Chargers Cap Season With Three Game Week May 15, 2017
"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up." - Babe Ruth
With a collective effort to finish strong, the Mt. Calvary Chargers concluded their baseball season with a three-game week of mixed results. They started their week on the wrong end of a shutout, before reversing roles to claim a shutout victory of their own, and finally succumbed to a one-run loss in their closing contest.
Monday night, the Chargers hosted the High Point Baptist Eagles, and initially displayed a united defense, holding the Eagles to only a run in the first, but it was during an explosive third inning that the Eagles went on a nine-run scoring blitz and never looked back, running up the score 25-0.
"As a team we knew, coming off of a busy week with limited pitching options, that this game was going to be difficult," acknowledge head coach Jim Sintic. "High Point's depth and seniority showed as they handed us our worst defeat of the season. I encouraged my team after the game that tomorrow is a new day and we needed to be ready to play hard."
Despite the lopsided scoreboard, the Chargers collected themselves and honored their senior players after the contest. Seniors Jared Landis, Stephen Leed, Noah Hoffman, and Jack Lachance each added a unique dynamic to the club and will be missed both on and off the field.
Landis, a team captain has played for the team for four years. He added experience in several positions and developed into a leader on and off the field. Over his four-year career, he collected 61 hits and had an average of .374. He excelled at every new challenge.
Leed, also a four-year player, earned his spot as a team captain with marked improvement both offensively and defensively. He had a batting average of .270 and constantly put pressure on opposing pitchers by making contact and rarely striking out.
Hoffman played the game with an aggressive nature and showed the underclassmen how to work hard both in games and practice. He developed into a solid outfielder and hitter.
Lachance, a late-year addition, immediately boosted the team morale and was a notable encouragement to the team. Known for his hard work and good attitude, Lachance was willing to fill in anywhere he was needed and led through positive example.
Tuesday night the team took a trip to Harrisburg Christian to take on the Knights, and found a perfect balance connecting their offensive and defensive game, and were rewarded with a 15-0 triumph.
Though the team has had previous competitions with offensive highs and defensive improvement, they have at times struggled to excel at both simultaneously. That was not the case in Tuesday's match as they demonstrated confidence and secured a well-rounded victory.
"We never let up offensively and never let ourselves down defensively. This is the type of game we were working towards, and we can build off of for next season," encouraged Sintic.
Taiji Fukasawa claimed the win from the mound, throwing consistent strikes, and forcing the Knights to swing the bat. When the Knights managed to connect with the ball, Charger defense was ready and waiting to make the necessary plays to maintain a shutout.
Fukasawa threw four innings, striking out one, and gave up zero runs, zero walks, and only three hits.
Freshman Chip Stambaugh was a key part of the defensive effort, having a standout performance with two game-altering catches in right field to neutralize Knight offensive threats.
At the plate, young players displayed their up-and-coming potential to lead the team. Freshman, Dakota Lamb paved the way for the Chargers, driving in three runs with three hits, including two doubles. Tyler Masters, a sophomore, also went three-for-three and collected three RBIs.
Leed, Landis, and David Ellis each collected two hits in the effort. Lachance and Nathan Lerro each supplied one hit to bring the team total to 14.
"We felt great about our efforts. I was so encouraged by the way we came out and played hard after a difficult defeat," praised Sintic.
Thursday night, dodging rain showers, the Chargers squeezed in their final contest at the Christian School of York Crusaders. Despite holding the early lead and battling through the entirety of the duel, the Chargers slipped to a 5-4 defeat.
The Chargers got off to a strong start, capturing the early lead in the first as Fukasawa reached on a walk and advanced around the bases with heads up base running, and scored the first run on a ground out.
In the third, the Chargers went up 2-0, once again Fukasawa reached on a walk and this time was driven home by a double from Masters.
The Crusaders pushed their first runs across the plate in the bottom of the third to tie the game at two apiece. Both teams produced another run in the fifth to keep the score even at 3-3 heading into the sixth. The bottom of the sixth proved to be the decisive half inning as the Crusaders collected two additional runs.
In the seventh, the Chargers had a last chance to claim the contest as they loaded the bases and earned an additional run. With the tying run a mere 90 feet away from home, the Crusader defense closed the match on a ground out leaving the Charger runners stranded.
Master's once again proved to be an offensive force, collecting all four of the Charger RBIs.
Landis started the game on the mound, giving up three runs, three hits, and striking out seven during four plus innings of work. Fukasawa pitched in relief and was saddled with the loss after surrendering three hits, two runs, and zero walks in an inning.
"I was proud of the way we held our composure and showed a positive attitude even when circumstances weren't going our way," noted Sintic.
The Chargers wrapped up their 2017 season with a record of 4-11.
"I am very thankful for this team and the hard work they demonstrated. We had our ups and downs, but I am proud of the effort we gave this season," elaborated Sintic. "We had goals at the beginning of the season, our main one being to improve individually and as a team. We achieved that goal further than I could have imagined," he added.
"We are also thankful for the opportunity God gave us to play relatively injury-free this season," continued Sintic. "As a team, we focused on the blessing of getting to participate in this game daily. We will miss our senior players, but look forward to continuing to improve and future success for the program."
Chargers Notch Back-to-back Victories May 8, 2017
Finally getting to see the payoff from all their hard work, the Mt. Calvary baseball club started out last week with a loss on the road, but wrapped up the week with back-to-back victories.
Monday, the team traveled to Millersburg High School and played an aggressive seven innings. Though ultimately falling 11-2, they managed to walk away with offensive highlights, but once again defensive errors proved to be their nemesis.
Starting out strong, captain Jared Landis got on base in the first reaching on an error. Tyler Masters drove a double into left center field, to put them both into scoring position, but they were left stranded as the team was unable to produce another hit to drive them in.
Stephen Leed got things going from the mound, and led the team in a clean first inning. Though a Millersburg batter reached base on a single, Charger catcher Dakota Lamb showed off his defensive skills, throwing out the runner as he attempted to steal second. Confidence was contagious and the Chargers quickly put away the next two batters to close the inning.
During the second inning, the Millersburg team began to exploit defensive weaknesses and put together a three-hit inning coupled with two fielding errors to build a 5-0 lead.
Millersburg collected an additional two runs in the third to extend their lead to seven.
"Millersburg is a tough team. They're well coached and have a lot of experienced baseball players," acknowledged head coach Jim Sintic. "They did a good job of capitalizing on every mistake we made."
True to their style, the Chargers did not go down without a fight, building momentum in the sixth, kick-started by a patient at bat by Haruto Saito drawing a walk. Masters once again played his roll notching a single, followed by a single from Lamb plating the first Charger run. Leed followed suit with an additional RBI single to give the Chargers another boost.
Despite their sixth-inning surge, the Chargers were unable to close the gap for a comeback.
"Defensive errors led to a score that was more lopsided than it could have been," reiterated Sintic. "We know what we need to do."
Twenty-four hours later, the Chargers hosted the Harrisburg Christian Knights at In The Net, and battled to a 3-2 triumph.
Pitching was the name of the game for both ball clubs, as the starting pitchers combined for a total of 23 strikeouts and only three walks.
On the mound for the Chargers was Taiji Fukasawa who pitched a gem sending all but three hitters off with strikes throughout his innings.
"Taiji put pressure on their hitters to make contact, and threw a large volume of strikes. It was exactly what we needed," commented Sintic.
With Fukasawa's defensive performance of 12 strikeouts and only one walk, the Chargers needed to accomplish their offensive goals to pull off the win.
The Chargers may have only had three hits on the night, a single supplied by Masters and two doubles from Leed, but they made each of them count. Master's single came in the first inning, driving in the first Charger run, directly followed by an RBI double from Leed to give the Chargers the early 2-0 lead.
The Knights were initially quiet until they retaliated with two runs of their own in the fourth. Keeping their composure, the Chargers worked around their mistakes and did not allow the Knights to do any further damage.
During the sixth, Leed stepped up for his second double of the night, a rocket into left field, driving in the go ahead run.
Entering the seventh, knowing the game was far from over, the Chargers needed to keep their defensive efforts clean, which has at times been a costly struggle for the club.
Leed continued contributing with an excellent stop at first finished by Fukasawa covering the base for the first out of the inning. Fukasawa followed that play by striking out the next batter swinging. The final out of the game was snagged by Jack Lachance with a running catch in left field.
Wednesday, the Chargers played for the third straight day, this time at the home of the Conestoga Christian Cougars, a team that had previously beaten 9-3. This time the tables were turned, and the improved Charger squad secured a 9-7 victory.
"We started the game exactly how we wanted to-putting pressure on our opponents," noted Sintic. "Our base running made the difference," he added.
A wild first inning including three stolen bases, three walks, and two runs scored on errors gave the Chargers a 2-0 advantage early on. The Cougars responded with a run in the bottom half, keeping in contention.
The second inning was a game changer for the Chargers as they collected four runs to put them up 6-1. Chip Stambaugh and Saito each displayed patience reaching on walks and then advancing to scoring position through heads up base running.
Landis and Masters ignited the Charger offense with back-to-back triples propelling the runs across the plate and increasing team confidence.
The Cougars responded in kind, as they came up with a big third inning to bring the score back within a run, 6-5.
Landis controlled the mound for the Chargers, and remained unruffled throughout the Cougar resurgence, effectively striking out the side to stifle the comeback threat.
In the fourth, the Cougars again gained momentum with two more runs crossing the plate, enough to capture the lead for the first time of the contest, 7-6.
"I told my team that they needed to dig deep and show that they wanted it more than the other team. That's exactly what they did from the fourth inning on," praised Sintic.
Leed produced a pivotal at bat in the fifth, reaching on a dropped third strike, advancing around the bases on wild pitches, and scoring on a passed ball to knot the score at 7-7.
Charger improvement on defense sealed the Cougars' fate over the final three innings. Producing a clean fifth and sixth, the Chargers only allowed one Cougar runner to reach base over the course of both innings.
Three consecutive hits in the sixth, supplied by Saito, Fukasawa, and a two RBI single from Landis, was enough to recapture the lead 8-7. Lamb suppled an insurance run on a fielder's choice scoring Fukasawa to finalize the score, 9-7.
The seventh inning displayed a confident Charger team playing together and avoiding defensive mistakes. Masters made a great stop at third base to throw a runner out at first. Charger catcher Lamb, made an explosive throw to catch a runner attempting to steal third, and Landis finished the game on a strikeout.
"I told Jared [Landis] in the fifth that this is his senior year, and probably one of his last outings as a pitcher. We needed him to dig deep and he did just that. I was extremely proud of his performance," elaborated Sintic.
Landis was awarded the win, pitching all seven innings, striking out 13, and only allowing three walks. Landis also led the team in hits, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
"It's been exciting to see my players grow in their skill, but even more than that, grow spiritually as young men. When you have to deal with disappointment in athletics it causes you to appreciate your teammates and grow closer through those times," summarized Sintic.
Following these back-to-back wins, a rejuvenated Charger team enters the final week of the regular season schedule with a record of 3-9.
Chargers Battle But Drop Two One-Run Games May 1, 2017
In a game where a split second can mean the difference between winning and losing, the Charger baseball club experienced two heartbreaking losses last week. They battled hard but ultimately lost both contests by the slimmest margin, a single run.
Thursday the team traveled to Antietam High School to take on the Mountaineers.
Antietam got out to an early lead, putting the Chargers down by five in the first inning, and followed up with an additional two runs in the third, placing the Chargers at a seven-run disadvantage heading into the top of the fourth.
Taiji Fukasawa got the start for the Chargers, pitching well, but unfortunate fielding errors were responsible for the Mountaineers' onslaught of runs.
"Our defense struggled, giving up three errors in the first. Our body language and demeanor was not what I have come to expect from this team," explained head coach Jim Sintic. "I challenged them after the third, and they responded in a big way."
Mustering the tenacity to fight back, Tyler Masters led off in the top of the fourth with a single. Jared Landis stood his ground and got on base after being hit by a wild pitch. Dakota Lamb displayed patience at bat, earning himself a base on balls.
With bases loaded and no outs, the Chargers saw their first opportunity for an offensive surge, this time with Stephen Leed up to bat. Leed was also hit by a pitch, gaining a base and sending in the first Charger run of the contest.
"After that, the Antietam pitchers struggled to find the strike zone and our hitters showed great patience," commended Sintic.
Scott Lane and David Ellis drew additional walks while the bases remained loaded to bump the Chargers' run tally to three.
After making a pitching substitution, the Mountaineer relief managed to strike out two Charger batters before Fukasawa stepped up to the plate and sliced a RBI single, bringing the score to 7-4 before a third strike out closed the Charger at bat.
The Mountaineers responded during their offensive turn, now facing Charger relief pitcher Landis, and collected two more runs to reaffirm their lead 9-4.
After a scoreless fifth inning, the Chargers produced an explosive sixth inning to capture a temporary lead.
Freshman Jonah Rutt demonstrated a discerning eye, drawing a walk, followed by Fukasawa seeing a similar scenario and also reaching on walk. Once again, Masters came up with a single when it mattered, loading the bases for Landis to hit in a run.
With great patience, the Chargers collected the next three runs off two walk-ins and an error, tying the ballgame at nine.
Fukasawa, a presence of consistency, singled to drive in the go ahead run, before the completion of the inning, giving the Chargers the lead, 10-9.
The Mountaineers retaliated with a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth, knotting the game at ten. After a quiet top of the seventh in which the Chargers were unable to cross the plate, it was once again the Mountaineers who were able to connect. With two outs and a runner on second, a hard-hit line drive to center that was not secured was the catalyst that sent the final run in for the Mountaineers and produced the walk off win.
"Our determination and heart was evident. We didn't give up and I was proud of our effort. We learned a lot about ourselves through this up and down game," concluded Sintic.
Fukasawa led the day at the plate, going three-for-four including two RBIs, he also pitched three innings striking out one and walking zero. Though he gave up seven runs only three were earned.
Masters took the loss after his one and two-thirds innings of work, allowing two hits, one run, and zero walks. Master also performed well at the plate gathering two hits and two runs.
Leed picked up a pair of strikeouts while throwing one inning of relief.
Landis collected a hit, a walk, a run, and a RBI during his three at bats, and Lamb put the Mountaineer pitchers to work, drawing four walks.
Twenty-four hours later, the Chargers experienced another nail-biting finish again determined by a single run; this time a gut-wrenching 19-18 loss to the Lancaster County Christian Lions.
In a similar fashion to the day before, the Chargers got out to a rough start, once again falling behind by five after an inning.
Quick to recover, the Chargers fired back in the second with their finest inning, collecting seven runs and capturing the lead. The explosive inning came as a result of four walked batters, one hit batter, a single from Landis, and two doubles supplied by Masters and Lamb.
The subsequent inning saw another six Charger runs cross the plate, propelling them ahead 13-6. Landis highlighted the impressive inning with a towering two run home run.
Unfortunately, the Lions weren't finished either, and responded in kind with 11 runs scored over the fourth and fifth.
"We never panicked or got down ourselves. We showed great resilience in the second," explained Sintic. "Defense was our downfall in this one, as we committed a season-high eight errors in the field, giving the Lions multiple opportunities to score runs each inning."
During the fifth, the Chargers picked up three additional runs with a double from Jack Lachance and bases loaded walks from sophomores Nathan Lerro and Ethan Niedwick.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Lions recaptured the lead, and followed that by scoring off an error and a home run in the sixth to give them a 19-16 advantage as they entered the final inning.
Down by three, with two outs in their last at bat, the Chargers were keenly aware that they had reached their final opportunity. Lerro reached on a walk, Matt Kruschinsky was hit by a pitch, and freshmen Chip Stambaugh loaded the bases on a walk.
Now at the top of the order, with two outs and bases loaded, Fukasawa once again got it done with a clutch two RBI single. With the tying run just 90 feet away, the Lions third baseman made a fine play and secured the final out, dashing the Charger comeback and concluding the contest.
Landis and Lachance shared the pitching load over the course of the contest. Landis struck out six while walking one. Lachance struck out five and surrendered one walk.
"Both our pitchers did their part, pitching to contact. Unfortunately, our defense was not able to back them up," noted Sintic. "Offensively, it was a different story. We put pressure on the Lions throughout the game. We're a young team and we continued to fight and didn't give up, which is all you can ask for as a coach."
This week, the Chargers will have their stamina tested as they cram four games into a weeks' time with the season's busy schedule and weather postponements colliding for a hectic calendar. Tuesday marks their sole home contest of the week.
Mt. Calvary Falls Short Against CC Cougars April 24, 2017
"I take positives out of negatives all the time." - David Wright, Mets third baseman
With only one game last week, the Chargers stepped onto their home field hoping to secure a victory, but were disappointed as they fell 9-3 at the bats of the Conestoga Christian Cougars.
The first two innings displayed two well-matched ball clubs testing their opponents with no adjustment made to the scoreboard.
Taiji Fukasawa got off to a strong start on the mound for the Chargers, striking out three batters in his first two innings of work. The Cougars retaliated with precise pitching as well causing both teams to jostle for control of the contest.
Unfortunately, the Cougars were the first to crack the opposition's defense, coming up with a big third inning, filing in four runs, and never relinquishing the lead.
Timing and stranded runners told the tale of the day, as the Chargers sparked two separate rallies allowing them to load the bases, but were unable to drive enough runs home to shrink their deficit.
Jared Landis kick started offensive momentum in the fourth with a line drive single. Landis bided his time on base, advancing around with heads up base running, and capitalized on a Cougar fielding error to cross the plate for the first Charger run.
Stephen Leed, who reached on the error, also took a full turn around the bases, scoring on a ground out by Jack Lachance. David Ellis reached on a walk, but was left stranded as the Cougars regrouped for a ground out to end the inning.
The fifth inning brought another slew of Cougar runs, allowing them to extend their lead 9-2. On the flip side of the inning, Fukasawa applied pressure with a single and aggressive base running. Dakota Lamb reached on a walk, and Landis had another successful at bat with a single, but despite their effort the Cougar's consistent defense allowed them register three outs before the Chargers could push a runner cross the plate.
Landis, pitching in relief, threw a solid top of the sixth, striking out two and picking off a runner at second to keep the Charger hope alive.
With opportunities dwindling, the Chargers produced a final spurt of energy in the sixth. Facing two outs, with runners on first and second due to walks, Fukasawa again produced a single, loading the bases.
Tyler Masters sliced a ground ball to the shortstop and reached on an error, driving Jonah Rutt across the plate for the third Charger run. Despite the pressure, the Cougar pitcher remained composed and managed to strike out the last Charger batter and squelch the rally.
"Our guys never quit. We just couldn't break through," commented head coach Jim Sintic.
Fukasawa was tagged with the loss after three innings of work, collecting three strikeouts and allowing four earned runs. Landis tossed four innings, picking up six strikeouts and scattering five hits and five runs.
Landis had a strong showing at the plate, going three for four and supplying a run. Fukasawa collected two hits, and Jack Lachance produced an RBI.
"We learn more about ourselves each game. It's easy to have fun when you're winning, but you learn a lot more when you lose," acknowledged Sintic. "We'll continue to grow and work as a team. There's a lot of baseball left for us to play," he added.
Moving forward, the Charger schedule will give them ample opportunity to display improvement as they hope to balance out their current 1-6 record. Heading into a stretch of games on the road, this week will hold three contests, starting with a rematch against the Conestoga Christian Cougars on Tuesday, this time on the Cougars' home turf.
Chargers Challenge Crusaders But Fall Short April 17, 2017
"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." - Yogi Berra
Team and individual character is tested in the tough times, something the Mt. Calvary Chargers are finding as they are experiencing a stretch of tough losses, suffering defeat in both of last week's pairings.
Tuesday, the Charger team took their home field to host the Christian School of York Crusaders, and though they played with heart and enthusiasm, fell short 8-3.
Initially the Chargers found themselves in an offensive slump, having trouble adjusting to Crusader pitching.
When it was the Charger's turn in the field, team captain Stephen Leed took the mound and rose to the challenge, throwing precise strikes across the plate. Unfortunately, costly fielding errors created the opening the Crusaders needed to start to pull away as the game progressed.
Working around an error and a single in the first, Leed kept his composure and was able to pick a runner off at second followed by two strikeouts to close the inning.
After four innings, the Chargers found themselves buried by a 6-0 Crusader lead, and knew it was pivotal they take action to remain in contention.
Tyler Masters, a sophomore, drove a single into left field, and continued his aggressive play with his base running, stealing both second and third. Noah Hoffman was the next Charger bat to connect, producing a Crusader error and allowing Masters to cross the plate.
Despite the Charger momentum surge, the Crusaders were able to retaliate in the fifth, collecting two additional runs adjusting the scoreboard to 8-1.
Displaying a tenacious spirit, the Chargers capitalized on another opportunity to gather impetus in the sixth. Masters again sparked the offense, this time with a patient eye at bat resulting in a walk. Jared Landis propelled a double into the left-center field gap advancing Masters to third.
With two runners in scoring position, freshman Dakota Lamb took his turn at bat and efficiently put down a single driving in two RBIs to narrow the deficit 8-3.
In spite of Charger comeback efforts, the Crusaders were able to retain control, extinguishing the Charger rally and closing the game with no further change to the scoreboard.
"In the end, it was our inability to make adjustments offensively, and our fielding errors that kept us out of the game," acknowledged head coach Jim Sintic.
The crippling effect of errors was underscored by the stats, as only three of the Crusaders total eight runs were earned.
Lamb, Landis, Masters, and David Ellis each tallied a hit in the loss.
Leed took the loss for the Chargers after five innings, delivering five strikeouts, five walks, and allowing three earned runs. Masters and Ellis both pitched in relief, each picking up a strike out in their innings of work.
Thursday's road trip took the Chargers to the home field of the High Point Baptist Eagles, where they got off to an encouraging early lead, before eventually succumbing to the Eagles 11-1.
Leadoff hitter Tyler Masters reached base on a walk thanks to discerning eye, followed by a single from Landis. Once again, Lamb did his part, singling to load the bases. After a force out at the plate, Hoffman managed to draw a one out RBI walk providing the Chargers with a temporary one-run lead.
The Eagles responded with effective defense, closing the inning with the remaining two outs and leaving all three Charger runners stranded.
With their first offensive chance, the Eagles took control of the game going up 4-1 and had another definitive inning in the third where they collected an additional four runs.
"Defensive woes plagued us early on and continued to be a theme for us throughout the game," summarized Sintic. "When you allow a good team extra opportunities each inning you put yourselves in a difficult position to be successful."
Landis was saddled with the loss, tossing two innings and giving up seven runs and earning one strikeout.
Focusing on positive highlights for the Chargers, they see evidence that they are improving as a team. Leed had a productive day at the plate collecting two hits. Sophomore Taiji Fukasawa made his season debut, immediately making an impression by stealing two bases and working on the mound in relief. Fukasawa threw two innings, striking out two and allowing zero earned runs.
"As a team, we obviously don't want to lose. However, we are growing and learning. We started this season focusing on personal and team growth and we'll continue to do that," encouraged Sintic.
The team headed into an extended weekend with time to rest and refocus. More significantly, the weekend served as a time to align priorities and concentrate on their ultimate goal, to honor and glorify their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in all that they do, both on and off the field.
When the Chargers resume their season on Tuesday, they will host Conestoga Christian at In The Net in Palmyra.
Charger Baseball Struggles on the Diamond April 9, 2017
"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." - Babe Ruth
Squeezing in games between an abundance of April showers, the Mt. Calvary Chargers faced a tough week of competition culminating in two losses.
In Monday's pairing against the Steelton-Highspire Rollers, the Chargers found themselves struggling to make contact against the Rollers' remarkable pitching efforts, which led to a 5-0 Roller win.
Unable to gain offensive momentum, the Chargers had difficulty getting on base, due largely to the performance of Steelton's Isaiah Lockette who was awarded the win after six innings of work.
"Lockette did a great job throwing his high velocity fastball for strikes, putting a lot of pressure on us," acknowledge head coach Jim Sintic.
Despite their woes at bat, the Chargers in turn displayed encouraging highlights from the mound. Senior Jared Landis threw six innings for the Chargers, striking out seven while scattering five hits and four walks.
"He [Landis] was able to spot his fast ball while mixing in his off-speed pitches, keeping the Roller hitters off balance for much of the game," praised Sintic.
The top of the third was when the Rollers scored the bulk of their runs, advancing their lead to 4-0.
Defense was a key factor in the relatively low-scoring contest. Sophomore Ethan Niedwick stepped up to make critical plays at third base, keeping Roller offensive damage to a minimum. Niedwick snagged a hard-hit line drive in the third, and also came up big in the sixth with back-to-back outs to squelch potential Roller runs.
In the top of the fifth, the Rollers were once again gathering offensive impetus, but Charger centerfielder David Ellis made a running catch to halt the Roller rally.
Stephen Leed pitched an inning in relief for the Chargers, picking up a pair of strikeouts and only allowing one run.
Landis showed patience at the plate, reaching base twice on walks. Freshman players Dakota Lamb and Scott Lane each reached base as well, with a walk and HBP respectively.
"We were able to keep ourselves in striking distance throughout. Our good defense allowed us to keep the game close," elaborated Sintic. "It's easy to get frustrated, but we did a good job keeping our composure and positive attitude even though we struggled to score runs today."
Friday, the Chargers once again fell behind early, in a home contest against the Lancaster County Christian Lions, and were unable to battle back, surrendering 14-3.
Fielding errors in the top of the first led to an initial Lion 5-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, the Chargers rallied and started to create some offensive action. Noah Hoffman got things rolling with a single, followed by Niedwick reaching on an error. Freshman Scott Lane, secured an RBI single to bring home Hoffman, but the momentum was squelched as the Lions managed to catch Niedwick attempting to steal home, ending the inning.
Masters led the next offensive spark for the Chargers in the subsequent inning, reaching on a single and pushing Leed into scoring position. Lamb further advanced the Charger cause crushing an RBI double into left-center field to bring Leed home. Masters crossed the plate on the next play bringing the score as close as 6-3, but the Lions closed the inning with a strikeout.
The top of the fourth proved to be a turning point as the Lions pulled away with an offensive surge. Consistent contact with the ball allowed them to collect an additional five runs.
In response to the incessant Lion hitting, the Charger outfield had ample opportunity to display their fielding skills, and were not without highlights. David Ells robbed the Lions of an additional hit with a textbook running catch in straightaway center field.
As a unit, the Charger outfield combined for nine put-outs, but critical mental mistakes paired with Lion relentlessness at bat created an insurmountable difference.
Masters, Lane, Hoffman, and Lamb each contributed a hit to the Charger effort, with Lamb, Ellis and Lane each picking up an RBI as well.
"Ultimately, we made too many mistakes to keep us in the game," commented Sintic. "However, we grew as a team today. If we're able to learn from our mistakes and apply what we work on in practice every day, we'll only get better."
Looking ahead, the Chargers continue their streak of home games hosting the Christian School of York at In the Net on Tuesday.
Chargers Crush Lebanon Catholic 13-0 April 3, 2017
"There are three types of baseball players; those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens." - Tommy Lasorda, MLB Hall of Famer
The first few weeks of the 2017 season may have been characterized by soggy fields and postponed games, but the Mt. Calvary Chargers were finally able to kick off their baseball season last Wednesday during a two-game week of split results, claiming their season opener with authority before having the roles reversed the following day.
Wednesday's sunny skies set the tone for the home contest held at In The Net sports complex in Palmyra, where the Chargers hosted the Lebanon Catholic Beavers and picked up their first victory, 13-0, in five innings.
Senior captain Jared Landis was first to take the mound and made quick work in the top of the first, striking out the side while impressively keeping his pitch count to a mere 10 pitches.
"Jared is typically a contact pitcher who throws a high volume of strikes. It was exciting to see him throwing with precision, causing the batters to swing and miss," praised head coach Jim Sintic.
Landis' commanding presence on the hill transferred to Charger confidence at bat. Fellow captain Stephen Leed led off for the Chargers, reaching on a walk, and was advanced to third by a sharp line drive single into left field by shortstop Tyler Masters.
The Chargers scored their first run of the season displaying heads up base running as Masters looked to steal and Leed capitalized on the opportunity to cross the plate.
An accumulation of walks allowed the Chargers to load the bases, after which, David Ellis, a sophomore, stepped up for his first at bat and flared a double into left center field pushing across two more runs.
By the time there were two outs, the bases were again loaded and the Chargers had batted around, giving Leed his second chance to swing the bat. He connected for a three RBI single which doubled the Charger's early lead before the close of the first inning.
"I was very encouraged to see our team come out with offensive energy and feed off of each other's success," pointed out Sintic. "Our players approached each at bat with a discerning eye and it paid off."
Third baseman Ethan Niedwick highlighted the top of the second with a diving stop and strong throw to beat Lebanon Catholic's runner by half a step, halting the Beavers' momentum before it had a chance to start.
On the very next play, fellow sophomore Nathan Lerro snagged a line drive headed into right field, further frustrating Lebanon Catholic's offensive attempts.
Landis completed three innings of work on the mound, earning him the win in addition to five strikeouts and allowing zero runs and zero hits. Nathan Hatzfeld was tagged with the loss for the Beavers, allowing seven runs in his innings pitched.
Leed and Masters each stepped up to throw an inning in relief, and neither surrendered a run to keep the shut out alive. Leed picked up two strikeouts while Masters closed the game with one of three strikeouts.
The pitchers also got it done offensively as evidenced by their at bat contributions. Leed nailed two hits while driving in three RBIs. Landis crossed the plate three times in addition to an RBI, and Masters came up with two hits.
Ellis drove in three runs, and Nathan Lerro contributed an additional two RBIs.
Thursday's match on the road pitted the Chargers against the Columbia High School Crimson Tide, and the Chargers fell behind to an early deficit they were unable to overcome, losing 16-6.
In the top of the first, the Chargers swiftly found themselves with two outs and desperate to get some momentum going. Landis demonstrated patience at bat, drawing a walk to get on first, before stealing second.
Next up, freshman Dakota Lamb stepped up to the plate lining a single into left. Unfortunately the Crimson Tide's left fielder was on his game, hustling to the ball and returning it swiftly to the infield where Landis was thrown out attempting to score and putting an end to the inning.
"We knew this was going to be a challenging game, so we wanted to set an aggressive tone," noted Sintic.
Challenging was an apt description of the flip side of the first inning for the Chargers. The Crimson Tide demonstrated their ability to connect with pitches, coupled with too many walks given up by the Chargers, causing the bulk of the contest's runs to be scored in that half inning alone, as the Tide rolled in a formidable 10 runs before the close of the first.
Despite finding themselves in a substantial hole, the Chargers regrouped and fought back in subsequent innings.
Lamb and Ellis rose to the challenge offensively in the fourth, paving the way for the Chargers to get back into contention. Lamb drove a double into the right center gap for two RBIs and Ellis followed suit with a perfectly executed hit and run to drive in a RBI of his own.
Lamb, the catcher, continued his impressive performance defensively saving the Chargers from additional Crimson Tide runs by blocking several wild pitches and holding runners at third.
"We were able to narrow the gap to 13-6, and felt confident in our ability to play with our opponents," elaborated Sintic. "Unfortunately, their offense was too much, and we came up short."
Leed picked up the loss for the Chargers allowing eight runs and three hits, and was supported in relief by pitching from Masters who earned three strikeouts.
Ellis and Lamb each collected two hits in the loss, and Noah Hoffman, Masters, and Leed each contributed a hit to the effort.
"We have learned a lot about ourselves through these first two games. I was proud of our guys' attitude-we never stopped playing hard," encouraged Sintic. "I think we're starting to feel more confident as a team, even after a loss," he added.
The Chargers look ahead to hosting two home games at In The Net this week, taking on Steelton-Highspire early in the week and Lancaster County Christian on Friday.
Mt. Calvary Caps Season In PIAA Opener March 12, 2017
That's a wrap for the Mt. Calvary Chargers, and a job well done, as they concluded their 2016-2017 season last week after making an appearance in the PIAA state tournament where their journey was halted by St. John Neumann Regional Academy in a first round loss, 62-31.
Coming off a long stretch following their District 3 third-place finish, the Chargers were forced to wait more than a week before facing the number two seeded Neumann team.
In Friday night's match, the Neumann Knights came out blazing and quickly took command of the game. At the conclusion of the first quarter the Chargers trailed by 14, and were forced to adjust their strategy.
"I think that we were able to get shots that we wanted on offense, but we were unable to finish. The result forced us to play faster than we wanted to, and into the type of game that we did not want to play," explained head coach Jared Griest.
As the game progressed, the Knights continued their barrage, but the Chargers were able to find some offensive success, led by senior Jack Lachance's 13 points.
Fellow senior Ben Sheard exemplified a finish strong attitude, doing whatever needed to be done to promote the Charger squad, demonstrated in his nine rebounds and seven points.
Despite their efforts, for each Charger bucket scored, the Knights managed to retaliate with twice as many, reflected in the final score 62-31.
"We knew coming into tonight's contest that we needed to control pace, and we were unable to do that," summarized Griest.
Though perhaps not the way the Chargers hoped to finish, their season remains full of accomplishments and evidence of hard work. Securing an 11-1 season record in league competition propelled the team to the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference tournament in which they were the runner-up in the championship game.
In PIAA District 3 competition, the team excelled and obtained the third-place finish. Their district success also earned them the right to progress onto states, a distinction the team has only held three times prior to this season.
Individual highlights abounded as well, including Lachance reaching his 1000th career point in January. Lachance, Sheard, and Jared Landis were each named to the CCAC west all-conference team for their season long contributions.
Graduating five seniors, the Chargers used the season to emphasize leadership and heritage.
"Our theme for the year was building a legacy. With our seniors, it was important for them to build a foundation for the younger players," pointed out Griest. "They also leave a legacy of hard work for those that are coming behind them. I look forward to working with our group in the future and showing the seniors that the example they set this season had benefits beyond the 2016-2017 year."
Chargers Place Third in District 3A Bracket March 6, 2017
Momentarily knocked down by a tough early week loss, the Mount Calvary Chargers regained their momentum and ended their District playoff performance with a victory, clinching the third-place spot in the PIAA District 3 Class A tournament.
The week began with a semifinal round match up against the York Country Day Greyhounds, in which the Greyhounds prevailed 83-41.
Having met in the regular season with a similar result, the Chargers hoped to improve on their ability to combat against York's all-around dominate game.
"We thought that we'd be more competitive than the first time we played York Country Day, however they are a very good, athletic team," acknowledge head coach Jared Griest. "I am still proud of the work the boys have put in," he added.
At the onset, the Chargers were able to keep pace with the Greyhounds by choosing to look for high percentage shot opportunities from outside. It was the second quarter in which the Greyhounds pulled away going on a 27-10 run to extend their lead to 26 at the half.
The Greyhounds clearly held a size advantage as they outscored the Chargers 44-24 in the paint and claimed 23 offensive boards before the contest came to a close.
Despite the significant point differential, there were still noteworthy individual Charger highlights. Jack Lachance netted 15 points along with five rebounds, and Jared Landis chipped in with eight. Sophomore Wyatt Hawthorne stepped up to contribute six points, six rebounds, and two blocks, while fellow sophomore Tyler Masters came up with three steals for the Charger effort.
Though disappointed by their early week defeat, the Chargers refocused their energy on preparing to face the West Shore Christian Bobcats in Wednesday night's duel to determine third place in the tournament.
Having squared off twice in the regular season, with each ball club claiming one victory apiece, the teams were eager for this third match, and this time the Chargers celebrated a 47-39 victory.
The outcome of the first three quarters demonstrated the close-matched talents of the two teams as each quarter was narrowly claimed by the Chargers outscoring the Bobcats by one point.
Entering the final quarter with only a three-point advantage, 34-31, the Chargers were aware that composure and persistence would be essential to put the Bobcats away.
Missed opportunities from the line, going only 1-of-7 as a team, and a meager four buckets from beyond the arc were uncharacteristic struggles the Chargers needed to overcome.
"Even though this was not our best shooting day, I'm proud of how our team played offense tonight. They were patient, took advantage of mismatches defensively, and ran our offensive sets with high levels of execution," noted Griest.
Defensively, the Chargers made up for their moderate point total by thwarting the attempts of the Bobcats to retaliate. Suffocating Charger defense led to a flustered Bobcat team, and the Chargers seized the opportunities for steals and transition baskets.
The Chargers also demonstrated control when in possession of the ball, giving up only eight turnovers, a season low accomplishment.
In the final quarter, a confident Charger squad played with uniformity and pulled away from the Bobcats with a 13-8 run, allowing them to claim the victory by eight.
Jack Lachance led scoring with 16 points and six rebounds. Jared Landis produced a double-double matching his 11 points with 11 rebounds as well as four steals. Brandon Taylor knocked in 11 points and grabbed two steals. Wyatt Hawthorn added six points and four rebounds, and Sheard's supportive role provided as many assists as points, coming up with four of each.
"Today we accomplished, one of our goals, which was at least third in the district. We now set our sights on the first round of states next Friday," concluded Griest.
The Chargers have only reached state level competition three times prior to this appearance, with the most recent being in 2014.
The Lady Chargers wrapped up another exciting season as their District 3 playoff run came to halt last Tuesday after falling to a 50-27 defeat at the hands of the Harrisburg Christian Knights.
The contest was held at Central Dauphin East High School to determine advancement in the PIAA District 3 tournament and a potential state tournament berth.
The first half painted a dismal picture for the Chargers, featuring a cold streak of shot attempts and an ankle injury for senior Lydia Ewing.
With a low scoring first half for the Chargers, it looked as if the Knights would easily walk away with the victory, leading 25-6 at the midway point.
"Our message at halftime was clear, decide to fight for our season. Who was going to give their all and fight together until the end?" motivated head coach Phil Ferrari.
Despite facing a large deficit, the Lady Chargers rallied for a much improved second half, matching the Knights point for point in the third and outscoring them 12-8 in the fourth.
"As we do every time we are challenged and have our backs to the wall, we stayed together and played much better basketball, especially on the offensive end," pointed out Ferrari.
Even with their notable comeback efforts, the damage done in the early minutes proved to be insurmountable, and brought the Charger season to a close.
Senior, Abigail Rutt, gave a strong last performance leading the Lady Chargers efforts with a double-double comprised of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Younger players that will be called upon in the future of the program made their presence felt on the stat line. Freshman, Haley Witmer tallied in five points along with six rebounds. Jaylyn Maulfair and Nonoka Matsumoto had mirrored contributions, each scoring four points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Reflecting on the season as a whole, the Lady Chargers have much to celebrate. They started their season by winning their opening tournament, and Ewing receiving the tournament MVP recognition.
An overall 13-12 season record exhibited a tough schedule and a 7th place ranking in District 3A.
"Overall it was a good year, as we did accomplish a lot together as a team, as well as on an individual level," summarized Ferrari.
Among those individual achievements both senior players, Rutt and Ewing, reached their 1000th career point milestone. Rutt also managed to average a double-double for the season, and Ewing accrued a remarkable total 42 three-point buckets for the year.
"I feel we have grown closer together as a team throughout the year, and that we've been able to grow spiritually through the many challenges and opportunities we had. We are building and investing in our future. The credit for that goes entirely to the players, led by our two senior captains, who have put in a lot of work and have trusted the coaches throughout the process," concluded Ferrari.
Lady Chargers Topple Cougars in District Opener February 27, 2017
You might say the Lady Chargers had something to prove when they took the court Tuesday night, and it was abundantly clear they were determined to prove it, as they faced off against the Conestoga Christian Cougars in the first round of District 3 playoffs and toppled the Cougars 55-42.
Just a week prior, the Chargers were paired against the Cougars in the first round of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference end of season tournament, and met with a reversed result at which point the Cougars ushered the Chargers to an early exit in the single elimination tournament.
Eager to redeem themselves, persistence paid off for the Chargers in their second meeting as they turned the tables on their opponent and placed a definitive stamp on the opening quarter, rocketing ahead on a 23-2 run.
Well-dispersed scoring set the tone for the Chargers, an area that at times has been a struggle for the squad. Five different Charger players contributed to the scoring surge, an achievement that not only built momentum but split the defensive efforts of the Cougars creating additional Charger opportunities.
"As a coach, it is always rewarding to have a good week of practice and put together a game plan, and then watch as your team executes to perfection," praised head coach Phil Ferrari. "We needed to keep them out of the lane and make them prove they could beat us from outside. Offensively, we wanted to protect the ball and give ourselves a chance to shoot better than the twenty percent we managed last game," he elaborated.
The contrast to their last match against the Cougars was readily apparent, comparing the Charger's 23 first quarter points to last week's contest in which the Chargers only managed to score a total of 34 in the entire game.
The rattled Cougars gathered their composure for a comeback effort in the subsequent quarters, and managed to outscore the Chargers 26-18 collectively in the second and third, as well as match the Chargers point for point, 14-14, in the fourth. Despite their resurgent efforts, it simply was not enough to compensate for the lopsided first quarter that went so definitively in favor of the Chargers.
"We battled foul trouble and injuries and fell back into some bad habits that allowed Conestoga to get back within 8 points," noted Ferrari. "As we so often do when we are challenged, we stuck together as a team and came right back to build the lead back to 18," he added.
Emphasizing the theme of diversified attack, seven Charger players contributed to their final point total of 55. Abigail Rutt blazed the way with 19 points 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals. Jayln Maulfair's produced a huge supporting role with a season-high 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists. Brittney Taylor and Haley Witmer collected eight apiece, with Witmer also supplying 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 assists.
"This game was a total team effort as we got major contributions from so many players, and every player got to play and contribute in one way or another," summarized Ferrari.
Friday night, the Lady Chargers headed to East Pennsburg to face Halifax High School in the quarterfinal round, and fell to a 62-42 defeat.
Entering the contest, the Lady Chargers knew they were up against tough odds taking on battled tested Halifax, the second seeded team in District 3.
"We knew that we were the underdog, but if we were going to give ourselves a chance in the game we had to stay together as a team and believe in us," explained Ferrari.
To their credit, the Lady Chargers played showing that very unity and belief Ferrari described. Offensively led once again by Rutt's contribution of 20 first-half points, the Chargers kept pace with Halifax, trailing by a mere four points at the close of the first half, 26-22.
Halifax registered a 20 point third quarter placing them up by a more comfortable 14 points entering the final quarter. With true Charger tenacity, the Lady Chargers continued to fight into the final minutes of the game, gaining some momentum midway through the quarter but falling just short of reducing the Halifax lead into single digits.
Rutt claimed a noteworthy 32 points and Ewing netted eight in the loss.
"While it's always disappointing to lose, I was very proud of our effort all game long, and it was a very positive experience for us against a very good team. We performed well and played good basketball," encouraged Ferrari. "It is games like these that we can identify as building blocks for our program," he explained.
While the defeat halts their journey toward the District championship, it places them into the consolation bracket, where they will face Harrisburg Christian this week. If they succeed, they will advance into state competition.
Thursday evening set the stage for the Chargers to compete in District 3 Class A playoffs, kicking off their first contest in the second round of play due to a first round bye earned by their regular season performance.
In front of an enthusiastic home crowd, the Chargers did not disappoint, squaring off against the Harrisburg Christian Knights, and rising to a dominant 62-36 victory.
The early minutes were full of traded possessions and exerted energy, but a lack of scoring, as the teams gained their bearings and sized up the competition.
With scoreboard still registering zeros a full two minutes into the contest, it was Charger senior Jack Lachance who squared up for a three and notched the first points of the game. The long-range shot was a fitting bucket to set the pace, as points from downtown would ultimately tell the story of the game.
The Chargers began to find their rhythm, following their shots for offensive rebounds and second chance scoring opportunities. Brandon Taylor and Jared Landis each contributed a three pointer in the first quarter, and at the end of eight minutes the Chargers found themselves up 15-6.
The second quarter continued to accentuate the long-range shot. Ben Sheard knocked one down for the Chargers, followed by a back-to-back three-point bucket response from the Knights. Despite their sudden offensive burst, the Knights were once again stifled as Landis nailed two additional threes in the quarter securing the Chargers with a sizeable 30-19 halftime advantage.
It was the climatic third quarter that truly highlighted the outside attack for the Chargers, and sealed the fate of the contest. Landis caught fire from deep and netted five additional three point baskets in rapid succession, propelling the Chargers on a 19-8 run and shattering the Knights' efforts at a comeback.
The fourth quarter displayed a composed Charger team that held on to the ball to retain their lead, spread the court with perimeter passing, and continued to diversify their attack. Stephen Leed added a three to the plethora of outside shots, while Harrison Crick, David Ellis, and Wyatt Hawthorne each chipped in with a field goal to diversify the offensive blitz.
Landis complimented his eight three-pointers with flawless 2-for-2 shooting from the line, giving him a game-high total of 26 points. Heavily guarded, Lachance still managed to slip in 11 Charger points, and Sheard contributed seven.
The team also managed to capitalize on their opportunities from the line, shooting 6-of-8 collectively.
Reducing turnovers was an additional highlight for the Chargers, cutting their total turnovers in half when compared to previous matches against the Knights in the regular season.
"We only had nine turnovers this game, and outscored them in each of the four quarters," acknowledged head coach Jared Griest. "We played efficiently, and I really appreciated the maturity of our players during this week," he added.
The outcome of the contest held extended ramifications for the Charger squad. Not only do they advance deeper into District playoffs, but the win ensures them a spot to compete in state competition, a distinction the Chargers have not held since 2014.
This week the Chargers take on York Country Day in the District 3 semifinal match.
"They [York] are the fourth ranked team in the state. I've been telling our players that we want this opportunity, and now it is in front of us," commented Griest.
Charger Teams Compete in CCAC Tourney February 20, 2017
It has been a long, tumultuous season with an abundance of success, as well as obstacles, for the Mt. Calvary Chargers, and last week was no exception. Earning a bye in the first round of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference tournament due to their record, the Chargers then triumphed in the semifinals last Thursday, landing them in Saturday's championship game, where they fell short of claiming the tournament title.
Thursday's round paired them against the High Point Baptist Academy Eagles, and the Chargers rose to a 72-58 victory.
Not having crossed paths in the regular season, the initial minutes included the teams sizing up their competition and settling into a rhythm.
Early season challenges forced the Chargers to play much of their regular season without their full roster. Now playing full strength, the growth from overcoming those obstacles was evident in the playoff match as the Chargers dominated both ends of the floor and produced a diversified attack. Offensively, the Chargers seized scoring opportunities from all over the court, shooting 50% from beyond the arc, securing 7-of-9 free throws, and controlling the paint, more than doubling the Eagles points produced from the post.
The first quarter displayed impressive outside shooting from the Chargers, nailing four three point buckets, and forcing the Eagles to stretch their zone defense to contest the outside shot. This created defensive weakness for the Eagles on the inside, allowing the Chargers to switch tactics and drive the ball to the basket for inside points. The first quarter concluded 18-12 in Charger favor.
"We knew that we were facing a quality opponent tonight who would be confident," acknowledged head coach Jared Griest. "I think the first quarter really set the tone for us."
Despite their well-rounded playing, the Chargers only held a six-point lead at the halftime break, evidence of the tenacity of the Eagles' response. The scoreboard read 32-26 as the teams made adjustments and prepared for the second half.
"At halftime, we talked about finishing and not coming out flat to start the third quarter," noted Griest.
Griest's comments resonated with his team as they produced an explosive third quarter and extended their lead by an additional ten points. Jared Landis was a key component, starting and ending the quarter with momentum changing three point baskets.
The Charger energy was infectious, and led to well executed teamwork.
Jack Lachance netted a game-high 20 points, and dished four assists. Landis collected a total of 18 points, 4 steals and 7 rebounds. Brandon Taylor knocked in 13 points. Tyler Masters added 11 and grabbed 3 rebounds. Ben Sheard's team-oriented play produced 9 rebounds and 6 assists in addition to his 5 points.
Not for the first time, free throws played a crucial role in the game, with the Chargers registering 78% as a team from the line, in large part thanks to Wyatt Hawthorne's contribution of 3-of-4 from the line.
Extending the lead to as many as 20, the Chargers entered the final quarter with the game firmly in their grasp. The Eagles made a final push, managing to squeeze in a few threes to narrow the deficit, but not enough to challenge the Charger's established possession of the contest at the final buzzer.
"I appreciated our total team effort," summarized Griest and swiftly turning the team's attention to their next contest. "We look forward to the opportunity of playing LCCS on Saturday in the Championship."
The Lancaster County Christian Lions, a formidable opponent, entered the CCAC tournament at the top of the CCAC East rankings, while the Chargers held the same rank in the CCAC West division.
"They have not lost a regular season league game in four years and this may be one of the deepest LCCS teams we have faced. We'd like it no other way than to face the best in the conference championship and we look forward to playing," concluded Griest.
Saturday night set the stage for the head-to-head match, and as expected the game was high energy from the start, but the concluding score was anything but what the Chargers had hoped, reading a 62-39 Lions victory.
Early on, the Chargers responded to a Lions scoring run with Lachance and Taylor each hitting key three point shots to boost the Chargers and keep the scoreboard at a one possession game, only down 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, differences began to emerge that allowed the Lions to extend their lead.
"As well as we shot on Thursday, tonight was just the opposite. LCCS put pressure on us in the half court, and it forced us to rush shots just enough that we were unable to connect," explained Griest.
In contrast, the Lions hit a hot shooting streak in the second, sinking a total of four shots from three-point range, three of which were in consecutive possessions, boosting them to a 10-point advantage going into the half, 29-19.
In an effort to defend against the long-range shot, Charger defense was stretched in the second half, allowing the Lions to take advantage of inside openings and register uncontested layups to extend the lead.
"We over adjusted and were so concentrated on the three, that we went away from good help defense," elaborated Griest.
As the clock wound down, the Chargers continued to push the ball to the rim, but were unable to convert the baskets required to make a comeback. Trailing in the final moments put them in a desperate position to attempt to slow down the Lions with fouls, but the Lions capitalized on the opportunities and pulled away.
"LCCS is an incredibly well-coached team and is a very balanced attack," noted Griest. "Unfortunately, they made adjustments to how we defended them, and had success both getting to the basket and finishing," he concluded.
Lachance led Charger scoring with 13 points and Landis chipped in 10. Sheard pulled down eight rebounds and three steals in the effort.
This week the Chargers will plunge into the second round of District competition. Their earlier accomplishments have seeded them to earn a bye in the first round, placing them in their first contest against Harrisburg Christian on Thursday.
Last week the Mt. Calvary girls basketball team faced a disappointing blow, with their tournament journey cut short by a first round single elimination loss on Monday against the Conestoga Christian Cougars, 41-34.
The Lady Chargers got off to a strong start, claiming the first quarter by a margin of four, putting them up 12-8 entering the second.
Senior, Lydia Ewing scored half of the Chargers first quarter points, more than enough to propel her to her 1000th career point, a milestone she joins fellow teammate Abigail Rutt in achieving this season. The team celebrated Ewing's exciting accomplishment, but then needed to refocus on the team goal of advancing in the tournament.
The teams continued to battle and the Chargers were able to hold on to their lead by the slimmest of margins, up by only a point, 19-18 headed into the second half.
"Our biggest concern was on the defensive end where we gave up too many drives into the lane and could not secure enough rebounds to allow us to get out and run our transition attack," explained head coach Phil Ferrari.
The Chargers managed a third quarter that did not do much to extend their lead, but they continued to cling to a two-point advantage heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was the game-changer as the Cougars repeatedly attacked the basket and the Chargers experienced a field goal drought. The Cougars went on a 12-1 run to end the contest, and the surge was enough to overtake the lead the Chargers had clung to for three quarters of the game.
"Conestoga kept coming at us and we went cold from the field," pointed out Ferrari. "We played too tight and started making mental mistakes."
Despite the unwelcome outcome, Rutt produced a double-double, snagging 18 points and 14 rebounds along with 3 steals and 2 blocks.
Ewing supported her milestone moment with 13 total points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Jayln Maulfair and Haley Witmer both made their presence felt on the boards coming up with 10 and 5 rebounds respectively. Witmer also added 3 points, 1 assist, and 1 steal to the effort.
The untimely loss, knocked the Chargers out of further play in the CCAC tournament, but the team still has District playoff aspirations to focus on.
Ironically, the Chargers are positioned to once again face off against the Conestoga Cougars in their first round of District competition this Tuesday.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to play them again and prove to ourselves that we can play better," encouraged Ferrari.
Lady Chargers Cap 12-9 Regular Season February 12, 2017
The Lady Chargers experienced a mixed bag of results last week, registering a loss, a win, and a cancellation to bring their regular season schedule to a close.
In Monday's duel, the Lady Chargers played at the home court of the Lancaster Country Day Cougars, and bowed out 56-40.
Measured against a team like the Cougars, the smaller-sized Chargers knew they were going to have to capitalize on their strengths in transition scoring and long range shooting to have a shot at overcoming the inside game of their opponents.
The first quarter treated fans to a back-and-forth battle as the teams gauged the opposition and traded possessions. After the first quarter, the scoreboard showed a tight 9-6 in favor of the Cougars, but more importantly, highlighted the different strategies of play.
"It was obvious that our two styles were going to clash all day," noted head coach Phil Ferrari. "We like to score in transition and from the line, but we couldn't get our transition game going due to their effective pressure."
In the second quarter, the Cougars were able to slightly extend their lead, thanks to a dominant performance by their center, attacking in the paint and notching 10 of their 20 first-half points.
Responding to the challenge, Abigail Rutt fired up the Charger offensive cause, knocking in nine first half points and dishing out opportunities to teammates, allowing all five starters to get in on the scoring action, keeping them in contention and only down by four at halftime, 20-16.
"We challenged the girls to play our game and get back to doing what we do best on offense," explained Ferrari.
Defensively, the Chargers focused on alternating formations, but always working as a cohesive unit to try to minimize the size advantage held by the Cougars in the post.
Early in the third, Lydia Ewing sank a three, slashing the Cougars lead in half and creating a one possession game. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the Cougars responded with a three of their own and used the momentum to rocket ahead on a 7-0 run.
Despite trailing by as many as 14 points in the third, true to form, the Lady Chargers battled back, making it an eight-point game entering the fourth.
Drastic improvement was obvious for the Chargers as they honed in on key aspects of their game; holding the Cougar center to a minimal four second half points, reaching the foul line 13 times, and beginning to hit shots from beyond the arc.
"Even though we did what we wanted to do in the second half, we could not put together enough stops on one end followed by made baskets on the other to close the gap any closer than six points," elaborated Ferrari.
Trailing in the final minutes, the Chargers were forced to attempt steals and fouls in an effort to narrow the deficit, but the gamble also allowed the Cougars to extend their lead as the clock wound down.
"While we didn't come away with a valuable win, we continue to get better as a team, and have seen contributions from our role players increase, which will be crucial to our team's success in playoffs," summarized Ferrari.
Rutt finished with 17 points, Ewing added 13, and Jalyn Maulfair hit a trio of field goals for six points.
Wednesday evening the Lady Chargers were paired against the Dayspring Christian Warriors, and once again found themselves at a size disadvantage, but this time they were able to capitalize on their strengths and were rewarded with a 56-44 triumph.
In the initial minutes of play, the Chargers struggled to find their rhythm, resulting in uncharacteristic turnovers and a few easy baskets for the Warriors.
Regrouping and hitting their stride, the Chargers surged ahead at the end of the first, seized the lead 15-9, and never relinquished it.
Maulfair, Haley Witmer, and Brittney Taylor combined their efforts to balance the Charger scoring, together tallying half of the Charger's first-half points. Their contributions not only took pressure off lead scorers, Rutt and Ewing, but at the same time created a diversified offense that the Warriors struggled to defend against.
Entering the second half, the Chargers held a comfortable 11-point advantage, but needed to build upon that lead in order to execute their full game strategy.
"We wanted to get our subs plenty of playing time in the fourth quarter, and we challenged the girls to extend the lead to 20," explained Ferrari.
Attaining that goal early in the fourth, the Chargers led 52-31, but the Warriors were not about to give up, and fought back with a 13-4 run. Remaining composed, the Chargers did not allow the Warrior surge to rattle them, and maintained in control and up by 11 at the final buzzer.
Ewing led all scorers with 21, leaving her only four points shy of her 1000th career point, which is a milestone she will seek to achieve in playoff competition this week.
Rutt followed closely with 20 points, Maulfair (6), Taylor (5), and Witmer (4) also contributed.
Thursday's contest against Columbia High School was cancelled due to inclement weather, cutting the Chargers' week short and providing a breather before they enter the post season.
Closing out their regular season with an overall record of 12-9, and 7-4 in league competition, the Lady Chargers hope to build on their success as they enter CCAC playoffs this week. The first round will pit them against Conestoga Christian in single elimination play, in which they must win to advance.
"This is what we've been looking forward to and preparing for all year long. Now is the time to see if we have what it takes to become champions," encouraged Ferrari.
Though the Charger's only contest last week was a non-league paring against the Lancaster Country Day Cougars, the game held high stakes for PIAA District 3A rankings. Mt. Calvary entered the contest slotted in the third seed, and the Cougars held fourth, but in a brutally close conclusion, it was the higher seeded Chargers that suffered defeat.
In the high-energy match, the Chargers managed to hold a slim lead at the end of each of the first three quarters, but it was ultimately the fourth quarter that determined the outcome. During the final eight minutes, the Cougars were able to edge ahead of the Chargers, to narrowly claim the win 61-59, and consequently swap seed positions heading into the post season.
Intensity was high from tip off through the final buzzer, making each foul and bucket critical.
Charger senior, Ben Sheard snagged two early personal fouls, limiting his remaining minutes on the court and hindering his effectiveness. Despite having to tiptoe around foul trouble, Sheard continued to assist his team coming up with three steals and twice as many points.
Fellow senior, Brandon Taylor caught fire from beyond the arc, hitting four-of-six attempts during the first half to give the Chargers a scoring boost.
Defensively, the Chargers attempted to thwart the Cougars' inside attack with a 2-3 zone anchored by Wyatt Hawthorne, whose authoritative stance produced a formidable 11 defensive rebounds and denied the Cougars second chance opportunities.
The team's stifling defense, coupled with Taylor's hot shooting, put the Chargers in control of the contest at the halftime break 31-26.
"The first half was really a chess match between the two teams," noted head coach Jared Griest, pointing out the necessity of each team to adjust their strategy according to the defensive maneuvers of the opponent.
Moving into the third quarter, both teams showed signs of fatigue evidenced by missed jumpers and lack of ball control. Fouls continued to play a factor that would eventually prove detrimental to the Chargers. Neither team advanced their offensive cause with an even 9-9 scoring, allowing the Chargers to maintain their five-point advantage entering the final quarter.
Stretching their lead to as many as eight in the early minutes of the fourth, the Chargers appeared to have control, but their accumulation of fouls placed the Cougars in the bonus giving them ample opportunity to chip away at the lead with successful free throws.
As the Cougars clawed back into contention, the Chargers were forced to defend cautiously to avoid further fouls, and ultimately the Cougars capitalized on their opportunities from the line, which included an impressive 14-of-15 free throw shooting from Tayler Eynon.
In the final minutes, the Cougars gained the advantage on the scoreboard and despite late three point buckets from Charger's Jack Lachance and Jared Landis, the Cougars held a two-point lead with only seconds remaining. The Chargers found themselves out of timeouts and lacking fouls to give, and the Cougars were able to drain the clock in their final possession.
Taylor's long-distance shooting tallied 19 points, Landis knocked in 16, and Lachance collected 15 in the loss.
"If you look at it statistically, the difference in the game was the foul line," acknowledged Griest. "As difficult as it was to lose, it was an awesome game between two of District Three's best small schools. I hope that we have the chance to see them again in playoffs."
A reflection back on their successful season includes an 11-1 league run to clinch top spot in the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference, and a 12-6 overall record.
"It has been a joy to coach these young men through the regular season. I've seen tremendous amounts of growth as basketball players and as leaders on and off the court," explained Griest.
With a few days to shift into post season mentality, the Chargers plan to stay focused and sharp. Having already secured their spot in Thursday's semifinal round of the CCAC league tournament, they will wait to find out their first opponent to be determined in an early week contest.
"Our goal is to win the league tournament this week. I'd say we have a lot to play for moving forward," summarized Griest.
Lady Chargers Drop Non-League Paring February 6, 2017
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you need a team." - John Wooden, legendary NCAA basketball coach
In a slow week on the brink of an intense end-of-season push, the Lady Chargers had only one contest, pitting them against the Steelton-Highspire Rollers, in which they fell to a disappointing final 76-30.
The Rollers came out hot, going up 22-5 in the first, and never relinquished their steady lead. The Lady Chargers continued to battle, providing flashes of individual highlights, but not enough to overcome the deficit.
Three-point shooting from senior Lydia Ewing, who drained four baskets from beyond the arc, gave the Chargers a needed boost in the second and fourth quarters. Abigail Rutt attacked the basket to collect 12 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman, Haley Witmer found ways to gain position inside, boxing out Roller players and grabbing seven boards.
In spite of these efforts, suffocating defensive intensity by the Rollers continued to create Charger turnovers, and allowed the Rollers to extend their lead in each subsequent quarter.
"Despite winning our share of possessions, they won more than we did, and we couldn't recover from our slow start. We reverted to making too many of the same mistakes we made earlier in the year," noted head coach Phil Ferrari.
Channeling the lessons learned from the defeat into positives, the Charger coaching staff hopes to capitalize on this experience moving forward.
"During challenging games like this one, we tell the girls not to worry about the final score, but to focus on winning possessions, playing good basketball, and fighting alongside each other. The little things will make the big things happen," encouraged Ferrari.
When the final score is not the desired outcome, there is added opportunity to demonstrate composure and maturity. It is easy to celebrate a victory with a smile, but attitudes of the heart are on full display in the midst of disappointment.
"We want to make sure that everything we say and do shines the light of Christ to the world around us, no matter what is happening to us," pointed out Ferrari.
Another team goal for the Lady Chargers is to finish strong. An intense end-of-season schedule will demand the squad to play three games in a span of four days this week, followed by what they hope to be a successful post season run in the subsequent weeks. Currently slotted in the third-place ranking of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference with a 7-4 record, the Lady Chargers still have plenty of time to achieve their year-end aspirations.
"At this time of year, it is natural to start to wear down and burn out. We have been trying to focus on finishing the race well, and not letting our goals slip away at the end of the year," acknowledged Ferrari.
Juggling to find the balance between necessary rest, and equally vital sustained intensity can produce both physical and mental exhaustion as teams enter their post season stretch. The Lady Chargers are hoping to combat that depletion by spending rejuvenating time together. On the itinerary, is a trip to watch an Elizabethtown College game and planning a team service project to put energy into serving others in the community.
On a personal achievement level, Ewing looks ahead to upcoming games, knowing that she currently sits a mere 38 points shy of her 1,000th career point. Should Ewing attain that milestone, she will be the second Lady Charger to do so this season, following Rutt who joined the milestone club in December.
The Lady Chargers kickoff their three-game week at Lancaster Country Day, followed by back-to-back home games Wednesday and Thursday against Dayspring Christian and Columbia High School.
With a single contest last week, it might have been tempting to let down their guard, but the Mt. Calvary boys' team rallied for a decisive 66-31 victory Tuesday over the Hershey Christian Warriors.
Once again, the Chargers took the court without their complete first-string lineup intact, missing two senior starters in the league matchup.
Defense set the tone for the evening, with the Chargers stifling the Warriors with intense man-to-man defense from tip off, and holding the Warriors to only four first quarter points.
Utilizing a well-spread offense, the Chargers registered points from five different players to accrue their 13 first quarter points. The second quarter mirrored the first, this time with the Chargers rocketing ahead on a 19-6 run, which left the scoreboard reading 32-10 at the half.
"With only one game this week, every moment of this game was important for us," explained head coach Jared Griest. "Early in the game we attempted to establish a defensive presence and a balanced offensive attack."
Extending a comfortable lead before entering the second half was also critical to Charger strategy.
"This allowed the second half to be a bit more about the development of our younger players," elaborated Griest, noting that freshman players, Hansen Crick and Sam Robinson, each contributed substantial minutes on the floor.
Another freshman, Scott Lane, kept Charger intensity high in the second half, with defensive awareness and denying the Warriors' passing lanes. Lane's concentration led to Warrior turnovers and consequential Charger offensive conversions. Lane's defensive efforts transferred to offensive success as he gathered a season-high 10 points.
Chip Stambaugh, yet another freshman with a noteworthy contribution, balanced his eight points with four rebounds.
Tyler Masters pulled down five offensive rebounds and put up eight points to further the Charger cause.
Seniors Ben Sheard and Brandon Taylor helped develop opportunities for younger players during their minutes on the court, while also making contributions of their own, collecting 12 and 7 points respectively.
Prior to the game, Charger coaching staff expressed a focus on a balanced offensive attack, and their directions were exemplified in the even distribution of points, with 10 Charger players contributing to the final accumulation of 61.
Stephen Leed and Wyatt Hawthorne each collected six points, David Ellis knocked in four, Jack Hilsher sank a three-point bucket, and Sam Robinson produced a field goal to round out the diverse offensive blitz.
While celebrating the team victory, the Chargers also took time to discuss their actions and examples as individuals and as a unit.
The season theme for the Chargers has been 'Legacy', taken from the New Testament book of Hebrews and keying in on the 'Hall of Faith' displayed in the eleventh chapter.
"We want our basketball program to function as an example; our legacy to be more than just wins and losses, but the character qualities we develop. The way we conduct ourselves, how hard we play, and how we treat our opponents, will leave a legacy in the minds of those we contact," described Griest.
With this most recent triumph, the Chargers have secured exclusive possession of the top spot in the CCAC rankings, with their 11-1 league record.
Despite attaining their goal of the highest seed in their league, the Chargers cannot afford to lose focus. Looking ahead, they square off against Lancaster County Day in a non-league match that will have critical implications for District playoffs.
Chargers Top Covenant Christian, West Shore January 29, 2017
Playing without your full team is difficult in any situation, but in both of last week's league contests, Mount Calvary's boys' basketball team was forced to play without the contributions of their leading scorer, and rose to the challenge as a team, coming up with two monumental victories.
Tuesday, the team took on Covenant Christian, and despite being without senior captain, Jack Lachance, the Chargers came out on top, 63-29.
In the first quarter, the teams traded possessions and remained close, ending the first eight minutes narrowly in Charger favor, 13-10.
In spite of wanting to rest senior Ben Sheard due to a previous injury, the coaching staff made the decision to utilize Sheard to kick start some momentum. Sheard's second quarter contributions changed the tempo of the game as he scored six points and led the team in an explosive 19-3 run.
Entering the second half with a comfortable 32-13 lead, the Chargers were able to rest Sheard, while fellow senior, Jared Landis stepped up to blaze the way, notching a career-high 25 points, and creating an insurmountable deficit that Covenant was unable to reduce before time expired.
"It was tremendous to see his (Landis) tenacity to go after the ball, and his hard work paying off," acknowledged head coach Jared Griest.
With missing players and altered on-court formations, younger players were called upon to take on new roles and provide support.
"I appreciated the contributions from players such as David Ellis and Wyatt Hawthorne. As we enter the final stretch of the season, we need to develop our depth as well as build for our future, and they are a part of that," noted Griest.
Landis was not unassisted in the offensive attack. Brandon Taylor came up with 11 points, Jack Hilsher nailed 8, and Hawthorne, Sheard, and Ellis chipped in 6 apiece.
Friday's contest against the West Shore Bobcats was expected to be a difficult task, once again without Lachance, but the Chargers didn't shy away from the challenge and were rewarded with a 49-28 victory.
Earlier in the season, the Chargers played the Bobcats and fell in a disappointing 30-point defeat, but this time they turned the tables in a cohesive team effort.
"Defensively we changed a few things going into this game," explained Griest. "The changes really paid off as we wore down the West Shore offensive system, and held their leading scorer to nine points."
Sophomore, Tyler Master's energy dominated the first quarter. His efforts produced layups, rebounds, and a block in the initial minutes, creating a contagious intensity.
The Bobcats responded bucket for bucket, and it appeared that the score would be at a deadlock for the first quarter, but with only seconds remaining, Landis pulled up for a three and nailed it, putting the Chargers at an 11-8 advantage entering the second quarter.
The subsequent minutes showed physical desperation from both teams with fouls beginning to play a role. The result was an 11-2 Charger run, with the scoreboard reading a low 22-10 at halftime.
Three-point shooting and free throw conversions created all the difference as the teams progressed in the second half.
Landis drained three additional three point buckets, netting 12 of his game-high 20 points from beyond the arc. Taylor and Stephen Leed each contributed a three-pointer giving the Chargers a boost at crucial moments.
As a team, the Chargers shot 88% from the line, sinking 7-of-8 attempts, and further hindering the Bobcats from creeping back into contention.
Taylor and Masters finished with 10 points apiece providing balance to the scoring surge.
Sheard's presence was felt on defense as he rattled the Bobcat players with his intensity, and forced four turnovers resulting in additional Charger offensive possessions.
"Defense is where this game started and finished tonight. We've been telling our guys that if we want to be the best, we need to be ready to play intense man-to-man," elaborated Griest. "Tonight, for the first time, we saw that intensity throughout the entirety of the game."
West Shore is a team that the Chargers will likely meet again in post season play, and with split results from their two regular season matchups, both teams will be anxious to dominate a third contest.
"They (West Shore) are a well-coached and disciplined team, and I think we caught them off guard tonight with our intensity," commented Griest.
During the evening's senior night honors, the coaching staff took the opportunity to point out the individual strengths of all five graduating seniors.
Stephen Leed is described as an ideal player to coach. Characterized by hard work, encouragement, and overall maturity, Leed has filled a unique role on the Charger team.
Ben Sheard has provided spiritual leadership in his years on the team, demonstrating thoughtful effort in both his basketball skills and intentional relationships with his teammates.
Jack Lachance is known for being a self-motivated, relentless worker. Setting personal goals, and then displaying the perseverance to achieve them, is something that has come to be expected of Lachance.
Brandon Taylor has provided quiet leadership for the team over the past three seasons. Being a selfless player that defers to others, while at the same time displaying strength and leadership, has made him a valuable teammate.
Jared Landis is described best by his coaches with the single word "tenacious." Landis' intensity and love of competition have served him well on the court and are evidences of life skills that he will retain in future endeavors.
Mt. Calvary continues to sit at the top of the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference standings with a 10-1 league record and 14-6 overall.
Last week may have held only two games for the Lady Chargers, but both games represented critical post season implications and the squad did not disappoint, capturing both league wins and placing them one step closer to their post season aspirations.
First up was Tuesday's 53-31 triumph over Covenant Christian. Having already bested the Covenant Falcons earlier in the season, the Chargers made specific goals entering this second matchup.
"We wanted to focus on playing good basketball for all four quarters, especially limiting our turnovers and getting better on the boards," pointed out head coach Phil Ferrari.
Initially off to a slow start, the Chargers began to methodically extend a lead as halftime approached, but lapses on defense and missed rebounding opportunities allowed the Falcons to remain within contention, only trailing by eight at the half, 25-17.
The Chargers came alive in the third quarter, led offensively by Abigail Rutt, who tallied 14 of her 17 points in that quarter alone. Taking strong drives to the basket and pulling down offensive rebounds for second chance buckets, Rutt's intensity allowed the Chargers to pull away, turning their eight-point advantage into 21 by the end of the third.
Having that buffer for the final eight minutes allowed the coaching staff to utilize younger players in less familiar roles, preparing them for post season strain.
"As we prepare for playoffs, we need to have players who are confident and ready to fill in whatever role is needed. We need someone to step up without missing a beat," elaborated Ferrari.
Lydia Ewing had a massive game totaling 25 points spread evenly throughout all four quarters, and Rutt's 17 points were accompanied by 12 rebounds. Jayln Maulfair added 4 points and pulled down 8 boards, while Brittany Taylor chipped in 3 points and 4 rebounds.
Friday night, the Chargers hosted the West Shore Bobcats, and once again led from start to finish, winning 57-38.
The game was clearly led by senior players Rutt and Ewing, a fitting scenario as the evening was also dedicated to honoring Mt. Calvary seniors.
Rutt got the momentum flowing, registering over half of the Chargers 17 first quarter points. The entire team showed up in the defensive effort, but allowed the Bobcats multiple offensive rebounds leading to second shot opportunities.
The second quarter brought a renewed Charger energy, as they looked to widen the gap and increase their lead, leaving the Bobcats trailing 27-14 at the half.
Fatigue appeared to be a factor for the Chargers in a disheveled third quarter, allowing the Bobcats to piece together some offensive momentum and benefit from shooting fouls committed by a tired Charger squad.
As the Bobcats threatened to narrow their deficit to single digits, Rutt dug deep and hit a buzzer beater three-point shot to end the third quarter, extending the Chargers advantage to a comfortable 43-28 lead going into the final eight minutes.
In the fourth, Ewing came out hot, hitting three shots from beyond the three-point arc, and silencing any further attempt at a Bobcat comeback. Nonoka Matsumoto and Natsumi Terada both played high energy fourth quarter minutes, giving the Charger team the boost needed to finish strong.
Rutt finished with a game-high 26 points, and Ewing collected 22.
Following the game, the coaching staff took time to honor their two seniors, Ewing and Rutt, and to acknowledge their on and off court contributions to the team.
Ewing's senior year accomplishments are best highlighted in her offensive consistency, currently shooting 65% from the free throw line and sinking 25 three-point baskets so far this season.
"It's been very rewarding to watch Lydia grow as a player. She has worked hard to improve her shot, has been a true leader on and off the court, and our program will not be the same without her," summarized Ferrari.
Rutt's stats, which include over 1200 career points and averaging double digit rebounds per game, give testament to her on-court influence, but Ferrari chose to focus on Rutt's leadership role for the team.
"What she (Rutt) has improved the most her senior year has been her leadership. Her basketball skills will certainly be missed, but more importantly, we will need to find someone to fill her leadership role," explained Ferrari.
Entering the last few weeks of the regular season, the Lady Chargers continue to climb in the rankings with a league record of 7-4, placing them in the third slot of the CCAC West, and an overall record of 10-7.
Lady Chargers Battle in Three Game Week January 23, 2017
Last week the Lady Chargers took on a three-game week and walked away with mixed results, falling early in the week to Linden Hall, before gearing up for an intense weekend in which they claimed a close triumph over Millersburg High School, followed by a heartbreaking league loss to Christian School of York.
On the road in Lititz, the Lady Chargers fought hard against the Linden Hall Lions, but were ultimately outmatched in the 70-37 downfall.
Linden Hall got off to an impressive start going up 26-9 in the first quarter. The Lady Chargers regained composure for a more equally contested second frame led offensively by Lydia Ewing, but the Chargers were still down by a formidable 43-21 at halftime.
The third quarter was again dominated by the Lions, but the Chargers made a push in the fourth, outscoring the hosts 12-7 in the final eight minutes. The momentum run was too little too late as they were unable to close the gap.
"We were pleased with the effort of the team as we battled to the end like we always do despite being down by 30 points," elaborated head coach Phil Ferrari. "Games like this will help prepare us for the playoff push, so win or lose, we need to learn from every experience."
Ewing finished with 18 points, including shooting 83 percent from the line, connecting on10-of-12 attempts. Abigail Rutt contributed nine points, and Nonoka Matsumoto chipped in with eight.
Jaylyn Maulfair was the fourth Lady Charger to score and while she only hit one field goal, her contribution was better measured in other areas on the court, collecting an impressive 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 assists.
Friday night, the Lady Chargers found themselves pitted against the Millersburg High School Indians, and through grit and determination, etched out a hard-fought 49-42 triumph.
Though closely contested, the initial minutes of play went in favor of Millersburg, as the Chargers finished the first quarter down by the slimmest of margins 10-9.
"We knew with a few adjustments we could get the lead and slowly extend it," said Ferrari. "We did that with smothering defense and good team offense."
The second quarter truly changed the dynamic of the game, as the Chargers tripled the offense efforts of their opponents and went on a 12-4 scoring run, producing a 21-14 halftime advantage.
Millersburg did not go down without a fight, outscoring the Chargers by one in the fourth quarter, but were unable to rattle the visitors enough to overcome them.
"Starting the fourth quarter, we told the girls we were going to need everyone ready to contribute and play their role," emphasized Ferrari.
Ferrari's words could not have been truer, as team leaders Rutt and Ewing both fouled out with several minutes remaining in the contest. The quarter was characterized by fouls from both teams, full court pressure, and a fired-up Millersburg home crowd. Despite these obstacles, the Lady Chargers retained their composure and were rewarded with the win.
"Coach DeGroft and I were so proud of the effort and teamwork shown by every player as we faced adversity, and kept working for and with each other," celebrated Ferrari.
Coming as no surprise, Rutt and Ewing once again led the scoring attack with 20 and 17 points respectively. Half of Rutt's 20 points were comprised of successful free throw attempts, as Rutt capitalized on her time at the line sinking 10-of-14.
In a game where every point was critical, Brittany Taylor, a sophomore, demonstrated composure under pressure as she went two-for-two from the line. Matsumoto contributed five points, and Haley Witmer, a freshman, chipped in four.
Entering Saturday's league matchup against the Christian School of York Crusaders, the Lady Chargers were down two of their starters. Without Rutt and Maulfair on the evening's roster, the squad knew they would be called upon to step up in new ways, and each player gave their all until time expired leaving the Lady Chargers a mere one point down and swallowing a tough 34-33 defeat.
Initially, the Chargers got out to a slow start, scoring only five points in the first quarter, half of their opponents' 10 point showing. The second and third quarters belonged to the Chargers though as they narrowly outscored the Crusaders 13-12vin the second 13-12, and 6-3 in the third quarter.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter the scoreboard read 25-24 in favor of the Crusaders. Though a low scoring game, it was evident neither team was willing to give up in the final minutes, trading possessions and the lead throughout the final minutes.
Down by two with less than a minute to play, Ewing pulled up for a huge three-point shot, and nailed it putting the Lady Chargers up by one with mere seconds remaining. On an inbound play, the Crusaders made a quick pass and a split-second lapse in Charger defense allowed a layup basket and gave the Crusaders the lead.
With only six seconds showing, the Lady Chargers had just enough time for a final possession and managed to get a look at the basket, but with time for only one shot, an in-and-out attempt just would not fall, leaving the team short a victory.
Once again, Ewing was the obvious leader on the court, providing defensive intensity, scoring 18 total points, and going 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Matsumoto's presence was also felt as she stepped up to help with ball movement in addition to her six points.
Younger players, such as Taylor and Witmer, were called upon to play additional minutes. Taylor's time on the floor included a 4-for-4 effort at the free throw line. Witmer produced three points, and Natsumi Terada added one field goal.
With only a few weeks remaining to clinch a playoff spot, the Lady Chargers currently sit with an 8-7 overall standing and a league record of 5-4.
"This week is big for us as we need to continue getting better and secure playoff spots," pointed out Ferrari. "We're hoping to finally have our whole team available and healthy for the first time all year."
The Mt. Calvary varsity boys' team had a volatile week as they experienced highs, lows, and unexpected challenges in their two win, one loss week.
With most players recovered from recent illnesses, the Chargers were ready to attack their three-game week with a full roster, and came out strong taking their first game over Harrisburg Academy, 72-52, last Tuesday.
Though the team roster was intact, the Chargers had to face Tuesday's contest missing their head coach, Jared Griest. Assistant coach, Kory Pruner, stepped in to lead the team in the victory at home.
"This game presented unique challenges for our team, as we knew very little about Harrisburg Academy entering Tuesday night," noted Pruner.
Both teams opened the game with high energy and were ready to compete. The second quarter is when the Chargers took control and stretched the lead, closing the half with a 45-16 advantage.
Entering the second half of play with a comfortable buffer, the team looked to hone specific skills.
"Our third quarter was about getting some rhythm in the half court, and getting in some younger players to play alongside the seniors," pointed out Pruner.
Several teammates contributed to the overall success. Jack Lachance led scorers with 22 points and Jared Landis knocked in a season-high 20 points.
Ben Sheard played with intensity on both ends of the court producing an impressive stat line of 9 points, 4 assists, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals.
Friday night, the Chargers took a trip to the court of the Millersburg High School Indians, and fought hard but ultimately succumbed 69-42.
Millersburg came out with defensive intensity, playing a high pressure 3-2 zone defense that transitioned to easy offensive layups, giving them the opportunity to secure a substantial 22-13 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter.
Regrouping, the Chargers battled back in subsequent quarters, but not enough to equalize the scoreboard in the remaining minutes.
"During the second half, we played with the type of effort, energy, and enthusiasm that we like to see, but the deficit was too large," explained Griest.
In the second half, the Chargers were outscored by just five points, demonstrating their renewed efforts.
Lachance remained the high scorer, registering 15 points. Brandon Taylor knocked in three buckets from three-point range for a total of nine points, Sheard contributed eight, and Wyatt Hawthorne chipped in seven.
"We struggled to play cohesively has a group. Each individual player had strong parts of the game, but rarely were we able to string together possessions of quality basketball," acknowledged Griest, already looking forward to ways to improve from the loss.
"There will be a lot of contemplation about tonight's game," he added.
Saturday evening the Chargers hosted the Christian School of York Crusaders, and grabbed an early lead which they never surrendered as they secured the 51-23 victory.
Teamwork and full-court cohesion were on display as the Chargers produced the dominate league victory. The emphasis on defense was apparent, holding the Crusaders to only nine points in the first half, and as a team the Chargers came up with 18 total steals.
"I was very pleased with the team's defense. We've been working on our man-to-man over the past three weeks, and tonight we finally put things together to have a quality four-quarter performance," acknowledge Griest.
Lachance completed the game with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. Sheard's energy was evident on both ends of the floor producing 9 points and 8 rebounds. Six of those boards came on the offense end, providing the Chargers with several second chance point opportunities.
Wyatt Hawthorn used his height to stifle the Crusaders, pulling down 7 rebounds and blocking 3 shots.
Currently situated at the top of the CCAC league with a 9-1 record (12-6 overall), the Chargers head into the home stretch of their season. They look to improve their standings even further with two pivotal league matchups, taking on Covenant Christian and West Shore Christian this week.
Landis Scores 15 in Win over LMH Warriors January 16, 2017
Battling back after a week plagued by illness and missing players, the Chargers regained their footing with a three-win week packed with excitement and achievement.
Tuesday night set the tone for the week, as the Chargers hosted the Lancaster Mennonite Hershey Warriors and came out on top 63-27.
Defense was the name of the game, as the Chargers held the Warriors to only five points in the first half. On the offensive end, the team aimed to diversify their attack, with eight Charger players adding to the point total. Jared Landis led scorers with 15, followed closely by Jack Lachance's 12, and Tyler Masters with 11.
The fourth quarter was a highlight, as Charger bench players rose to the challenge and went on a 23-11 run. Jack Hilsher, a freshman, sank two, three point buckets. Wyatt Hawthorne notched six points that kept the Charger momentum flowing, and Sam Robinson, another freshman, netted his first varsity basket.
"We were balanced, shared the ball, and executed throughout the game," noted head coach Jared Griest. "I'm pleased to see the guys working hard to accomplish our goals."
Thursday, the Chargers played at home again, this time matched against the New Covenant Flames, and secured a 65-22 victory.
Having already defeated the Flames earlier in the season, the coaching staff looked to raise the caliber of play in this second meeting. The first quarter ended in a 21 point Charger advantage, and each subsequent quarter held opportunity for alternate lineup formations and valuable experience for all players.
"As the coaches met after the game it was easy to see statistically, and from the product on the floor, that these guys have made tremendous strides," pointed out Griest.
Lachance was all over the court with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Though Lachance topped the stat charts, his contributions were assisted by well-rounded team play.
Ben Sheard created defensive intensity that produced seven steals in addition to his contribution of 12 points. Hawthorne's presence rattled the Flames as he blocked six shots and netted eight points of his own. Hilsher had another impressive showing, tallying up nine points.
Sometimes the stat lines do not capture all facets of the game, which is the case in senior player Stephen Leed. Ability to jump into any situation and adjust to the immediate needs of the team is a difficult accomplishment to measure, but Leed's willingness to take on a variety of roles makes him a valuable asset.
"Stephen has been doing everything we ask of him, and really trying to facilitate our offense off of the bench," Griest said of Leed.
Senior leadership is another area that has been instrumental in the overall success and unity of the team.
"I challenged our seniors towards mentorship of fellow teammates, as well as verbal leadership on and off the floor," explained Griest. "I feel like we are seeing tremendous improvement in these areas."
Friday night, the Chargers traveled for a highly-anticipated matchup against the Harrisburg Christian Knights. Fouls and high percentage shooting by both teams made for a climactic, energy-charged game, and the Chargers celebrated a hard fought 69-61 triumph in the league match.
The Chargers got out to a strong start and established a seven-point lead by the half. Despite their lead, the Chargers started to experience some foul trouble giving the Knights an opening to attack and capitalize using dribble penetration.
With four Charger players registering four fouls, strategy and composure became huge components to the final quarter.
With fellow teammates hindered by fouls, Masters, a sophomore, was tasked with the challenge of defending against the attack of the Knight's point guard. Masters was able to contain his opponent for several possessions and his effort was rewarded in a game-changing steal in the final minutes of play. Masters snatched up the Knight's inbound pass attempt and converted a layup providing the Chargers with a enormous adrenaline boost in addition to the pivotal points.
The Knights refused to go down without a fight though, bringing the game within a point during the fourth quarter. With so many Charger players in danger of fouling out of the game, the Chargers needed to show restraint and composure without losing their intense level of play.
As the clock wound down, the game came down to the wire, and free throws made all the difference in the outcome. As a team, the Chargers made it to the line 30 times and successfully converted on 20 of those attempts. Senior experience was evident as Lachance and Brandon Taylor went 8-of-9 and 5-of-6 respectively from the line.
"This was a great team effort. For the first time this season we really faced adversity in one of our wins," celebrated Griest. "I was inspired by their play tonight. They demonstrated the definition of resilience in basketball."
Lachance finished the contest with 24 total points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Sheard notched 10 points, 8 steals, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds. Landis came up big on the boards pulling down 14, complimented by 4 steals and 4 points. Taylor's 11 points were largely made up of critical, high-pressure free throws that allowed the Chargers to hang onto their slim lead and clinch the victory.
Starting off their two-game week at home, the Lady Chargers took on the Lancaster Mennonite Hershey Warriors last Tuesday and rose to a 45-15 victory, before slipping to a tough end of week loss at Harrisburg Christian 48-37.
The Lady Chargers came to play and started Tuesday's contest against the Warriors with intensity, racking up 23 points in the first quarter.
"Our game plan was to get an early lead and then get our subs a lot of playing time. That early effort was led by smothering team defense and transition points," summarized head coach Phil Ferrari.
In subsequent quarters, the coaching staff began to introduce alternate team formations and incorporated a variety players in new situations.
Lydia Ewing led all scorers with 18 points, including shooting 100 percent from the line in four attempts, while Abigail Rutt chipped in 13.
Freshman Anna Bert had a strong showing, sinking three field goals for a total six points, and Jaylyn Maulfair and Haley Witmer each knocked in four points.
The remainder of the week was focused on preparing for Friday's important rematch against the Harrisburg Christian Knights at the Knights' home court, in which the Chargers suffered a 48-37 defeat.
Earlier in the season, the two teams met with Harrisburg claiming the first victory after overcoming a 10-point deficit. To the Chargers' dismay, history repeated itself in Friday's contest.
Heading into the matchup, the Chargers hoped to mar the Knights undefeated 10-0 record, and turn the tables in the outcome.
"We were excited to see how we would respond in this game as we have gotten better over the last month," explained Ferrari.
Despite being down two teammates due to sickness, the Lady Chargers came out strong and once again established a nearly double digit lead before the half. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the second half of play also mirrored their first matchup, as the Knights slowly chipped away and overtook them, eventually pulling away with a 10-3 run in the final minutes.
"Harrisburg is a battled tested team that doesn't quit," acknowledged Ferrari. "We had several chances to get closer, but just couldn't get a shot to fall."
Rutt contributed 18 points with 12 coming from beyond the three point arc. Ewing added 14 points and once again was clutch at the line sinking 4-of-7 attempts, but it was not enough to propel the Lady Chargers to the outcome they desired.
"We told the girls that we are proud of their effort, and that we need to keep getting better and trusting our process. When we meet them again in playoffs we hope to put together a full consistent game, and come out on top," concluded Ferrari.
The Lady Chargers have selected Matthew 5:14-16 to be their theme and team verse this season, endeavoring to have their attitudes and behavior shine like a light to glorify their Lord and Savior.
Disappointing moments, such as this recent loss, provide the Lady Chargers with the opportunity to make a conscious choice in how they handle their emotions and reaction--particularly when it is hard to do so.
"Believers are told to be the light in a dark world. Therefore, our main focus both on and off the court this year is to let our lights shine at all times, and in all ways, regardless of what is happening around us," summarized Ferrari.
This week the Lady Chargers will prepare for a full schedule, taking on Linden Hall and Millersburg High School on the road, before concluding their week at home against Christian School of York.
Lady Chargers Win 5 of First 6 Games January 9, 2017
The Mount Calvary Lady Chargers took the court with ferocity as they started their 2016-2017 season, winning their Tip Off Tournament and claiming five victories in their first six contests of the season.
Opening the season at home against the New Covenant Flames in the first round of the Tip Off Tournament, the Lady Chargers handily claimed their debut victory 67-35. Intense Charger defense flustered the Flames creating 27 turnovers, and gave the Chargers the opportunities they needed to convert points, outscoring the Flames in three out of four quarters.
Senior leadership from Abigail Rutt and Lydia Ewing was evident in the stats. Rutt blazed the way with 28 points, 15 rebounds, 5 steals, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Ewing also put up impressive numbers with 23 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block.
Younger players chipped in as well, with sophomore Brittney Taylor posting 8 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Freshman, Haley Witmer pulled down 11 rebounds in addition to 4 points, 2 blocks, and a steal in her varsity debut.
In the championship game, the Lady Chargers took on Harrisburg Academy, and though they only accumulated 39 points, they held their opponents to 22 and clinched the championship.
Ewing and Rutt once again led the scoring with 23 and 12 points respectively, and both were named to the All-Tournament team.
Jaylyn Maulfair put in a substantial performance with 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.
The Lady Chargers got their first taste of defeat at the hands of Harrisburg Christian in a mid-December match, 45-37.
"This was our first big test of the new season to one of our league rivals. The girls fought hard and never quit. Even though we would have loved to have won this early league battle, we came away accomplishing several important goals," commented head coach Phil Ferrari.
Rallying after their loss, the Lady Chargers triumphed in their next three games, taking down York Country Day 32-12, New Covenant 50-21, and Veritas Academy 49-29.
During the matchup against New Covenant, the coaching staff took the opportunity to improve on areas where the Chargers struggled in their earlier season match up against the Flames.
"This was our second matchup with them in a short time span, which often makes coaches nervous," explained Ferrari. "It was a total team effort to cut down our turnovers and dominate the boards. We also shot really well from the line."
The stats touted the evidence of that effort as the Chargers out rebounded the Flames by 17 boards and as a team shot 71 percent from the line.
The healthy lead established in the first half of play allowed additional Charger players to get into the formation and gain valuable experience. Seven different players contributed to the point total including Nonoka Matsumoto who pulled down eight rebounds in addition to her four points.
"Plenty of playing time for our bench is invaluable early in the season as we will need those players to step into bigger roles at some point," added Ferrari.
In late December, the Lady Chargers suffered back-to-back defeats, first falling to Donegal 64-30 and then to Linden Hall 69-36.
Despite the game outcome against Linden Hall, the Lady Chargers celebrated Rutt's personal achievement of reaching her 1000th career point. Rutt entered the game a mere six points shy of the milestone, and more than achieved the goal with a total of 25 points.
Starting the New Year with determination, the Lady Chargers played an intense three game week last week swallowing a tough 45-32 loss to Christian School of York, followed by back-to-back wins over Covenant Christian and West Shore Christian.
In the 50-26 victory over Covenant Christian, the Lady Chargers played a consistent offensive game knocking in double digit points each of the four quarters while holding their opponents to only single digit scoring.
Rutt and Ewing once again led the offensive attack, netting 26 and 20 points respectively.
"We wanted to get back to playing good basketball with limited turnovers, and improvement on defense, and our full court press," noted Ferrari.
A mere 24 hours later the squad traveled to face the West Shore Christian Bobcats, and produced an exciting four quarters resulting in the 58-23 triumph.
"We were looking for a consistent game in which we would play well offensively and defensively at the same time. We got exactly what we needed. It was our most complete team win of the year," summarized Ferrari.
Rutt tallied 20 points to lead all scorers, and was supported by a standout performance by Matsumoto whose defensive energy and conversion of 15 points made a great impact on the contest's outcome.
With an intentionally challenging early season schedule, the Mount Calvary boys team has found themselves entering the heart of the season with a resume of eight wins and five losses, with only one loss coming in league competition.
In early December, the Chargers participated in the Upper Dauphin Tournament where an opening loss to Upper Dauphin, 52-45, placed them out of the tournament championship. Despite facing a much larger school, the Chargers displayed their ability to contend, jumping out to a 16-3 initial lead.
Foul trouble plagued the Chargers in the second half, immobilizing them on both ends of the court, and providing Upper Dauphin with the opportunity they needed for a comeback win. Team leaders Jack Lachance, with 19 points, and Jared Landis, lead rebounder, were forced to take a seat due to fouls and watch Upper Dauphin overtake the Chargers' early lead.
In the consolation game, the Chargers took the upper hand against Northumberland Christian and handily claimed the 60-39 victory.
The second quarter proved to be a pivotal point as the Chargers went on a 21-6 scoring run to put Northumberland at an insurmountable deficit. The quarter also served to highlight the depth of the Charger squad as five different players contributed to the scoring run.
"It was nice to see the guys battle back. The second quarter was exactly what we'd expect from our team moving forward, quality defense transitioning into easy baskets on offense, and well-rounded contributions," elaborated head coach Jared Griest.
Midway through December, Mt. Calvary notched their first league victory against the Harrisburg Christian Knights, 65-56.
The Chargers came out hot, rocketing ahead to seize the first 15 points of the contest. As expected, the Knights responded by leveling the score in subsequent quarters, but the Chargers explosive 23 points in the fourth sealed the victory. Key contributions came from Lachance's game high 26 points, Jack Hilsher with 11, and Ben Sheard adding 8.
Back-to-back losses followed for the team, but were not without highlights for the Chargers. On the 16th, the Chargers took on much larger District 3 Class A competitors, York Country Day and fell to a 65-33 defeat, followed by a contest the next day against defending district champions Delaware County Christian, 69-53.
Senior and lead scorer for the Chargers, Lachance, capitalized on the competition with an impressive offensive attack and captured his 1000th career point in the third quarter against Delaware County. Lachance's achievement was part of his 25 total points contributed in the game, including impressive 12-of-14 shooting from the line.
"Jack is a leader on the floor and during the off season. To score 1000 points the way Jack did is a testament and example to what hard work can do for a young man," commended Griest.
Fellow senior, Landis, came up big in the subsequent game in which Mount Calvary trumped New Covenant Christian 52-25, with Landis blazing the way on both ends of the court and finishing with 13 points and 9 rebounds.
A 20-2 run in the first quarter allowed the Chargers to not only establish momentum, but provide different players opportunities and experience. Wyatt Hawthorne's presence was felt in his minutes as he secured six points in the definitive victory.
Just before the winter break, the Chargers hosted Veritas Christian for a fan-packed Homecoming celebration, and gave their supporters plenty to cheer about in the 73-51 Charger triumph.
Feeding off the intensity of the crowd, the Charger seniors led the offensively dynamic contest with four Mount Calvary seniors, Lachance, Landis, Sheard, and Brandon Taylor each posting double digit points.
Next up for the Chargers was a match up against Lebanon Catholic where the Chargers rose to a 55-42 win. Despite the obvious attempts of the Beavers to stifle Lachance on offense, he continued to display consistency in scoring, leading all scorers with his 20 points.
Sheard also had a noticeable presence on the court, creating scoring opportunities with his efforts on the defensive end as well as converting points during each of the four quarters.
Entering 2017 on a high note, the Chargers triumphed in their first contest of the New Year last Tuesday with a 70-41 road win over Christian School of York.
Though typically not a team with a size advantage, the Chargers embraced the rare opportunity to capitalize on the edge they held in the paint. Landis knocked in 17 points, Sheard added 14, and Hawthorne chipped in 8 as they stepped up their attack on the blocks.
In an action-packed weekend, the Chargers ended the week with split results. Friday night they defeated Covenant Christian 61-21, and Saturday slipped 60-37 to West Shore Christian. The duo of games proved to be a test to the Chargers as several players battled illness and on court formations needed to be adjusted.
During Friday's win over Covenant, the Chargers were missing two inside players and only nine players were available. Rising to the challenge was a true team effort as all nine players not only claimed minutes on the court but contributed to the score. Lachance led with 14 points, followed by Taylor 12, Landis 10, and Tyler Masters with 7.
Sickness continued to plague the team Saturday as only seven players made the roster. Among those missing were leading scorers, Lachance and Sheard.
Though the final score placed them at a large deficit, the team continued to rally and younger players stepped up to fill new roles. Masters, a sophomore, notched 10 points, while Taylor and Landis chipped in seven apiece.
Despite the rough end to the week, the Chargers press forward having gained valuable experience and tenacity they hope will propel them into an exciting second half of their season.
Charger Volleyball Falls in PIAA Quartefinals November 13, 2016
The Mt. Calvary volleyball squad wrapped up its remarkable post season last week advancing past the first round of PIAA 1A state playoffs before bowing out at the quarterfinal mark.
Tuesday, the team celebrated a three set victory over Christopher Dock Mennonite Academy (25-16, 26-24, 25-19).
Being a young team with several freshman players in their rotation, pressure was intense for their first match at the state tournament level, but the Lady Chargers displayed composure and maturity as they sized up their competitors.
Freshman nerves did nothing to hinder the Lady Chargers; in fact, the first set was characterized by success of the younger players.
Freshman Kierra Hinkle, set the tone for the Lady Chargers controlling their first service and providing them with an early 5-1 lead. The Dock Pioneers responded with a run of their own and after a few service exchanges leveled the scoreboard at 12 apiece.
Settling into their rhythm and learning their opponents, the Lady Chargers kept pace with the Dock Pioneers for a few more points before going on an explosive 11-2 run to clinch the set.
Marley Kreiser, another freshman, stepped up to serve with a narrow 15-14 advantage and went on a dominant nine point run, including slamming six aces.
A third Mt. Calvary freshman, Haley Witmer, not only provided crucial setter assists, but added two kills to help put the set away.
The second set proved to be a tighter battle including several lead changes and tied scores. If the Chargers have shown any weakness in previous contests, the second set has been their nemesis.
"Going into the second set, I warned the girls that this team was a fighter and would not give up," explained head coach Tiann Rutt.
The Pioneers rallied and held the upper hand reaching set point 24-23, but were unable to grasp that final point they desperately needed.
Stepping in to serve for the Chargers at the crucial 24-24 mark was yet another Calvary freshman, Grace Hilsher. Despite a time out by Dock to try to shake things up, Hilsher got the job done notching the two key points and finishing with an ace.
Confidence grew in the third set as the Chargers were close enough to taste victory. Initially, the Pioneers kept the score close, but senior leadership from Abigail Rutt changed the tempo of the set. Rutt's service gave the Chargers the lead, 8-7, and they never looked back, maintaining their lead through the victory.
Rutt carried her service momentum into offensive kills, registering eight in the third set alone.
Rebecca Hallman and Kreiser each slammed two kills, and Hannah Hawryluk provided pivotal digs that fueled the Charger cause.
Rutt came up big for the Chargers in both stats and leadership with 16 kills, 13 digs, and 1 block. Her powerful presence and encouraging voice on the court helped guide the team to victory.
Other notable stat leaders included Kreiser's 6 aces, Hallman's 10 digs and 1 block, and Witmer's 23 setter assists and 9 digs.
"In spite of errors, the girls worked well together and continued to encourage each other," noted coach Rutt.
Saturday, the Lady Chargers headed to their quarterfinal match up against the Berlin Brothersvalley Mountaineers held at Chambersburg Area High School, and their post season came to a halt as the Mountaineers took three out of four sets (25-21, 20-25, 25-13, 25-12).
The Lady Chargers came out strong, even taking an early lead on the Mountaineers, but eventually surrendered the first set by four points.
"We started out playing clean and aggressive. We had a good lead but making unforced errors, we let them back in the game," noted Rutt.
Roles were reversed in set two, the only set the Chargers were able to claim in the match.
"We cleaned up our game and worked as a team to win it, 25-20," pointed out Rutt.
The third and fourth sets were almost mirror images of each other in which the Chargers suffered uncharacteristic set receive errors and were unable to keep pace with the Mountaineers' strategic attack.
Leading her team, in her final high school game, A. Rutt nailed 17 kills and 22 digs. Fellow senior, Hallman supplied 2 blocks. Freshman players provided the promise of the future of Mt. Calvary volleyball as Hilsher dished 5 aces, and Witmer placed 21 setter assists.
Despite the loss putting an end to their season, the Chargers have nothing to hang their heads about, as they reflect on their 21-2 overall season.
"I'm very grateful for the safety of the girls and thank the Lord for a great season-winning the CCAC league, District Three Single A championship, and making it to the quarterfinals of States," acknowledged Rutt.
Throughout the duration of their season, the Chargers have made it a team goal to focus on exemplifying their team verse, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Keeping their attitudes in check during the highs of winning and the disappointments of losing has been a reflection of their effort to glorify the Lord in their play-and along the way, they certainly thrilled their enthusiastic fans with some outstanding volleyball.
Charger Volleyball Claims District Crown November 7, 2016
"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." John Wooden, legendary NCAA basketball coach.
All those little things are adding up in a big way for the Lady Chargers volleyball squad as they continue a spectacular post season run. Last week they fought their way through the rounds of PIAA District Three playoffs and claimed the district championship.
Mt. Calvary's first district test came Tuesday night as they took on the Upper Dauphin High School and made quick work of the Trojans coming out on top after just three sets (25-18, 25-14, 25-15).
Initially, the Chargers got off to a slow start, trailing the Trojans in the first set. Rebecca Hallman and Marley Kreiser were influential on both offense and defense to turn the tide in favor of the Chargers. Once they took the lead, the Chargers pulled ahead for the first set win.
A more confident Charger team took the court for the second set, characterized by aggressive kills from Kreiser and Abigail Rutt in addition to two aces from Haley Witmer, and easily won.
Determined to seal the contest in the third set, Rutt led the offensive charge nailing nine kills. Freshman, Grace Hilsher displayed maturity in her first ever district game dishing out three aces to promote the Charger cause.
"It was a scary start, but once the girls began to learn the other team and how they played, we were able to pick it up and win," explained head coach Tiann Rutt.
Rutt slammed a total 18 kills and 16 digs, Kreiser contributed 10 digs, Witmer provided 31 setter assists, Hallman added 3 blocks, and Hilsher 3 aces.
Two days later, it was more of the same. This time the Lady Chargers faced the Halifax Area High School Wildcats, and once again their composure and methodical play produced a three set victory (25-17, 25-20, 25-19).
The first set was all Chargers, with Hallman playing an influential and balanced set with three kills, a block, and an ace.
Halifax came out stronger in the second set taking an early five point lead. Kreiser stepped up to serve and went on a run to bring the Chargers back into the game and claim a two point lead. Hilsher came in to serve and extended the Charger lead, creating an advantage too large for the Wildcats to overcome.
The third set again saw an early Wildcat lead, 14-9. Kreiser and Hilsher once again produced great serving runs that put the Chargers back on top.
Rutt finished the night with 16 kills, 17 digs, and 3 aces, Hallman nailed 2 aces and 4 blocks, Kreiser contributed 14 digs, 2 aces, and 3 blocks, and Witmer made 27 setter assists.
Saturday set the stage for the culmination of the District playoffs, but the competitors were not unfamiliar to each other as the final two teams standing were the Mt. Calvary Chargers and the Conestoga Christian Cougars. The two teams had previously squared off once during regular season competition, with the Cougars taking the win. During the post season, in the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference championship game, the teams met for a second battle, in which the Lady Chargers walked away with the title.
Pressure is always high at the district playoff level, but with each team holding on to one previous victory and defeat against the opponent, stakes were raised for this third contest which would also determine the District Three champs. After an exciting battle, the Chargers took the championship in four sets (25-19, 21-25, 25-16, 27-25).
Mt. Calvary came out strong and claimed the first set with calm authority.
In the past the Chargers have struggled to maintain their intense level of play in the second set, and this match continued in that pattern. Unforced errors by the Chargers and a more aggressive Cougar squad resulted in the set going to Conestoga.
The Chargers fired back in a momentum shifting third set, and then set out to seal the contest in the fourth. With a two point lead at match point, the Chargers were on the brink of victory, but the Cougars refused to succumb without a fight, knotting the fourth set at 25.
Collecting their emotions, the Lady Chargers notched the next match point and in fitting fashion, Rutt nailed a kill to finalize the victory.
Rutt led her team with 24 kills, 31 digs, and 3 aces. Hallman was a force at the net with 5 blocks, and Witmer registered 42 setter assists.
Looking ahead, the Lady Chargers will seek to build on this win as they continue their post season in the State playoff tournament.
Chargers Win CCAC Title, Booters Bow in Districts October 31, 2016
Riding their successful season momentum, the Lady Chargers claimed the Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference title in their two win week and overcame the only team to defeat them during the regular season.
Thursday night the Lady Chargers began their CCAC post season quest in a semifinal match against the Lititz Christian Eagles and advanced after three definitive sets (25-8, 25-18, 25-20).
Backed by an enthusiastic home crowd demonstrating their school spirit with a "beach out" theme, the Lady Chargers took the court with authority and shot out to formidable lead and easily took the first set.
"I warned the girls that Lititz is a tough opponent and not to let up. The match is not over till we have three set wins," cautioned head coach Tiann Rutt.
Regaining their composure, the Eagles fired back and kept the scoreboard tighter for the second and third sets, but were unable to overcome the dominate presence of the Lady Chargers.
Rebecca Hallman and Kierra Hinkle each took critical turns at the helm, producing tough serving that propelled the Chargers to a second set victory.
The Eagles once again made a run in the third set bringing the score within a point at 18-17, but Hallman continued to dish out difficult serves producing a three point lead for the Chargers.
Final service belonged to Haley Witmer when the scoreboard read 23-20. The Chargers claimed the next point, creating match point opportunity, and then Witmer finished the contest off with an ace.
"My two senior captains, Abigail Rutt and Rebecca Hallman, really stepped up to the plate with kills, and behind most of those kills were great sets by my freshman setter, Haley Witmer," acknowledge coach Rutt.
In leading the stats, Rutt nailed 15 kills and 26 digs, Witmer contributed 31 setter assists, and Marley Kreiser served up 2 aces.
Saturday night set the stage for the CCAC championship match held at Lancaster Mennonite High School, pitting the Lady Chargers against the Conestoga Christian Cougars and resulting in the Chargers besting the Cougars in four sets (25-13, 21-25, 25-19, 25-18).
The Lady Chargers embraced the opportunity to once again take on the Cougars, the only team to blemish their regular season record. Eager to respond with a victory on the championship stage, the Charger squad took the court with authority and quickly snatched the first set.
The Cougars regrouped for a strong second set as the Chargers struggled with errors resulting in the set going to the Cougars.
Aces were pivotal to the third set, with the Charger squad registering seven during the third set alone.
"I could see the girls encouraging each other to work hard, stay focused and finish strong. In between the sets the girls wanted to pray and we took time to ask the Lord for help to play well-whatever the outcome, they wanted to play well," explained coach Rutt.
During the fourth and final set it was obvious the Cougars were not going down without a fight as they held a narrow lead 12-11. Coach Rutt sensed her players beginning to tighten up and called for time.
"I told them they needed to stop playing not to lose, but to start playing to win," commented Rutt.
Immediately following the time out, the Chargers sided out and began to creep away with a lead. Similar to their victory two days prior, the final service again belonged to freshman Witmer, and once again, she finished the match with an ace.
Rutt registered 19 kills and 14 digs, Hinkle nailed 7 aces, Witmer produced 33 setter assists, and Hallman and Kreiser had 2 blocks apiece.
While the Lady Chargers celebrate their CCAC title, they will need to remain focused as they head into round one of PIAA District Three playoffs this week taking on Upper Dauphin High School.
On the heels of an extremely successful season, the Lady Chargers soccer season came to a halt last week in the first round of the PIAA District Three playoffs.
Hosting the Camp Hill Lions, Mt. Calvary took the field with enthusiasm and were first to notch a goal, but ultimately were unable to hang on to that advantage and suffered a 3-2 loss.
In customary fashion, Madison Martin led the offensive charge and secured the first goal of the contest at the 16:00 mark assisted by Abigail Rutt.
"It was an exciting first half. We seemed to be controlling most of the play and winning possession," noted head coach Kirsten Ruhl. "I could see that the girls were giving 100 percent effort."
The teams battled back and forth, but the scoreboard reflected no further change at the half.
The Lions caught fire in the second half and netted three consecutive goals to dramatically shift the momentum to their favor.
Refusing to concede defeat, the Chargers powered through the Lion defense for a final goal, this time Rutt finishing with an assist from Martin.
"I was so proud to see the girls, despite being scored on three times, persevere and never give up, leaving everything on the field. It really unveiled the character and heart of our players," elaborated Ruhl.
Despite creating 20 shots on goal compared to the Lion's 16, the Chargers were unable to convert several scoring opportunities in the final minutes, leaving them just short, and ending their playoff run.
Clearly disappointed by the heartbreaking loss that punctuated the conclusion of their season, the Lady Charger team united for a final trip hand in hand across the field to demonstrate their gratitude for a fantastic season.
"The game of soccer is a lot like our relationship with Christ. When life does not go our way and we face adversity, it's easy to hang our heads, complain, or give up. Having a personal relationship with Christ brings meaning, joy, and purpose through trials to press forward with hope for tomorrow," concluded Ruhl.
Finishing the year with a 15-3 overall record, an undefeated league record of 10-0, and a third consecutive CCAC title signifies an accomplished 2016 team.
In addition to those accolades, and with even farther reaching effects, the experiences of teamwork, unity, and using each opportunity to glorify Christ, are priceless life lessons that each player will carry beyond the season.