Chargers Cap 4th Straight Unbeaten League Mark October 15, 2017
Last Monday's 3-2 win over Lancaster County Christian might have appeared to be just another exciting overtime victory for the Lady Chargers, but the event signified much more.
The contest, played at home, marked the Lady Charger's final league contest of the regular season, and by grasping the grueling double overtime win, they earned a flawless CCAC league record of 10-0.
In addition to that achievement, the senior players on the team celebrated the feat of four consecutive perfect league records.
Racking up a history of 46-0, the Mt. Calvary Lady Chargers have not dropped a league contest in the past four years, giving this year's seniors the distinction of having never lost a league match in their varsity careers.
Monday's faceoff against the Lions did not start out in favor of the Lady Chargers, and they were forced to take nothing for granted, when they found themselves trailing 1-0 at the half.
"We were really struggling to play our game," noted head coach Kim Schmitkons. "LCCS was beating us to the ball, and we were playing very defensively."
With so much riding on the contest, Schmitkons spent the break inspiring her players to raise their level of play.
"Coach Pruner and I talked to the girls about playing our game, and attacking instead of just defending," added Schmitkons.
Linking their defensive work with connecting passes, the Lady Chargers tweaked their tactics in order to launch methodical offensive attacks.
"We shifted some girls around, and we earned corners by playing to our outsides and making diagonal runs," explained Schmitkons.
Sixteen minutes into the second half, the adjustments paid off, and Julia Martin and Naomi Ewing paired for the Charger equalizer. Ewing propelled a corner kick into the goal box finding Martin, who headed the ball into the net.
The Lions refused to bow out early, and retaliated 14 minutes later to once again hold the edge 2-1.
Time was not on their side as the clock wound down, and the Lady Chargers looked like they might fall one game short of an unblemished league season. Refusing to not quit, it was freshman players Martin assisting Olivia Yordy, that got the job done, notching the second equalizer with less than three minutes on the clock.
"High pressure and aggression from Brittney Taylor, Olivia Yordy, and Julia Martin is what helped create our second goal opportunity," commented Schmitkons.
Riding their momentum surge into two overtime periods, the Lady Chargers controlled the tempo of the game and it was only a matter of time until their constant pressure provided an opening for Martin to power an unassisted goal into the back of the Lion's net.
"We've been in an overtime situation before, so the girls knew what they needed to do. We stayed strong defensively and just kept taking opportunities as they came," acknowledged Schmitkons. "It was a tough mental game to work through, and we are very proud of the way the girls kept fighting to pull out the win," she added.
Charger keeper Leah Hawryluk grabbed eight saves, robbing the Lions of any further attempts to claim the contest.
On the heels of their big win, it was fitting that Tuesday night marked Mount Calvary Senior Night, a moment to honor the contributions of the senior players who have been a part of such a great run. Melissa Martin, Jenna Romberger, Emily Wolfe, and Katelyn Esbenshade are a group of defenders that have anchored much of the success the Lady Chargers have enjoyed over the past four years. Abby Bert is a welcome recent addition to the team, adding an extra spark to the team dynamic on and off the field.
Taking a moment to reflect on the unique attributes of each senior, Schmitkons shared her thoughts.
"Katelyn is an inspiring servant-leader. She is most often seen after a game carrying balls or the water jug to the shed. She plays selflessly on the field, giving 110% while also demanding that everyone stays focused in our huddles," said Schmitkons.
"Abby jumped right into a game and started running through balls in offense and defense. Her energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement came at just the right time in the season," Schmitkons noted of their newest player.
"Missy helps keep us all energized and fired up with her positive attitude, music playlists, and dance moves. On the field she may be constantly critiquing herself, but she has shown more and more aggression each game. Her vocal encouragement makes every game and practice more enjoyable," the coach continued.
"Emily is the leader we can all fall back on. On the field she will make the extra sprint, the extra challenge, the extra switch of field. Her example of hard work through every practice and every 80-minute no-subs game is invaluable to our team.
"Jenna has helped lead our team with her work ethic and dependability. Whether in the center or on the side, we rely on her defensive aggression and consistent play to keep the ball out of our net. We appreciate her example of commitment and hard work," concluded Schmitkons.
The volleyball team experienced a heartbreaking loss to start last week, but rallied for an end of week triumph.
Initially the Chargers looked strong, going up 2-0 against High Point Baptist before succumbing to a 3-2 loss.
"Our biggest issue was communication," explained head coach Kate Ferrari. "As soon as we give up two or more points, our communication takes a big hit. Unfortunately, communication is the key to getting out of a lull," she elaborated.
The first two sets displayed the Chargers reading their opponents and capitalizing on High Points' mistakes, but the team faltered in the remaining three.
"In addition to communication, we struggled in consistency," noted Ferrari.
Despite the disappointment, Ferrari encourages her girls to move forward and learn from the tough loss.
"Grace Hilsher did a nice job attempting to defend the back line with 12 digs," she pointed out.
Hilsher also supplied seven aces. Kelsey McMahon put down 10 kills, and Brie Lehman provided two blocks.
During Senior Night, Ferrari took the time to note the contributions of the two senior players, Carley Herndon and Kelsey McMahon.
"Carley is always so willing to work to better her skills and never lacked effort. One of the things I admire most about Carley is her selflessness and her ability to encourage her teammates, she lives out Philippians 2:3, 'Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself'," shared Ferrari.
"Kelsey has strong leadership skills and a great ability to get the girls pumped during a game. She has a great awareness of her other teammates feelings and encourages them in their endeavors. A great verse to attribute to Kelsey is Proverbs 17:17, 'A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity'," summarized Ferrari.
Regrouping after the early week defeat, the Lady Chargers showed their heart and tenacity toppling Fairfield High School in three well-earned sets 26-24, 25-23, 25-18.
Freshman Kara Locker set the tone firing an ace for the first point of the game. From there, Fairfield was forced to scramble adjusting to the Charger attack.
Unfortunately, the Chargers suffered a setback when Lehman injured an ankle midway through set one. Forced to alter their game plan, Rachel Green, another freshman, stepped in to fill the void.
"I was very pleased with how the girls adjusted to changing up our lineup. Rachel ended up playing all the way around holding her own," praised Ferrari.
Though the score remained tight, the Chargers held out for the set win.
Set two was critical to the outcome of the game, with Fairfield finding their rhythm and the Chargers reeling from the injury, the game could have easily gone either direction, but the Chargers dug deep to hang on.
"I reminded them that they needed to communicate and keep up the intensity," said Ferrari. "I wanted them to keep pushing every single point. They took that advice and ran with it."
After claiming the second set, the girls headed into set three with revitalized enthusiasm.
"Confidence was high. They were determined to pull out the win in three," acknowledge Ferrari.
Not only did the Chargers claim the match in three, but improved their consistency, taking the third set with their largest lead, 25-18.
Kami Mummau was all over the court with 4 aces, 3 kills, and a block. Hilsher guarded the back line with 10 digs, and Locker dished out 3 assists.
Victory was elusive for the boys' soccer team last week, falling 4-1 to High Point on Monday, and 4-0 to Antietam on Friday, but despite the losses, they celebrated the season long effort of the team, and most specifically the senior players.
The Chargers graduate two seniors this year, Matt Kark and Aaron Shambaugh, both have been four-year starters for the team. Head coach Marc Myers took the Senior Night opportunity to explain why each of them will be missed.
"Matt is passionate, motivates others, and is a strong leader on this team. He is versatile and he could play any position on the field," commended Myers.
"Aaron is a hard worker and quiet leader. He has been a big asset to our team and has given us consistency in our defense," noted Myers.
The senior night honors came during the tough home loss to High Point Baptist. Despite the scoreboard reading in favor of High Point, the Chargers focused on the positives and the bigger picture as they acknowledged their seniors.
David Ellis supplied the Chargers' goal, assisted by Kark.
Wrapping up their season with a record of 3-12, might not be the outcome they were hoping for, but the young team can choose to use it as incentive to build toward future improvement.
Chargers Top New Covenant In Four Game Week October 8, 2017
Playing a tight schedule last week, the Lady Charger volleyball squad kicked things off on a high note, securing a 25-10, 25-12, 27-25 victory over New Covenant on Monday, but had to handle three losses after that.
Though the Chargers initially struggled finding their serve, they made up for it in effort and communication and quickly took the first set.
"We were able to overcome by keeping a never give up attitude when a pass may have gone off course. The girls hustled to the ball, and a key factor was our ability to communicate effectively on the court," commended head coach Kate Ferrari.
Heading into set number two, the Chargers looked to clean up a few areas of play to capture another set.
"Kara Locker and Molly Bert both had serves that proved to be tough for New Covenant to return," pointed out Ferrari.
Another duo that began to fall in sync was Kelsey McMahon and Kami Mummau, as Mummau provided the assists for five of McMahon's eight kills.
In the third set, the Chargers began to falter on the attack, allowing New Covenant to grasp their largest lead of the game 19-12.
"During a time out, we talked about having court awareness; knowing that when the set is off you have to adjust to keep the ball in play," explained Ferrari.
Point-by-point the Chargers climbed back into contention and recaptured the lead 23-22.
Bert rotated back to the serving line and produced the points necessary for the Chargers to capture the match win after three sets.
"At this point, one error meant we were going into game four," said Ferrari. "I was extremely proud of the girls' efforts. They never gave up and faced each play with determination. It was great to watch them come from behind and persevere," she added.
Twenty-four hours later, the Chargers headed to Dayspring Christian and succumbed after battling through four sets (25-19, 25-18, 15-25, 25-14).
Trouble on both ends of service placed the Lady Chargers trailing at the start of each set, giving Dayspring the edge they needed to claim the match.
The third set was a highlight, overcoming an early deficit and pulling out the win.
"We were able to turn the momentum around in this game. The girls never let up, everything was coming together. We passed better, had less serving errors and completed plays," encouraged Ferrari.
The Charger squad had another rough night Thursday, slipping to Lititz Christian 26-24, 25-15, 25-23.
Despite the loss, the Charger coaching staff noticed much improvement from their play just 48 hours prior.
"We took a lot of time in practice to work on serve receive, and it paid off. The girls did a much better job of moving to get into position to make good passes," pointed out Ferrari.
Sets one and three proved to be extremely close, but just did not tip in favor of the Lady Chargers.
"Set three was very much like the first. The score remained close the entire match," said Ferrari. "We did a good job of changing up offensive play and making good decisions at the net."
McMahon nailed 8 kills and a block, Locker and Bert fired 9 aces apiece, Mummau supplied 8 assists, and Grace Hilsher had 5 digs.
Wrapping up the marathon week with match number four at home, the Chargers were bested by Conestoga Christian, 25-14, 25-22, 25-20.
Despite facing a third straight loss, the Chargers had plenty of positives to focus on. After handing Conestoga a relatively uncontested first set, the Mt. Calvary squad regrouped and presented a united front in the remaining two sets.
"They came out determined to show Conestoga their better game. They were talking and covering their hitters. Grace Hilsher played great defense all night," commented Ferrari.
With these improvements the Chargers captured a 7-2 lead, but Conestoga started to chip away and capitalized on each Charger error, overtaking them at 23-22, and then ultimately taking both the set and match.
Mummau produced 5 kills, 2 aces, and 3 assists; Locker supplied 2 aces and 3 assists; Bert chipped in 2 aces and 6 digs; and Brie Lehman provided 6 blocks.
"We didn't pull out the win, but we are encouraged by the improvements we see in the girls. Our key for improvement is to work on consistency. We have great shining moments, and if we can just keep that consistency, we'll be winning these matches," encouraged Ferrari. "We're a young team. I know it will come, and I'm very excited for the future," she concluded.
Lady Charger soccer has been dominating the competition this season, but proved they are not immune to defeat as they were dealt a 6-0 loss by Oley Valley last Monday.
Demonstrating their ability to regroup after a loss, Mt. Calvary responded with back-to-back victories to end the week.
Thursday night the girls blanked the High Point Baptist Eagles 3-0.
Though the scoreboard clearly displayed the dominance of the Chargers, they did experience some struggles in claiming the contest.
"The game was a mental challenge," explained head coach Kim Schmitkons. "We struggled to connect passes as we have throughout the year. We did manage to pull through that challenge and won with determination."
The Chargers' lead scorer, Julia Martin notched two goals, and Naomi Ewing chipped in the third.
Taking charge of the defensive end of the field, keeper Leah Hawryluk continues to prove her value, snagging nine saves to preserve the shutout.
"Leah has stepped into a very tough position in goal this year to fill our need. She continues to improve with each game," praised Schmitkons.
With only 15 minutes remaining in the contest, Hawryluk charged forward to challenge an Eagle attack at the top of the box. After winning possession of the ball, Hawryluk needed a minute to recover from the collision. She shook off the confrontation and not only finished out the game in the goalbox, but produced some of her most dynamic play.
"We were nervous as she was slow to get up and really did not want to see her injured," said Schmitkons. "We were surprised and excited with how she bounced back and played some of the most aggressive minutes of the season."
Capping their week, the Lady Chargers took down New Covenant Christian 3-1.
Martin and Katelyn Esbenshade worked as an efficient duo on the offensive end of the field, with Esbenshade feeding Martin a pass that resulted in Martin's first goal of the night after only two minutes had transpired.
New Covenant responded twelve minutes later to keep the game even, and the scoreboard remained tied until Ewing and Martin paired for a passing sequence that led to Martin's second tally just before the half.
Martin completed her hat trick with an unassisted second half goal to assure the Chargers of their victory.
Martin, a freshman, not made a notable difference in the outcome of this week's games, but as the teams' leading scorer, racked up an impressive 21 goals after only nine games in her debut varsity season.
"Julia is an extremely talented player and intense competitor. She has helped push other players to improve the level of their play, particularly as we work to build passing combinations," noted Schmitkons. "Whether on offense or defense, Julia will find the ball and make something happen."
The boys' soccer team experienced mixed results last week, picking up an early win, followed by two losses.
Monday night, on the road, the Chargers pulled out a 2-1 victory over York Country Day.
Freshman Damien Rutt sparked the effort with both Charger goals. Rutt's first goal was a well-placed PK. He elevated his effort with a second goal, striking from just inside the 18.
The Crusaders responded with a goal of their own in the second half, but their resurgence was too little too late, and the Chargers pocketed the win.
"Though we were able to create possession we did not execute enough in the offensive third to put the game away. In the second half we gave YCD life with a goal, but hung on to win," summarized head coach Marc Myers.
Tuesday evening the Chargers headed to Dayspring Christian and came home a 3-1 loss.
Playoff implications were high in the faceoff with Dayspring. The Chargers knew that upsetting the favored team would mean a bump to their post-season standings. Unfortunately, the Dayspring squad prevailed.
"In the first half we held strong defensively and kept the score at 0-0," said Myers.
All the scoring action was found in the second half. Dayspring netted a goal in the early minutes for the first lead, but Mt. Calvary responded. Sophomore Harrison Crick delivered his first varsity goal to put the Chargers back in the mix. Dayspring, however, retaliated with an additional two goals to put the game away.
"With us needing a win, we pushed for a goal but fell apart in the back, giving Dayspring the win," elaborated Myers.
Despite the loss, the up-and-coming leadership shown in younger players is an encouraging sign.
"Harrison not only bagged a goal this week, but has worked hard learning a central midfield position," commended Myers. "He is one of the hardest workers on the team. Through his hard work and his communication, he is becoming a leader on the team," he added.
In Friday's home against the Conestoga Christian Cougars, the Chargers were disappointed with a 1-0 loss.
Despite firing 13 shots on goal and maintaining possession a good portion of the contest, the Chargers were unable to break the goal line. In contrast, the Cougars registered 19 shots on goal, and all they needed was the one that broke through.
Four minutes before the completion of the first half, the Cougars sailed a cross from the outside edge between several Charger defenders finding a Cougar foot to redirect the ball into the Charger net.
Keeper Ethan Niedwick scooped up 15 saves in the loss.
"In the second half, we pushed hard to find an equalizer, and the defense, along with our keeper, Ethan, had even more responsibility," noted Myers. "They did well to not allow Conestoga to score, but unfortunately we couldn't find the back of their net."
Mt. Calvary Booters Battle But Fall Short October 1, 2017
"Losing is only temporary and not all encompassing. You must simply study it, learn from it, and try hard not to lose the same way again. Then you must have the self-control to forget about it." - John Wooden, legendary NCAA basketball coach.
The boy's soccer team was dealt a difficult week, slipping behind in both of their contests.
Monday the club competed at the field of the Harrisburg Christian Knights, and fell 3-0, followed by a home loss of 2-0 to Covenant Christian.
Much preparation took place before the matches as both contests counted toward league competition and held post-season implications.
"Our players worked hard to prepare for these games, and overall they played well together as a unit," encouraged head coach Marc Myers.
Goalkeeper Ethan Niedwick held is ground under fire, gathering 10 saves against the Knights and five against Covenant.
Despite the scoreboard reading the opposite of their desired results, the team can choose to use these hurdles as strengthening moments. While they were unable to control the outcome, they do have the opportunity to determine their attitude when facing a loss, and seek to use this as a time to demonstrate character growth.
"The results were disappointing, but I was proud of every player for the heart they showed," commented Myers.
Focusing on what the team did well, Myers commended the positives.
"They worked hard to move together up and down the field minimizing the opposition attempts. We maintained more possession than before, and even though we didn't get on the scoreboard, we put the other teams' defense and goalkeeper under pressure," he concluded.
Playing back-to-back games last Monday and Tuesday, the Lady Chargers outlasted both of their opponents, adding two more wins to their record.
Monday night the Lady Chargers battled it out and triumphed in a 5-4 in double overtime against the West Shore Christian Bobcats.
The Bobcats were the first to strike, notching a goal just 2:30 into the contest. Two minutes later, Julia Martin retaliated with a goal for the Chargers to level the score. Neither team was willing to back down, trading possessions and alternating scoring, but neither breaking away.
Brittney Taylor netted goals number two and three for the Chargers, both times assisted by Naomi Ewing. The Bobcats also secured two additional goals in the first half knotting the scoreboard at three apiece headed into the halftime break.
"We went back and forth with scoring and were under a lot of pressure from West Shore," noted head coach Kim Schmitkons. "We changed our lineup to try to control more of the midfield play, and that definitely helped us be more aggressive, and we had better combinations in our passing."
Second half adjustments led to a more defensive half, as 34 minutes passed without an alteration to the score. With six minutes remaining in regulation, Ruth Hoffman netted a pivotal goal in her debut game for the Chargers.
The Chargers were unable to rest in their lead for long, as the Bobcats seized a free kick opportunity to score in the final minute of regulation, propelling the game into overtime.
"The late goal off a free kick was very disappointing, especially when we had controlled more of the second half and had really limited their attack," said Schmitkons.
Attempting to shake off the blow, the Lady Chargers had to stifle the Bobcat momentum surge in the first overtime. At the next buzzer, the score still remained 4-4.
Headed into double overtime, Schmitkons admonished her exhausted squad, playing with minimal substitutions, to dig deep for the win.
"I told the girls that each one of them had to want the ball and want the win. We could not depend on any individual to finish the game, it had to be every player working together," she explained.
The final Charger attack demonstrated that cohesive team effort as the squad worked a passing sequence up the side of the field drawing Bobcat defense, before Taylor powered the ball to the opposite side of the field to find Olivia Yordy who finished with the Chargers game-clinching goal.
Another aspect of the team unity was the formidable defense supplied by the back line.
"Emily Wolfe, Jenna Romberger, and Ambria Good were fully engaged and stepped hard to every ball," praised Schmitkons.
Keeper, Leah Hawryluk snatched 10 saves to further thwart the offensive Bobcat attempts.
Twenty-four hours later, the club again took the field, this time for an explosive 8-0 victory over the Christian School of York Crusaders.
In a game the Chargers controlled from start to finish, they displayed a wide variety of talent and distributed the ball evenly around the field demonstrated in six players combining to supply the total of eight goals.
Julia Martin provided a hat trick of unassisted goals, while Ewing, Taylor, Hoffman, Katelyn Esbenshade, and Romberger each chipped in a goal apiece. Teagan Akers, Melissa Martin, and Brittney Taylor each supplied an assist.
A testament to their well-rounded play, 11 of 14 Lady Chargers have secured at least one goal in the season, and all players have contributed to the grueling schedule, which has resulted in an undefeated league record of 7-0 and overall 8-1.
Wrapping up their golf season this week, the Charger club competed in the qualifying round for post season district play at Crossgates Golf Course. Though none of the Charger team members carded qualifying scores, they ended their season unified as a team.
"The golf season has been a growing year. Each individual player strived to improve," explained head coach Matt Owlett. "We certainly learned to "press on" just as the Bible encourages us to do. We pushed through adversity and became truly united as a team," he continued.
The Charger golf team will say goodbye to three senior players, and will certainly miss their presence and unique contributions to the group.
Sam Firestone has been a four-year member of the golf team, and has stepped up to a leadership role this year both in talent and character.
"Sam will be greatly missed not only for his skill on the course, but his sense of humor and great spirit off the course," noted Owlett.
Mike Lane has been referred to as "the nicest kid in the world"-even by opposing teams. He is known for his upbeat personality, and his encouragement was always a vital component of his role on the team.
"Mike set the tone in interacting with other schools, which ultimately led to enjoying the competition in every match," pointed out Owlett.
Hunter Crick is relatively new to the sport of golf, but did not let that hinder him from being a leader on the team.
"Hunter has a keen desire to excel in all areas of life, and that includes golf. His hard work and great attitude will be sorely missed," added Owlett.
The Lady Chargers only had one game last week, but they made it count, taking down Berks Christian in three swift sets (25-17, 25-21, 25-20).
Jumping out to an early lead, the Lady Chargers immediately set the tone for the away contest.
"Our passes were a big part of our success, keeping the play alive even among some scrambling, and our communication," noted head coach Kate Ferrari. "When the girls talk on the court, their level of play is elevated," she added.
Service errors plagued the Chargers in the second set, sending several points Berks' way, and allowing the score to remain close. Making plays at the net became pivotal to hanging on to their lead and claiming set number two.
"The girls came into the game wanting to finish in three, with the goal of improving their serving," pointed out Ferrari.
Sophomore Grace Hilsher stepped up to kick start some service momentum, firing four aces in the third and final set.
"We were able to set up our offense a little more. Kami Mummau made smart plays tipping the ball to some of the open spots on the opposite side, and they were able to pull together and get the win," concluded Ferrari.
Lady Chargers Topple Harrisburg Christian September 25, 2017
In Monday's contest, the Lady Chargers' soccer team broke out to an early lead and eventually secured a 5-2 triumph over the Harrisburg Christian Knights.
The first 40 was all about the Chargers. Naomi Ewing and Brittney Taylor netted two goals apiece to spearhead the offensive surge, and put them up 4-0 before the break.
While the scoreboard only calculates goals, a lot more goes into the team effort that cannot be displayed on the screen. Defensive unity and team communication were vital to the effort.
"We had a solid defensive performance, every player contributed despite many of them being in new positions," explained head coach Kim Schmitkons. "Our goal was to step to every ball and limit their shots," she added.
Holding the Lady Knights to 14 shots on goal, the team accomplished their mission, and when a shot did get through, Charger keeper Leah Hawryluk, was there to grab 12 saves.
Also providing pressure was Emily Wolfe, anchoring the defensive line.
"Emily held the back line solidly for the whole 80 minutes. Her positioning cut off many of their through balls, and she was always ready to support the play," praised Schmitkons.
Shutting down the Knights offensive attacks was a strategic effort on the part of the Chargers, assigning Emma Moore to mark up on the Knights center striker in an effort to stifle their offensive game.
"Emma had a spectacular game. Her goal was to shut down their top scorer and primary distributor in the center. She was able to cut her out of the game completely in the first half, which really frustrated Harrisburg's whole team," noted Schmitkons.
In the second half, Katelyn Esbenshade stepped up to knock in a fifth Charger goal. Though the Knights started to wear on the Chargers, slipping in two goals in the final 15 minutes, it was not enough to overcome the Charger-controlled scenario.
With a small roster and combating injuries, the Lady Chargers have been forced to perform without substitutions. Teamwork and smart play become crucial when you do not have the luxury of extra breaks. With tactical coaching and perceptive game-time decisions, the Lady Chargers are making it work.
"We have repeatedly talked about creating options, we also had some good passing sequences to control the game. We had players moving off the ball and getting in the right places to be options for each other offensively and defensively," remarked Schmitkons.
In their second match of the week, the Chargers traveled to take on Lancaster Mennonite Hershey campus, and succeeded in an 8-0 victory.
Julia Martin racked up four goals and two assists in the attack. Ewing, Melissa Martin, and Olivia Yordy each netted a goal, and Charger keeper Hawryluk was giving the freedom to take a turn on the offensive end of the field and successfully tucked in a goal herself.
"We tried to focus on connecting passes and moving the ball around the field. We emphasized having players make themselves options to receive passes, and getting good touches on the ball," said Schmitkons.
This week's schedule includes three games in four days which will be another stamina test for the Lady Charger squad.
Monday night the Lady Chargers took the court against Lebanon High School and came up short in a close match decided in four sets (25-22, 17-25, 26-24, 25-23).
Both teams came out demonstrating hesitation, neither commanding the floor, and both giving up errors, but Lebanon snuck ahead at the end and captured the first set.
The second set showcased a rejuvenated Charger team playing with authority. Haley Witmer got the game rolling with a 4-0 service run, and the Chargers were headed for a set victory.
"The girls came out to really improve their play. There were fewer hitting errors, and they were definitely coming into their zone of better play," noted head coach Kate Ferrari.
The scoreboard read 22-16 in favor of the Chargers when Witmer dove for a dig, resulting in a knee injury. Ignoring the initial pain, Witmer remained composed and continued the volley, setting the ball for a kill.
Despite winning the point, the Chargers suffered the greater loss of Witmer having to leave the court. Now sitting at 23-16, the remainder of the squad kept things together for the 25-17 set win.
Being forced to continue without one of their role players, the Chargers had to reshape their strategy.
"Freshman Kara Locker stepped up in a big way to take on the job of setting. She did a really nice job transitioning into the position," commented Ferrari. "They were still shaken by the loss of their teammate and struggled to find a rhythm."
Both remaining sets were decided by a difference of only two points, but both sets fell in favor of Lebanon, despite the rallying efforts of the Chargers.
In her limited amount of play, Witmer provided 17 assists and 4 aces. Kelsey McMahon supplied 9 digs and 5 blocks, and Kami Mummau added 7 kills.
Friday night the team traveled to New Covenant to take on the Flames and after going down for the first set, the Chargers rallied to take the next three and claim the contest (20-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-8).
In the first set, the Lady Chargers struggled to settle into a fluid rhythm still missing Witmer from the lineup.
"With the lack of communication, we just couldn't get our offense going. We made a lot of unforced errors in serve and attacking," noted Ferrari.
Cleaning up their game for set two, the Chargers started to show their characteristic spark. Grace Hilsher provided a timely momentum shift during her service turn, dishing seven aces to help them claim their first set.
"With momentum behind us, we came out even stronger in the third set. We had improved in communication which helped our offense get into a groove," explained Ferrari.
Once again Hilsher came up big, firing eight aces in the set.
Gaining confidence, the Lady Chargers continued to excel into the final set of the match, this time integrating players into new roles and rising to the challenge.
"Brie Lehman had consistent net play and was able to score two kills for the team," praised Ferrari. "Consistency shown by all of them helped pull out a win for the set and overall."
Hilsher racked up a total of 23 aces in the contest, McMahon supplied 11 kills and 2 aces, Locker added 10 setter assists, and Molly Bert provided 4 digs.
Participating in one three-way match last week, the Charger golf squad may have lost the match, but showed individual improvement against opponents Schuylkill Valley and Annville-Cleona.
Schuylkill Valley walked away with the team win, shooting a collective 172, followed by Annville-Cleona's 189, and Mt. Calvary's 203.
Sam Firestone produced the lowest Charger count, firing a 46. Danny Smullen was close behind with a 48. Brothers Mike Lane and Scott Lane qualified for the team score as well, carding a 51 and 58 respectively.
"I encouraged the guys after our last practice that we need to minimize mistakes and avoid costly penalties," explained head coach Matt Owlett. "In our match, we were greatly improved, and most of our golfers shot their lowest tournament rounds of the year-I am very proud of my golfers," he concluded.
This week the Chargers will participate in a head-to-head match against Dayspring Christian on Tuesday at Four Seasons Golf Course.
The Chargers soccer club experienced a rough week, with a 2-0 loss on the road to Covenant Christian, followed by a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to New Covenant, and ending with a 5-1 loss to Fairfield High School on Saturday.
"We are continuing our work on playing smart and playing with heart," noted head coach Marc Myers. "These two aspects of our game need to improve from our Monday's match in order to compete for a playoff position."
Friday night the Chargers battled it out from coast to coast on the field of the New Covenant Flames. After over 70 minutes of traded possessions neither team had successfully completed an offensive attack and the game appeared to be headed into overtime.
With five minutes remaining, the Flames pushed a desperate effort up the field and took a long shot from outside the 18 managing to slip a goal past the Charger keeper to clinch the game.
"In our game against New Covenant, the team played much smarter by moving together up and down the field, creating chances while still playing tough defensively," encouraged Myers. "The boys showed they have the aggressiveness and heart to compete as they took the game down to the final minutes."
Saturday's contest against Fairfield got off to an encouraging start for the Chargers. After 12 minutes, Damian Rutt soared a corner kick inside the Fairfield box. The ball rattled around inside the box as players from both sides jostled for position. Sophomore Jack Hilsher got the job done and redirected the ball into the net for the first goal of the game.
Just before the half, a Fairfield striker finished a cross from the right side of the field to net the equalizer.
Though the teams started the second half on even ground, Fairfield went on a scoring surge and rapidly built a substantial lead and remained in control to clinch the 5-1 finish. Charger keeper, Ethan Niedwick had his hands full facing a barrage of 30 shots on goal, and came up with 25 saves.
The team will have two opportunities this week to reach for a better outcome, facing Harrisburg Christian and Covenant Christian.
Lady Charger Volleyball Blanks WS Bobcats September 18, 2017
Lady Charger volleyball grasped their first victory last week, putting their practice into action to overcome the West Shore Bobcats in three sets (25-6, 25-7, 29-27).
Taking the court with determination, the Lady Chargers jumped out to an early lead in their first set, led by veteran players Haley Witmer and Kelsey McMahon. Witmer and McMahon combined for 10 first set aces. The duo led the team in converting momentum into Charger points, capturing the first set by a dominate 19-point difference.
"The team seemed to really come together in their fundamentals, and were able to set up a more offensive play," head coach Kate Ferrari noted of the set.
The second set was all about the youngest Charger players. Freshman Rachel Green worked her way into the rotation and provided pivotal passes to set up offensive plays. Fellow freshmen, Kami Mummau and Kara Locker, jumped in on the action, slamming seven aces apiece over the net.
The Bobcats regrouped for a more competitive third set, improving their passing and offensive plays, but were unable to overcome the Chargers for a lead. Defensive play became a critical component for the Chargers with Grace Hilsher and Molly Bert anchoring the defensive efforts, digging the back line and covering their hitters.
"Errors in our attacks made it a close match, but they persevered and pulled out the win," praised Ferrari.
The young squad takes both encouragement and impetus from the win, hoping it will propel them into further achievement as they grow as a team.
"I have been emphasizing with the girls that they have only been playing together for a few weeks, and gelling as a team can take a little bit to get used to new players and new rotations," elaborated Ferrari. "On Monday, it was evident that the girls were really starting to gel and become more cohesive. They give their all in practice, and Coach Rutt and I have already seen the fruit of their labor," she added.
With mounting team confidence, the Chargers went on the road to take on the Christian School of York Crusaders, and came out on top once again in three sets (25-12, 25-7, 25-7).
The first set showed an exemplary Charger squad putting together all the components they have been seeking to improve; offensive completions, minimal errors, strong service, communication, and active substitution-to name a few highlights.
McMahon led the attack with three kills in the first game, and the team combined for 10 aces. Green and Yuri Takanashi worked together to demonstrate excellent communication and passing sequences.
In the second set, Witmer was a major contributor, picking up eight assists and seven aces. Quality serving was contagious, and Hilsher also pounded seven aces in the set.
Set three was more of the same, which in and of itself was an accomplishment in sustained intensity.
"We didn't let up in the third game, and came out with the same intensity from the previous two," noted Ferrari. "This is another area that they have shown improvement in-finishing off the match strong and not letting up," she summarized.
Mummau led in kills with five, and Witmer topped two categories with 14 assists and 10 aces. Molly Burt and McMahon had three digs apiece.
"I'm really proud of the girls. It's a privilege to be their coach and watch them develop as players," concluded Ferrari.
The Charger golf team was unable to lock in a win during their sole match last week, but they showed several positive areas of improvement in their head-to-head loss to Dayspring Christian.
Highlands of Donegal golf course and a balmy 75 degrees set the backdrop for the nine-hole competition, in which Dayspring combined for a team effort of 189 to outshoot the Chargers' collective 218.
Sam Firestone, the consistent front-runner for the Chargers all season, once again carded the best individual score with a 50. Not far behind, Danny Smullen and Scott Lane matched each other stroke-for-stroke, each firing a 54, and Mike Lane registered a 60.
Having a young team, and focusing on the theme of perseverance, head coach Matt Owlett is quick to point out the encouraging development of the team.
"Scott Lane continues to improve as the golf season progresses. I see improvement in each match and he is growing in confidence," noted Owlett. "I hope to see continued improvement for the whole team throughout the season."
After a slow start to their season due to weather postponements, the Charger boy's soccer team packed a lot of action into last week, competing in four games and splitting the results with two wins and two losses.
It only takes one goal to win and on Monday, the Chargers got it done in their 1-0 victory over West Shore Christian Academy.
Formidable defense and younger players stepping up to fill big roles were two of the components the Chargers coupled to sustain the shutout.
Freshman Damian Rutt stepped up in a big way, providing the lone goal of the contest. After battling up and down the field, Rutt seized possession of the ball well outside the Bobcats' 18, and before defenders could converge, Rutt launched a shot out of reach of the Bobcat keeper and into the net.
With only the slimmest of leads, it was vital that Charger keeper Ethan Niedwick hold his ground, and he rose to the challenge providing an impenetrable guard, collecting 12 saves while being supported by a cohesive defensive unit.
"We were well disciplined in keeping our defensive shape to minimize the amount of opportunities we gave West Shore. Our goalkeeper came up big when called upon inside the box to help keep the first clean sheet of the season," explained head coach Marc Myers.
The following night, the Chargers hosted the annual Agape Cup, a yearly event against the Lititz Christian Eagles in which the teams emphasize their common bond of faith in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, providing them a brotherhood that reaches beyond the field. The word Agape is a Greek word referring to love, the type of unconditional and sacrificial love that God demonstrates for us, His creation.
While focusing on the larger picture of being brothers in Christ, the teams strive to demonstrate that love and respect for each other while still bringing their best competition and skill to the match. This year's match ended 2-0 in favor of the Eagles.
"Being competitive and upholding Christian character are two things that work together. Unfortunately, there are many examples in sports where being competitive and Christ-like seem like opposites," elaborated Myers. "Hard work, playing with heart and desire, discipline, sacrifice, and teamwork are just some of the principles we try to instill in the team; striving to do it with a Christ-centered attitude," he concluded.
Thursday, the team took a trip to Christian School of York and prevailed in overtime 2-1.
A scoreless first half, characterized by messy possessions, provoked a renewed sense of urgency in the second half of play.
Haruto Saito was the first to break the goal line, as he powered the ball past the Crusader keeper to put the Chargers up by one. With only 19 minutes left to play, the Crusaders answered with the equalizer, forcing an overtime determination.
Knotted up at one apiece, the Chargers knew timing was vital as they took the ball down the outside of the field to set up their attack. Utilizing the space on the right sideline, the Chargers earned a corner kick, taken by freshman Damian Rutt.
Rutt's well-placed kick sailed into the Crusader goal box and found Charger forward, David Ellis who headed the ball past the Crusader keeper and secured the golden goal.
Saturday's contest against the Milton Hershey Spartans left the Chargers on the wrong side of a 4-1 final score.
The Spartans struck first, and held a 1-0 lead going into the second half. Though the Chargers were able to retaliate with a goal of their own, they allowed three additional Spartan goals that sealed the outcome of the contest.
The Chargers' single goal featured a familiar duo, as Rutt once again delivered an assist to Ellis who connected with a header into the net.
After a hectic early season schedule, the Lady Chargers soccer team had a few days breather before they took the field for back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, picking up both a win and a loss to put their current record at 4-1.
Friday, the team traveled to take on Lancaster County Christian and prevailed 1-0.
In a game with very little ground gained for much of the time, the Chargers pressed on with no reflection of their effort registering on the scoreboard until late in the second half.
"We challenged the girls to play stronger with the ball, communicate, and to not back down," explained assistant coach Kory Pruner.
Capitalizing on their only corner kick of the game, Naomi Ewing powered the ball to the perfect location inside the goal box, and Julia Martin was there to complete the play for the winning goal.
"We turned up the pressure, the girls kept it up, and when the opportunity came Naomi played a great ball and Julia finished it perfectly," summarized Pruner.
Back on the field a mere 16 hours later in a Saturday contest at Camp Hill, the Lady Chargers were force to swallow a difficult 8-0 loss.
"Playing Camp Hill on their own field was quite a challenge, especially with such a quick turnaround between games," noted head coach Kim Schmitkons. "The girls gave their best effort and we will keep pressing on to improve our game."
Looking ahead, the Lady Chargers will take on Harrisburg Christian and Lancaster Mennonite this week.
Lady Chargers Earn Three Easy Wins September 11, 2017
The Lady Chargers got out to an explosive start to their season, easily handling their first three competitive tests, notching a 9-2 victory in their home opener over Lebanon Catholic, before taking down New Covenant Christian 5-1, and closing the week with a shutout against High Point Baptist.
The initial first half against the Beavers was controlled entirely by the Chargers. Julia Martin was the first to score, rocketing an unassisted shot to the back of the net after only five minutes of play. Brittney Taylor connected next, with an assist from Naomi Ewing, followed by back-to-back goals from Olivia Yordy to give the Chargers a comfortable 4-0 lead before halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, the Chargers stretched that lead with a second goal from Martin.
The Beavers regrouped and collected some momentum, responding with a goal of their own, but the Charger resurgence was too great as Emma Moore retaliated, adding another tally to the Charger scoreboard.
Three additional Charger shots broke the goal line before a desperate final push from the Beavers allowed them to slip in their second goal seven minutes before the final buzzer.
Martin and Taylor each finished with a hat trick of goals, and Martin and Ewing collected two assists apiece.
Despite the majority of game play occurring at the opposite end of the field, Charger keeper Leah Hawryluk, held her ground with 13 saves, stifling the Beavers offensive attempts.
This year, the Lady Chargers are taking their inspiration from First Corinthians 12, applying the concept of the whole team being one body in Christ, but each individual having a unique role. Head coach Kim Schmitkons elaborated on how the girls put that into practice during their first victory.
"The girls came out with a team mentality and did a great job of working together to get a lot of chances in front of the goal," explained Schmitkons. "Once we got the ball in the 18, they were persistent in following up shots and deflections until the ball was in the net," she added.
Last Thursday, the squad hosted the New Covenant Flames and initially the teams played a back and forth possession battle keeping the score close as Martin tucked in a single unanswered goal for the Chargers before the half.
"We talked at halftime about needing to play with urgency and supporting each other in the play," pointed out Schmitkons.
Less than a minute into the second half, Ewing powered a shot into the back of the net to put the Chargers up by two, but the Flames were not defeated yet. Responding with a goal of their own, followed closely by a penalty call in the Charger box, the Flames had the opportunity to tie the score at two.
The high-pressure PK sailed just wide, but ricocheted off the post, allowing for a second chance. A Flames striker reacted and propelled the ball into the net, but was called offside, voiding the goal.
From that point, the Lady Chargers gained the impetus to pull away. Martin, Ewing, and Yordy secured the three additional Charger goals.
"After some good plays from Leah in goal, and almost getting two goals against us, the girls found the fire they needed to pull out the win," summarized Schmitkons.
The Lady Chargers capped their week with a 6-0 home field triumph over the High Point Baptist Eagles.
Controlling the ball for the majority of minutes, the Chargers attacked the Eagles with a barrage of shots on goal, outshooting the visitors 35-6, and well-rounded scoring made the victory that much sweeter. Martin accounted for two goals, while Ewing, Moore, Taegan Akers, and Taylor each registered a goal and an assist.
Hawryluk and Ambria Good shared goalkeeper duties in the shutout with Hawryluk snatching up five saves and Good grabbing one.
The recent tumultuous weather delayed the Charger boys soccer season from getting underway until this past Friday where they headed to the field of the Lancaster County Christian Lions and suffered a 2-0 defeat.
The majority of the first half the Chargers held strong on the defensive end, keeping a unified formation. Charger keeper Ethan Niedwick collected seven first half saves to limit the Lions' scoring opportunities.
Just before the half, a Lions striker sunk a shot into the Charger net, and then quickly struck again with a consecutive goal less than two minutes before the halftime break.
In the second half, Mt. Calvary pushed to go on the offensive, but came up short of a goal.
"We were able to create a few quality chances without giving up another goal," noted head coach Marc Myers. "We played smart on the defensive side of the field, and the team can feel proud of their work ethic on the field," he encouraged.
Lady Charger volleyball was forced to face disappointment yet remain unified after back-to-back losses to start their 2017 season.
Getting underway on the road, the Lady Chargers traveled to take on Linville Hill, and suffered a 3-0 defeat, just barely falling short in each set 25-23, 25-21, 25-22.
The young Charger roster, holding only two seniors, took the court timidly, falling behind in the early minutes, but rallied themselves and showed their tenacity, pulling the score within two in the middle of the first set. The presence of the two seniors, Kelsey McMahon and Carley Herndon, was noticeable at the net as the two provided crucial blocks to build Charger momentum.
Despite being unable to overcome the Linville in the first set, the Lady Chargers entered the second set with increased confidence giving them the advantage in several preliminary rallies. Sophomore Grace Hilsher stepped up the pressure and delivered two kills, but Linville pounced on a series of passing errors to recapture control and take the set.
Though the third set told a similar story, it was not without Charger highlights. This time, Haley Witmer took her turn leading the team on a surge with three aces in her first rotation, putting the Chargers up 5-0. Once again, errors proved to be a factor and opened the door for Linville to regain command of the set and end the match.
"The girls fought hard each set, keeping in mind our theme to 'press on', and our theme verse from Philippians 3:14, 'I will press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus'," pointed out head coach Kate Ferrari. "We have a lot of season ahead of us, and our Lady chargers will press on,"
Hilsher and Kami Mummau led the team in kills with two apiece, McMahon had four blocks, and Witmer provided four aces along with four setter assists.
The Lady Chargers second match was held at home against the Covenant Christian Falcons, and ended similarly 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-5).
Having gained experience from their first match, the Lady Chargers came out strong in set one, displaying better transitional defense and team unity.
"Passing was stronger this week, but we struggled to get the kill," noted Ferrari.
Hitting errors proved to be the demise of the second set, keeping the Lady Chargers playing catchup throughout the set.
"Molly Bert and Grace Hilsher did a fantastic job of defending the back line. Haley Witmer had several good reads off the offense, covering tips made towards center court," noted Ferrari.
Despite these efforts, the Chargers struggled to string together enough momentum to claim a set.
Mummau led the way with 6 kills, 1 block, 2 aces, and 4 setter assists. Witmer and Kara Locker each supplied a pair of aces.
"We're proud of the girls and the efforts they give day in and day out. The hard work in practice was evident in their defensive transitioning," encouraged Ferrari. "The team has foundational skills that can really be built upon as the season continues."
Mt. Calvary golf experienced a rough start to their 2017 season, placing fourth in their first golf match at Lykens Valley Golf Course followed by a loss to Dayspring Christian.
In the four-way match, the Charger squad shot a collective total of 461, falling short of Shikellamy, 361; Millersburg, 362; and Pine Grove, 393.
Despite their disappointment, the Charger team encouraged each other and learned from the event. Sam Firestone led the Charger team carding a 106. Other qualifying scores included Danny Smullen with 110, and brothers Mike and Scott Lane registering a 122 and 123 respectively.
"It is very easy to give up when you are not playing well, and walking 18 holes is not an easy thing to do," commented head coach Matt Owlett. "Each player did their best and persevered to finish their respective rounds."
The golf squad is also pulling their team theme from Philippians and talked about the importance of perseverance. Though the biblical concept of pressing on is referring to spiritual life concepts, Owlett hopes to use the game of golf to assist his team in learning to apply this concept to all aspects of life.
"Golf certainly teaches the value of pressing on to the very end even when it would be easy to quit," Owlett encouraged.
Facing their second test last Tuesday, the Chargers were forced to play half of their head-to-head match against Dayspring Christian before postponing the remainder of play due to impending storms. The teams resumed their contest on Thursday, and the Chargers fell 437 to Dayspring's 389.
This time Smullen led with 104, with Firestone just a stroke behind with a 105. M. Lane carded a 110 and S. Lane a 118 to complete the top four.
"We showed great improvement in this match, especially driving the ball," commented Owlett. "Because we avoided penalty strokes, every golfer scored better, and I hope to see continued improvement throughout the season," he added.
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.