Comets Face Falcons, Streaks Back-to-Back January 12, 2018
The Comets returned to Section One play with back-to-back outings last week, hosting Cedar Crest Tuesday and traveling to Neffsville one night later.
The hosts, definitely lacking in size this season, fell behind early against the Falcons and never really got on track, bowing out 66-35. Crest dropped in three triples in the first quarter and knocked down 19 points and canned three more in the second, all from the hand of game-high scorer Cole Laney (21 points) and led 41-22 at the half. Morrison Reed scored all seven of his points in the first quarter and Josiah Edwards added seven of his 10 in the second frame. Drew Greenawalt finished with six points, hitting 3-point buzzer beaters at the end of both the second and third quarters. Kevin Roldan also hit for six points.
The Comets got off to a good start in Neffsville Wednesday but couldn't hold on, eventually dropping a heart-breaker, 59-56 to the Streaks.
Colin Morrison netted all nine of his points in an opening quarter that saw the visitors take a 15-8 lead. Township, behind Brendan Mellott's eight points, gained ground in the second frame, outscoring the Comets 22-9 for a 30-24 advantage at the half.
Not to be out done, Manor, behind a seven point effort by Edwards, and three pointers by R. Morrison, Greenawalt and Ty Erisman, outscored the Streaks 20-13 for a 44-43 advantage with eight minutes left.
That momentum, however, fell short down the stretch. Township's Tyler Crespo netted 8 of his 10 points and Will Greiner added a pair of three's, helping the hosts to a 16-12 final frame advantage and the win.
Roldan was Manor's spark down the stretch, splashing in eight of his team-high 11. Edwards followed with 10 points, while Greenawalt, Morrison and Morrison each chipped in with nine apiece.
The Comets came into league play last week after suffering a 61-58 overtime loss to West York as part of the War of the Roses Tournament on Saturday, January 6.
The Comets saw a 45-41 lead evaporate in the fourth quarter due in part to a 5-for-13 free throw shooting effort and seven turnovers. The result was an 18-9 final quarter rally by West York that forced the extra period.
The Comets went back in front, 55-52. West York's Jared Shearer, however, dropped in a trey to tie the game and Dayvon Cortez poured in the final nine points to hold off the Comets. Shearer and Cortez each finished with 18 points.
Roldan led a quartet of double figure scorers with a team-best 13. Drew Greenawalt finished with 11 and Josiah Edwards and Colin Morrison each netted 10.
The Comet bowlers, with three straight shutouts under their belt, last Tuesday collected three of the top four scores of the day and edged Cedar Crest 5-2 in a home match.
"We won the first game by 108 pins but they came back in the second game and beat us by 75," recalled head coach Nick Vital. "That third game went down to the wire and we pulled out a win by 15 pins."
The Falcons notched the top score (724) but Dan Mease, who opened with a 257, Nick Mease, who's top game was a 244, and sophomore Jordan Kahler followed. D. Mease finished with a 718 series, N. Mease added a 695 and Kahler rolled a 636.
One day later the Comets gathered their sixth straight win, blanking Elizabethtown 7-0.
"There is never an easy match this time of year," said Vital, "but the guys were on a roll and beat E-town by 400 pins. We seem to be gaining momentum right now."
Michael Morris rolled the top series of the day (223-275-236 - 734) and Kahler, with the high game of the day (279) finished second with a 697 series. D. Mease's 664 series made it a top three sweep.
"Michael had a big match," said Vital. "He's starting to show some leadership."
Last Tuesday night in Lebanon, the Comets got off to a slow start and while their scoring picked up throughout the game the visitors couldn't stop the hosts and dropped a 53-35 Section One outing.
Held to two field goals in the first quarter, one by Alyssa Schriver and another by Ella Hart, the Comets fell behind 11-4. In a low scoring second frame, Manor got one point back but was on the short end of a 17-11 halftime score.
The Comets matched their first half scoring output in the third quarter but the Falcons exploded for 21 to pull away. Manor held Crest to three fourth quarter field goals but the hosts canned 8-of-12 free throws to remain in front.
Schriver dropped in a game-high 15 points but was Manor's only double figure scorer. Carroll Macy chipped in with nine points.
In Thursday's makeup game with Manheim Township, a valiant fourth quarter comeback fell just short of a victory as the Comets bowed 44-43 to the Streaks in Millersville.
Down 32-24 heading into the final quarter, Schriver netted nine of her team-high 12 points and Hart added six of her ten as the hosts outscored the Streaks 19-12 only to fall short by one.
"Down 44-41 we called a timeout to set up for a 3-point shot," said head coach Megan Collins. "We couldn't get that shot off, instead missed a long two, grabbed the rebound and Nevaeh Neal scored a layup with .5 left.
"I was extremely proud of them and how hard they played," she added. "We played with a lot of heart and no matter how many times they went ahead, we found a way to fight back and never gave up."
Nasheyla Greggs finished with 8 points, Carroll added 7 and Miriam Badri and Danielle Heisey added 2 each.
The Comets fall to 3-3 in Section One while the Streaks sit on top at 6-0.
Wednesday's league match against visiting Cocalico was a big one. The Eagles', having previously defeated CV and Solanco, left Millersville with a 45-18 win and sit on top of the Section One standings.
Looking closely at the match, in the 11 bouts actually wrestled, the Eagles won six, posting two pins, a tech fall and a major, securing what would have been a tighter 27-18 result. The Comets, however, forfeited three bouts, giving Cocalico an easy 18 additional points.
"They're tough from top to bottom," stated head coach Mike Fowler.
The Comets got bonus points from Tanner Stefanick, who posted a 15-0 tech fall over Dylan Rapp, and Trevor Grassel with a major over Seth Fritz (113).
"Trevor, a sophomore, wrestled a kid who was fifth at leagues last year," noted Fowler. "He's been winning key matches lately. And Tanner has been on fire since he dropped to 106 a few weeks ago."
That 9-0 advantage went to the wayside when Cocalico won three of the next four bouts, including a 4-0 win by Josiah Gehr over Nick Fafel (126).
Chad Mowbray's exciting 13-7 decision over Trevor Hale interrupted Cocalico's run.
Kole Marley (152) earned a 9-8 decision, breaking an 8-8 tie with Devin Sensenig with an escape with 40 seconds left and Nick Baker's 8-2 decision at 160 rounded out the Comet scoring.
"Less than a month ago Kole lost to Alex May 11-3," Fowler recalled. "Tonight he wins.
"Nick has been pretty solid this year and Chad improved to 12-8. Almost every guy on the team had some bright spots even in their losses. So from here we will work on our weaknesses and continue to grow as a team."
Saturday, December 6 was a busy day for the Comets. They went 4-1 at the Anthracite Duals at Panther Valley High School and finished in third place in the 16 team tournament.
Despite forfeiting at least two weight classes in each match, the Comets won big. They opened with a 59-19 win over Panther Valley, picked up a 51-24 result over Wissahickon and ran over No. Schuylkill 63-15 before bowing out 41-27 against a tough Wilson Boro squad. The Comets rebounded with a hard-fought 37-35 win over Shikellamy to finish third overall.
"The guys wrestled well in those first three matches," said Fowler. "We had a lot of good wins and things went about as planned. The win against Shikellamy, however, was pretty exciting."
Manor jumped out to a 10-0 lead with a major by Baker (160) and a fall by Marquis Sweigart.
Shikellamy came back with a fall at 187, Manor forfeited at 195, dropped a 10-5 decision at 220 and then forfeited at heavyweight to fall behind 21-10.
With eight bouts left to make up the ground, Manor started with Stefanick's 37 second fall at 106 and Grassel provided some motivation with a 3-2 thriller. Down 2-0 going into the second period, Grassel escaped and then scored a takedown for the 3-2 edge. He finished on top in the third for two minutes and cut the lead to 21-19.
Dylan Coleman's 48 second fall at 120 put the Comets in front, 25-21 but Shikellamy came back with a 4-0 decision over Fafel, who went 4-1 on the day.
Holding a one point lead with four bouts left, Rogers earned a 1:56 fall at 132 and Mowbray sealed the deal with a 49 second fall at 138. Shikellamy took the final two bouts of the night, winning by tech fall and pin but it wasn't enough.
Rogers, a freshman, and Stefanick both went 5-0 with four falls and a forfeit and Coleman, also a freshman, went 3-0 with three falls.
In Section One competition last week the Comets hosted Manheim Township but didn't have the depth to pull off the upsets. The Streaks came into Millersville with identical 4-0 overall records and left with one better. The boys' dropped a 118-52 result and fell to 1-1 in Section action while the girls lost 122-48 and are also 1-1.
"I thought the meet went well," said head coach Eric Urban, "but Township is very strong this year."
Township's biggest edge was going 1-2 in all three relays, a 30 point advantage. They won all but three events.
Sam Lutter was Manor's first winner of the night, taking the 100 fly in 57.61. He also finished second in the 200 IM.
Pan Kunyu followed with a first in the 100 free (51.05) and was second in the 100 back while Jared Stephan's 5:03.74 was the winning time in the 500 free. He also finished second in the 100 breaststroke ahead of teammate Everett Barry who was third.
Andrew Pursel chipped in with a third place effort in the 200 free.
The girls' managed a second place finish in the opening 200 medley relay with the team of Erica Shaub, Alana Breitbach, Jayln Clow and Anna Sugra but recorded just one win on the night, a 1:06.77 by Breitbach in the 100 breaststroke. The sophomore was also second in the 200 IM.
Sugra chipped in with a second in the 200 free and was third in the 100 while Clow added a third in the 100 fly and Shaub was third in the 100 back. Jordyn Kendig added thirds in both the 50 and 500 freestyle events.
Comets Improve to 4-0, Top Warwick 51-23 January 5, 2018
After a successful December, the Comets improved to 4-0 in Section One with a convincing 51-23 victory over Warwick last Wednesday night in Lititz. Penn Manor shares the top spot in the section with Cocalico while the Warriors fall to 0-3.
The Comets jumped out to a 24-0 lead and never looked back. Owen Rohrer (120) got the crowd going early, breaking a 4-4 tie with a third period escape and posting a 5-4 thriller over Conner Esbenshade.
Nicholas Fafel made it 7-0 with an 8-0 major decision over Mateo Chacon and Caden Rogers (132) added more bonus points when he pinned Shaun Stafford in 5:29.
"Caden used a variety of takedowns to open up the match until he could find something tight to secure the fall," stated head coach Nick Fowler.
The bonus points continued at 138 and 145 as Chad Mowbray worked a tech fall over Preston Johnson (16-1) and Ian Young (145) decked Patrick Tocci in the first period.
"Chad pushed the pace and scored a lot of points," said Fowler. "And Ian used a double leg to secure the takedown, followed by a cobra to get the fall in 1:21."
Warwick's Luke Hirtzel calmed the Comet crowd, working a 3:41 fall over Kole Marley at 152 but the momentum was short-lived as Nick Baker (160) broke open a 4-3 edge with a late second period reversal and tacked on six third period points to pick up an 11-3 major over David Hnasko. Marquis Sweigart (170) dominated Andrew Morgan with a 22-6 tech fall that pushed the lead to 33-6.
The Warriors countered with a 20-5 tech fall at 182 but TJ Keener extended Manor's led with a 4:40 fall over Roland McClune at 195.
"TJ had some nice leg attack defense to prevent McClune from scoring and once they got to the mat, TJ used multiple moves to turn McClune and earn the fall," Fowler noted.
The last four bouts of the night were a wash as the Comets forfeited at 220 and 285 and Warwick returned the favor at 106 and 113.
The Comets competed in three tournaments in December. They finished 12th in Solanco's 26 team tournament, were 22nd in their own 28 team tourney and ended 2017 with a bang, finishing second in Governor Mifflin's 24 team event December 28-29.
Fafel was Manor's highest place-winner at Mifflin, finishing second at 126. He came in seeded 6th. "He upset the No. 3 seed in the quarters and then had a great 2-0 victory over the No. 2 seed to get to the finals," recalled Fowler.
Freshman Tanner Stefanick made 106 for the first time this season. He placed fourth and finished with six falls.
Also a freshman, Caden Rogers chipped in with a fifth place effort at 132 while Mowbray (138) and Baker (160) brought home sixth place finishes.
Seventh place finishes included Trevor Grassel at 113, Sweigart at 170 and Keener at 195 and settling for eight place was Owen Rohrer (120) and AJ Cox (182).
"The best thing about the tournament was that we were everywhere from first to fifth place in the team scoring throughout the first night," said Fowler. "The last round was our biggest night. Fafel won a tight semifinals bout to get to the finals and we had nine other guys in the blood round. If they won, they would come back Friday morning to continue. If they lost, they were done. I was hoping for 5-6 wins to give us a good group coming back," he continued. "After the first 5-6 matches, I realized we had not yet lost. At the end of the round I just smiled and could not believe that the guys put together the best round I have ever seen. We won nine of nine matches to guarantee placing ten guys. That was the difference," Fowler said. "We never looked back."
The swim teams traveled to Franklin and Marshall's Kunkel Aquatic Center to take on McCaskey in the Section One opener last Tuesday evening. With a combined 19 of 22 first place finishes, the squads swept the Red Tornadoes.
The girls' team won all but one event and got a pair of wins from both Erica Schaub and Alaina Breitbach in a 126-35 win. Jared Stephan and Pan Kunyu did the same for the boys' leading them to a 116-52 final.
"We swam some good times and came away with two wins," said head coach Eric Urban.
Shaub won the 100 free (1:00.45) and the 100 back (1:06.46) and opened the winning 200 medley relay with Breitbach, Jalyn Clow and Anna Sugra chipping in. The same foursome won the 400 free relay with Breitbach, who won the 200 IM (2:17.17) and the 100 breaststroke (1:08.41), anchoring. Sugra added a first in the 50 free (26.62) and Clow was tops in the 100 fly (1:09.17) and anchored the 200 free relay with Jordyn Kendig, Karly Frankford and Kelly Johnson, who was second in the 200 free, contributing.
Kendig also won the 200 free (2:30.55) and was second in the 100.
Other key seconds were earned by Kailey Stoner in the 50 free, Sugra in the 500, Allison Steele in the 100 back, and Carli May in the 100 breaststroke.
Stephan opened his busy day by anchoring the 200 medley relay. Kunyu swam the opening leg with Sam Lutter and Noah Buckwalter following. The same group, with the exception of Andrew Pursel stepping in for Buckwalter, won the 400 free relay in 3:41.18. Stephan also won the 200 IM (2:09.19) and the 500 free (5:13.07) while Kunyu took charge in the 100 free (52 flat) and the 100 back (58.88).
Pursel, who was second in the 100 free, added a first in the 200 (1:58.9), Buckwalter won the 100 fly by a touch (1:02.41) and Lutter, who was also second in the 200 IM, brought home the top time in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.55) to round out the winners.
Vincent Vozzella chipped in with a key second in the 50 free and freshman Everett Barry was second in the 100 breaststroke.
After suffering three straight losses, the boys' basketball team capped the 2017 portion of their schedule by winning the Northern Lebanon Holiday Tournament December 27 and 28. They head into the New Year with an overall record of 4-6.
"That was the boost we needed at this point in the season," said head coach Larry Bellew.
The Comets opened the tournament with a 55-43 win over Schuylkill Valley on the 27th and then held off a 7-1 Cedars' squad 54-51 one night later to claim the championship.
After a tightly contested first quarter against SV, the Comets gained some breathing room with a 17-6 second quarter effort and led 46-31 heading into the final frame.
Kevin Roldan's game-high 16 points paced the Comets. Ty Erisman chipped in with 12 points and Colin Morrison and Jaden Matias combined for 15.
One night later the Comets survived a 25-point fourth quarter rally by N. Lebanon to grab the tourney trophy. Manor led 11-7 in the first quarter and was up 22-18 at the half. Reed Morrison tallied six of his 13 points in the third quarter as the Comets outscored the hosts 18-7 for a 14 point lead heading into the final frame.
The Cedars' Alex Yeager did his best to overtake the Comets, pouring in 13 of his game-high 18 points, but it wasn't enough. Despite connecting on just six of 13 free throws down the stretch, Manor got six points from Roldan and held off the comeback.
"Their starting guards are nice players so we focused on shutting them down and taking our chances with the other three," said Bellew. "We held the one to nine and then Yeager finished with 18. Had we been more efficient from the free throw line we could have had a comfortable win. But credit them for battling to the end."
Roldan, who was named tourney MVP, and R. Morrison finished with 13 points each. C. Morrison, also voted to the all-tourney team, netted nine and Erisman and Josiah Edwards combined for 11.
"The season has been a bit of a roller coaster," said Bellew. "We've been engaged in a number of close games. We've been able to pull a couple out and we lost two where we had shots inside the last 10 seconds of the game to tie or take the lead.
"From a 'varsity experience' point-of-view, we're young," he continued. "But they are growing each day and coming together. They need to continue to push and hold each other accountable to be their best. If we can eliminate some turnovers and poor shot selection, and continue to improve defensively, we will give ourselves chances to win each night."
A year ago the Lady Comets went 6-13. They lost their leading scorer, Alyssa Schriver, to a knee injury with seven games left in the season. This year their starting center, Kate Levato, went down with a torn ACL. But the Comets are showing their resiliency this season and are putting together a winning record to date. They capped the 2017 portion of their schedule by winning Solanco's Holiday Tournament, December 28-29.
The Comets faced Pequea Valley in the opener and survived the Braves 60-51 in overtime.
Manor got off to a slow start, scoring just seven points in the opening quarter and fell behind 25-20 at the half. A 23 point third quarter, however, helped the Comets turn things around. Ella Hart scored eight of her career-high 13 points in sparking that third quarter run and put the Comets in front 43-39.
The Braves, however, hit a pair of threes in the fourth and outscored the Comets 10-6 to force an extra frame. Both teams hit just one field goal in overtime but the Comets drained 9 of 11 free throws to advance to the championship game for the second year in a row.
Schriver, with six points in the OT period, tossed in a game-high 19. In addition to Hart netting double figures, Macy Carroll scored eight, both Nasheyla Greggs and Sarah Wiker finished with seven and Danielle Heisey added six.
Another slow start plagued the Comets in the title game against Solanco. The Mares jumped out in front 10-0. They led 14-9 at the end of eight minutes and held a 24-15 advantage at the half.
That nine point lead, however, wasn't enough to survive Manor's second half rally. Schriver poured in ten third quarter points and the Comets outscored the hosts 15-4 to take a 30-28 lead. While the Mares regained their composure down the stretch, it wasn't enough. Schriver canned 11-of-14 free throws to help hold the Mares at bay, 48-42. She finished with a season-high 25 points and was named MVP of the tournament.
"Our motivation, in both games, was to not bring home the runner-up trophy for the second year in a row," said head coach Megan Collins. "We made the necessary adjustments at halftime, and had more intensity and fire in both second halves of play.
"We've had to play small this season with Kate going down in our third game but we've gotten great additions in Nevaeh Neal and Dashona London," she added.
Comets Cap Perfect Season With PIAA Crown November 19, 2017
Penn Manor's magical ride through the 2017 season ended this past Saturday afternoon on a soggy field at Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall. But the weather didn't dampen the Comets performance or their spirits as they capped a perfect 28-0 season with a 2-0 victory over Downingtown West to earn their third PIAA Class 3A Championship.
"This is just awesome," said head coach Matt Soto. "I'm so proud of this team."
The District One champs, making their first appearance in the state finals since 1988, found themselves pinned in the backfield for the bulk of the contest. Manor, as they have done often through the post-season, set the tone early. After two straight corners, Emma DeBerdine found Alyssa Schriver on the left side for what proved to be the only goal they needed just 3:50 into the game.
They worked their eighth corner of the half with five minutes remaining but again failed to convert. The Whippets (25-1), who advanced with a convincing 3-1 semifinal victory over perennial power Emmaus, thus ending their 81-game winning streak, barely managed to get the ball over the 25 yard line. They were pressing late in the half when the Comets exploded in transition and notched an insurance goal when DeBerdine sent a shot across the circle that made its way to Bri Harsh on the left wing with just 40.6 seconds left in the half.
"The girls were just terrific today," said Soto.
While the second half went scoreless, the Comets were knocking on the door, earning six more corners.
Downingtown, who came into the state championship game, like the Comets, undefeated, managed their first corner of the game with 13:40 left but couldn't crack Penn Manor's defense. Their second and final corner came with 3:53 left but they failed to get off a shot, leaving the Comets as the No. 1 team in the country as rated by MaxFieldHockey.com.
"This whole season, the girls just worked so well together," Soto noted.
Britney Hook again stood alone in goal, collecting her 23rd shutout of the season having made just 19 saves all year. Penn Manor capped its perfect season with eight straight playoff game shutouts. The last and only fifth goal surrendered this season was against Donegal in the L-L League finals on October 17.
"This is the school's first-ever undefeated season," pointed out Athletic Director Jeff Roth. "Girl's soccer won section, league, districts and states in 2002 but were not undefeated. And the field hockey team did not trail in a game all season."
Advancing to the PIAA semifinals was nothing new for the Comets. They've gotten that far each of the last six years. Getting past that point, however, was a bit tougher. In each of the last two seasons, Penn Manor fell to Emmaus in the semifinal round. Before being named PIAA co-champions with Palmyra in 2014, they again bowed out in the semifinals, this time to Lower Dauphin.
"Of course we talked about the past," said Soto. "We knew it was time to make a change."
And so the Comets traveled to Warwick last Tuesday night where they faced, four the fourth time this season, a very familiar opponent in Hershey High School. They not only handed the Trojans a 2-0 loss but advanced to the PIAA finals for the third time in six years. Back in 2008, when the Comets earned their first PIAA crown, they dominated Hershey 5-0.
"They always play us tough and I think every time they've played us this year they have improved," said Soto. "We really didn't change our game plan," he added. "We made a few adjustments but this team is so talented that they can make changes during the game."
Hershey (20-6) went on the attack first, forcing keeper Britney Hook to make one save within the first three minutes. That effort, however, was short-lived. Manor regrouped, gained possession and charged to the other end of the field where they put together a flurry of four straight corners before being awarded a penalty stroke. Eleven minutes into the contest, Emma DeBerdine stepped to the line and calmly placed the ball past Kit Olmsted (8 saves) and into the right corner of the cage.
Olmsted saved Manor's initial shot on goal, an effort by Gabby Bitts, but then dove on the ball to prevent an easy goal and a penalty stroke opportunity was awarded.
Neither team mounted any real threats after that. The Comets finished with six corners in the half and Hershey, who advanced to the semis with two straight shutouts, ended the half in transition with a shot that sailed over the goal.
Manor opened the second half by pinning the Trojans in their half of the field and working their corner options. On their fifth attempt, DeBerdine, who caught the Bri Harsh insert, dribbled across the baseline and sent a pass back to Harsh who connected for the insurance goal.
Hershey, finished with two corners, both late in the game, and managed just one shot, easily saved by Hook.
The Comets finished the season with 148 total goals scored and were led by Gabby Bitts (35 goals, 23 assists) who was one of six Penn Manor players selected for the 17-player All-League team. Also selected was Emma DeBerdine (27g, 30a), Hannah Brown (10g, 10a), Alyssa Schriver (8g, 10a), Lisa Schaefer and Mia Clancy (10g, 2a).
Manor's first team all stars included Clancy, Autumn Gager, Schaefer, Barbusca, Bitts, Brown, DeBerdine, and Schriver.
Rounding out Manor's double-digit scorers were Bri Harsh (22g, 17a) and Anna Mary Barbusca (22g, 15a).
26-0 Comets Advance to PIAA Semifinals November 15, 2017
The top ranked team in the Nation confidently secured its fifth straight post-season shutout this past Saturday at Exeter Township High School, taking one more step in achieving a PIAA crown. Penn Manor, following up on Tuesday's 4-0 opening round victory over Central Bucks South, made quick work of Central Bucks East, ending the Patriots (19-5) season with a convincing 6-0 victory.
And like they did Tuesday, the Comets jumped in front early and never looked back.
"Scoring first is always a great way to start the game," said head coach Matt Soto.
Tuesday, at Warwick's Joseph Grosh Field, and despite some freezing rain, the Comets needed just a minute to jump in front of CBS. From the opening whistle, they sprinted toward the goal, earned the first of 21 corners, and capitalized. Emma DeBerdine took the insert at the top of the circle, dribbled to the right and centered the ball back to Gabby Bitts, who quickly sent the ball to the back of the cage.
Penn Manor's speed was again on display Saturday. Needing just 48 seconds, the District Three champs grabbed the upper hand against CBS when Alyssa Schriver made good on their first shot of the game.
The Comets finished with 15 shots and 13 corners and scored twice more before the half. DeBerdine, assisted by Bri Harsh, capitalized on Manor's sixth corner and pushed the lead to 2-0 with 10:54 left in the half.
"I thought Emma played great defense on their best player and also enjoyed offensive success," stated Soto.
Six minutes later they struck again, this time Anna May Barbusca sent a DeBerdine pass to the back of the cage and the Comets were on top 3-0 at the break.
"I was a little bit surprised by the lopsided score but when we click, we can score some goals," said Soto.
The Patriots, making just their second PIAA appearance, worked their only corner and only shot (saved by keeper Britney Hook) of the game late in the second half but by that time the Comets had tallied three more goals. Bitts, the team's leading scorer, collected her 34th and 35th goals of the season just five minutes apart after Barbusca's second goal pushed the lead to 4-0.
That six goal tally currently leaves the Comets with 144 total goals scored but just as impressive, if not more so, is the slim five total goals they've given up all season.
"Our defense has been very solid," said Soto of Lisa Schaefer, Mia Clancy, Brooke Spezialette, Autumn Gager and Britney Hook in goal.
The Patriots, the third place team out of District One, got to the quarterfinals with a 9-0 rout of District 2 champ Delaware Valley on Tuesday while the Comets took care of CBE.
With 21 corners against CB South (13-10-1), one might expect more than four goals scored but the Titan defense, for the most part, stood tall. Ten minutes after Bitts put the Comets in front, DeBerdine was on the receiving end of a Bitts pass that was sent to the back of the net for a 2-0 cushion.
The second half found Bitts again on the receiving end of a DeBerdine assist, making it 3-0 while Barbusca capped the scoring with 7:34 left in the game.
CB South's keeper, Jillian Heilig, picked up four saves on the day while the defenders in front of her chipped in with two defensive saves.
The wins push the Comets into the PIAA Class 3A semifinals where they will face Hershey on Tuesday, November 14 at Warwick at 7 pm. The Comets have dominated Hershey three times already this season by a combined score of 9-1. Hershey advanced with a 4-0 win over Conestoga.
"I'm not sure it's an advantage playing them again but we certainly have plenty of experience in playing them," Soto said. "We need to simply sharpen our entire game."
As voted on by the Section One coaches, four Comet soccer players received all-star recognition. Senior defender Conlin Groft was a first team selection, senior goalie Blake Martin and junior midfielder Hunter Enck were second team selections, and Conner Braun was an academic all-star.
Comets Blank LD For District 3A Crown November 5, 2017
Penn Manor, the top ranked team in the country, continued its unbeaten streak (24-0) with a convincing 3-0 win over Lower Dauphin (16-5-1) in the District Three Class 3A field hockey championship held at Henry Hershey Field on Saturday, November 4. Having finished second to Palmyra in each of the last two years, the Comets earned their first district crown since 2012 and fourth overall.
"That's a real good change," said head coach Matt Soto to his team after the game.
"It was a very nice win. I really didn't know what to expect but I knew we had the upper hand in possession," stated Soto. "It was just a matter of time. The girls were very focused."
After 11 minutes and a pair of corners, Manor opened the scoring. Emma DeBerdine took a corner insert from Briana Harsh, dribbled to the right and sent a pass to Gabby Bitts, who redirected the ball to the back right corner of the cage.
Lower Dauphin earned its first and only corner of the contest eight minutes later but Manor's swarming defense prevented a shot and in turn transitioned to the other end of the field where they picked up their fourth corner of the half. Harsh again inserted to DeBerdine at the top of the circle. She dished a pass to Bitts who quickly connected and sent the ball back across the circle where Anna May Barbusca easily converted for a 2-0 lead.
The Comets, who defeated LD 1-0 earlier in the season, talked at halftime about catching the ball more consistently and keeping pressure on the Falcons when they used their back transfers.
The second half continued with Manor again dictating the pace and just three minutes in they converted yet another corner. DeBerdine, uncontested at the top of the circle, carried the ball to the right before centering a short pass to Bitts who sent the ball toward the goal where Harsh, patiently waiting on the left post, slipped the ball behind the keeper.
The rest of the half found both teams battling between the 25-yard-lines but failing to crack the defenses.
"I think they sent more runners at our ball handlers in the second half," said Soto. "But our team speed worked to our advantage.
"Now we start a brand new tournament," he added. "We gear up for that and keep working hard."
The Comets open state tournament action this Tuesday opposite Central Bucks South at Warwick. "It's become our home-away-from-home," said Soto of the Warriors field in Lititz.
Penn Manor advanced to the finals with a 2-0 victory over No. 4 Hershey in a double header last Wednesday night at Warwick. Despite 14 corners and 13 shots for the game, it took the Comets until the second half to break on top. With 12:42 left to play, DeBerdine converted Manor's 11th corner with a solid shot from the top of the circle that found its way to the backboard.
Three minutes later it was 2-0. DeBerdine fired another shot on goal but this time the rebound found its way to Harsh who quickly sent the ball to the right corner.
"In that second half we simply said if we get open shots to take them," stated Soto. "We needed to focus on good scoring opportunities and capitalize on them."
The Comets traveled to Section One leader Manheim Township this past Friday night for their last game of the season. The Streaks were coming in with six straight wins and a chance to claim their first Section One title since 2004. And it was Senior Night. Township took care of business and handed the visitors a 62-14 loss, improving to 7-0 in Section One (9-1 overall).
"We were a bit outmatched talent-wise," said head coach John Brubaker. "They have enough tools to contend for the district title."
The Streaks opened the scoring with a 70-yard passing touchdown by Xavier Roman and Grayson Sallade picked up TD's runs of 66 and 59-yards that pushed the lead to 21-0 in the second quarter. Sallade rushed for 169-yards on the night and went over the 1,000 yards for the season.
Manor got on the board with a 52-yard reverse by Taraje Whitefield, taking a handoff from sophomore Josh Gibson.
"That was an exciting score and was executed perfectly," said Brubaker. "Taraje also caught three passes and blocked an extra point.
"We did have some success in running the ball with Cole Heckaman rushing for 97 yards and Josiah Edwards going 93. Josiah also completed 7-of-11 passes," Brubaker added.
The Streaks ran off four more TD's before the Comets added to their total with a 77-yard run by Heckaman in the fourth quarter.
"We did leave a couple points off the board when we missed a field," Brubaker noted. "We were fourth-and-four at the goal line and elected to kick the field goal but it was blocked.
My expectations were higher than we finished," he continued. "After all, wins are the measuring stick but I think these last two weeks the boys still had a hunger and wanted to play hard. The last couple of years we weren't winning much so the motivation to continue wasn't there but this year it was different," said Brubaker. "We have a great group of seniors and they continued to want to play hard.
"Football isn't an easy sport but it builds character and teaches that you need to be leaders in life," he added. "I hope that the boys learned more than just football."
The Comets, who were 0-10 and 2-8 in each of the last two years, were 3-4 in Section One and 3-7 overall. They finished with three of the top ten rushers in the league. Edwards was seventh with 645 yards and 6 TD's, Heckaman was eighth with 584 yards and four touchdowns and Ben Wright, who scored six times, rushed for 539 yards and was tenth.
Just one Comet runner competed in the PIAA Championships held at the Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey this past Saturday. In a field of 236 runners, senior Nick Fafel finished in 90th place with a 17:08. Fafel, the team's top runner all season, opened with a 5:17 first mile split and found himself in 143 place. He buckled down and moved into 102nd place by the second mile and passed 12 runners down the stretch to earn that 90th place finish, just two places behind E-town's Charles Scharf. He was the 9th L-L League runner to complete the 3.1 mile course.
Neshaminy's Rusty Kujdych claimed the PIAA 3A title with a 15:47.
Jones Scores 3 TD's, Comets Top McCaskey 31-21 October 29, 2017
For the second time in three games the Comets rushed for over 400 yards. And for the second time in three weeks they finished on top. This past Friday night in Lancaster, the Comets, with a season-high 446 rushing yards on 61 carries, fought from behind and earned a hard-fought 31-21 win over McCaskey.
Josiah Edwards and Evann Jones, who also scored three touchdowns, both rushed for over 100 yards and the Comets picked up three interceptions to hold off the Red Tornado.
"We did a great job moving the ball," said head coach John Brubaker. "Our option game was consistent. I think we only punted once in the first half."
The hosts returned the opening kickoff 98-yards to pay dirt but the Comets responded with back-to-back touchdowns by Evann Jones and a pair of PAT kicks by Liam Hart to go in front 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Up to the challenge, McCaskey knotted the game at 14-14 with a 30-yard passing score early in the second frame. The Comets again jumped in front when Jones scampered 29-yards for his third TD of the night only to see the Red Tornado return the favor with an 89-yard passing TD to Isiah Speller to once again knotting the score. The visitors, however, had the last say. Edwards, who also passed for 54-yards on 4-of-6 attempts, scored on a seven-yard keeper and the Comets led 28-20 at the half. Hart booted a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter to cap the scoring.
"That first half was full of offense and the second half was full of defense," stated Brubaker, "though we did have opportunities."
Manor had two touchdowns called back after holding penalties and they missed a field goal in the second half.
"We clamped down on the defense in the second half and did a better job denying the long pass," noted Brubaker. "We secured three interceptions that half.
"This was a good team effort," he continued. "A lot of guys contributed. The offensive line (Joel Stoner, Elliot Lawrence, Paisun Harris, Casey McCollum, and Ryan Mahoney) opened holes and Cole Heckaman and Theoren McElheny did a nice job running the ball. Zach Banta picked up an interception and caught three passes for first downs and Mason Sottek led the team in tackles.
"We've been competitive this year and we've been resilient," he continued. "And we have one more chance to see what we can do."
The Comets (3-3, 3-6 overall) travel to Neffsville Friday night to take on Section One leader Manheim Township.
A year ago, the Comets (22-1) were upended 3-2 in overtime against Palmyra (19-2) in the District Three Class AAA finals in Hershey. That game was not forgotten as Penn Manor faced the Cougars this past Saturday in the district quarterfinals held at Hempfield High School. No need for overtime this year as the Comets dominated from start to finish and advanced with a 3-0 shutout. They will take on Hershey, a 5-0 winner over Central Dauphin, in the semifinals this Wednesday.
The Comets, who punched their ticket to the PIAA tournament with the win, worked their first corner just five minutes in but didn't find the back of the cage until the 16th minute. Anna May Barbusca carried the ball down the right side and sent a cross to Gabby Bitts who was patiently waiting in front of Cougar keeper Ava Kristich (9 saves).
The No. 9 Cougars' (13-6-1) long ball tactics didn't have much success against the quicker Comets who kept intercepting passes to keep the ball in their offensive end. Palmyra's biggest threat came in the final 35 seconds of the first half when they were awarded their first and only corner in the game but were denied a shot on goal.
Manor dominated the second half as well, collecting ten corners and two more goals. Briana Harsh doubled the top seeds' lead 11 minutes into the second half. Alyssa Schriver's shot from the right bounced off the left post to Briana Harsh who sent the rebound to the back of the cage.
Bitts tallied her second score of the game with 6:29 left to play, redirecting Hannah Brown's shot from the top of the circle past Palmyra's keeper.
The Comets, who opened the tournament with a bye, are the only undefeated team in the district bracket. A pair of upsets were the highlight in the bottom half of the bracket Saturday as No. 2 seed Wilson (19-2) fell 2-0 to No. 7 Lower Dauphin while Manheim Township, seeded 6th, knocked off No. 3 Cumberland Valley 1-0 in overtime.
The boys' cross country team, fresh off their fourth place finish at the L-L League Championships, traveled to Big Spring High School for the District Three Class AAA Championships on Saturday. Nick Fafel again led the harriers with the top finish of the day. The senior not only clocked a 16:45 for a 24th place finish but was the only Comet to finish inside the top 31 to qualify for states on November 4.
"Nick had a great race," praised co-head coach Tom Ecker. "He ran an even pace throughout, which is effective for him. There was a strong field of runners around him over the final half mile but he persevered and qualified for the state championship."
David Kramer (68th, 17:27) and freshman Lou Lindsley (95th, 17:48) cracked the top 100. Rounding out the top five was Zach Schucker (18:41) and Aidan Toomey (18:52). Marko Rezkalla (18:53) and Dylan Terry (19:00) also competed.
The Comets, who were 12th last year, finished in 22nd place.
The girls' team, behind Madison McKenna's 89th place effort in 21:31, also helped the Comets to a 22nd place team finish, matching last year's result. Freshman Arden Morgan was the only other Comet to place in the top 100. She was 91st with a 21:32.
"Maddie and Arden both had their best races for the year," Ecker stated. "It was a good end to their season."
Also competing for Penn Manor: Lauren Zink (22:20), Andrea Funk (22:38), Brianna Ulkay (23:18), Becky Kramer (23:43) and Julianne West (25:02).
PM Field Hockey Team Wins L-L League Crown October 22, 2017
Getting to the finals of the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships is nothing new for Penn Manor's field hockey team. Winning it isn't either. Despite coming up empty in each of the last two title round bouts, the Comets took care of business last Thursday night at CV High School, earning a 2-0 shutout over Manheim Township for their sixth L-L League crown in nine years.
The Comets rolled through league opponents with 89 total goals for, three goals against, and 10 shutouts. Ironically, the closest was a 2-0 season-opener against Manheim Township.
In typical Comet fashion, Penn Manor spent a good portion of the first half attacking the Township circle. All good things take time and 24 minutes into the contest Anna May Barbusca corralled a Bri Harsh rebound and pushed it past Township keeper Cat Wilson for the 1-0 advantage.
Both teams battled through the second half with the Comets again controlling the bulk of possession time. They didn't record that second goal until the last two minutes of the game when Emma DeBerdine converted the team's ninth corner.
"I was happy with our teamwork and our passing game this week," stated head coach Matt Soto. "The girls are playing great hockey."
To get to the finals the Comets had to get past their nemesis, the undefeated Donegal Indians Tuesday night at Warwick. And to do that, they needed to stop league leading scorer Makenzie Allessie who has racked up 69 goals this season.
The Indians defeated the Comets in each of the last two L-L League finals. Their third post-season meeting, however, went in favor of Penn Manor, 2-1, as they handed Donegal its first loss of the season and ended a 48 game winning streak.
DeBerdine set the tone early in this one. After picking off a pass just outside the circle, the junior raced toward the goal, dodging anyone in her path and calmly fired a shot into the left corner of the net just 2:51 into play.
"Emma had some terrific individual plays, including that 70-yard scoring run," Soto noted. "The entire team played great."
Both teams attacked and defended and had opportunities, though the Comets carried the bulk of the action with 15 shots and ten corners. Donegal had five of each.
Allessie, despite being double and triple teamed all night, would not be denied. On Donegal's final corner of the game, the junior lifted the ball past Comet goalie Brit Hook (4 saves) and tied the game at 1-1 with 10:29 left on the clock.
"We tried to contain her with anyone available," said Soto.
That momentum was squashed just over a minute later. With 9:45 left, the Comets converted a corner when DeBerdine pushed the ball to Bri Harsh for the game-winner.
Nick Fafel's seventh place finish at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships last Tuesday afternoon propelled the Comets to a fourth place team finish. The senior, who posted a 16:40.5 was right on the heels of Cedar Crest's Jake Barrett (16:40.1). The cross country postseason got underway at Ephrata's Middle School and saw the Comets finish behind Hempfield (72 team points), Cedar Crest (102) and Cocalico (109).
David Kramer also earned a top 25 medal placing 20th in 17:00. Seniors Aidan Toomey and Zach Schucker supported each other throughout the race and finished 47th (17:30.8) and 48th (17:34.5) respectively while freshman Lou Lindsley rounded out the top five with a 17:39.2 for 54th place in a field of 163 runners.
"The boys ran very well, improving on last year's fifth place team finish," noted co-head coach Tom Ecker. "Our upperclassmen came through with strong performances."
Fafel, Kramer, a junior, Toomey and Schucker all ran faster times than last season with Kramer showing the biggest drop at 2:13.
The girls' ran a solid race as well and matched last year's eighth place effort. Freshman Arden Morgan was the top finisher of the day, placing 32nd in 20:53 with junior Madison McCanna just eight seconds back in 37th place.
"Arden stepped up to lead the way," said Ecker. "She and Maddie had their best races of the season."
Like Toomey and Schucker, freshman Lauren Zink (48th, 41:36.7) and Andrea Funk (49th, 21:37.5) finished together with another freshman, Becky Kramer, rounding out the top five in 66th place (22:15.5).
The Township girls were the overall winners with Elizabethtown and Hempfield rounding out the top three.
Logan Herr was Manor's lone representative at the PIAA Class 3A East Regional Championship's held last Monday at the Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood. The junior was hoping to qualify for the PIAA Championships and extend his season but a round of 83 just missed the 79 cut to advance.
"Logan has worked so hard this year and truly deserved to be at states," said head coach Tom Reustle.
"But sometimes you just don't have it and unfortunately, his day came at the wrong time. He hasn't shot in the 80's for six months or more. Regardless, I'm proud of what he has accomplished this season," he continued. "He can't be defined by one round. I know he'll be back next season and will make it to states."
The volleyball team closed its season with a win over Manheim Township and loss to second place Warwick last week. They finish the year in fourth place in Section One with a 5-6 mark and are 5-9 overall.
Monday, behind an 11 kill night by Emily Cummings and four aces each by Shayna Warfel and Sydney Leichliter, the Comets avenged a 3-2 first half loss to Manheim Township with a 3-1 thriller in Millersville.
"This was probably the highlight of the season," said head coach Tim Joyce. "It was our Senior Night and we had a touching ceremony for Emily Cummings, Ava Dunford-Groves, Tiana Ferko, Sydney Leichliter, Miranda Phelan and Mikiah Sangrey."
Manor battled their way to identical 25-22 wins in each of the first two sets only to be stopped by the Streaks 25-23 in the third set. Wanting to go out with a final home victory, the Comets took control down the stretch, winning the match with a 25-16 fourth set result.
"The girls just refused to lose," stated Joyce. "We moved Sangrey to hitting on the right side and Shanya Warfel, a junior, to the left. Warfel heated up during the second half of the season, causing teams to commit more effort towards her. She only had six kills against Township but freed up Sangrey (8 kills) and Cummings."
Leichliter distributed the ball for 31 assists, Ava Dunford-Groves (3 aces) anchored the back row with 15 digs and both Cummings and Elizabeth Kubicar (5 kills) put up one block each.
"We pressured their passing with tough serving from Warfel, Leichliter and Dunford-Groves and gave a much more intense defensive effort," Joyce said. "Mikiah, our captain, had some tremendous defensive saves. In the end, we played a cleaner match this time around and our senior leadership led the charge."
That momentum, however, failed to carry over to the Warwick match on Wednesday. The Warriors were tuning up for playoffs and won 25-17, 25-14, 25-18.
"We put up a good effort," said Joyce, "but they were the better team that night."
Cummings paced the action at the net with 10 kills while Dunford-Groves recorded double-digs again with a dozen. Jordan Schucker added three aces.
"Jordan is our freshman serving specialist," Joyce noted. "She served well against a tough serve receive team.
"Ultimately, their service pressure was too much for us, compounded by the fact that they have several offensive weapons."
Coming off an impressive 427-yard rushing effort that resulted in a 33-17 over Conestoga Valley, the Comets felt confident going into this past Friday's home game against Warwick. Turnovers, however proved to be the difference in this one as the Warriors raced to a 35-0 victory and forced a three-way tie for third place in Section One. CV, Warwick and Penn Manor all sit at 2-3. The Comets are 2-6 overall.
"It was a disappointing loss," said head coach John Brubaker. "Five turnovers doomed us. Despite our miscues, we were only down 14-0 at the half but we failed to grab the momentum. Having some guys out with injuries hurt us a bit."
Manor's first series took the Comets deep into Warwick territory but instead of putting the pressure on the visitors, a fumble set up the Warriors first score, giving them early momentum. The Comets never got on track, finishing with 67 rushing yards and 76 through the air while giving up 396 total yards.
After a scoreless second quarter, the visitors extended the advantage with a lone TD in the third quarter and two more in the fourth.
"Ayden Hinkle and Logan Legenstein, along with Josh Gibson got some good experience and played well on defense," Brubaker pointed out.
PM Football Spoils CV's Homecoming, 33-17 October 15, 2017
Friday the 13th did not cast its spell on Penn Manor's football team. The Comets rolled in to Witmer and rolled over the favored Buckskins of CV, 33-17, and spoiled their Homecoming.
"It was a fantastic night," praised head coach John Brubaker. "This was the start of a new four game season. We wanted to be physical on the offensive line and swarm the ball on defense. The guys were enthusiastic and they executed our game plan."
Manor went in front early and often in the first half and led 25-3 at the break. Taking advantage of a Tanner Schwilk interception, the Comets needed just six plays and a one-yard plunge from Ben Wright to get on board.
After blocking the extra point, CV looked to counter with Schwilk finding a couple of open receivers but the Comets not only forced but recovered a fumble and took advantage of another turnover. This one resulted in a 3-yard scamper by Wright and a 12-0 first quarter lead.
After giving up a 30 yard field goal early in the second quarter, Comet QB Josiah Edwards extended the advantage with a pair of TD's, racing 25 and two-yards to pay dirt and that commanding lead.
"Josiah ran some counter plays to open things up," said Brubaker. "He finished with 170 rushing yards and as a team, we rushed for 427, a season-high."
CV gained its footing in the second half, outscoring the visitors 14-8 but it wasn't enough.
"We had Taraje Whitfield covering Jose Barbon and he did a great job," noted Brubaker. "He tipped a pass in that first series that was a huge play. And Jake Hollinger came up with that early interception and added a first half sack as well. Evann Jones also played well, adding two sacks and a couple tackles for a loss," he continued. "Ben and Cole Heckaman ran hard and Casey McCullough dominated the offensive line. We had numerous guys step up. Everyone worked hard."
Coming off an overtime victory over McCaskey, the boys' soccer team knew Thursday night's home match with Conestoga Valley was a 'must win' to qualify for the district playoffs. Unfortunately, CV was in the same situation, though the Bucks were sitting inside the 16 team Class 4A field that advances.
The visitors struck early and often, scoring three times in a period of three minutes and went on to win 4-1.
"I have never experienced getting scored on three times in three minutes," recalled head coach Paul Taylor. "We were very flat and weren't pressuring the ball and we weren't marking up inside the 18. It was surreal for that brief moment of time."
But that was all CV needed. The Bucks came in with 38 goals scored but 21 of them were courtesy of Robbie Krasinski. The junior would not be denied though Manor's Jared Harvey, a senior, did his best to slow him down. Krasinski finished with a hat trick, including two of those three early tallies, and the only second half goal.
"Krasinski is fast and crafty," said Taylor. "He was only able to get the ball a few times and he made those times count."
After the Comets settled in, the possession of play and opportunities favored the hosts. Manor cut the lead to 3-1 when senior Conlin Groft juked a pair of defenders and fired a shot into the upper left corner in the 36th minute.
With momentum building in favor of the Comets, CV was awarded a PK just four minutes into the second half. Backup keeper Fahri Sivri (5 saves) not only stopped Krasinski's initial kick but the rebound shot as well, adding to Manor's momentum.
Try as they might, the shots on goal by Mitch Martin, who actually hit a post, Hunter Enck, Liam Hart and Groft were just wide or just high. Manor held an 11-9 edge in shots.
"The boys played extremely hard and created a number of dangerous opportunities," stated Taylor. "The better team did not win. We beat ourselves. We had a solid game plan and felt good we would get the win. We have been on the wrong side of good luck for a number a years now. The tide will turn," he added. "I feel badly for the seniors."
Penn Manor entered the game ranked 17th in the district. Last year they finished 17th in the 16 team field. In 2015, they missed the 20 field playoff bracket by one spot.
The harrier teams traveled to Lebanon last Tuesday for their last duel meet of the season. Both squads dominated the undermanned Cedars with 15-55 wins on the day.
The boys, competing against just three runners, were led by Nick Fafel and David Kramer both clocking an 18:02, with Lou Lindsey literally on their heels and one second back for third. Zach Shucker added a fourth place finish in 18:20 with Marco Rezkalla grabbing the final counting position with a sixth place 19:14.
Also placing for the Comets: Dylan Terry (8th, 20:05), Trevor Charles (9th, 20:05), Jordan Photis (10th, 20:07), Brady Lehman (11th, 20:11), Jesse Kanagy (12th, 20:29) and Emmitt Richey (13th, 20:45).
The girls' squad evened their league mark to 4-4 by claiming the first 10 places. Andrea Funk was the overall winner with a 22:09. Arden Morgan was second in 22:23 and Maddy McCanna took third with a 22:45. Lauren Zink, with a 23:01, ran fourth for the Comets while Brianna Ulaky rounded out the top five with a 24:05.
Rounding out the top ten was Puja Neopaney (6th, 24:20), Julianne West (7th, 25:07), Carly Wall (8th, 25:32), Becky Kramer (9th, 25:49) and Libby Sullivan (10th, 26:32).
"Both teams performed well as we overpowered a developing team from Lebanon," said co-head coach Tom Ecker. "The meet provided the runners a chance to work together at a set pace in preparation for the League Championships."
Needing to win out for even a chance to get to the post-season, the girls' soccer team was dealt a 6-1 loss to Hershey last Monday in a game rescheduled from September 23.
"That knocked us out of playoff contention," said head coach Jacob Marino.
The girls fell behind 4-0 in the first half and couldn't regroup. The Trojans improved to 5-8-1 overall while the Comets fell to 4-9 overall.
Last Thursday on the road, the Comets ended their season with a hard-fought 2-0 loss to Section One champ Conestoga Valley, leaving them with a 3-9 league record.
The 10-1-1 Bucks needed 44 minutes to post their first goal and three minutes later they picked up an insurance goal by leading scorer Emma Weirich.
"We created three opportunities early on where we were one-on-one with the keeper and just could not finish," said Marino. "The level of play was even from both sides. It was a great last game of the season."
The wins have not come easy for the Comets this season so they were more than happy with their 9-1 victory over McCaskey Saturday morning, October 7.
Scoring two goals in each half and dishing out three assists on the day, Susan Porambo sparked a 6-0 first half rally for the Comets. Kara Huber tallied the second goal of the game and opened the second half scoring ten minutes in. Kylee Hess, Aislyn Evans and Danielle Heisey, who also added an assist, rounded out the scoring.
Miriam Badri needed just four saves to secure the victory.
"Anne Shoelkopf, Danielle Heisey, Jenna Mylin, Megan Sangrey and Susan Porambo deserve nothing but praise for what they did this season," Marino stated. "I have never seen a team dominate play in so many games and not come out with a winning result. But at the end of the day, being really good at kicking a ball around pales in comparison to being able to make a positive impact in the lives of others, which is what they did," he continued. "These seniors will go on to do much bigger things than win soccer games. I believe they will see the fruits of their labor in the coming years as they watch the girls coming up take lead."
Playing three matches in four days, the volleyball team came away with one win on the week and saw their record slip to 4-6 in the L-L and 4-9 overall.
Shayna Warfel put down a match high 17 kills but it wasn't enough to propel the Comets past Spring Grove last Monday. Tied at 1-1 after two sets, Spring Grove rebounded from their 25-12 loss with a 25-19 win and then pulled out a 25-23 thriller to steal the win.
"We were able to serve them out of system in that second set, forcing a number of errors," said head coach Tim Joyce. "But in the end, they just had too many weapons.
Emily Cummings served up four aces, Ave Dunford-Groves worked the back row for 19 digs, Sydney Leichliter directed the offense with 32 assists and Tiana Ferko put up one block.
The Comets faced second place Cedar Crest one night later but didn't have what it takes to pull out the win. They suffered 25-15, 26-24, 25-19 set results.
"We got off to a hesitant start but by the end of the first, we were playing at full speed, but it was too late at that point," said head coach Tim Joyce. "We led for a portion of that second set mostly due to tough serving. Both teams had a chance for game-point, but Crest was able to finish. The third set was back-and-forth for a while but they proved to be the tougher team."
Warfel was again tops with 14 kills but the Falcons led in aces, digs, assists and blocked shots.
Jordan Schucker served up three aces, Dunford-Groves led with six digs, Sydney Leichliter added 21 assists and Elizabeth Kubican recorded two blocks.
The Comets wrapped up the week with a sweep over McCaskey, winning 25-8, 25-18, 25-12.
Warfel needed just seven kills and two blocks to lead the way. Schucker finished with six aces and 11 assists, Kendra Weiss added 5 digs and Krahulik chipped in with a pair of blocks.
"Shayna had strong passing and hitting performances," noted Joyce. "And Jordan Schucker, a freshman recently pulled up to varsity, stepped in and had an immediate, positive impact as a serving specialist. Senior captain Mikiah Sangrey also had strong nights defensively."
The Comets opened the playoff portion of their schedule this past Saturday morning when they hosted Manheim Central in the quarterfinals round of the L-L League playoffs. The Section One champs, with 22 corners and 15 shots, blanked the Section Two runners-up with a balanced effort and a 3-0 final.
Gabby Bitts led the way with a second half goal and assisted both Briana Harsh and Emma DeBerdine to put the Comets in front 2-0 at the half. The win pits the Comets against the Indians in the semifinals October 17 at Warwick. The two teams have met in the L-L Finals each of the past two years.
With a pair of goals from Harsh and a three assists, one goal effort from DeBerdine, the Comets capped their undefeated run through the regular season with their ninth league shutout (13th overall) last Tuesday at Comet Field. The home team piled up six first half tallies en route to an 8-0 sweep over Cedar Crest. Harsh scored once in each half but it was Mia Clancy, on a feed from Gabby Bitts that opened the scoring about eight minutes in.
Hannah Brown, Bitts, Alyssa Schriver and Anna May Barbusca also found the back of the cage with Brown and Bitts (2) contributing assists.
Fafel, Kramer Lead Comets Over Solanco October 8, 2017
The Comet harriers matched Elizabethtown with four runners in the top ten but dropped a close one to the Bears Tuesday afternoon. The hosts claimed four of the top six places, interrupted only by the Comets, to pull out a 28-20 victory. The Comets, who worked a 20-35 win over Solanco, improved to 3-4 in league competition.
Nick Fafel clocked a personal best 16:23 and finished four seconds ahead of E-town' third place winner, Charles Scharf, in a determined final 400 sprint. David Kramer finished in fourth (17:00) and ahead of E-town's third and fourth runners.
Aidan Toomey (8th, 17:51) and Zach Schucker (9th, 18:00) ran together for the bulk of the race and Marco Rezkalla rounded out the top five counters while Lou Lindsey (15th, 18:33), Dylan Terry (16th, 18:34), Evan Lyon (17th, 18:37) and Jordan Photis (18th, 18:43) earned top 20 finishes.
"Nick had an outstanding race against two of the top runners in the league in E-town's Christopher and Charles Scharf," said co-head coach Tom Ecker. "His time was faster than the previous course record.
"Marco Rezkalla and Brady Lehman (20th), both sophomores, also raced well finishing much higher because of their effort," he added. "The boys ran well overall, we just lacked sufficient strength in the mid-pack to overtake E-town."
The girls' team, giving up the first four places to the Bears, went 1-1 on the day, posting a 21-39 win over Solanco and a 22-39 loss to third place Elizabethtown.
The Comets were led by senior Andrea Funk and freshman Arden Morgan who finished 5th (20:48) and 6th (21:01) overall.
"Both girls keep improving and we look forward to the post-season competition," stated Ecker.
Maddy McCanna (9th, 21:21), Lauren Zink (10th, 21:45), and Brianna Ulaky (11th, 22:20) rounded out the top five while Julianne West (12th, 22:27) and Carly Wall (14th, 23:30) finished in the top 15.
The Comets competed in the Champions race at the Carlisle Invitational on September 30.
"Both teams ran their best races of the year with the boys placing 5th out 50 teams and the girls finishing 12," said co-head coach Bob Ulmer. "Hopefully that bodes well for the league championship race."
The Comets continued their march through the second half of the league schedule last week, piling up three more wins and clinching the Section One title for the 11th straight season.
Monday night in Lititz, Hannah Brown sparked a six goal first half with her first hat trick of the year and chipped in with one assist, as the Comets swept the series with a convincing 8-1 road win.
Brown got the action rolling, scoring the first goal of the game in the sixth minute. The Warriors, having lost 5-1 the first time around, were determined to keep this one closer and scored 2:30 later. That only got Penn Manor's attention. The Comets went to work after that, tallying five more goals, including four in the last six minutes to take control.
Holding a 6-1 lead at the break, Manor got second half goals by Briana Harsh and Jasmine Miller.
Emma DeBerdine's goal at 24:02 sparked a flurry of Comet scoring. Gabby Bitts, the team's leading scorer, scored less than one minute later and picked up her second goal 2:18 after that. Brown's goal at 29:34 closed the first half scoring.
Alyssa Schriver, Bitts, DeBerdine, Brown and Anna May Barbusca were credited with assists.
In goal, Brittney Hook needed just two saves to preserve Manor's undefeated record but gave up her fourth goal to date, a league low.
At home Wednesday, in a night game honoring ten seniors, the Comets made short work of Hempfield and clinched the Section One crown. DeBerdine, the team's second leading scorer, took over for Brown and almost single-handedly dismantled the Knights (4-11 overall). The senior tallied four first half goals with Anna Katherine Kirk adding one as they made a 5-0 first half lead stand.
An offense that fired off 21 shots and worked 16 corners left little for the defense. The Knights were denied in both shots and corners.
Barbusca's two goal effort on Friday fueled a tightly contested 3-0 outing against CV. Despite 20 corners for the game, the Comets were held scoreless in the opening half but then ripped off three goals in a span of seven minutes. Bitts tallied the first goal of the half and DeBerdine (2) and Alyssa Schriver chipped in with assists.
The boys' soccer team used a balanced attack Tuesday afternoon to sweep the series with another 7-0 shutout against winless Lebanon. Scoring four times in the first half and three after the break, six different Comets found the back of the net. Liam Hart led the way with a pair of first half tallies with Conlin Groft, who led with two assists, and Connor Mayers (1a), who notched his first goal of the season, pushing the lead to 4-0 at the break.
Ryan Mowery opened the second half scoring and Shane Tapani scored his first goal of the season just over nine minutes later. Hunter Enck capped the action in the final minute of play.
Despite the lopsided final, keeper Blake Martin was not without action, needing ten saves to preserve Manor's third league shutout.
A lot has happened since the Comets took second place Warwick to a double overtime tie two weeks ago and most of it has been injuries. The depleted Comet squad traveled to Lititz Thursday night and came home with a closer than it may seem, 2-0 loss.
"We made some bad mistakes and they capitalized," said head coach Paul Taylor. "And we had some great opportunities. Hunter Enck was dangerous.
"But we are hit very badly with injuries," he continued. "With three starters out and three more injured, that leaves us very strained. This is affecting our performance. With two games left, and possibly a bid to districts, we need to win out. That's the bottom line. We need to find a way to win."
On Saturday, they did just that, though it took over 90 minutes. Enck not only capped his hat trick but tallied the game winner early in the second extra period, lifting the Comets to a 3-2 win over McCaskey.
Gifted with a penalty kick when Conlin Groft was tripped in the box, Enck converted early in the second half to put the Comets in front 1-0. His breakaway goal later in the half made it 2-0.
The hosts cut that lead in half when they converted a corner and then knotted the game with seven minutes remaining, setting up Manor's sixth overtime game of the season.
The going has been tough for the girls' soccer team. Coming into Tuesday's game with Cedar Crest, the Comets were on a four game losing streak, suffering losses to CV, Township, Hempfield and Central Dauphin.
"I think sometimes we forget how hard our schedule really is," said head coach Jacob Marino. "These last four games were against top teams not only in the district, but also the state."
Tuesday the Comets were looking to split the series against Cedar Crest. The Falcons (5-8-1 overall) had won a high scoring 4-2 verdict the first time around. In Millersville, however, it was a different story. With not a lot of action at either end of the field, the game featured a combined two corners and six shots and a disappointing 1-0 loss for the home team. Crest's goal by Jade Rolon midway through the first half proved to be the game-winner.
After four scoreless games, the Comets finally found the back of the net. Unfortunately, Warwick did too, and twice as they got past the hosts 2-1 in overtime Thursday night.
Tied at 1-1 in the first half, the Warriors broke through just two minutes into the extra period.
Kylee Hess, on a setup from Kara Huber, prevented the shutout for the Comets.
Marly Rohrer and Julie Ward competed in the L-L League Tennis Tournament this past Friday afternoon. Ward, playing in Flight 3 at Warwick, opened with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Solanco's Faith Redcay but dropped a 6-2, 6-0 result against No. 2 seed Sophie Granbois, of Hempfield.
In Flight 2 at Ephrata, Rohrer ran into No. 3 seed Serena Cheng of Cedar Crest and suffered a 6-1, 6-0 loss.
In doubles play, Ward and Morgan Smoker suffered an 8-0 first round loss to Kassie Nichols and Angel Strickler of Cocalico.
Logan Hess, Manor's lone representative in the PIAA District Three tournament, advanced to the second day of competition at Briarwood Golf Course with an opening round 77 on the par 72 course. It was the ninth lowest score of the day. He did even better on Saturday, tying for the third lowest score of the day, a 72 and punching his ticket to the PIAA Championships. Central York's Joe Parrini won the title with a two-day, eight under 67-69.
It's always a tall task when you go up against Hempfield. Last Tuesday on the road proved to be just that for the Lady Comets who suffered a 25-13, 25-13, 25-22 loss to the 8-0 Knights.
"We didn't play as well as we would have liked," said head coach Tim Joyce. "They kept us off balance most of the match. We did take the opportunity to play all of our younger varsity players to get them some experience."
Sydney Leichliter turned in a solid game with 17 assists, 10 digs and one ace while Mikiah Sangrey was strong at the net with six kills. Emily Cummings, Kendra Weiss and Logan Adams also served up one ace and Tiana Ferko added one block.
"Ferko, our middle hitter, had a strong night putting pressure on Hempfield with her attacks and blocks," noted Joyce. "And Mikiah, our senior captain, hit very efficiently at .222 and played tough defense."
On the road Friday night the Comets gave up three first half touchdowns and never quite recovered, dropping a 35-12 Section One result against Wilson.
Despite the finish, the game opened in Manor's favor. After stopping the Bulldogs on their first series, a high snap on the punt gave the Comets the ball on the Wilson 9. The hosts stopped three run attempts and then not only blocked the field goal attempt but ran the ball back 89 yards for a 7-0 first quarter lead. Wilson (3-0 L-L, 4-2 overall) then ran off four unanswered touchdowns, two in the second frame, to take a commanding 28-0 lead. They were led by Iggy Reynoso and Connor Uhrig. Reynoso became the 4th player in Berks Co. history to pass the 4,000 career rushing mark, going 165-yards on 21 carries while Uhrig became the 4th Wilson QB to throw over 3,000 career yards, passing for 202 against the Comets.
The Comets scored the final two TD's of the game with Josiah Edwards hitting Josh Gibson with a 55-yard strike and Zach Banta hooking up with Logan Legenstein on a 42-yard toss. Both two point conversion attempts were denied.
The Comets finished with 232 total yards while the Bulldogs piled up 395 in a game that featured zero turnovers by either team.
Comets Push Streaks, Knights but Fall Short October 1, 2017
The second half of the L-L League Section One season opened Tuesday night in Millersville where the Comets, on Senior Night, hosted Manheim Township in hopes of splitting the series. A pair of early goals, however, lifted the Streaks to 4-3 and dropped the hosts to 2-3-2.
"Defensively we just didn't apply enough pressure in the midfield, and the result was their early goals," said head coach Paul Taylor. "We also have a number of injuries which limits what we can do. We did make appropriate adjustments in the second half and had better opportunities."
On the road Thursday, a goal by Conner Braun, set up by Conlin Groft midway through the first half knotted the score at 1-1 against Hempfield. The Knights, however, scored twice over a span of 13 minutes early in the second half to sweep the series.
Coming in, the Comets had the second toughest defense in the league, yielding 8 goals. Hempfield leads that category, having given up just four to date.
The Comets were coming off a 2-0 victory over Carlisle in the Lower Dauphin Tournament on Saturday, September 30. Hunter Enck and Mitch Martin were the goal scorers with Liam Hart and Kyle Mowery providing the setups.
Manor opened play with a 4-0 loss against Lower Dauphin.
"It was a good opportunity to play against a former state champ," said Taylor of LD.
In an up-tempo, non-league game Saturday, September 30, the Comets, despite twice holding the lead, settled for a 2-2 double OT tie against visiting Central Dauphin. Martin put the locals on the board just 90 seconds in. The Rams knotted the score with a penalty kick early in the second half while Hunter Enck made good on a PK for the Comets (5-6-3 overall), putting the home team back in front. The visitors, however, tied the game before the end of regulation.
It was Manor's fourth OT game of the season and third tie.
Falling behind quickly by two scores early, Penn Manor's hopes of topping visiting Hempfield on homecoming night were dwindling. A fourth quarter rally, however, improved their momentum. The Comets scored a pair of TD's and took and 14-10 lead with two minutes left but couldn't hold on.
"We didn't generate much offense in that first half but we definitely played better after that," said head coach John Brubaker. "We had more fire in the second half but we need that for four quarters. We showed signs of doing things right. We just need more of it."
Josiah Edwards threw touchdown passes of 16 and 58 yards to Taraje Whitfield and Josh Gibson, respectively, to put the Comets in front. The Knights, however, countered with a five-play, 79-yard drive and secured the win with a 33-yard passing TD.
The boys' cross country team traveled to Warwick last Tuesday to face two teams ahead of them in the Section One standings, Manheim Township and the host Warriors. And when the final runner crossed the line, the Comets came up short. The Streaks (3-3) not only had the top individual but placed all five counters in the top 14 to edge Manor 25-30. The 4-2 Warriors had five of the top 11 runners and finished on top 25-34. The Comets are currently 3-4.
"The course is a long loop, out in the sun, making it a challenge for all runners with the temperatures we had," said co-head coach Tom Ecker.
"We knew the boy's race would be tight," he continued. "Our front runners finished well but our mid-pack did not finish as strongly as we needed."
Nick Fafel once again was the top Comet to finish, just five seconds out of first with a 16:51. David Kramer was fourth (17:24) and Aidan Toomey placed 10th in 18:15.
The Comets packed it in after that with Lou Lindsey (16th, 18:50), Zach Schucker (17th, 18:55), Dylan Terry (18th, 19:03), and Evan Lyon (19th, 19:03) cracking the top 20.
The girls had a tougher challenge going up against the undefeated Streaks, who earned the top seven places to win 15-54. Warwick, on the other hand, was an obtainable goal and Manor pulled through with a 21-39 win to improve to 3-4.
"The girls performed as we had planned," Ecker stated. "We knew we could not beat Township so we focused on Warwick and each girl came through, finishing in their target place or better."
Andrea Funk was right behind the Township pack and finished 9th in 21:40. Arden Morgan (11th, 21:55) and Maddy McCanna (12th, 22:19) ran as Manor's second and third runners while Lauren Zink (17th, 23:26) and Brianna Ulaky (18th, 23:35) rounded out the top five.
"Maddy had her strongest race of the year, adding strength to our squad when we needed it," added Ecker.
On a balmy Monday the golf team competed in the L-L League Tournament at Honeybrook Golf Course with the hopes of extending their season. With nine chances to advance, only Logan Hess qualified for the District Three Tournament which will be held October 6-7 at Briarwood Golf Course in York.
Hess carded the fifth lowest score of the day, a 75, to lead the Comets to a fifth place team finish.
"We actually had a great day," said head coach Tom Reustle. "Sometimes you play great and still miss the cut by a few strokes."
A total of 19 AAA boys carding 81 or lower, and 13 girls shooting 104 or better advanced.
"Erin Purzycki (106) and Amanda Wolf (107) both had solid rounds and just missed the cut," Reustle noted. "The rest of the team put in a great effort. It one of our best performances as a team. There are a lot of good players at this level and sometimes it truly comes down to a few strokes.
"I'm proud of the way we competed this year," he continued. "We have a tremendous group of student athletes."
Also competing were Hunter Long (82), Griffin Rineer (83), Max Forrey and Kaden Peart (87 each) and Josh Heckman and Drew Greenawalt (88 each).
While the wins have been hard to come by, the girls' tennis team hasn't stopped working. Their efforts last week left them with a 5-2 loss to Garden Spot last Wednesday, the first time this season they've scored a pair of team points. And Thursday they capped the regular season with their best effort yet, a hard-fought, 4-3 loss to Solanco.
Emma Bachelor and Morgan Smoker pulled out a 9-7 thriller at No. 2 doubles while Julia Ward earned a 6-2, 2-6 (10-6) result at No. 3 singles over Paula Groff.
"Emma and Morgan had to shake off some nerves to come away with the GS victory," said head coach Allie Fetter. "They played aggressively and used angled volleys to their advantage. I think the spirit of senior night motivated them to leave with a win."
The top doubles team of Maddy Groff and Marly Rohrer and the No. 3 team of Ward and Liv Chipriano put up good numbers but fell short 8-4, and 8-3 respectively.
"Julie took an early lead in the tiebreaker and ended up letting a few points go before securing her win," noted Fetter. "Her great footwork and consistency gave her the edge. She has been involved in a few tie breakers and I'm happy to see her win one."
Also in singles play, Groff fell 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1, Rohrer bowed out 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 and Batchelor lost 6-1, 6-1.
On Thursday the Mares took a 2-1 lead in doubles with Batchelor and Smoker putting up a 7-5 win at No. 2. Singles play was incredibly close. Groff won a tie breaker (5-7, 7-6 (13-11)) at No. 1 and Batchelor pulled out a 6-4, 7-5 win at No. 4 to account for the scoring. In between, Ward dropped a heartbreaker at No. 3 (2-6, 6-2 (10-7)) and Rohrer fell 6-3, 7-5.
The team opened the week with a 7-0 loss to Cedar Crest.
After cruising through the first half of league play with a Section One best 88 goals for and a league low 3 against, the Comets opened the second half of the regular season with a sweep over visiting Manheim Township on Pink Night. The Comets defeated the Streaks 2-0 in Neffsville but doubled that effort on Comet Field.
While the Streaks may have been focused on Gabby Bitts, the section scoring leader coming in (20 goals), the Comets have a handful of players ready to step into the scoring action. Bitts finished with two assists while Emma DeBerdine put the home team on the board midway through the half and Mia Clancy padded the lead with another penalty corner opportunity with two minutes left.
Brianna Harsh handled the second half scoring, beating Township keeper Cat Wilson (10 saves) in the 22nd and 29th minutes.
"As we move through the second half we'd like to continue to play great defense and improve our penalty corner output," said head coach Matt Soto.
The Comets were coming off a hard-fought non-league battle against Lower Dauphin Monday. Bitts provided all the offense needed, scoring on DeBerdine's setup at the 7:36 mark in the second half.
"This was great field hockey from both teams," said Soto, "but it showed that we need to produce more scoring opportunities."
Friday's two goal efforts from DeBerdine and Bitts highlighted Manor's third straight shutout, a 7-0 result over McCaskey, and pushed their unbeaten streak to 14-0. Harsh, Clancy and Autumn Gager also scored.
Fresh off a disappointing five set loss to Manheim Township, the Comets hosted the second place Warriors (5-1) in Section One Tuesday night and, try as they may, came up short 25-16, 25-12, 25-10.
Shayna Warfel matched Warwick's McKenzie Cossette with 12 kills and both teams recorded 20 digs with Warfel and Ava Dunford-Groves collecting ten each. Sydney Leichliter chipped in with 16 assist and one ace and Tiana Ferko put up one block as their record fell to 3-4 (3-6).
"Shayna had another good night as one of our top passers and kill leader," said head coach Tim Joyce.
The Comets righted the ship on Thursday, pulling out a hard-fought 25-21, 28-26, 25-21 result against a one win CV squad.
Warfel and Emily Cummings put down five kills each, compliments of Leichliter, who tallied 16 assists. Mikiah Sangrey collected the only ace and added 15 digs while Elizabeth Kubicar recorded two blocks.
"Emily had a very consistent night," said Joyce. "She only had one error on 20 attempts. Tiana set an aggressive block, getting three stops and Mikiah kept had several tough serving runs that scored us 11 points through the match."
On the pitch last week the lady booters were denied in league play against two of the top three teams in Section One, falling to Manheim Township (2-0) on Tuesday and Hempfield (4-0) on Thursday.
The Comets gave up two second half goals to the Streaks and three to the Knights in bowing out.
PM Volleyball Makes Quick Work of McCaskey September 24, 2017
The volleyball team split back-to-back games last week, falling short in a 3-2 (25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 23-25, 15-8) marathon on the road at L-S before coming home and taking care of a winless McCaskey squad 3-0.
"We had the same goal both days: to play our best," said head coach Tim Joyce. "We were pretty close to achieving that goal on both nights, but with different results."
Shayna Warfel racked up a match and career-high 20 kills Monday but it wasn't quite enough.
"LS is a tough team and it took until the third set to get our offense firing," recalled Joyce. "By the fourth set, we were finally believing, but in the end, they were more experienced, having gone five sets already this season."
Warfel collected those kills on 37 attempts with only four errors. She also served up five aces. Sydney Leichliter chipped in with 15 digs and 32 assists. The Comets also had three other players (Mikiah Sangrey, Ava Dunford-Groves and Kendra Weiss) with double-digit digs.
"Our level of defense made us tough to defend," said Joyce.
Tuesday's outing was far less intense as the Comets cruised to a 27-8, 25-18, 25-8 victory that took just about an hour.
"McCaskey was a fun match because everyone got playing time," noted Joyce. "In that second set we had the most subs, and the most performance fluctuation, but we got it together by the end.
"Warfel had six kills in 10 attempts with only two errors which is excellent," he added. "Sangrey also had a strong hitting night with five kills and two errors, and junior Lizzy Kubicar had four kills on nine attempts."
Thursday the locals found themselves in another five set thriller and for the second time on the week fell short. Manor jumped in front 28-26, 25-19 but the Streaks rallied for three straight and took the match 25-17, 25-23, 25-14.
Leichliter dished out a match-high 31 assists with 15 going to Warfel for a match-high in kills.
Taking advantage of five Lebanon turnovers, the gridiron team ground out a 35-20 win over the visiting Cedars this past Friday night to collect their first win of the season.
"I thought we played well," said head coach John Brubaker. "Lebanon is pretty talented and might have one of the best quarterbacks in the league."
The league opener featured 226 yards and three touchdowns by Ben Wright as the Comets broke a 20-20 third quarter tie with a dominating 15-0 final frame. Wright also stopped the Cedars with a goal line interception and recovered a fumble.
Manor started strong, scoring first quarter TD's on short runs by Josiah Edwards and Wright and led 13-0 at the break.
The Cedars regrouped and put together a solid game plan in the third, outscoring the hosts 20-7 to tie the game heading into the fourth.
"We definitely controlled the first half," said Brubaker. "But then a few errors let them back in. It was frustrating but we got a positive response to that adversity."
The Comets, behind Wright's 25-yard scamper and Edwards with a 28-yard run to the end zone, capped the fourth quarter scoring.
Lebanon countered Manor's 324-yard rushing game with 310-yards in the air. Liam Hart successfully booted three field goals and Nick Baker hauled in a two-point conversion pass that put the Comets in front for good, 28-20.
"Casey McCollum had a fantastic game on the offensive line," praised Brubaker. "He's the guy we like to run behind. Josiah, Cole Heckaman, Theoren McElheny and Ben accounted for all 340 of our rushing yards so we have some diversity in our backfield.
"And we moved Evan Jones to defensive end this week and, with three sacks, he made a positive response to the move," he continued. "Mike Brown, a first year starter, added two interceptions. He's been consistent in the secondary."
The Comets hosted the Section One contingent in last Tuesday's regular season finale and settled for a middle of the road finish. Their 338 team score handled Hempfield (349), Cedar Crest (393) and Lebanon (536) easily. The tough part was finishing just six strokes behind second place Warwick (332) and three behind CV (335). Township remained undefeated with their 307. Manor settled in for fourth place (18-24).
"All in all it was a good day," said head coach Tom Reustle.
Logan Hess turned in a solid outing. His 71 was the second lowest score of the day, following Township's Jacob Mancinati (68). Drew Greenawalt was second for the Comets with an 82 while Hunter Long (92) and Griffin Rineer (93) rounded out the counting four.
"Logan continued his great play," said Reustle. "What's amazing about his is how humble he is and what a great team player.
"Drew shot a solid round," he added. "He's been working hard and really wants to qualify for districts this year. I know he can do it.
"We have nine players who have qualified for leagues. That is a true testament to their hard work and dedication," stated the coach.
The Comets battled the third place Bucks on the road last Wednesday night and came away with their second league overtime tie of the season, moving their league record to 2-2-2.
After a scoreless first half, the Bucks jumped in front with a goal in the 51st minute and put the pressure on Manor's struggling offense. With about one minute left in regulation, Mitchell Martin successfully converted Liam Hart's feed on a breakaway to extend the game.
"I thought we had the better chances in the first half and both overtimes," said head coach Paul Taylor. "Liam, Mitch and Kyle Mowery were just inches off in a few of their shots.
"We have the least amount of goals allowed in Section One which speaks volumes for our backs and our goalie, especially in this tough section," he added. "Our holding midfielder, Jackson Hostetter, played a great game and held his own against a very physical opponent.
"As our attack improves, the goals should start coming," the coach continued. "We have another half of the regular season and plenty of opportunities to score goals. These guys are capable of scoring them."
The harrier teams were off last week but competed in the Ben Bloser Invitational at Big Springs High School on September 16.
Nick Fafel (18:23) and David Kramer (18:25) were Manor's top two finishers, placing 77th and 78th overall.
"We ran the meet to provide the team with exposure to the District course," said co-head coach Tom Ecker, "and to give them experience participating in a large invitational. With the warmer temperatures and high humidity, we chose not to push the runners given that our race was held in the heat of the afternoon."
Aidan Toomy (18:50), freshman Lou Lindsey (19:02) and Marco Rezkalla (19:12), in a field of 220, rounded out Manor's top five.
Andrea Funk earned the best finish of the day, placing 56th with a 22:04. Freshmen Arden Morgan (87, 23:13) and Lauren Zink (96th, 23:32) also placed in the top 100. Maddy McCanna (23:44), Brianna Ulaky (23:58) and freshman Becky Kramer (24:37) also competed.
While the tennis team isn't racking up the wins, they certainly are working at it. Last week the girls played Warwick, undefeated Manheim Township and third place Hempfield on back-to-back-to-back days and suffered two 7-0 losses.
"Our team is new to tennis but we have witnessed a lot of growth throughout the season," said head coach Allie Fetter. "We are proud of how far they have come since preseason."
At No. 4, Julie Ward turned in the toughest battle of the day against Warwick, bowing out 5-7, 6-1, 10-4 against Heather Mitchell. Emma Batchelor, at No. 5, was also competitive, shrugging off a 6-1 first set loss and closing the gap to 6-4 in the second set.
"Julie was very consistent," stated Fetter. "She hustled and had many long rallies."
Against the Streaks, Ward and Liv Chipriano secured the only games of the match for the Comets, dropping an 8-2 result at No. 3 doubles.
On the heels of two straight shutouts, the girl's soccer team battled Conestoga Valley, tied for the top spot in Section One, but didn't quite have the horses to pull out the upset. The Bucks, holding a slim 1-0 lead at the break, pulled away with a three goal second half.
"They played a direct kick and run style of soccer," noted head coach Jacob Marino. "We played a great passing game and possessed the ball nicely, but when a team plays kick and run it's difficult to develop a rhythm. Down the stretch, fatigue and injuries took its toll. But the girls maintained their composure to the end and showed no let down or lack of intensity.
"This game would have been a big ask even if we were completely healthy and rested," he added.
The field hockey team piled up 21 goals in two league games last week and ran their league unbeaten streak to 6-0 (10-0 overall).
Briana Harsh tallied her first hat trick of the season and sparked another dominating victory as Manor steamrolled yet another opponent Tuesday afternoon. Scoring five goals in each half, the Comets reached a double-digit offensive effort for the third time this season, cruising past Conestoga Valley 10-1.
Emma DeBerdine (1a) broke the ice in just 54 seconds and Gabby Bitts made it 2-0 about two minutes later. Harsh notched her first score of the day midway through the half and then made it 4-0 at the 18:01 mark. Hannah Brown (1a) capped the first half scoring with 1:28 left.
The second half was more of the same. Harsh got things rolling, taking a cross from Bitts and pushing it past CV's freshman keeper Brooke Eberly (10 saves) and AnnaMay Barbusca, who dished out a pair of assists, scored twice in 31 seconds and extended the lead to 8-0.
CV cracked the Comet defense with 10 minutes left as senior keeper Brit Hook gave up just her second goal to date.
Manor, however, went back to work, getting goals from Mia Clancy and Alyssa Schriver, finishing the day with 10 goals on 20 shots. Lisa Schaefer and Brook Spezialetti chipped in with assists.
Thursday afternoon it was Barbusca with a hat trick while Bitts and DeBerdine scored two goals each and added two assists to fuel an 11-0 shellacking over visiting Cedar Crest. The Comets pounded out 27 shots, were awarded 24 corners and led 5-0 by the midway point of the half.
Mia Clancy's two goal effort sparked a six goal second half. Brown (1a) and Shriver also added goals and Taylor Lefever and Lisa Schaefer dished out assists.
Hook earned the shutout with making a single save and the defense denied the Falcons in both corners and shots.
The Comets gave up just their third goal of the season but their undefeated record remained intact with a 2-1 nod over Hershey Saturday morning. A first half goal by Harsh put the hosts on the board and a second half tally by Brown proved to be the game-winner.
Lady Comets Again Score 14 Goal Victory September 17, 2017
With nine players contributing at the offensive end last Monday afternoon, it's safe to say the Comets have more than a handful of weapons. Those nine players accounted for 14 goals in a 14-0 train wreck over McCaskey. In fact, it was the second time the Comets, who advanced to the District finals and the PIAA AAA Final Four last year, netted 14 goals, having crushed Daniel Boone in their second game of the season.
"We never expected to score 14 goals once, let alone twice at this point," said head coach Matt Soto, "but we do have some very skilled goal scorers."
Anna May Barbusca's hat trick effort spear headed the attack. Emma DeBerdine and Hannah Brown both scored one goal in each half while Gabby Bitts, who also recorded three assists, netted a pair of second half goals. The junior almost single handedly dismantled Warwick Wednesday night at Comet field, tallying four of the teams five goals in their 5-1 final. Bitts, who leads the team in scoring, found the back of the net twice in less than a minute to push Manor's lead to 2-0 with 18:07 left in the first half. DeBerdine's goal with 8:58 left in the game rounded out the scoring. Barbusca's timely passing set up three of her team's goals.
"Emma is doing a great job controlling the middle of the field and directing penalty corner offense," said Soto, "and Gabby is off to a great start, with goals in every game. Lisa Schaefer has also been solid on the defensive side of the ball."
The Warriors prevented the shutout when Adrienne McGarrigle beat senior keeper Brit Hook with a good strike at the 18:49 mark of the second half. It was the first goal Hook and the defense have given up to date as they pushed their record to 5-0.
Also contributing to the McCaskey victory was Briana Harsh (2a), AnnaKatherine Kirk, Addison Ewing, Jasmine Miller and Schaefer each with one goal. Dishing out assists were DeBerdine, Brown, Autumn Gager, Alyssa Schriver and Brooke Spezialetti.
"Every game has been a total team effort," Soto said. "We have strength at every position and skillful reserves but we need to work on speeding up the attack and having more skill inside the offensive circle."
The domination continued Friday afternoon as the Comets rolled past Hempfield 9-0 and on Saturday they blanked Central York 8-0 and Hershey 5-zip to win the Hershey Tournament. Bitts, with a hat trick against CY, was the top Comet scorer of the day. Clancy, DeBerdine, Harsh and Barbusca each scored twice.
The harrier teams hosted McCaskey, CV and Ephrata on their new home course last Tuesday afternoon and pulled away with three victories. Nick Fafel's second place finish in 17:02 led Penn Manor to a hard-fought 26-29 victory over McCaskey. David Kramer (6th, 17:48), Lou Lindsey (7th, 18:02) and Aidan Toomey (8th, 18:03) helped widen the margin against Conestoga Valley (20-44) while Zach Schucker (15th, 18:55), Graham Thomas (16th), Dylan Terry (17th) and Marco Rezkalla (18th) helped seal the deal against the Mounts (22-39).
"This was the first time on our new course," noted co-head coach Tom Ecker. "Changes at Herr Park, along with planned changes on school property prompted the change and gave us the opportunity to add two long gradual hills. This makes it much more challenging for all runners, but we're hoping it will result in some form of a home-field advantage."
The PM - McCaskey races are always tight. Two years ago the Comets edged the Red Tornado 27-28 and last year survived a 28-28 tie on the sixth runner rule.
"We knew it would be tight again and require five runners to perform well," Ecker stated. "This was our strongest showing against them.
"Nick had a great race and an excellent time," he added.
The girl's team faced two strong teams in McCaskey and Ephrata and hoped to pull out a win over CV. They did just that, topping the Bucks 21-34 behind Andrea Funk's seventh place finish (21:29). McCaskey (18-38) and Ephrata (20-35), however, prevailed.
"Our goal was to run a strong race against CV and we were able to do that," stated Ecker.
Rounding out the top five Comets were Arden Morgan (10th, 21:56), Maddy McCanna (13th, 22:47), Brianna Ulaky (14th, 23:09) and Becky Kramer (20th, 24:20).
Having scored just three goals in their first four games, the Comet offense is starting to find its groove. They netted three goals in a non-league win over Red Lion and last Monday exploded for seven in a shutout over winless Lebanon.
The hosts needed just 14 shots to corral those seven goals. Hunter Enck, with two first half goals and a pair of assists, fueled the offense. Kyle Mowery knocked home two second half goals and Conlin Groft chipped in with two assists as the Comets extended their 4-0 first half advantage. Conner Braun's goal in the ninth minute opened the flood gates. Ryan Mowery and Mitchel Martin (1a) also contributed.
At home again Wednesday the boys faced a bigger challenge against the undefeated Warriors. But with their offense building confidence and a defense that seemed to bend but not break, the Comets settled for a double OT scoreless tie.
"It was a disappointing final result," stated head coach Paul Taylor, "but our ball movement is really improving. Once the concepts we are showing them click, it will be exciting."
With just three shots on goal for the day, the Comets actually had the best opportunity, a penalty kick by Hunter Eck with 8:42 remaining. That attempt sailed wide of the post.
The Warriors kept Comet keeper Blake Martin and his defense busy. Martin was credited with 10 saves as he recorded his second shutout of the week and had plenty of help from his defense.
"Jared Harvey, Conlin Groft, Zach Bailey, Connor Braun and Ethan Nace are the back line and are doing great," Taylor said.
Harvey, in fact, headed one of Warwick's attempts out of harm's way.
The play in both extra periods was back-and-forth with neither team mounting an exceptional threat.
"Offensively we had better possession of the ball and our good team defense and physicality stood out," added Taylor.
The Comets pushed their record to 4-3-1 overall with a hard-fought 2-1 nod over visiting McCaskey on Friday. Mitchell Martin's first half goal knotted the score at 1-1 while Paul Karpouzis delivered the game winner in the 53rd minute. Kyle Mowery and Enck were credited with assists.
In their only match of the week, the volleyball team dropped a closer than it appeared 3-1 result at Cedar Crest Thursday. They lost the first and fourth sets by identical 25-22 margins, lost 25-15 in the second and rebounded with a 25-17 win in set three.
Shayna Warfel was solid at the net with 11 kills and one block. Sydney Leichliter directed the offense with 25 assists and served up three aces while Ava Dunford-Groves hustled for a dozen digs.
Manor's tennis team battled a 3-1 CV squad last Monday in Millersville but failed to pull off the upset, suffering instead a shutout.
Friday's outing against Ephrata was a bigger battle. Though the Comets lost 6-1 they were able to put more numbers on the board. At No. 1, Maddy Groff earned her first singles victory of the season, holding off Kachel for a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win.
Julie Ward played a tough match at No. 3 but fell short 7-5, 6-4. She teamed with Nicole Rudy at No. 3 doubles but bowed out 8-4.
One week after their best performance of the season, the Comets found the going a bit tougher at Four Seasons last Wednesday afternoon. Their 326 team total left them in fifth place overall but just one stroke behind Hempfield and five behind third place Warwick.
"This was definitely a close one," said head coach Tom Reustle. "We had a few players who left some shots on the course, but that's golf."
Township, with a 296, against led the contingent while CV was second with a 312. The Comets were way ahead of Cedar Crest (367) and Lebanon (524).
A consistent Logan Hess tied Warwick's Brock Fassnacht with a 74, the third lowest score of the day. Griffin Rineer carded an 82, Max Forrey an 84, and Hunter Long's 86 rounded out the counters.
"Max and Griffin both played well and qualified for leagues," Reustle noted. "We have nine players now who have qualified."
Despite a slow start Friday night, the gridiron team found itself tied at 14-14 against visiting Dallastown with 7:47 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats, however, ran off four unanswered touchdowns, including three in the second frame and left Millersville with a 49-20 win.
"It was a sloppy start," said head coach John Brubaker. "We committed two turnovers and they capitalized. But we seemed to respond after that."
Manor answered with an 80-yard pass and run from Josiah Edwards to Cole Heckaman with 7:41 left in the first and knotted the score early in the second on Heckaman's 30-yard scamper.
"Cole did a nice job and Ben Wright ran close to 100 yards as well," praised Brubaker. "Theoren McElheny also had some success.
"Ben was tough on defense too as was Greg Zanowiak," he continued. "He's a bit undersized but he battles. Jake Hollinger, at outside linebacker, also looked good. Overall, though, our unforced errors (3 fumbles) and penalties (93 yards) hurt."
The Comets stopped the bleeding early in the fourth quarter when Heckaman picked up his third TD on a 16-yard run, but the Wildcats, despite being out-rushed 265-209, wrapped up the scoring with a 54-yard jaunt.
This week the Comets host Lebanon and will once again support Coach to Cure MD. Text "cure" to 50555 to donate $10 in honor of their team captain, Adam. Coach to Cure is a partnership between the American Football Coaches Association and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.
The lady Comets battled the two teams in front of them in the Section One standings and settled for mixed results. They were dealt a 4-2 loss to Cedar Crest (2-3-1) on Monday but rebounded with their first shutout of the season, a 2-0 result against the hosting Warriors Wednesday.
"Susan Porambo stepped it up in the attack and scored both of our goals against Cedar Crest," said head coach Jacob Marino. "The first came on a great cross from Ella Hart that Susan put away with one minute left in the first half. In the second half, she took on a few defenders and finished the ball past the keeper."
Wednesday the girls set the tone early when freshman Kylee Hess found the back of the net just 1:30 gone in the game.
"We had some great passing in the midfield to set up that goal," said Marino. "Kylee played well throughout the game."
Manor's second goal came when Anne Shoelkopf sent a corner kick to Hart who finished as the ball came off the ground.
"We began to tire as the game wore on," said Marino. "Warwick subbed consistently in key places on the field while most of our starting 11 played 80 minutes.
"Megan Sangrey (senior) and Miriam Badri (keeper, 8 saves) were both back from injury and a solid presence on the field," he added. "This was an important result and our best game to date."
Friday the Comets blanked McCaskey behind two goal efforts from Evans and Porambo. Hart, S. Hess and K. Hess also scored.
Golfers Go 5-1 at Lebanon, Hess Cards Low Round September 10, 2017
Last Tuesday afternoon at Lebanon Country Club, the Comets, in a nine-hole event, competed in their fifth L-L League golf match of the season and came away with their best finish yet.
"This was a great match for us," said head coach Tom Reustle. "We went 5-1 which brought us to 13-17 overall. We've been so close to putting it all together and today it showed."
Logan Hess, who carries a 73 average, tied Township's Jacob Macinati for the low round of the day, a 1-under par 35. Hunter Long followed with a 42 while Drew Greenawalt and Max Forrey both carded 45's, leaving the Comets in second place with a 167 total, just one stroke in front of both CV and Warwick, and two strokes ahead of second place Hempfield (21-9). Cedar Crest (192) and Lebanon (200) rounded out the field.
"We have eight returning players and five have qualified for leagues to date," stated Reustle. "Joining Hess will be Long, Greenawalt, Erin Purczyiki and promising freshman Amanda Wolf. She has a tremendous work ethic and a bright future.
"It's just a matter of time for Forrey, Griffin Rineer, Josh Heckman and Kaden Peart to have a breakout round," he added. "They show true grit and determination."
First year head coach Jacob Marino and his young Comets not only battled wet and soggy conditions Wednesday afternoon but the visiting Streaks of Manheim Township as well. After 80 minutes of sloshing around Comet field, Township's Alison Heckman spear-headed a 5-0 victory over Manor with a hat trick.
"They deserved the victory," stated Marino, "but our girls played some quality soccer when on the ball. A few careless mistakes in the back, due to inexperience, proved costly as Township capitalized. And we weren't able to make the most of our opportunities."
Six of Manor's starters are freshman and sophomores. They have just four healthy seniors on the squad of 26.
"We're not only young, but injured," Marino said. "Three of our four keepers are out, including senior Mary Ellen Campanaro who will miss the entire season due to a shoulder injury. Freshman Brooke Hinkle (3 saves) was asked to step in. She kept her head up and the girls rallied around her.
"We also have several players that make up our back line out," he continued.
Heckman scored all three of Township's first half goals, including two in less than two minutes.
"Sophomore Ella Hart was a standout up front, but Danielle Heisey and Anne Shoelkopf anchored the middle of the field and created some attacking opportunities for us," noted Marino. "And Kylee Hess, a freshman, has stepped up in the center of the field. We're an entirely new team from last year.
"The girls know that on paper we're the underdogs," he stated. "But they have embraced that. They are determined not to settle for a "rebuilding" season. Section One is tough, every opponent is a challenge, but we wouldn't have it any other way," Marino continued. "We're going to take it one challenge at a time. I was happy with our intensity and how the girls carried themselves with class."
The Comets fell to 0-2 in Section One play when they dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker against Hempfield on Thursday. Meghan Greenawalt's first half goal knotted the score in the 32nd minute, but a 2-1 deficit in the second half was the difference. Ella Hart's goal in the 71st minute came after the Knights forged ahead 3-1.
Hinkle faced 11 shots on the day and recorded 8 saves.
Senior Mikiah Sangrey dished up nine aces to lead the Comets to a 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-17) Section One opening victory over Conestoga Valley last Tuesday at home. They were coming off a 3-0 season opening defeat against Section Two power Garden Spot.
"We had control of the match most of the time," noted head coach Tim Joyce. "CV is developing a good team but they're young."
The victory over the Bucks included senior-heavy contributions, starting with seven kills from Emily Cummings and three blocks by Tiana Ferko. Ava Dunford-Groves anchored the defense with 19 digs and Sydney Leichliter paced the offense with 20 assists.
"Sydney did a nice job spreading the ball to Mikiah Sangrey and Shayna Warfel," stated Joyce. "Sangrey also had a staggering nine aces and Dunford-Groves played some lights out defense.
"I was pleased that our starters got us into a comfortable enough lead to put some of our substitutes in. All 12 players on our roster got to play at some point. This was a confidence builder heading into Hempfield."
Unfortunately, that confidence did not lead to an upset over the Knights Thursday night. Hempfield swept the action, winning 25-18, 25-16, 25-15.
Cummings matched Hempfield's Jailene Lugo with eight kills and Leichliter put up a match-high 21 assists. Warfel (1 blocks) served up a pair of aces but couldn't match Natalie Virts who dished out eight for the Knights. Dunford-Groves was tops for the Comets with four digs.
Despite forcing Lampeter-Strasburg into five turnovers, Penn Manor failed to capitalize and eventually dropped a 25-21 thriller on the road this past Friday night.
"You don't typically win a game when you turn the ball over as much as we did," said Pioneer boss John Manion. "Our defense did a nice job of putting pressure on the quarterback."
L-S took a slim 2-0 lead in the first quarter when Cam D'Imperio sacked PM QB Josiah Edwards in the end zone with 2:59 left in the quarter. That and a 23-yard field goal by Peyton Denlinger in the third quarter proved to be the difference as both teams managed three touchdowns through the final three quarters.
The hosts pushed out to a 9-0 advantage early in the second quarter on Todd Shelley's five yard strike to Kris Pirozzi. Denlinger's PAT was good.
Manor closed the gap in the final seconds of the opening half. Michael Brown's interception with 4:44 on the clock set up a nine-yard keeper by Edwards, cutting the lead to 9-7 at the break.
The Comets got off to a good start in the second half. Jacob Hollinger fell on yet another L-S fumble, setting up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Edwards to Michael Morris.
That lead, however, was short-lived. L-S answered back when Shelley found Connor Blantz in the corner of the end zone, putting the home team in front 15-14. A 23-yard field goal by Denlinger with 16 seconds left in the quarter extended the lead to 18-14.
Both teams turned the ball over to start the fourth quarter. Manor capitalized on Ben Wright's fumble recovery when Edwards hit Taraje Whitfield with a 38-yard strike and Liam Hart cashed in on the PAT kick with 10:27 left.
Lampeter quickly countered. Marc Wilson's 54-yard run up the middle put the home team on the one-yard line and Shelley followed with a two-yard toss over the top to Alex Knapp.
Four games into the season the Comets sit at 1-4 with a pair of overtime losses. They dropped a 1-0 result against Lampeter-Strasburg in the 96th minute. The following morning they rebounded against Solanco and pulled out a 1-0 win on a first half goal by Mitchell Martin.
Last week the Comets again found themselves in a back-to-back scenario. Due to Tuesday's storms, Manor battled Manheim Township Wednesday afternoon and came back to host Hempfield the following night. Both games were one goal losses.
The Streaks dominated play, putting up 11 corners and 12 shots while holding the visitors to 1 and 3 respectively. But they needed overtime to break Manor's defense. Greyson King got the job done in the 89th minute.
Liam Hart, assisted by Conlin Groft, tallied Manor's second goal of the season but it wasn't enough. Tied at 1-1 in the first half, Hempfield's Drew Johnson scored his second goal of the game in the 79th minute, lifting the Knights to victory.
"Our defensive back line is strong," said head coach Paul Taylor. "And Blake Martin is a great goalkeeper. We are sorting our attack and are close to having it complete. We didn't lie down, and won't lie down for any team," he added. "We are fighters and will continue to improve.
"We have four returning starters in Hunter Enck, Jared Harvey, Conlin Groft and Blake Martin," noted Taylor. "Newcomers Zach Bailey played great while fighting a cold and Ethan Nace filled in nicely in a variety of positions.
"We have missed playoffs by one spot each of the last three years," he continued. "The expectation is to get there this year. They can do it. I believe in them."
In non-league play Saturday, Martin's hat-trick performance lifted the Comets to a 3-1 victory over Red Lion. Tied at 1-1 at the half, Martin scored twice in a period of seven minutes to help ice the win. Conner Braun (2) and Groft were credited with assists.
The harriers opened their season with a tri-meet on Thursday at Cedar Crest. The girls' squad, behind Andrea Funk's second place finish (19:72) went 1-1 on the day, defeating the hosts 25-31 but falling short against Hempfield, 21-38.
Freshman Arden Morgan was solid in placing fifth overall. Lauren Zink (10th), Maddy McCanna (12th) and Becky Kramer (19th) rounded out the top five.
"We are optimistic that the addition of several freshmen will help our overall team strength," said head coach Tom Ecker.
On the boy's side, league powers Hempfield and Cedar Crest handed the Comets a pair of losses. Returning starters Nick Fafel (4th, 15:47), David Kramer (8th,) and Aiden Toomey (12th) led Manor's scorers with freshman Lou Lindsley working his way to 13th place.
"We lost our top two runners in Doug Kramer and Malachi Lyons," said Ecker. "That will have a definite impact on our depth but we expect to do well based on a good off-season training program."
Four matches into the season the Comets are still searching for their first win. While three of those losses are shutouts, the Comet line scores have been pretty competitive and rarely feature shutouts.
With four seniors and a pair of sophomores in the lineup, the Comets dropped a 7-0 result against McCaskey last Thursday. One of those sophomores, Julie Ward, put up the best numbers of the day. Playing No. 3 singles, Ward battled to a 6-3, 6-2 loss.
At No. 1 doubles, seniors Madison Groff and Marly Rohrer dropped an 8-4 result while Emma Batchelor and sophomore Olivia Chipriano fell 8-3 at No. 3.
Groff lost a 6-4, 6-0 result at No. 1 singles and Rohrer fell 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2. Batchelor played No. 4 and fell short 6-2, 6-0.
"The girls are enjoying their season so far and have been making improvements each match," said head coach Allie Fetter. "They are using what they learn in practice and applying it on the court. I am proud of their sportsmanship and desire to persevere."
The field hockey team opened league play Friday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over Manheim Township. The Comets dominated at the offensive end, piling up 10 corners and a dozen shots but only broke the defense twice. Briana Harsh put Manor on the board with a first half goal while Gabby Bitts provided a second half insurance goal.
Senior keeper Brit Hook needed just two saves to preserve the shutout.
Three Comet Teams Fall in State Tournaments June 12, 2017
With volleyball, softball and baseball all competing in the PIAA playoffs last week, the Comets were well represented despite season-ending losses.
It's the time of the year when the only team that finishes with a victory is the team that wins the state title. The Comets, in Class 6A action, opened their bid for that elusive crown last Monday afternoon at Patriots Park in Allentown. They suffered just a 2-0 loss, only their third of the season, to Bethlehem Liberty.
"I'm very proud of what this team accomplished," said head coach Dave Stokes. "We finished at 23-3, won the section and won our first ever Lancaster-Lebanon League championship for the best season ever for Penn Manor softball.
"So many things have to go right for a team to win the district and state tournaments," he added. "We played well. We executed and moved runners into scoring position, more often than they did, but we didn't get the key hit.
"Brittany Hook only had one strikeout, a season-low, but she threw well," he continued. "She had one of her lowest pitch counts of the season."
Hook, who has 780 career strikeouts to date, retired the first ten batters she faced before giving up a one out single in the fourth.
Back-to-back doubles in the fifth put Liberty on the board.
"Those two doubles were their hardest hits of the game," said Stokes.
They tacked on one more in the sixth, a manufactured run if you will. They singled, took advantage of an error and a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly.
"They had two opportunities to score and they scored on both of them," noted Stokes. "We had several opportunities and left seven base runners stranded."
Pam Perez connected for two of Manor's four hits.
"We lose four seniors (Perez, Morgan Yingling, Addie Long and Abby Busswood) and they will be missed," said Stokes. "They were all two year starters and some played as sophomores. But we'll have Brittany back, along with Sydney Duplissey and Julia Tappany as our core starters. Cheyenne Ortman, Kloe Sanchez and Lauren Sensenish also return. And we have 12 incoming freshman. I don't think we've ever had a freshman group that size. So we'll see what next year brings.
"This year's group was a pleasure to coach," he added. "They all got along and everyone was pulling in the same direction. That was definitely a key to our success."
Penn Manor's three-plus weeks of playoff games came to a close last Thursday in the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals at Newport High School. The Comets dropped a 3-1 final to State College. It's the first time Manor has reached the quarterfinals since 2005, when they won the state title.
"They just beat us," said head coach Jim Zander. "We have nothing to hang our heads about. We were down 3-0. Made it 3-1. We only struck out once but ran into a couple of double plays."
The District 6 champs jumped in front with one run in the second inning on two hits and a walk. They added two more runs on four hits one inning later.
The Comets got on board in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Witmer reached on an infield single and later scored on a Dalton Landis base hit. The Comets collected four hits that inning (Dalton Frey and Jeff Taylor also singled) but left the bases loaded.
The Little Lions loaded the bags in the top of the sixth but Jeff Taylor got out of the jam unscathed. With two outs and a runner on first, State College worked a pair of singles before Taylor earned his third strikeout of the inning.
The Lions (13-10) turned two double plays on the day, the last coming in the bottom of the seventh when Tanner Simet and Jeremy Burkholder reached on a single and an error, respectively.
"It's ironic the way the game ended," recalled Zander. "When we beat State College in '05 it was on the exact same 1-6-3 double play.
"They're a good hitting ball club with a .288 average but I thought Jeff pitched well," Zander continued. "He struck out seven and gave up eight hits."
The Comets opened the PIAA playoffs Tuesday morning at Somerset High School, topping Pine-Richand 6-4, and got home in time for graduation.
"We have nine seniors this year but they were all very focused," said Zander. "That's the most runs Pine-Richland had given up all year. Hitting has been our bug-a-boo this season but this was a solid victory. We scored six runs on 12 hits."
This one was back-and-forth from the start. The Comets jumped in front with one run in the top of the first. Grant Gale worked a leadoff walk, moved up on a Brett Beiler base hit and scored on Frey's liner to left field. Richland turned a double play to end the inning and then grabbed the lead in the bottom half with two runs, and picked up a third in the second inning.
Manor cut the lead to 3-2 when Cade Thourot's base hit plated Taylor in the fourth and a three run rally in the fifth gave them their biggest lead, 5-3. Witmer singled, Beiler reached on an error and Frey's base hit to right loaded the bags. A fielder's choice got Witmer out at home but Taylor's fly ball to right tied the game at 3-3. Simet was hit by the pitch, pushing in the go ahead run, and Thourot's two out base hit to left gave the Comets a 5-3 advantage.
Back-to-back walks in the bottom half set the stage for Richland's fourth and final run of the game.
Manor padded its lead with another run in the sixth. Witmer doubled and scored on Beiler's base hit. They left two runners on that inning and two more in the seventh.
The WPIAL Class 6A champs looked to rally in the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles and a one out walk but the Comets turned a double play to preserve the win.
Matt Tulli, Dylan Crook and Jeff Taylor combined for four strikeouts and six walks. They gave up five hits and two earned runs.
"Dylan did a nice job in relief and gave us a chance to win," said Zander.
Beiler, Frey and Taylor each finished with two hits and one RBI. Witmer also collected two hits, including Manor's only double. Thourot and Simet were credited with one RBI each.
The Comets finished as the Section One champs and were District Three semifinalists.
"It was a good season," said Zander. "We won 18 games this year and 19 games the two years before this. We will definitely miss the seniors."
Grant Gale and Jeff Taylor were recently recognized as First Team all-stars while Dalton Landis, Dylan Frey and Ryan Witmer were Second Team all-stars.
The volleyball team advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals opposite a familiar foe in Central Dauphin. The Comets defeated the Rams 3-2 early in May and the Rams returned the favor in the district semifinals, winning 3-1.
There was more on the line Saturday, June 3, however as both were fighting for a spot in the PIAA semifinals.
The rubber match went to Central Dauphin, 3-0, though not without a valiant effort by the Comets.
"We met our match," said head coach Chris Telesco. "CD proved themselves the stronger team at this point in the season. They played incredible ball, and though my guys played with heart, our defense and offense came up short. We had zero blocks in the match - a stat that will kill a team at this stage of the season."
The Comets got off to a good start, leading 7-0. They extended the advantage to 13-4 and 18-11 before the Rams rallied and eventually stole the victory, 27-25, and the momentum. They went on to win 25-21, 25-14 and ended Manor's season.
"Sophomore Matt Schaefer came up with two aces and just tough serving in general," stated Telesco.
Dan Fry led with 11 kills, and Alex Newport chipped in with nine. Reuben Kemrer dished out 24 assists and Evan Ressler hustled for 13 digs.
"As for our all-stars," said Telesco. "I'm proud to have four guys (Reuben, Dan, Alex Newport and Alex Krahulik) on the first team of one of the toughest sections in the state. Josh Hess and Coleman Raush were both second team all-stars."
The Comets finished third in the district bracket and advanced to the L-L League semifinals.
Penn Manor Diamond Teams Qualify for States June 2, 2017
Penn Manor's softball team has met little resistance this season. With pitcher Brittany Hook in the middle of the action, the Comets ran off nine shutouts before the post-season opened. A pair of one run wins, 5-4 over Cumberland Valley and 3-2 over Central York pushed their winning streak to 16 straight and landed them back in the District Three Class 6A Championships opposite Chambersburg last Thursday afternoon at Messiah College's Starry Field. The Trojans nipped the Comets 1-0 in ten innings in the District Three Class 4A final a year ago. No. 3 Penn Manor was looking to even the score. Unfortunately the softball gods were not on their side.
No. 5 Chambersburg pounded out 18 hits, batted around in the seventh inning, and handed the Comets their most lopsided defeat of the season, 13-2.
"I feel real bad for Brittney right now," said head coach Dave Stokes. "She's the pillar of this team. We just had one of those games where it wasn't our day. Everything went right for them. They hit up-and-down the lineup, including their No. 9 hitter who went 4-for-4 for probably the first time this year," he added. "They're a very good squad with eight senior starters and three senior pitchers. And they brought the bats this time. They just hit everything that came at them," said Stokes. "In the top of the seventh Brittney threw 17 pitches and they scored six runs."
That was Chambersburg's biggest inning. They responded from Manor's two run first inning with three runs in the second inning, one in the fourth and three more in the fifth before breaking the game wide open in the sixth. A bases clearing double by Dori Loukopoulos (5 RBI) did the most damage that inning. She followed that up with a two run homer in the seventh as the Trojans batted around and plated six more runs to pull away.
The Comets struck for two quick runs in the first inning as they looked to take charge. Julia Tappany walked, was sacrificed to second by Sam Duplissey and moved to third on Hook's base hit. With two outs, Morgan Yingling walked to load the bases and Addy Long followed with a clutch two-run single.
"We committed two errors in the second inning that helped them take a 3-2 lead," noted Stokes. "After that first inning, we went three up, three down until the seventh when Morgan led off with a base hit but three straight outs ended the game."
Chambersburg starter Laken Myers allowed two earned runs on four hits while issuing two walks. She struck out five and helped her cause with two hits and two RBI in the complete game victory.
"Now we get to reboot," stated Stokes. "We open the state tournament against the District 11 champ.
The Comets will take on Liberty, who topped previously undefeated and 3-time defending champ Parkland 3-1, in the PIAA opener.
Penn Manor advanced to the title game with a 3-2 semifinals thriller that took two days to complete. Tuesday at Hershey High School, the Comets took an early lead compliments of Yingling's 3 RBI, bases clearing double in the first inning and held on to defeat Central York (22-2). The Panthers also scored their runs in that first inning on a two-run double by Briannah Dobson. But with two outs in the top of the third, and Pam Perez on first base, the game was suspended.
Wednesday, Yingling got the action rolling with a lead-off double but Perez was caught in a rundown at third base and failed to extend Manor's lead. Left-handed hurler Courtney Coppersmith retired 12 straight batters from that point on. She finished with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Hook, however, with nine strikeouts and three walks, earned the win.
"Having to come back and finish the next day made for an interesting experience," said Stokes. "Central York did not come close to scoring that second day. Morgan had the big hit and we made it stand. Both pitchers threw very well."
Seeded third in the District Three Class 6A baseball tournament behind Governor Mifflin and Dallastown, the Comets received a first-round bye and opened quarterfinals action against Hempfield on Friday, May 26 at Comet Field and secured a 7-6 thriller that pushed them into last Tuesday's semifinal round opposite Dallastown. That game was played at Manheim Township and resulted in a 3-0 shutout and Manor's second loss to the Wildcats having dropped a 5-1 result on May 9.
"We just can't seem to get the timely hit when we need it," said head coach Jim Zander. "That's been our bug-a-boo here of late. We're struggling at the plate and it's not like we're striking out all the time either."
Both teams finished with three hits but the Comets committed three errors to aid the Wildcat cause.
Manor's Matt Tulli went the distance, striking out three hitters, as did Dallastown's Nick Parker, who fanned eight batters and got the Wildcats going early, scoring the winning run in the first inning. Tye Golden, with two strikes, doubled to right center and scored on Bryan Hoftzapple's grounder to third.
They scored again in the second on a walk, a hit, an error and a sac fly and capped the scoring in the fifth inning on a walk, and a bunt that was thrown into right field.
Grant Gale went 2-for-3 at the plate.
"We won the section, which I feel is the toughest to win because it involves so many games," said Zander. "In 2005 we won states but did not win the section, leagues or districts. We're using that as motivation."
That motivation worked on Thursday night as the Comets (17-8) blanked Warwick 1-0 to earn the district bronze and their first PIAA berth since 2012. The Section One champs will open states against the District Seven champions.
"I figured it would be a low-scoring game," said Zander. "They threw their ace, Zach Peters, the day before so I wasn't sure who we'd see. Jeff Taylor cracked a solo homer, the first of his high school career, in the second inning and made it stand.
"I just can't say enough about Jeff," he continued. "They loaded the bases with one out in the second inning and he worked out of the jam. They had two on with one out in the fourth and we turned a double play, Ryan Witmer to Cade Thourot to Grant Gale, and then put two more on in the fifth," Zander added. "He threw 89 pitches, struck out ten, and had everything working."
The Comets, who also finished with five hits, weren't without opportunities. Gale singled to lead off the first, Witmer sacrificed him to second and Brett Beiler singled to center field, pushing Gale to third. Back-to-back groundouts ended the inning.
Beiler and Dylan Frey, batting cleanup, collected two straight singles to start the sixth. Beiler advanced to third on a fielder's choice and was thrown out a home on a wild pitch that rolled to the back of the backstop.
"There's a lot of room behind the catcher on that Ephrata field but Brett hesitated a little and didn't make it," noted Zander.
Warwick, who caps its season at 14-9, nipped the Comets 1-0 back on April 5 but Manor split the series with a 6-1 victory on May 1. Zach Peters pitched both games for the Warriors.
While the softball and baseball teams were wrapping up the district competition, the volleyball team entered the first round of the PIAA playoffs last Tuesday night. The Section One champ Comets worked past District 11 runner-up Whitehall 3-1 at William Allen High School in Allentown and punched its ticket to the PIAA quarterfinals with a 25-18, 19-25, 25-18, 25-18 four-set victory.
"They have a talented outside hitter (Logan McGinley) that we had to stop," said head coach Chris Telesco. "Thanks to the incredible defense of Evan Ressler, we were able to at least slow him down a bit. Evan finished with 23 digs, one of which dropped for a rare libero kill," he continued. "He adapted to Whitehall's attack and read their hitters beautifully."
McGinley finished with 22 kills on the night, pushing his season total to 509 and career record to 1,213.
"Offensively, Reuben Kemrer spread the ball, and three guys found little resistance from Whitehall," Telesco said. "Alex Krahulik was virtually unstoppable in the middle and collected 11 kills. Dan Fry led with 18 and Alex Newport knocked down 15."
Along with his 46 assists, Kemrer also added five kills. Coleman Raush added a pair of blocks.
"We came out sluggish - maybe a product of a two-hour drive and little warmup time, or maybe just nerves," said Telesco. "We overcame that because we outmatched Whitehall in each area of the game."
Despite that advantage, the Comet dropped an error-filled second set.
"Thankfully, we collected ourselves in the third set and settled in," Telesco stated. "Whitehall made a run late in the third set, but we held them off and kept the momentum in to the fourth set."
Next up for the Comets is a familiar foe in Central Dauphin. Those results will appear in the June 14 edition.
The track and field team completed its 2017 season with three members competing in the PIAA Championships Friday and Saturday, May 26-27 at Shippensburg University.
Alex Scheivert wrapped up a successful junior season with a silver medal finish in the 3A javelin. His best toss of the day was a 197-11, just seven inches behind Hayden Fox, of Hempfield Area (198-6).
Placing in two events was hurdler expert Taraje Whitfield. The junior, hampered by sore shins, grabbed a fourth place medal in the 110 highs with a 14.50. He also earned a seventh place finish in the 300 hurdles with a 39.66.
Sarah Stackhouse, a senior, competed in the long jump and fell short of a PIAA medal. She finished in 13th place with a 17-2.75.
"Sarah performed well and had a successful record-breaking season," noted head coach Dan Myers.
Long was second in the District championships with a school record 18-4.5. "The previous record of 17-11 was set in 1976 by Vanessa Evans," Myers pointed out.
"It was a good season for the team," he added. "We achieved our goal of showing growth from year to year."
Comet Volleyball Competes in Districts May 25, 2017
After a surprising early exit from the Lancaster-Lebanon League volleyball playoffs, the Comets started working their way through the District Three Class 3A championships which got underway Thursday, May 18 with a fairly easy 3-0 victory over Red Land at Daniel Boone.
"The boys had led down their guard a little against Manheim Township, and we weren't about to do that again," said Comet boss Chris Telesco. "We knew Red Land came with firepower from the outside hitters, so we focused on stopping those two. We shut down their attack with hard serves and strong defense, and dominated the first and third sets. The second set saw them make an adjustment that made it a little closer, but we responded well."
Behind 11 kills from Alex Newport, the defending district champs and No. 5 seed worked a 25-10 first set win, eased up a bit in the second set but prevailed 25-21 and put the hammer down with a match-clinching 25-11 third set win.
Reuben Kemrer put up 23 assists and four blocks and served a pair of aces while Dan Fry hustled for seven digs and served up six aces.
"Dan was feeling it on his serve and bombed some jump serves that put them on their heels," said Telesco. "His aces were torpedoes."
Coleman Raush and Fry also added six kills each.
"Our block total was the most insane. We collected 17 in a short three-set match," noted Telesco. "That's unheard of."
Raush and Kemrer had four blocks each. Newport added three, and Alex Krahulik and Josh Hess each chipped in with two.
Last Monday, in the quarterfinals at Central Dauphin, the Comets, despite a comfortable 25-11 first set win, needed an extra set to get past Berks County champ Daniel Boone (14-1). They won 3-1. After dropping the second set 25-23, Manor rallied to win 25-17, 25-16 and clinched a spot in the PIAA playoffs.
"We knew they had not dropped a match in the Berks League so we were a bit surprised by the first set performance," Telesco said. "They played better in the second set, getting a matchup that favored them, and we didn't respond as well. We made some unforced errors that frustrated us - something we hope to eliminate as we go deeper into playoffs," he continued. "We came out fired up in the third set and started hitting our serves again. Except for a few moments in that second set, our passers - Josh Hess, Evan Ressler and Dan Fry - were putting every ball on Reuben's head. They have been outstanding all year. Daniel Boone just could not match our passing, defense or attack."
Kemrer, the L-L League Section One MVP, delivered 46 assists with 24 going to Newport for kills. Fry chipped in with 12 kills and picked up another eight digs, and Alex Krahulik added 6 kills. Evan Ressler anchored the defense with 17 digs while both Josh Hess and Kemrer served up two aces each.
The Comets took on a familiar foe and top seed Central Dauphin in Wednesday's District 3 Class 3A semifinals at Red Lion. The result, however, was a hard-fought 3-1 victory for the Rams, who, ironically were dealt a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Comets on April 27.
The Comets got off to a slow start and dropped the first set 25-18.
The second set appeared to be going the same way as CD pushed out to a 10-4 lead before the Comets regrouped, taking the lead at 17-15 and eventually the set, 25-18.
A slow start in the third set again proved costly. Manor fell behind 12-7 but close the gap before eventually bowing out 25-22.
The fourth set proved to be the closest of the night as neither team led by more than a couple of points and eventually tied at 20-20. The Rams, however, proved they're the top seed for a reason and prevailed 25-21.
The Comets will face Dallastown in the district's third-place match which will determine seeding for the PIAA tournament, which opens play this week.
A handful of Comets qualified for the District Three Class 3A Track and Field Championships held at Shippensburg University's Seth Grove Stadium last Friday and Saturday, May 19-20 and they brought home a handful of silver medals.
Taraje Whitfield was second in both the 110 hurdles (14.46) and the 300's (39.25) finishing both behind CV's Aanyah Bermudez (14.31 in the 110's) and in front of (39.44 in the 330's) the local senior.
Sarah Stackhouse settled for second in the long jump but in the process set a PR and a new school record with an 18-4.5. The senior was seeded second with a 17-11.
Their final silver medal came at the hands of junior Alex Scheivert who tossed the javelin 193-11, following Warwick's top seed, Eric Garner's (200-06). Scheivert was seeded second with a throw of 205-10.
All three athletes qualified for the PIAA Championships, also at Seth Grove Stadium.
Also securing a district medal for the Comets was the 4x800 relay team of Doug Kramer, Malachi Lyon, Dylan Terry and David Kramer. The Comets were seeded sixth with an 8:05.5 but settled for an eighth place medal with their time of 8:10.95.
The Lancaster-Lebanon League all-stars were recently announced and the Comets were well represented.
Josh Heckman is a First Team All-LL League Face-off. He scored 18 goals, dished off 14 assists and won 60 percent of his face-offs.
Billy Briegel is a First Team All-LL League Defense. "Billy led the league in groundballs while orchestrating our entire defense," said head coach Zac Charles.
Garrett Morgan is a Second Team All-LL League Midfield. "Garrett started to hit his stride mid-season as we moved him from the attack position to midfield," Charles noted. "He really took over, scoring 28 goals to go with five assists."
Also voted as a Second Team All LL League was Tony Dandridge as Defensive Midfield. "Tony was a great addition to our team," said Charles. "He did all the dirty work and shut down opposing team's best midfielder every game. He never had any let down games and always played with 100% heart and hustle."
Honorable Mention selections are Joey Barbusca at Defensive Midfield and Seth Wilton in goal. "Joey also changed positions and picked up playing defensive midfield very effectively," Charles said. "He was always in the right position at all times and played with great intensity.
"Seth was our rock all year," he continued. "He saved 110 shots while only allowing a 6.32 goal against average."
Also recognized was Connor Black who received the Class Act Award and Mason Garcia who made the All-Academic Team for his 4.9 GPA.
Due to the holiday deadlines, the highlights of the softball and baseball team's district openers will appear in the next issue.
Track, Softball Earn Historic League Titles May 19, 2017
With softball, baseball, track and field and volleyball all competing in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs last week, Comet fans had plenty to keep busy. And as the week wore on, two of those teams rose to the top. The boys' track team capped its first league championship since 1967 on Monday and the softball team claimed the school's first L-L League crown Wednesday.
The Lady Comets, who were runner's up in the league tournament a year ago, faced off against Section Two champ Solanco and came away with a 5-3 victory at Garrett Park in Willow Street, earning that coveted crown.
The Comets, winners of 16 straight, took advantage of four not so typical Solanco errors and led 4-0 after three innings. Julia Tappany walked to start the action and Sydney Duplissey's sacrifice bunt was thrown over first base. With one out, Pam Perez clubbed a two strike RBI single to center field.
Morgan Yingling plated courtesy runner Tori Malpica with a fielder's choice.
Two innings later it was 4-0 when Brittany Hook reached on a dropped fly ball. Cherish Frick, running for Hook, scored on a Perez single up the middle. Addy Long, with two outs, smacked a grounder up the middle that was backhanded by the second baseman but dropped at first, scoring Perez with the fourth run.
"Solanco has been playing well," said head coach Dave Stokes. "Their last loss was to us early in April. We struggled with the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday schedule and I think they did too. I think they showed the tensions of a big game and our seniors came through. Brit obviously is a special talent but she had some help," he continued. "Addy Long had that big two out single against Annville, Morgan Yingling shell-shocked Donegal with a two run homer and Pam Perez, batting cleanup, was 4-6 with four RBIs these last two games."
The Mares, in the meantime struggled at the plate, connecting for just two hits, both in the first inning.
Manor scored again in the fifth on a one out triple by Perez and Yingling's grounder to short that was thrown over first.
Solanco, who lost to the Comets by the same 5-3 score back on April 13, finally got going in the fifth, pushing in three runs with two outs on a Kara McClune two run single and Randi Rambo's bloop RBI double.
Hook anchored the Comets 16th straight win with eight strikeouts, two walks and six scattered hits.
Manor opened the tournament Monday night with a tight 2-1 victory over Annville-Cleona at Warwick. Long's two out, two run single with the bases loaded was all Manor could manage against A-C hurler Kayla Grubb.
The Comets had four of their nine hits in that first inning. Tappany singled, Duplissey's dribbler between the pitcher and catcher put her on first and Hook's bunt loaded the bags and set the stage for Long's timely hit.
Duplissey and Hook were both 2-3 and Hook recorded 15 strikeouts.
"Annville was just overmatched by Britney," Stokes said.
Tuesday, back at Garrett Park, the Comets, with another early lead, topped Section Three champ Donegal, 5-3. Perez knocked in Tappany with a sac fly and Morgan Yingling followed with a two-out, two run homer for a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
The Indians threatened in the fourth, loading the bases on a single, an error and a walk, but Hook bore down and delivered a full count strikeout to end the threat.
The momentum led to Cheyenne Ortman tripling and scoring on a fielder's choice by Kloe Sanchez.
Donegal scored on a solo homer in the fifth and on two singles and a walk in the sixth while a Perez triple plated Manor's last run in the fifth.
Hook gave up nine hits, struck out six and walked three as Manor advanced to the finals for the second straight season.
The League Track and Field Championships got underway Friday at Hempfield and continued through less than desirable weather on Saturday. Only the pole vault was unable to compete. They wrapped things up on Monday at McCaskey where Matt Julian finished in third place with a personal best 13-0, pushing Manor's team total to 96 points, and well ahead of second place Conestoga Valley (65).
"This was our first championship since, I believe, 1967," said head coach Dan Myers. "It was an overall team effort."
Taraje Whitfield and Alex Scheivert won gold medals while Theoren McElheny picked up three silvers. Whitfield won the 300 hurdles (38.9) and settled for second in the 110 highs (14.62) just barely following CV's Aanyah Bermudez (14.61). He also finished fifth in the long jump (22-0.25).
McElheny finished second in the 100 (11.47), 200 (23.07) and 400 (51.70) and ran a leg of the sixth place 4x400 relay with Doug Kramer, Chad Mowbray and Isaac Novak.
Kramer also finished third in the 3200 (9:38.35) and was fifth in the mile (4:25.49) behind Malachi Lyon's fourth place 4:25.40.
"Taraje's long jump was a PR by over a foot and both Malachi and Doug recorded PR's in the mile," Myers noted.
Scheivert highlighted the field events with a first place throw of 198-4 in the javelin and Austin Diehl grabbed a bronze in the discus (136-2) and was fifth in the shot put (48-2.5) behind Casey McCollum's fourth place effort of 48-7.75.
The girls' team also had some solid performances but finished 16th overall. Sarah Stackhouse was the top place winner, taking fourth in the long jump with a 17-0.75. Fiona Haines added a fifth in the 400 (59.91) and teamed with Briana Harsh, Makayla Miller and Brianna Ulaky for fifth in the 4x400 relay. The Comets also got a sixth place finish from Sarah Harthan in the pole vault (10-0).
Also competing in the L-L League playoffs was the volleyball team. They faced off against Manheim Township, a team they defeated twice during the regular season, at Lancaster Mennonite in Monday's semifinals. They were dealt a surprising 3-2 loss (28-30, 25-13, 19-25, 25-16, 15-13).
"We did not overlook them," said head coach Chris Telesco. "They came to play and kept us out of step the entire match. I was outcoached and we were outplayed. Township served tougher than normal, they hit smarter than normal and they passed more precisely than normal," he continued. "We did the opposite, committing more hitting, passing and serving errors than usual."
Dan Fry was impressive with 22 kills. Alex Newport had 10 and Josh Hess and Alex Krahulik each had nine.
"Dan, for a stint, was unstoppable," said Telesco, "but it seemed like only one of our hitters caught fire at a time.
"Krahulik and Coleman Raush each had three blocks and Newport added two - but we didn't shut down Township's opposite side of the court enough," he added. "Brian Hines (15 kills) took it to us."
Manor rallied from a 4-7 deficit in the final set to take a 10-7 lead. "I thought we were going to run it from there, but a mental error gave the ball back to Township's best server, and he tied the game," Telesco noted.
Township forged ahead by three, 14-11, and the Comets closed it to 14-13 before the Streaks closed it out.
Like the softball tournament, the L-L League baseball playoffs also moved from Saturday to Monday. The Comets opened action against Annville-Cleona at Ephrata's War Memorial Field and, like the girls, found themselves in a tight one. This game went nine innings before Manor nipped the Little Dutchmen, 1-0, on an error.
Dalton Landis opened the ninth with a base hit to right, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on an error by Annville's catcher.
Jeff Taylor started on the hill. He struck out 11 and gave up three hits in eight innings. Landis earned the win, pitching the final inning.
The Comets finished with five hits and Brett Beiler collected two in four at bats. Grant Gale tripled in the third inning and Garrett Fry added a sixth inning double.
In the semifinals Tuesday back in Ephrata, the Comets, last year's L-L League runner-up, were again slow with the bat, collecting just four hits, surrendering 12 and bowing out of the tournament with a 12-4 loss to Section Three champ Garden Spot.
The Spartans took the early lead, scoring one in the first on a single, a two out walk and a line drive base hit.
The Comets looked to challenge in the bottom half. Gale singled, stole second and was out at third on a Ryan Witmers' fielder's choice. Witmer went to second on a passed ball and to third on Brett Beiler's double. A strikeout and pop out left Witmer stranded.
Manor left the bases loaded in the fourth and left one runner on in the fifth, a walk to Gale, and one in the sixth, a double by Frey but gave up three in the sixth and one in the seventh as their quest to reach the finals a second straight season ended.
Dylan Crook got the start and suffered the loss. He walked four and struck out one. Gale struck out three and walked two and Landis wrapped things up with one walk in the last inning.
Also playing in the post-season was the boys' lacrosse team who opened District Three play Tuesday night in Landisville. The league runner-up Knights dealt the Comets a 12-4 defeat back on April 7. It was much closer this time around but Hempfield (12-7 overall) again held the upper hand, prevailing 12-8.
The Comets fell behind 3-0 in the first quarter and were down 6-1 in the second frame before scoring five unanswered goals and knotting the score at 6-6 at the half. The hosts, however, scored three goals in both the third and fourth quarters while holding the Comets to one in each frame.
"The guys never gave up," said head coach Zack Charles. "We have been preaching to them all year that we may not have as much talent as the other team but we will outwork them.
"Josh Heckman was huge, losing only four face-offs," he added. "And Justin Schaefer, Connor Black and Garrett Morgan each scored twice in that second quarter."
Also scoring was Aiden Mahoney and Reed Morrison.
In goal, Seth Wilson recorded seven saves in a game they were only outshot 28-27.
The Comets cap their first year under Charles with a 6-5 league record. They were 9-8 overall.
PM Comets HostYouth Football Camp May 19, 2017
The Penn Manor varsity coaching staff will run a Youth Football Camp on June 13, 14, 15. Each session begins promptly at 9 am and will end at 11:45 am. The camp is open for all boys interested in playing for the Penn Manor Junior Comets or the 7-9th grade Jr. High Football program. Current boys in grades 2-8th are eligible.
The camp is designed for young boys to continue learning basic football skills and provide unity within the entire football program. This camp is a non-contact camp and all campers will be in age appropriate groups for drills. There will be a certified athletic trainer available.
Please complete the on-line Registration form at www.pennmanorcometsfootball.com or contact camp director Barry Groff at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration forms.
All registration forms and payment are due by May 26, 2017. All campers will receive a free camp T-shirt
Three Comet Teams Capture Section One Titles May 12, 2017
Penn Manor's baseball and softball teams, along with the volleyball team were all in the hunt for their respective Section One crowns last week and all three accomplished that feat.
After sandwiching a 5-0 shutout over Hempfield between losses to Cedar Crest (2-0) and Dallastown (5-1), the Comets entered the L-L playoffs losing two of three. Last year Penn Manor advanced to the finals of the league playoffs and settled for second place after suffering a 3-2, come-from-behind, 12 inning loss to Solanco.
Last Monday the Comets avenged an 11-2, April 11 road loss to Hempfield with a solid 5-0 shutout, ironically only the Knights' second. Their first was on March 29 against Dallastown, 8-zip.
Penn Manor left two on in the first and took a 1-0 lead in the second on a bases loaded error on a ball hit by Witmer. They left the bags loaded.
Three innings later the Comets took advantage of another Knight miscue, this time in the outfield, and pushed the lead to 2-0. Garrett Frey's base hit scored the second run that inning.
After back-to-back walks by Grant Gale and Ryan Witmer to start the sixth, Brett Beiler followed with a two-run double and just like that the Comets notched a 5-0 victory and improved to a section best 12-4. Warwick and Township finished in tie for second at 10-6.
"The last time we won a section title was in 2004," recalled head coach Jim Zander. "To win against a rival team, with a shutout on senior night made it special. Hempfield is always a tough customer."
In addition to honoring their seniors (Jeremy Burkholder, Andrew Butler, Garrett Frey, Grant Gale, David Mowery, Justin Robinson, Tanner Simet, Jeff Taylor, Matt Tulli and Ryan Witmer) the Comets paid tribute to the Wounded Warrior project with a fundraiser that netted close to $1300. Millersville's ROTC presented the colors before the game.
"Hempfield made a donation as well," noted Zander. "And two girls from the Manor Singers sang the Star Spangled Banner."
Last Tuesday, in the regular season finale, the Comets, coming off a seven-hit outing against Hempfield, managed just one and dropped a 5-1 result against hosting Dallastown.
The Comets went three up, three down in all but the fifth inning. Dalton Landis reached on an error, moved up on Dylan Frey's double and scored on Tanner Simet's sacrifice fly. By that time, though, the Wildcats had built a 5-0 lead against starter Matt Tulli who gave up three hits and walked three batters.
Dallastown scored once in the first inning and gained some distance with four runs on three hits in the third.
Tulli finished with three strikeouts. Dylan Crook and Grant Gale both struck out one in relief.
"We had one bad inning that cost us," said Zander. "We walked the leadoff in the first inning and he scored and we walked the leadoff in the fourth, who also scored. Plus we mishandled a double play grounder. We should have been out of the inning with one run.
"We may have been a bit flat after senior night and the win over Hempfield but I thought we swung the bats well," he added. "And for the most part, our pitchers threw well. Going into the game we were No. 2 in the District and Dallastown was third. We flip-flopped with the loss. And that was their 11th straight win.
"There are 24 teams in the L-L League and 16 of them are finished," stated Zander. "A new season starts today."
As a tune-up for the post-season, the Comets took care of business last Monday in Landisville, holding off Hempfield 3-2 with two runs in the top of the tenth inning. In doing so, they claimed the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One title for the second year in a row.
"The last time we won back-to-back section titles was 1978 and 1979," stated head coach Dave Stokes. "Our goal coming into the season this year was to repeat as section champs. And we won one game more this year. Our next goal is to win the League Championship," he added. "We're just taking things one game at a time."
Tied at 1-1 after the second complete inning, the Comets took charge with two more in the top of the tenth. Courtesy runner Tori Malpica, running for catcher Sydney Duplissey, who made the last out of the ninth inning, started on second base with no outs.
Brittany Hook beat out a bunt that moved Malpica to third and was replaced by courtesy runner Cherish Flick. Pam Perez popped up and Morgan Yingling stepped to the plate and calmly put down another perfect bunt that had Malpica barreling into home plate for Manor's first lead of the night.
With Flick now at third, Addy Long put down yet another perfect bunt. Hempfield got the out at first but Flick was home for Manor's second run of the inning.
"Not many teams put down a suicide squeeze play," said Stokes. "Obviously you're taking a big chance. There are a lot of negatives that can happen but I know what we practice. We had two hits over nine innings. Those key hits just don't always come," he continued. "But we had the right combination of players coming to the plate. I think they were probably surprised that Brittany bunted. And Morgan can hit the ball but assured me she would get the bunt down. Addy is our best bunter and though she was out at first, the damage was done.
"Last year, in the District Championship game and in the first round of states, we lost on the international tiebreaker rule because we couldn't execute bunts," Stokes said. "We executed tonight."
Now all the Comets had to do was play defense. With Skylar Constabile on second, Anastasia Berardi's groundout moved the runner to third and Bree Wingett's grounder scored Constabile. Hook ended any doubt, recording her 13th strikeout of the game.
Hempfield took the early lead in this one, plating one in the bottom of the first with a two out walk. Manor responded in the top of the second with a Perez home run.
Also playing for the Section One title last week was the volleyball team. A 3-0 thumping of Cedar Crest on Thursday, combined with a Conestoga Valley's 3-2 upset over Hempfield Monday night, moved the Comets into sole possession of first place at 11-1 (12-2 overall), while the Knights fell to 10-2 (14-2 overall).
"The boys wanted to take care of business and earn the first Penn Manor boys' volleyball section title since 2012," stated head coach Chris Telesco. "I'm proud of them for this first step. They deserve it. But this is just the topping, not the main dish."
The Comets, behind four aces and 11 kills from Alex Newport, won handily 25-4, 25-16, 25-6.
"Although Alex had four aces, Dan Fry served up 18 straight serves in the first set, two of which were aces," noted Telesco. "And Alex was nearly perfect with his swings."
Reuben Kemrer dished out 17 assists and led with two blocks.
"Dan picked up three digs, yet it was Evan Ressler who seemed to be everywhere, keeping the ball off the floor," said Telesco. "It was nice to see some other guys mix in," he continued, "including backup setter Hunter Long, who keep developing as a setter. He came to life with some big hits, blocks and sets. I love seeing that!"
Also of note, six Comets were named Section all-stars. Coleman Raush and Josh Hess were Second Team All-Section, and Kemrer, Fry, Newport and Alex Krahulik were named First Team All-Section.
Two members of the girls' lacrosse team were named as Lancaster-Lebanon League all-stars this season. Anna-Katherine Kirk, a junior, was voted as a First Team all-star while freshman Anna-May Barbusca received Honorable Mention recognition.
Kirk was the team's leading scorer with 11 goals and five assists while Kirk followed with 41 scores and four assists.
The Comets finished the season with a 4-7 league record and were 4-13 overall.
After three straight losses, the Comets wrapped up the season on a positive note, defeating Central Dauphin 10-6 on Saturday, May 6.
Penn Manor jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. They led 6-2 at the break and 9-3 after three before succumbing to a little CD rally in the fourth that only closed the gap.
Justin Schaefer and Josh Heckman (1a) led a balanced attack with two goals each. Connor Black, Garrett Morgan, Aiden Mahoney (1a), Mason Garcia (1a), Tony Dandridge and Luke Cheston each scored once as the Comets improved to 9-7 overall. They finished with a 6-5 L-L League record.