18:55), Aedan Wilkinson (20:17), Matthew Wallace (20:33), and Logan Fry (20:33) who placed 3rd-6th and Brandon Hess who was 8th with a time of 21:06.
Other finishers included Hunter Williams (11th, 22:50), Andrew Allen (15th, 24:04), Aydan Miller (16th, 25:04) and Nathaniel Jenney (17th, 26:51).
Steamrolling right along through Section Two, Donegal's girls added three more wins pushing their unblemished record to 4-0, 7-0 and maintaining a hold on first place. However, Lancaster Catholic (5-0, 6-0) was sitting right behind them in second place as of last week.
Donegal added Northern Lebanon, Garden Spot and Lancaster Mennonite to its list of victims by posting a 7-0 shutout of the Vikings on Monday, a 5-2 victory over the Spartans on Thursday and another 7-0 shutout victory on Friday, this one at the expense of the Blazers.
Only one game kept the ladies from a complete sweep over Northern Lebanon as the number three doubles team of Grace Wheeler and Madison Aument won 8-1, while Mariah Forrey and Syeda Lyla Naqvi teamed up in number two and Sophie May and Emily Ashley took number one with identical 8-0 scores.
Meanwhile in singles it was May, Forrey, Naqvi, and Wheeler winning numbers one, two, three, and four respectively by 6-0, 6-0 scores.
Garden Spot won number three doubles and number four singles but it was Ashley and May winning 8-0 and Forrey and Naqvi coming up victorious with an 8-5 score to wrap up doubles.
In singles, Ashley battled back from a 1 set deficit to beat Elle Hallquist 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 at number one while May won at number two 6-3, 6-0, and Forrey won at number three 6-0, 6-3.
Friday's match with Lancaster Mennonite was not as easy, so-to-speak, but the ladies still took care of business. In doubles Wheeler and Aument won number three 8-3, Forrey and Naqvi won at number two 8-4, and Ashley and May won number one 8-2.
Number four singles went to Naqvi 7-5, 6-1 while Forrey handled number three 6-1, 6-3, May won number two 6-0, 6-1, and Ashley took number one with a 6-0, 6-3 final.
Keeping up a torrid pace in Section Two, Donegal (4-0, 5-0) has scored 45 goals to only two against while Elizabethtown (4-0, 4-2) and Manheim Central (3-1, 4-3) continue to nip at the Indian's heels.
While goals are coming from all different angles, Mackenzie Allessie led the team last week as she put up four against Lampeter-Strasburg in an 8-0 victory, four against Ephrata during an 11-0 rout and three more in a 9-0 shutout of Manheim Central.
Versus L-S on Monday the ladies scored four in the first half and four in the second with Lily Saunders and Cassy Stauffer each scoring twice while Katie Jean stopped three shots in the cage and Grace Miller turned away one.
At home on Wednesday, Kyra Olweiler put up three scores, Saunders had two and Amanda Beck and Catherine Moran each added one apiece. Donegal scored seven times in the first half and three in the second.
Traveling to Manheim on Friday it was more of the same as the Barons surrendered six goals in the first half and three in the second.
Manheim did manage some offense and was able to put five shots on goal with Jean denying each one. Allaura Bohan and Rachael Overlander each scored twice while Miller and Stauffer put up one apiece.
Indian Booters Notch Two-Win Week September 11, 2017
With four games played as of the end of last week, Donegal (1-1, 2-2) found themselves in the middle of the pack in Section Three boys' soccer while holding down the fourth spot in the rankings.
The Indians played three games last week winning 2-1 against Pequea Valley (1-1, 2-2), losing 7-0 to Lancaster Mennonite (2-0, 4-0), and winning 6-3 over Solanco (0-2, 0-5).
In what was the hardest fought game of the week the Indians went down 1-0 early in the first half against Pequea Valley and could not crack the Braves' defense until after halftime when Aaron Smith put his head on the ball and found the back of the net with 29:13 on the clock.
"We got off to a tentative start and they capitalized on it early," stated head coach Andrew Wagner. "After the break we settled down and started working the ball better."
Nine minutes later Ryan McBeth took advantage of a well-played set and headed the eventual game winner past Pequea's Malachi Glick with 20:02 remaining in the game.
"As the game wore on, PV was defending deeper and deeper and we finally broke through," noted Wagner. "The game winner came off a set piece that we work on quite a bit. It was a great collective effort in the second half."
Pequea only got off two shots with Donegal's Gavin Murren stopping one while the Indians managed six and held a 7-0 advantage in corners.
Donegal traveled to Lancaster Mennonite on Friday and had a rough go of it against the Section leaders as the Blazers fired off 20 shots while holding the Indians to only three.
"We were thoroughly outmatched in all aspects of the game. Our Achilles heel is not being able to be physical with other teams," Wagner said while also pointing out that his players don't give up easily.
"We have a lot of heart and we grind it out with teams. Until we are determined to defy the odds and believe we can compete with the likes of LM, it will be an uphill battle."
Saturday's game against visiting Solanco swung the momentum back in Donegal's favor as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first half and weathered a Golden Mule comeback in the second where Solanco outscored the Indians 3-2.
"We played our best game attack wise and jumped on them early. We got a little sloppy in the end finishing this one out. After a grueling game last night, I guess we can excuse the poor play to close this one out," acknowledged Wagner.
Jose De La Cruz put Donegal on the board when he took a far side cross and found the back of the net on a header in the ninth minute of the game.
Smith followed with the second score of the game when Kyle Enck found him crossing in front of the goal for a header that beat goal keeper Jake Smolik with almost 25 minutes left in the half.
Two more goals in the half, one from Nathan Ncube in the 30th minute and Smith's second of the game six minutes later cushioned the Donegal lead and left an impression on Wagner. "We scored some fantastic goals in this one. The three headers, two from Smith and one from Ncube were very sophisticated goals."
McBeth made it 5-0 when he tapped in a deflected shot from two yards out with 35:00 remaining in the game and Herzog followed with a nifty little move past two defenders at the near side post and sent a shot into the lower near corner with 2:02 on the clock making it 6-2 before Solanco scored the final goal 30 seconds later.
"Overall, taking two out of three is a good week. We will have to play disciplined if we want to be successful this coming week," noted Wagner.
For the second week in a row Donegal was forced to face off against a Section Two team that is now tied in first place with a perfect record.
First the Indians faced Elizabethtown and last week it was perennial powerhouse Manheim Central. Both teams are in a tie for first place while Donegal is still looking for its first touchdown of the season.
Cameron Ellis provided the highlight of the game for the Indians when he gained 36 yards on only the second play of the night, but they were held to only 43 yards of total offense for the remainder of the game.
It does not get any easier for Donegal as they host yet another undefeated team, Palmyra (3-0), at home on Friday.
Off to a fast start, the lady Indians were sitting on an undefeated 4-0-1 record at the end of last week's play after tying Pequea Valley 1-1, and then beating Lancaster Mennonite 2-0 and Lampeter-Strasburg 5-2.
It took until the 48th minute for someone to blink last Wednesday at Pequea Valley when Kasey Buchmoyer scored on a dish from Emma Hudson to give Donegal a hard earned 1-0 lead.
The Braves' Megan Rogers pulled the game even, however, when she took a feed from Lydia Cassiola in the 65th minute, beating Lauren Stwalley with what was eventually the final score of the evening.
The two teams were almost even in shots on goal with Donegal at 10 and Pequea at 11 but the Indians held a definite advantage in corners at 10-4. Stwalley made five saves on the evening.
While Lancaster-Mennonite proved to be a close game as well, Donegal was able to score early as Alice Fernald put the Indians in the lead with a goal in the 35th minute and then closed the door in the second half with her second of the night in the 75th minute.
Fernald's first goal came when Maya Willing worked the ball into the box on the far side and found her about 12 yards out for a left footed shot into the net.
Her second score came off a rebounded shot on a corner kick that Fernald was able to lightly pop up over the goal keeper's head for the added insurance.
Hudson took control of Saturday's game with L-S as she racked up a hat trick, scoring once in the first half to put Donegal up 2-0 and twice more in the second half to pull away from the Pioneers for good after L-S pulled to within one after the break.
Donegal benefitted from an L-S mistake which resulted in the Pioneers netting its own goal to put the Indians up 1-0 in the ninth minute.
After Kendal Ream made it 2-1 in the second minute of the second half, Hudson stepped up with her second of the game in the 49th minute and added a third in the 55th minute to put the Indians ahead 4-1.
Hannah Dunn added some extra cushion when she netted an assisted shot in the 60th minute. Ream found the back of the net for the second time in the 76th minute after which Donegal's defense shut L-S down to end the game.
The reigning, defending PIAA AA champions got off on the right foot to start the season as Donegal (1-0, 2-0) seems to have picked up right where they left off.
In their lone action of the week, the ladies downed Garden Spot last Thursday 11-0 at home. Donegal outshot the Spartans 28-2 and enjoyed a 24-2 advantage in penalty corners.
Mackenzie Allessie scored four times, while Grace Miller and Kyra Olweiler each added two goals in the lopsided affair.
Heading into the break the Indians led 7-0 before adding four more as Allessie put in her final score with 28:55 on the clock followed by Miller's second at 21:45 with Olweiler scoring at 3:45 and again at 1:45.
Single scores came from Rachael Overlander, Lily Saunders, and Amanda Beck, all in the first half.
With their match against Lampeter-Strasburg cancelled last Tuesday due to rain, Donegal (2-0, 4-0) faced off against Cocalico on Thursday for its only league match of the week and came away as 4-3 winners.
Sophie May and Emily Ashley made a go of it at number one doubles as they rolled to an 8-3 victory, but Cocalico came back to win number two 9-7 in a close match with Mariah Forrey and Syeda Lyla Naqvi as well as a closely fought 9-8 (7-3) match at number three.
"Sophie May and Emily Ashley played strong together at number one," noted head coach Trent Hoffmaster. "Our number three doubles team of Mary Murphy and Grace Wheeler came back from a three game deficit to force a tiebreaker, but fell in a seven point breaker for the match."
Ashley also earned a win in number one singles as she held on to defeat Jacquie Lagaza 6-1, 6-0 while May put down Cara DiCiano 6-1, 6-0 at number two, and Forrey took out Kassie Nichols 6-2, 6-0 to complete the victory.
All three earned high marks from Hoffmaster as well. "In singles, Emily Ashley gutted out a win at number one and Sophie May played flawlessly at two. The hero of the match was Mariah Forrey. She played with confidence and determination and won easily. I suspected that the match would come down to Mariah and she came through in a big way!"
As the slow pop-up rose into the heavy air of Beard Field at the Nittany Lion Softball Park scores of green and white clad fans collectively held their breath as they tracked the flight of what turned out to be the final out of a stellar softball season and the end of a game that epitomized the never-say-die attitude of this phenomenal group of players.
With the smack of ball into leather the crowd erupted as right fielder McKenna Berg closed her glove and secured not only the out, but the guarantee that for the second time in Donegal softball history PIAA gold would belong to the lady Indians.
It also marked the second time in the past seven months Donegal brought home a PIAA championship as the field hockey team realized the same accomplishment in November. Teammates Rachel Robinson, Grace Miller, and Rachael Overlander were all members of that historic run as well.
Amidst the cheers and a slight cloud of infield dust a pile of elated young ladies shared smiles, laughter, and tears as they reveled in a feeling that only those who have fought together as a team and faced down adversity to come out on the side of victory can fully understand.
Donegal may have come away with the final prize in Friday's 9-7 win over Cedar Cliff in the PIAA 5A championship but it was anything but easy as they twice had to overcome a deficit, including a six-run fifth inning by the Colts that erased a 3-1 lead the ladies had built in the previous at bat.
With their goal firmly in sight, the Tribe battled back and answered the call with six runs of its own in the bottom of the inning and in turn bolstered the confidence of freshman relief pitcher Sierra Neiss, who was the victim of a three-run blast off the bat of Colts' Maddie Sitler that easily cleared the fence in center field increasing the lead to 7-3.
"Sierra did a great job, she came in and made good pitches, only an unfortunate play with the sun getting in our fielder's eyes giving CC an additional at bat hurt her," commented head coach Wayne Emenheiser referring to a small pop-up that dropped in untouched behind third base. "But she regrouped from that and threw two scoreless innings to finish the deal."
The young pitcher took the ball from ace Mikayla Yoder who surrendered four runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits over four and a third innings, including a solo shot over the left field fence by Karson Hastings to open the fifth.
After a shaky start in the first inning, in which a throwing error allowed McDonald to reach third and eventually score on a sacrifice fly by Olivia Jordan, Yoder worked her way out of trouble and ended the inning with the Colts ahead 1-0.
Donegal came back in the fourth when Yoder (1-3, double) stepped to the plate with one out and sent the first pitch she saw from Colts' pitcher Avery Winchall over Hasting's head in left field to end up on second.
Kaitlyn Witmer (2-3, double, 3 RBI) worked a walk and Hornick (1-2, 1 RBI) sent a single into center field which plated Jessica Kosheba, courtesy runner for Yoder, to tie the game at 1-1.
Enter Robinson, the consummate, unflappable leader who could very easily make the case as the best individual athlete to walk the halls of Donegal and is most assuredly a shoe-in for a future spot in the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
When asked about his star second baseman, Emenheiser acknowledged not only Robinson but his entire group of graduating seniors saying, "Rachel as well as all of the seniors have showed great leadership and the never-give-up-attitude their entire careers, I believe that is why they really had so much success during their careers, along with being tremendously talented softball players."
He also knows the intangibles that come along with having such an experienced group of veterans, "The seniors are a great group of young ladies; between all of them they have played over 450 varsity games and have won every team championship possible, Section, League, District and now State Championship. It has been an honor watching them play and coaching them over the last four years, seeing them mature into the amazing young ladies they all are. We will miss all of them and what they brought to this historic team."
As is most often the case in athletics the playmakers come through in the clutch, and this time was no exception as Robinson (2-3, triple, 3 RBI) ripped a shot into left field that got by Hastings for a bases-clearing triple and a 3-1 Donegal lead.
Cedar Cliff, which eliminated Donegal from the District Three tournament with a 9-5 semifinal victory, proved that it belonged in the title game as well by putting up the monster fifth inning that could very easily have demoralized the Indians.
Unfortunately, for the Colts, quitting is not in the Indians' DNA and they never hung their heads or got caught up in negative thoughts.
"The one thing about our group is that they never get stressed and never give up. I truly believe they do not look at the opponent but look at what they need to do to win," stated Emenheiser. "I did not need to say anything after the top of the fifth, they were focused from the time they got to the dugout to turn things around."
Showing cracks in the armor, Winchell surrendered back-to-back walks to Emily Graham (0-2, run scored) and Savanna Kolenda (0-3, run scored) in the bottom half of the fifth.
Now, feeling a shift in momentum, Donegal's offense rose to the challenge as Morgan Biesecker (1-4, 1 RBI) singled home Graham and Yoder worked Winchell for her third walk of the inning to load the bases.
Sensing an opportunity, Witmer (2-3, double, 3 RBI) calmly stepped to the plate and showed the stadium why she finished the season with the third highest batting average at .455.
With the count at 1-2 the senior first baseman ripped a line drive past a diving Naomi Englehart in right-center for a bases-clearing double to knot the game at 7-7.
Robinson's second hit of the game went for a single that plated Witmer for the 8-7 lead, and Berg (1-3) followed with a single into shallow right that advanced Robinson to second base before Neiss (1-33, 1RBI) sent her home on a base hit to make it 9-7 heading into the sixth.
Neiss, her confidence restored, settled in on the rubber and retired five of the final seven batters she faced to finish with three unearned runs on four hits and one strikeout.
Cedar Cliff threatened in both of the remaining innings as McDonald singled and stole second in the sixth, but was thrown out
attempting to steal third, and Jordan doubled to start the seventh, advancing to third on a sacrifice fly by Winchell.
A put-out by Kolenda at short and the final pop-up to Berg in right sealed the deal for the ladies and completed a win for the ages.
To reach the finals Donegal faced Section Three foe Lampeter-Strasburg in the semifinals and handled the Pioneers, 7-0. It was the fourth time the Indians defeated L-S in five tries this season.
Junior left fielder Grace Miller played superb defense tracking down five fly balls including two diving catches to help keep the L-S offense in check.
Yoder pitched five innings of four hit ball while Neiss only surrendered two hits over the final two.
Hornick (3-4, double, 2RBI) and Robinson (2-4, double, 2RBI) led at the plate for the Indians.
Eight years prior to Friday's romping celebration in the infield another medal ceremony took place on the infield of Glatfelter Field in Columbia.
That one marked the end of a 10u tournament featuring a Mount Joy team and a Maytown team that battled to an international tiebreak finish in the championship game.
No less than four of the players on the field that day in 2009 comprised the starting lineup of Friday's game and I am sure there were more than this aging writer's memory can recall.
As the parents of both teams gathered on the field to take photos to add to half-filled scrapbooks, Chris Miller, former Donegal baseball coach and father of Grace, looked around and announced to those of us on the field that we could very well be looking at a future state championship team.
Congratulations to those young ladies whose childhood dreams from that day finally came true on a hot day in State College, as well as every other player in the dugout on Friday whose name will be forever associated with a part of Donegal history.
Indians Advance to PIAA Class 5A Semifinals June 12, 2017
Two down, two to go. That was the line for Donegal as last week ended with the lady Indians advancing to the PIAA semifinals for the second year running in their fifth straight tournament appearance.
Donegal moved its record to 25-4 after eliminating West Chester Henderson (16-9) 3-2 in the opening round of 5A play last Monday and then holding on to defeat Abington Heights (15-3) on Thursday, 6-5, in a 10 inning International Tiebreaker in the quarterfinal round.
Scoring three runs in the first inning against WCH, Donegal took an early lead which they never relinquished as Makyla Yoder kept the damage to a minimum by only surrendering two runs on four hits in the complete game victory.
Yoder retired the first eight batters she faced before giving up her first hit of the game in the third inning. That resulted in West Chester Henderson's first run as Madelynn Skinner turned on the second pitch she saw and sent it rocketing over the wall in center field.
One more run in the fourth off the bat of Cameron Trotter marked the end of scoring for the Warriors as Yoder settled in and took care of business by putting away 11 of the remaining 12 Henderson batters.
Rachel Robinson (2-2, double, 2RBI) gave Donegal its early advantage in the first when she ripped a hard, bases-loaded shot into left field which bounced over the wall for a ground rule double and scored courtesy runners Jessica Kosheba and Cheyenne Klinedinst.
Morgan Biesecker (1-3) got the ball rolling when she took first on a one-out walk and then advanced to second when Yoder (1-4) singled into left. Katlyn Witmer then loaded the bases when she drew a walk of her own, scoring from third on a wild pitch to McKenna Berg.
One thing that head coach Wayne Emenheiser appreciates is how the offensive play of Robinson has come around following a major surgery that forced her to miss her entire junior season.
"I believe Robinson is back to where she was two years ago, before the knee injury," said Emenheiser. "It took some time for her to get back offensively, but defensively she has been a stud all year long."
Both aspects of Robinson's game were on display in the quarterfinal matchup with Abington Heights as the senior made a few clutch plays in extra innings including a diving snag of a line drive in the eighth and delivered the eventual winning run when she tripled home pinch runner Kosheba in the tenth.
Donegal also had help from freshman pitcher Sierra Neiss who has done well for Emeheiser this season when called on in relief of Yoder and has also recorded some starts as well.
With Yoder pitching well into the sixth inning and holding the explosive Comets offense scoreless on three hits, it seemed as if Neiss would be a non-factor as the lady Indians led 5-0 at that point.
However, fortunes can change quickly and Yoder soon found herself in a bind after surrendering three runs in the sixth and with runners on first and second in the seventh inning with no outs.
With the lead cut to 5-3, Neiss received the call and got out of the inning, but not before giving up two unearned runs to tie the game. She settled in after that, however, and retired the next nine batters, setting the stage for Robinson (4-5, triple, RBI).
"Sierra Neiss has been a pleasant surprise," stated Emenheiser. "Makyla has carried the pitching duties for so long and has had so much success, it's nice to be able to take a little bit of the pressure off her with Sierra, they make a great one two punch."
He knows that they are fortunate to have essentially two starters who can deliver whenever the circumstances dictate. "The game of softball is a pitcher dominated game and to have two great pitchers is a bonus," added Emenheiser.
Scoreless after the first inning, Berg (2-6) represented the first Donegal run when she scored on a two-out single by Emily Graham (2-6, 1RBI).
Biesecker (2-6, 2RBI) drove in two more with a single to center that plated Graham and Savanna Kolenda (4-5) who reached with base single of her own.
Witmer (3-6, 2RBI) made it 5-0 in the fourth inning when she brought home both Kolenda and Graham on an infield grounder.
In the tenth, with the score tied at 5-5, the International Tiebreak took effect which places the player who made the final out in the previous inning on second base, in this case it was Witmer.
Emenheiser pinch-ran Kosheba in her place, however, who advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Peighton Hornick (2-5) and then came home on Robinson's RBI.
The win paired Donegal with a very familiar foe in long- time rival Lampeter-Strasburg (22-6) which defeated Bishop Shanahan 5-4 to advance to the semis.
Donegal held a 3-1advantage over the Pioneers heading into the matchup which has actually already been played as of this printing.
Asked if the familiarity between the two teams and the Indians' subsequent dominance might cause his players to lose some focus, Emenheiser said, "I do not think the girls will overlook LS, they realize at this point in the season that everyone is bringing their best."
Indians Finish 3rd in Districts, Head to States June 5, 2017
Donegal's softball team in recent years has made playing in the post-season a habit, using the regular season as merely a warm up. This year is no different as the lady Indians began District Three Class 5A play at home against Daniel Boone in a game that was originally scheduled to go down on Thursday the 25th, but was moved to Friday due to weather conditions.
Avoiding a near upset by the 11th seeded Scouts, Donegal used a two-run seventh inning to seal an 8-7 victory on a walk off single by Savanna Kolenda that scored Sierra Neiss from second base.
Down 8-7 and facing elimination Rachel Robinson (1-2) coaxed a walk and then rounded the bases on a bunt by McKenna Berg (2-3, 1RBI) that was misplayed, tying the game at 8-8.
After Neiss (2-2, 2RBI) also walked, advancing Berg to second, Emily Graham (1-4, 1RBI) hit into a fielder's choice at short that forced out Berg at third setting the stage for Kolenda (4-4, double, 3RBI) who ripped a single into right field to complete the comeback.
Daniel Boone got to Donegal starter Makyla Yoder for two runs in the second to tie the game after RBI singles by Kaitlyn Witmer (2-4, 1RBI) and Berg in the first inning gave Donegal the early lead.
Yoder eventually left the game in the fourth after surrendering five runs on a two-out Daniel Boone rally that ended when reliever Neiss recorded the put-out on an infield pop-up.
Neiss settled in and finished the game by retiring nine of the ten batters she faced while walking one.
Donegal answered in the fifth with five runs of its own, setting up the dramatic finish which propelled them into the semifinals where they matched up with Cedar Cliff, the number 10 seed.
Under a steady downpour at Lebanon Valley College last Tuesday, the ladies found themselves playing catch up against the Colts who led 3-2 heading into the seventh inning before exploding for six runs to take command of the game.
Kolenda (2-4, HR, 4RBI), who was the star of the game for Donegal at the plate, sent shockwaves through the stadium when she stroked a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but the rally was short lived as the ladies dropped into the consolation game with a 9-5 loss.
Yoder took the ball to start and gave up three runs on four hits including two home runs over five innings while striking out two before Neiss came on in the sixth and struggled with control as she surrendered six runs, five of which were earned, on four hits.
"Cedar Cliff played well in the semis against us," stated head coach Wayne Emenheiser. "I thought we played well also until the last inning when the field conditions became an issue for our pitcher, those are the breaks though."
Morgan Biesecker (1-3, 1RBI) put Donegal on the board in the third inning when her RBI single in to centerfield plated Graham (1-3) and tied the game at 1-1.
Later, down 3-1 in the fifth, it was Kolenda who delivered with a single that sent Graham home again to cut the deficit to 3-2 before the huge final inning for the Colts put them out of reach.
With five teams advancing to the PIAA tournament, Donegal's third place game was one in which the outcome was irrelevant. However, an old friend waited for them in the form of Lampeter-Strasburg, 9-3 losers to Spring Grove in the other semifinal matchup.
Owning a 2-1 advantage over the Pioneers this season, including a tie break for the Section Three crown, the odds of Donegal making it 3-1 against the formidable foes were not weighing in their favor.
With Yoder resting, Neiss took to the rubber and threw a complete five-hit one run game as the ladies bucked the odds and defeated the Pioneers 4-1 for their third victory over the section rivals this year.
Peighton Hornick went 3-4 with one run scored and Berg tripled and drove in two runs while going 2-3 to help power Donegal to its third place finish.
L-S scored its lone run early taking the lead in the first inning, but the Indians scored twice in the second and once more in both the third and seventh innings to earn the much needed win and carry some momentum into the State tournament.
"Neiss threw a great game against LS (5 hits) and we hit well (11 hits)," acknowledged Emenheiser.
"We are looking forward to playing in the state tournament; it is always our goal to make it there. We are fortunate to be playing in our 5th straight state tournament and 7th in 8 years. The thing about playing in June is that every team has the ability to beat you if you don't play well or if you get a bad break, it's that close."
Donegal was represented in three events during the PIAA meet held at Shippensburg University over Memorial Day weekend and while none of the athletes competed past the preliminaries, Alice Fernald scored a personal best in the 400 and only missed qualifying by .45 of a second.
"We were happy with how the girls did overall. Of course, you always hope to place/make it to finals, but sometimes it's just not in the cards," stated head coach Gretchen Colwell.
Her time of 57.69 in the second heat of the prelims placed her ninth overall in the state and was a only a gust of wind behind Exeter's Faith Kehinde who clocked in at 57.24 in the fourth heat and locked up the eighth and final qualifying spot for Saturday's finals.
Taylor Nissly competed in the fourth and final heat of the 200 prelims later in Friday's competition and missed the cut by an even narrower margin as her time of 25.95 was a shoelace width behind Ni'Asia Williams from Girls' High who finished in 25.80 and also locked up the final qualifier for Saturday's finals.
Both girls also ran with Ashley Maxwell and Aliza Young in the 4x400 relay prelims on Friday with the team finishing in 4:03.96 which was exactly three seconds off of their seed time of 4:01.96 from Districts.
Performing on the big stage is not an easy task and only experience can properly prepare an athlete for the unique pressure that comes along with competing with the best in the sport.
Colwell knows this and likes what she saw in her top runners. "The other nice thing, every girl we took to states is an underclassman, so we can look forward to seeing them next season! "