Comets Fall in PIAA Quarterfinals November 11, 2018
With a sense of familiarity, Penn Manor and Hershey took to the field at Manheim Township High school this past Saturday, on a windy and chilly, afternoon in the PIAA Class 3A quarterfinals. After the Comets' 2-0 win over the Trojans in the first round of the Hershey Hockey Tournament back in September and then a 3-3 tie one week later, a high scoring game was probably in the works.
But when the final horn sounded, it was the District Three fourth seed Trojans ending Manor's quest for a second straight PIAA crown with a 1-0 victory.
"They are a strong, well-coached team," said head coach Matt Soto. "We knew we needed to play great hockey."
Hershey (17-5-1), on its first trip into the circle and in a mad scramble in front of freshman keeper Cecily Charles, scored the first and only goal of the game. The Trojan's Katana Nelson initiated the scramble while sophomore Ashley Arnold collected the rebound and beat Charles with what proved to be the game-winner.
The Comets, who fought off a 2-0 deficit before working that 3-3 tie against the Trojans, countered with a shot by Anna May Barbusca, saved by Hershey's Kit Olmsted. Manor went on to work seven straight corners but came up empty. Then, with 3:15 left, Barbusca and Briana Harsh broke free for a two-on-one situation with Barbusca dishing to Harsh as they closed in on the Hershey keeper. Olmsted, without blinking an eye, made a diving stick save to deny the tying goal. With the pressure on, the Comets forced three more corners, including their 12th corner of the half with no time on the clock but the score remained in favor of the Trojans.
Manor, adjusting to Hershey's physical play, opened the second half with six corners over the first four minutes, but still could not solve Olmsted. Then, after seven minutes of play between the 16's, Hershey earned its first corner of the game at 17:43. The Comet defense stood its ground and denied three straight Trojan corners before transitioning to the other end for four corner opportunities of their own but to no avail.
The Trojans were pressing for a second goal with 3:01 left but were turned back and then denied a breakaway with 1:30 left to play on another big save by Charles.
But in the end, Penn Manor's high scoring offense was shut out for the second time in three games. They finished with a 21-3 advantage in penalty corners and led 6-2 in shots on goal.
Four days prior to the quarterfinals and three days after suffering a 2-0 district finals loss to Lower Dauphin, the Comets got back into the scoring groove with a lopsided 7-0 victory over District 7 runner-up Pine-Richland at Hempfield Tuesday afternoon.
"It was good to get back to scoring," stated Soto. "We work very hard on goal scoring."
Manor dominated this one from start to finish and built a 6-0 lead in the opening half. They racked up 16 first half corners and pinned Pine-Richland in the backfield for the bulk of the half. In fact, the visitors broke over midfield just three times in the half.
Emma DeBerdine's penalty stroke at the 17:50 mark proved to be all the offense the Comets needed but in preparation of defending their PIAA crown, they kept working on their corner execution and tallied five more goals in the half. Manor needed just five more minutes to stretch the lead to 4-0. After the stroke, Gabby Bitts fired a shot that deflected off the defense and behind the keeper for goal number two. Barbusca, on another corner, took a short pass from DeBerdine and also found the back of the cage while Bitts, with another assist from DeBerdine, made it 4-zip with 12:22 left.
Four corners and four minutes later, Harsh collected then sent her own rebound behind the defense and later, with 2:08 left, tapped in a DeBerdine assist for a commanding lead.
The Comets, rotating the lineup and receiving contributions from the bench, continued the attack in the second half. Manor worked eight more corners over the first 15 minutes but didn't find the back of the cage until DeBerdine's rocket from the top of the circle at the 8:15 mark. Barbusca sent the corner insert to DeBerdine who quickly converted.
"It's always important for our players to be versatile and to be able to play different positions," stated Soto of the second half rotations. "Haley Garber played well on the right wing and Lydia Marchuk, Morgan Harnish and Bailee Hargan also played well in reserve."
Manor settled for 27 corners and 22 shots while denying Pine-Richland in both categories.
While the loss to Hershey is obviously disappointing, it should not overshadow what this young team accomplished. With just three senior starters, the Comets (22-3-1) collected their eighth Section One crown with an undefeated 12-0 mark. They went on to edge the highly ranked Donegal Indians 1-0 on a corner goal with no time left to capture their seventh L-L League title in the last ten years. And more recently settled for runner-up in the District Three Class 3A Championships. Their season continued well over a month after everyone else was packing up their hockey sticks.
While it wasn't the finish they were hoping for, they all contributed to a memorable season that will again go down in the history books.
MU Turkey Trot Slated November 11, 2018
The 46th Annual Millersville Turkey Trot will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22, starting at Millersville University's Pucillo Gymnasium. The 5K race will start at 9 am. Race information is available at millersvilleturkeytrot.com.
Comets Fall Short in District Repeat, Fall to LD November 4, 2018
Penn Manor's field hockey team controlled everything but the scoreboard in this past Saturday's District Three Class 3A Championship game at Milton Hershey's Spartan Stadium. They held a 12-4 advantage in corners and led 7-5 in shots on goal, yet top seed Lower Dauphin (19-1-1) secured its 13th District Three field hockey title with a 2-0 shutout, avenging last year's 3-0 upset at the hands of the Comets. It was LD's first title since 2014.
The second place finish is Manor's third in four years.
The Falcons took an early lead when Emma O'Neill cashed in on Lower Dauphin's first corner of the game. The junior redirected a rebound off the pads of keeper Cecily Charles (3 saves) at the 16:42 mark. LD worked a second corner at the 8:50 mark before the Comets put together three over the final five minutes of the half but couldn't crack the Falcon defense and junior keeper Brandelynn Heinbaugh (7 saves).
"We knew that if we continued to work hard we would get some chances," said head coach Matt Soto.
The No. 3 seed Comets, typically not used the battling from behind, opened the second half with renewed vengeance, putting together eight of their 12 corners and pinning the Falcons in the backfield for the majority of the half. Emma DeBerdine's shot from the top of the circle on the seventh corner of the half was turned back, as was Bri Harsh's with 5:10 remaining.
"I thought we gave them our best in the second half," said Soto. "We simply were not able to score against them. They were very good against us defensively this day."
Lower Dauphin, on one of their rare trips into the Comet backfield, transitioned to the other end and forced their first corner of the second half with 2:10 left on the clock. They made it all but impossible for Penn Manor to rally a tie when, on their second corner, Audrey Domovich, one of just six seniors on the roster, sent a shot from the top of the circle, beating DeBerdine's rush, to the back of the cage with 1:23 left to play. It was only the third time this season that the Comets gave up more than one goal.
"Overall I was pleased with our play," said Soto. "We showed a lot of effort and determination."
The Comets will now focus on working their way through the PIAA bracket and an opening round game Tuesday, November 6, against District Seven runner-up Pine Richland at 5 pm.
The Comets advanced to the district title game with a hard-earned win over No. 2 seed Wilson last Wednesday night at Exeter High School. Penn Manor worked a solid 60 minutes, and then some in the semifinals at Don Thomas Stadium.
Wilson, trailing 2-1, was awarded an untimed penalty corner after the final horn sounded. DeBerdine rushed the shooter, whose shot directed at keeper Cecily Charles was waist high and waved off, preserving the Comets one goal victory.
The Bulldogs came out strong, forcing the first two corners of the contest and keeping the Comets pinned in their backfield early on.
"We knew they had great team speed and that they recover very well," said Soto of Manor's tentative start.
Then, in the blink of an eye, the momentum changed. DeBerdine intercepted a pass at the 40-yard line and raced to the other end of the field. The senior dodged a pair of defenders and slipped past Wilson's keeper, Bryn Underwood, who tried to make a sliding save, for a 1-0 lead with 19:12 left in the half.
That lead stood until halftime. And in a Halloween Jeckyl and Hyde kind night, the Comets came out of the break fired up and forcing the tempo. They earned the first seven corners of the half and appeared to put the game out of reach when Briana Harsh, after four straight corners, found the back of the cage with 11:07 left to play.
DeBerdine received the insert, pushed the ball right to Gabby Bitts whose shot rebounded off the pads of Underwood and out to Harsh, who was waiting on the left side of the cage and with a quick slap made it 2-0.
Just minutes later, however, the Berks I division champs (19-3) responded with a goal by Madi Herb.
"We knew they were a quick strike type of team," said Soto. "They are very good.
"I thought we needed to maintain more possession and we need to take better care of free hits, especially coming out of our backfield," Soto added.
On the plus side, Soto was pleased with the play of Maeve Montgomery and Tiana Edwards. "Maeve was solid in our defensive end and Tiana was all over the back and midfields," noted Soto. "They had great defensive games."
Penn Manor's lone representative in the PIAA Championships this past Saturday, Graham Thomas, a First Team L-L League All-Star, in a field of 228 runners, worked his way through the pack and settled for a 53rd place finish in 17:15.
"Both time and place were about what we expected from Graham," said head coach Tom Ecker. "This is a very challenging course and the field went out fast. At this level of competition, Graham couldn't hold back at the risk of losing contact, but he needed to save some energy for the last mile," Ecker explained. "He did a great job managing his effort to get the best place finish."
The sophomore, running the Parkview Course in Hershey, found himself in 132nd place at the mile, fought his way to 82nd after two miles, and maneuvered even more to pass 29 runners over the last third of the course. He was the fifth sophomore and the sixth Lancaster-Lebanon League runner to cross the finish line. Mount Lebanon junior Patrick Anderson earned the top time of the day, a 16:03.
"This was the best place finish a member of the boys team has had in well over 20 years," Ecker pointed out.
In other cross country news, Lauren Zink received Second Team All-Star recognition.
Comets Host Playoff Bound Warriors in Finale October 28, 2018
The Comets hosted Warwick in this past Friday night's regular season finale. The Warriors (8-2 overall) were looking to clinch at least a share of the Section One title with Manheim Township and Wilson. They did just that, scoring four touchdowns in the first quarter en route to a 53-20 road win.
"Warwick is a tough opponent and we didn't come out with the fire we needed to start the game," said head coach John Brubaker. "Even though we fell behind early, we did some positive things as the game went on."
Manor interrupted Warwick's run when Luke Braas hit the end zone from one yard out early in the second quarter. The visitors countered with four more scores, including three in the second quarter for a commanding 47-7 first half advantage.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Comets, who cap the season at 1-9 overall, won the battle in the fourth, working two more touchdowns. Braas, who finished with 287 passing yards, hit Kyle Murr with a 24-yard strike and then tossed a 39-yarder to Stephen Albright, who had six catches for 178 yards, including a 68-yard TD reception and a 74-yard TD grab in the two previous games combined.
"The offensive line did a nice job in giving Luke time to throw," noted Brubaker. "The defense, however, didn't quite have the speed to stay with them. The kids played hard."
Josh Gibson, a junior, led the defense with five solo tackles and four assists. "Jake Hollinger was our second leading tackler," said Brubaker. "He came back from a knee injury last year and had a good season. I thought Joel Stoner and Greg Zanowiak did a nice job up front. The defense did a decent job of shutting down their run game.
"And Liam Hart had all of his kickoffs land in the end zone Friday night. He's been a four-year kicker and has done a great job.
"Keaton Eachus, Zach Banta, Ryan Mahoney, Ayden Hinkle and Adam Becker round out the seniors," he added. "They're a good group of guys."
Sometimes being favored takes a more difficult path than being an underdog. The underdog has nothing to lose and often plays with reckless abandon looking for an upset. Cumberland Valley was an underdog in this past Saturday's quarterfinal matchup against No. 3 seed and defending district champ Penn Manor.
The sixth seeded Eagles, after denying Penn Manor on their first corner of the day, responded at the other end of the field, converting their only corner to a 1-0 lead over the Comets, just 7:23 into the game. It was just the second time all season that Penn Manor had to fight from behind.
"We were disappointed that Cumberland Valley scored first," said head coach Matt Soto, "but we were not discouraged."
Needing a goal now more than ever, the Comets picked up the pace, creating a number of corners and opportunities to score. CV's defense, however, rose to the challenge, denying each attempt.
Then, with 5:33 left in the half, Emma DeBerdine received a corner insert, dished to Gabby Bitts on the right, who then gave it right back. DeBerdine knocked in the equalizer. Two minutes later the Comets executed almost the exact same corner strategy. Bitts' pass back was a bit lower in the circle but DeBerdine cashed in, giving the Comets a lead they would never relinquish.
"Coming from behind was very important," said Soto. "We will see some very good teams at this time of the year."
Manor forced two more corners in the opening half and executed seven more after the break but could not get past Eagle goalie Peyton Crawford and the rest of the Eagle defense.
The win not only advances the Comets (20-1-1) to the semifinals this Wednesday opposite No. 2 Wilson (19-2), a 2-1 winner over Central Dauphin, but clinches a berth in the PIAA tournament.
"We need to play great field hockey in moving forward," Soto stated. "We review game situations every practice session so we are prepared."
On a cold and drizzly Saturday, the cross country teams competed in the District Three Class 3A Championships at Big Spring High School. Despite the muddy mess of running the last of six races, the Comets, led by Graham Thomas and his eighth place medal time of 16:54, finished in 21st place out of 36 teams.
"Graham ran an excellent race and we are proud of his accomplishment," said co-head coach Tom Ecker. "He is very skilled at knowing what pace works best for him. He went through the mile in about 25th place, making us a little anxious. However he ran steady over the final two miles, picking off runners along the way."
The sophomore followed eight seniors to the finish line and will continue his season this weekend at the PIAA Championships in Hershey.
Lou Lindsley, another sophomore, clocked a 17:41, finishing 37th overall, and improving last year's 95th place time of 17:48.
"Lou ran his best race of the year," lauded Ecker. "He moved up steadily throughout the race, however, it was a little disappointing for him as he missed qualifying for states by 14 seconds."
Unfortunately, the rest of the Comets were over 100 runners behind Lindsley. Sophomore Max Kreiter was 140th (18:46), Jesse Kenagy, also a sophomore, was 191st (19:10), Jordan Photis followed at 213th (19:28) while seniors David Kramer (226th, 19:40) and Terry Dylan (229th, 19:40) rounded out the lineup.
The girls' squad, running the fifth race of the day, had just one runner in the top 100. Lauren Zink's 21:45 was 25 seconds faster than last years' time. The sophomore finished in 95th place, improving last year's 131st place effort.
Madi McKenna, a senior, followed in 123rd place (22:20) with sophomore Arden Morgan 25 seconds back in 141st place. Running fourth for the Comets was freshman golfer Keegan Dings (149th, 22:57) while Becky Kramer, who improved nine places over last year, was 175th with a 23:29.
"The girls ran well," stated Ecker, "but were a little burned out following their exceptional performance at the league meet."
After bowing out of the opening round of the L-L League playoffs, the volleyball team had one week to prepare for the District 3 which got underway this past Saturday afternoon against No. 3 Central York (12-1). While the Comets, making their first district appearance since 2012, came in as the 14th seed, they put up a decent fight against the one loss Panthers.
"We went down fighting with a strong effort, but Central York is the better team this year," said head coach Tim Joyce. "We did our best to disrupt their offense with strong serving, and I think we were successful with that. However, their defense was insuperable," he added. "They were getting at least two good touches on everything. We threw everything at them that we had, but they handled it.
"I'm proud of how my girls battled," Joyce continued. "They never gave up, they never got down, and they never stopped fighting together."
Behind 13 kills by Jenna Arganbright, the hosts swept the Comets 25-13, 25-12, 25-19. Shayna Warfel turned in a solid game, leading with 16 digs, 7 kills and one block. Kailey Stoner directed the offense with 7 assists while Jordan Schucker and Marilyn Keernick each served up two aces.
For their efforts all season, three Comets received all-star recognition. Warfel was voted to the First Team while Elizabeth Kubicar and Schucker were Second Team all-stars.
While the girls' soccer team ended the season with two tough losses (CV and MT) and an overall record of 2-13, head coach Jacob Marino was pleased with his team's efforts.
"Those were tough losses but the girls played great," said Marino. "Kara Huber beat a defender and made an incredible shot that hit the crossbar and went in against CV.
"The girls fought through a very tough season and our record is not an accurate picture of the team they are," he continued. "We had no easy opponents or guaranteed wins on our schedule and there were some weeks where we had three games in a row against some of the best teams in the district. Now we need to regroup and start preparing for next year, which won't we any easier in terms of the strength of our opponents," Marino concluded.
Meghan Greenwalt finished the season with three goals and one assist. Huber added two goals and three assists and Lily Sugra also netted two goals and assisted once.
A GREAT WEEK TO BE A COMET October 21, 2018
The Comets were busy in post-season play last week as cross country, field hockey, golf and volleyball were all in action.
Logan Hess got things rolling in Monday's PIAA East Regional golf tournament at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood. Hess, a senior, was Manor's lone representative. He carded a 10-over par 72, missing the 77 cut for the PIAA Championships Class 3A field. The top 26 players advanced. Central's York's Carson Bacha was the overall winner with a 3-under 69.
"Logan did not have the result he was looking for," said head coach Tom Reustle. "However, it did not define his season. He was one of the top performers at both Leagues and Districts and we're very proud of what he accomplished the past three seasons."
Hess finished the season with a 74 scoring average with a season-low 71 at Overlook. He will continue his academic and athletic career at Robert Morris University.
The cross country team opened their post-season Tuesday afternoon at Ephrata Middle School. The boys' ran the first race of the L-L League Championships where Penn Manor finished 8th overall. Sophomore Graham Thomas was the top place-winner, finishing 10th in the 170 runner field with a 16:53.
"Graham ran a very good race," said co-head coach Tom Ecker. "It is noteworthy that the top seven finishers were all seniors," he added. "We are optimistic about his future as a leader in cross country over the next two years."
Sophomore teammate Lou Lindsley was the second Comet to cross the line, taking 43rd place in 17:46. March Rezkalla, a junior, clocked an 18:08 and finished 66th with senior David Kramer close behind in 68th (18:12). Sophomore Jesse Kenagy (79th, 18:41) rounded out the top five with Dylan Terry two places back in 18:44. Maxwell Kreiter (18:51) and Jordan Photis (19:37) also competed.
The boys finished with 261 total points, just two points behind Cocalico's seventh place effort. Warwick took the team title with 95 points.
"As a team, we finished about where we expected," added Ecker. "An injury to David Kramer prevented him from reaching his potential this year and we were unable to fill that gap."
Leading the girls', who finished in ninth place out of 19 teams, was Lauren Zink. The Comet leader settled for 19th with a 20:32. She was the ninth sophomore to cross the finish line.
"Lauren continues to lead the team and ran almost one minute better than her previous best," noted Ecker. "This was an outstanding performance for her."
Senior Madi McCanna clocked a 21:19 with a 36th place effort with Arden Morgan, another sophomore, two places back at 21:30. Becky Kramer ran fourth for the Comets. The sophomore was 66th (22:25) with freshman Keegan Dings rounding out the top five (80th in 22:52).
"The girls ran a great race," Ecker lauded. "All five of our counters ran their best times for the year and qualified to participate in the District championship."
Carly Wall (24:04), Puja Neopaney (24:27) and Julianne West (24:56) rounded out the Comet field.
After collecting their 8th Section One crown, the field hockey team also opened league playoffs last Tuesday. The undefeated in league play Comets hosted Section Two's third place squad, Lampeter-Strasburg.
Manor set the tone early in this one, converting a penalty corner with less than two minutes off the clock and never looking back in a lopsided 11-0 final. Emma DeBerdine, who led the section in scoring with 28 goals and 31 assists, converted that penalty stroke and added two more goals and one assist while Gabby Bitts also chipped in with a hat trick, and two assists. Manor led 8-0 with 4:40 left in the half and picked up two more goals before the half, pretty much putting the game out of reach.
"The entire team played great hockey," said head coach Matt Soto. "Nearly everything seemed to click."
Jasmine Miller added two first half goals while Anna May Barbusca (2a) and Brianna Harsh added one each. Rylee Leakway (1a) added one of Manor's three second half goals, her first of the season.
Playoffs continued Thursday night at Conestoga Valley where the Comets battled third place Section one foe Warwick. Nine days ago, Manor blanked the Warriors for the second time this season, 4-0. In the semifinals Thursday night, the Comets secured its third straight shutout with a 5-1 result.
Again the Comets came out strong, though it took almost five minutes to open the scoring. Bitts collected a loose ball in the circle and found the back of the cage. DeBerdine made it 2-0 two minutes later with a lofted shot over Warwick's keeper, Catie Brubaker and Harsh scored on back-to-back corners for a 4-0 lead after almost 20 minutes of play.
The Warriors prevented the shutout, scoring in the 22nd minute. It was just the eighth goal the Comets have surrendered this season.
"Tiana Edwards, Maeve Montgomery, Riley Robinson and Ally Rittenhouse all had solid games," Soto noted.
The Comets kept up the attack in the second half but the Warrior defense was up to the challenge, surrendering just one goal. Bitts tallied her second goal of the game 2:35 into the second half.
The biggest game of the week, however, came on Saturday afternoon as the Comets faced off against the undefeated Indians of Donegal in the much anticipated L-L League Championship at Conestoga Valley High School.
This battle of heavyweights came down to overtime, and then some. The defending L-L League Champ Comets earned their 20th corner of the game and, as time expired, Harsh inserted to DeBerdine who sent a shot toward the goal. Donegal keeper Aliza Johns deflected the shot out to Barbusca on the left post. The junior quickly collected the ball and delivered the game-winning goal into the back of the cage.
It was Manor's seventh title in the last ten years.
Both teams battled from one end of the field to the other, showing off their tenacious defense and their flashy stick work. While the Comets held a commanding 20-9 advantage in corners, it was the Indians that clanked not one, but two shots off the goal post. The first coming in the opening half, the second on Donegal's final corner of the extra period.
While the Comet offense shined, it was a collective effort on the defensive end to deny a potent Donegal squad that tallied 197 goals to date. Keeper Cecily Charles anchored that effort with 10 saves as the Comets denied League scoring champ, Mackenzie Allessie (104 goals).
As the field hockey team was working its way through the League playoffs, the volleyball team was taking care of business. They wrapped up the regular season with a 3-1 win over Manheim Township on Monday and then blanked Warwick Wednesday to qualify for their own League playoffs which got underway Friday.
In their back-and-forth match last Monday, the Comets edged the Streaks 25-22, 24-26, 25-18, 21-25, 15-13 in a 'senior night' thriller.
"The girls were motivated because we didn't play well at their place," said head coach Tim Joyce. "And it helped that we had a huge crowd on hand to support seniors Nikki Krahulik, Lizzy Kubicar, Shayna Warfel and Kendra Weiss."
Warfel and Jordan Schucker were kill leaders with 12 and 11 respectively. "And our middle hitters excited the team," said Joyce. "Lexi Sangrey hit for .308 and Lizzy hit .238, which means both girls had very few hitting errors.
"Our defense was much stronger this time around too," he continued. "The team combined for 87 digs, with Maddi Henry picking up 29. The girls did a nice job executing our game plan."
Other stat leaders included Weiss with 6 aces, Stoner with 25 assists and Kubicar, Schucker and Sangrey with one block each.
Wednesday night the Comets traveled to Warwick for their Senior Night. They shook off the hype of a big home crowd and Warwick seniors trying to defend their last home match and came away with three tight wins, 25-23, 25-18, 27-25.
"Shayna rose to the occasion with 19 kills and only two errors," said Joyce. "She hit .378 for the match. Definitely one of her better performances. We also got some tough serving from Lizzy (3 aces), Marilyn Keernik (1 block) and Jordan.
"Warwick's smart offense tried to avoid our Libero, Maddie Henry (12 digs), but Jordan filled in the gaps with a team-high 16 digs," he continued. "And our serving specialist, Justine Fry, also stepped in a few times to get us out of some jams and help with setting duties. She brought us back from a deficit in the extra points of the third set and served a gutsy ace for match point. Overall, it was a great team win."
The Comets opened L-L playoffs on Friday night at Lancaster Mennonite but failed to advance as the Section Three champ Blazers (14-1) moved on with a five-set thriller.
Manor (9-8) got off to an impressive start, jumping out to an 8 point lead and taking the first set 25-18. The hosts regrouped and responded with a 25-15 set two result. Just as determined, the Comets retaliated with a 25-23 squeaker in the fourth set with the Blazers delivering the win, 15-6.
"Their defense was starting to frustrate us in the third set but strong serving by Lizzy, backed by tough defense from Maddie and Jordan got us back into the fourth set," said Joyce. "By the fifth set, they were figuring our weaknesses and starting to exploit them. We had a tough time stopping their outside hitter, Bryanna Miller (17 kills)."
Warfel put down a match-high 19 kills, Kubicar added 3 aces and Lexi Sangry recorded 3 blocks. Stoner, with 27 assists and Henry's 24 digs rounded out the stats.
"We have not been in the playoffs since 2012," Joyce noted. "And this is our first winning season since 2012. Our girls knew that coming into the season and worked hard to accomplish what they achieved."
Nine games into the season, the young Comets are showing improvements though coming up empty in the wins department. This past Friday night in Landisville, the Comets fought off a 21-0 first half deficit with a 68-yard TD pass from Luke Braas to Steven Albright to give the visitors new life going into halftime. But it wasn't enough. The Knights, fighting to get into the post-season, put up 21 third quarter points and finished on top 49-14.
Braas hooked up with Kyle Murr with a 25-yard TD strike early in the fourth quarter to cap their scoring.
"Luke and Aaron Gale have been alternating at quarterback," noted head coach John Brubaker. "Luke was having success so we kept him there and Gale played corner on defense. Luke shows good composure for a young kid and great demeanor as a quarterback.
"We're creating opportunities to score but we need to establish our run game more," he continued. "Our young kids are gaining experience. Sophomore Ben Weaver had a nice game as a lineman on both sides of the ball. Isaiah Stoltzfus rushed for 46 tough yards. He has a bright future," Brubaker stated. "Kyle Murr is another sophomore playing well and Max Jesberger, our undersized sophomore center, shows a lot of heart.
"And Liam Hart continued to kick well, booting two kickoffs into the end zone," he stated. "We're in a tough section and working hard. Our goal remains to someday get back to the playoffs."
Field Hockey Caps 12-0 Section One Record October 14, 2018
With a relentless attack that featured 21 shots on goal and 20 corners, the Comets put up two goals in each half and swept the series against visiting Warwick, 4-0 Tuesday night. They capped the regular season with a road win over CV on Thursday, leaving them with a perfect 12-0 Section One record.
Bri Harsh opened the scoring against Warwick in the 17th minute and less than four minutes later, Gabby Bitts extended the lead. The Comets, who did not give up a corner and held the Warriors to a single shot on goal, got two scores from Emma DeBerdine, who finished with two assists, in the second half. Harsh was also credited with two assists and Cecily Charles needed just one save to earn the shutout.
Two nights later, after being shut out in the first half for just the second time this season, the Comets rallied with five second half tallies, coming away with their 12th victory of the season, in blanking Conestoga Valley.
"We simply relaxed in the second half and tried not to put so much pressure on scoring," said head coach Matt Soto. "We are looking forward to playoffs. It is a very exciting time of the season."
Manor racked up 27 corners and 20 shots while holding the Bucks scoreless in both categories en route to the win. Bitts recorded two goals with DeBerdine scoring once and dishing out three assists. Barbusca and Harsh also found the back of the net and Rylee Leekway recorded her first assist of the year.
After suffering a very lopsided defeat against Hempfield, the Comets, perhaps, felt they had something to prove as they traveled to Conestoga Valley last Monday night. The Bucks, however, were playing in their last home game, picking up some added motivation.
That extra focus looked to play the part as CV, behind leading scorer Robbie Krasinski (17 goals to date) not only put CV on the board just three minutes in but made it a 2-zip game with another goal in the 18th minute.
While the Comets have been winless in league play, they are much better than their record indicates. They battled back to not only tie the score but put together four unanswered goals to swing the momentum. Mitchell Martin cut the lead to 2-1 one minute after Krasinsky's second goal and Andrew Purcell's goal in the 30th minute knotted the score.
"We tried to contain Krasinski but didn't want to focus all of our energy on just stopping him," said head coach Paul Taylor. "Ryan Dang did a great job stifling him. We put most of our focus on attacking them. Mitchell has been relentless all year and sparked the comeback," he continued. "His leadership, along with Hunter Enck's, was the catalyst."
With the Comets gaining momentum, they took the lead on another Martin goal, in the 37th minute, and maintained that 3-2 advantage to halftime.
Manor, who lost 3-2 to CV the first time around, sat back a bit in the second half as the Bucks were pushing numbers. Still they managed another goal. Sebastian Bookmiller joined Purcell with his first goal of the season, pushing the lead to 4-2 with 13 left to play.
Krasinski got loose for his third goal of the game with six minutes remaining but the Comets buckled down after that and secured their first Section One victory.
"Derek Adams, Jackson Hostetter, Alex Behmer, Paul Karpousiz and Doyle Ebersole also stepped up," he added. "Our record (4-10 overall) does not do this team justice. We are just as good as any team in this very competitive section."
Keeper Fahri Sivri was up to the challenge as well. Facing 15 corners and eight shots, he recorded five saves to earn the win.
The Comets, looking to end their Section One season with an upset win, suffered instead a 3-1 loss to playoff bound Manheim Township on Thursday. One day later they picked up a 2-0 win over Section Three's one-win Solanco squad. Enck tallied both goals, one in each half, and led the team in scoring with 10 of their 25 total goals and 4 assists. Martin followed with 7 goals and 2 assists.
The football team got off to a strong start Friday night but couldn't maintain momentum, giving up 38 straight points in a 52-17 loss to crossover foe, Elizabethtown.
Manor opened the scoring when Aaron Gale hit Josh Gibson with a 13-yard TD pass on the first drive of the game. The Bears tied the score after taking advantage of a botched punt with a 16-yard touchdown pass but the Comets went back in front with a 27 yard field goal by Liam Hart to end the first quarter up 10-7.
E-town opened the second frame with an 8-yard running score and the Comets answered when Gale tossed a 74-yard scoring pass to Stephen Albright (119 yards receiving). Hart's PAT gave the visitors a 17-14 edge. It was their last lead of the night as the Bears not only rallied for three more second quarter scores but picked up 17 second half points as well.
"We ended the half with two turnovers in about three minutes and they took advantage," said head coach John Brubaker. "Then twice we had the ball in the red zone and settled for a field goal. Just some missed opportunities.
Gale passed for 179 yards, completing 10-of-26. E-town's Cole Patrick answered with 350 yards on 18-of-27 attempts and leads the league with 2, 143 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Isaiah Stoltzfus led the defense with five solo tackles with Josh Gibson, who finished with 40 yards rushing and 51 receiving, also contributing.
"Isaiah is a two way player and a solid contributor," said Brubaker. "Keaton Eachus, a senior back from a concussion, also did a nice job blocking on the offensive line. And Liam Hart is doing a great job kicking. He has 11 kickoffs in the end zone so far.
"We're young (11 seniors, 6 juniors) so we're just going to keep plugging away," Brubaker continued. "At times we have eight sophomores on the field so we'll have experience coming back."
In their only home meet of the season, the Comets hosted two of the top three teams in the section in Manheim Township and McCaskey. And while Graham Thomas finished third overall (17:03), behind a pair of Township runners, it wasn't enough to propel the Comets to victory on Tuesday. The Streaks worked a 24-33 win over the hosts but dropped a one-pointer to McCaskey. The Red Tornado, with four runners in the top ten, held off Penn Manor 26-30.
"We had good performances from both Lou Lindsley and Marco Rezkalla but we lacked the depth to overcome an injury to one of our top runners," said co-head coach Tom Ecker.
Lindsley (6th, 18:00) and Rezkalla (7th, 18:01) followed Thomas while Maxwell Kreiter (14th, 18:26) and Jordan Photis (18th, 18:54) rounded out the top five. Jesse Kanagy (19th), David Kramer (21st) and Dylan Terry (24th) also competed.
The girls' got a back-to-back finish from Lauren Zink (5th, 22:06) and Madison McCanna (6th, 22:13) but also fell short in the win department as the Streaks earned five of the top nine places to dominate the meet. Manor lost 19-42 to Township and battled McCaskey to a 25-30 final score.
"Lauren and Madison both ran season best times," said Ecker. "The team raced well but were overpowered by two stronger teams."
Arden Morgan ran third for the Comets and placed 11th with a 22:39 while Becky Kramer (17th, 23:22) and Keegan Dings (18th, 23:35) rounded out the top five. Puja Neopaney (31st) also competed.
With four matches last week, the volleyball team opened with a battle against the second place team in Section Two, Elizabethtown, on Monday. In a competitive match that went back-and-forth, the Bears grabbed momentum early, pulling out a 30-28 thriller in the first set and using that energy to win set two, 25-19. The Comets settled down a bit in set three, winning 25-21, but despite a game-high 15 kills from Shayna Warfel, bowed out with a 25-13 set final.
"Both teams scored 43 earned points, but we made 58 errors, while E-town only made 42," said head coach Tim Joyce. "Maddie Henry had a great defensive match to keep us in it, but we couldn't put the ball away consistently."
Henry anchored the defense with a game-high 40 digs and Kailey Stoner put up one block and dished out 28 assists. Elizabeth Kubicar added three aces.
The Comets returned to their home court and Section One play on Tuesday and avenged a 3-2 first round loss to Cedar Crest with an impressive shutout, 25-18, 25-19, 25-20. Tuesday was also Manor's "pink" match. The Comets helped to raise money for Grace Cancer Care Ministry, a part of Millersville Church. The team also did some yard work for four different families in the Penn Manor community who are battling cancer.
"I think the team felt like they had some unfinished business," said Joyce of their first round loss to the Falcons. "We applied a lot of pressure at a fast pace. Our servers were aggressive but accurate, serving 90% in and scoring 11 aces while surrendering just 7 errors."
Warfel again was a force at the net with a match-high 12 kills while Kubicar, Jordan Schucker and Henry all served three aces to keep the Falcons guessing. Lexi Sangrey also put up two blocks. Stoner aided her hitters with 20 assists and Henry scrambled for 12 digs.
"Shayna had another great night but our unsung hero was senior Nikki Krahulik," Joyce said. "While Nikki only had three kills, they came at important moments, and she went errorless in the match. Shayna and Lizzy combined for 7 blocks to slow the Falcon offense," he continued. "In the end, it was a group effort that made us successful. The players on the court executed well but not without the information and support that was communicated from the bench. It was a great team win."
The team swept the series against McCaskey on Thursday, winning handily, 25-14, 25-17, 25-17. Stoner served 5 aces and put up 15 assists, 7 of which went to Warfel for kills, and Henry continued to patrol the backcourt, recording 17 digs.
In non-league play Friday, the Comets, who sit in third place in the Section One at 6-4, dropped to 7-7 overall with a 3-1 loss to Dallastown. The Comets took the first game 25-20 but the Wildcats responded with three straight, 25-19, 25-16, 25-19 to go home with the win.
Warfel earned 13 kills and one block, Kubicar added 4 aces, Henry settled for 21 digs and Stoner finished with 27 assists.
Despite struggling to put up wins this year, the Comets gave second place and playoff bound CV all they could handle in a 2-1 loss last Monday. Manor struck first when Kara Huber recorded her second goal of the season, finishing a nice dish from Atlana Groff 17th minute. Then, after 22 scoreless minutes, the visitors broke through, tying the game one minute before the half.
The Comets dug deep in the second half, looking for the go ahead goal but instead gave up the game-winner with just three minutes remaining. Miriam Badri recorded six saves as the Comets fell to 1-8 in Section One.
Comet VB Wins Manheim Central Tournament October 7, 2018
With a total team effort, and in a surprise turn of events, the Comets won the Manheim Central Tournament on September 29.
"We knew we would play all of the teams in our pool twice so we decided to play the starters for the first set and the subs for the second set," stated head coach Tim Joyce. "We were trying to get some good, competitive practice for all of our players. We never expected to go undefeated through pool play!"
After a bye in the quarterfinals, the Comets continued their momentum with a 25-18, 25-22 win over the Barons. The going got a bit tougher in the finals against a Red Lion squad that took the first set from the Comets 25-18.
"The girls were determined," said Joyce. "They just kept rolling, slow and steady like a bulldozer and took the next two sets, 25-19, 15-10. We ended the day 10-1 and the girls got some nice medals to show off."
Shayna Warfel led the way with 32 kills on the day. Sophomore Jordan Schucker added 15. Adding to the offense was Lizzy Kubicar with a dozen aces. Schucker chipped in with 8, benefitting from Kailey Stoner's quick hands and 55 total assists.
Defensively, Maddie Henry was tops with 27 digs with Schucker's 24 close behind. Kubicar added 8 blocks and Lexi Sangry, who posted 11 kills, put up 4.
Back in league Monday night, the Comets went toe-to-toe with Manheim Township but fell on the wrong side of a 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 29-27, 25-17) loss. "I thought we played like we had something to lose, rather than playing like we had something to prove," Joyce said. "The first three sets were back-and-forth with many lead changes and good defense on both sides of the net. Despite their varied offense, Maddie picked up 31 digs. Our other defensive specialist, Kendra Weiss, only posted 13, but she was rock solid passing with a 1.93 rating out of 3."
Stoner dished out 12 assists on the night with Warfel taking advantage with a dozen kills.
One night later, Manor challenged the top team in the standings, Hempfield. Though they got stronger as the night progressed, the Comets bowed out 25-9, 25-15, 26-24. "We seemed to get fired up after that first set beat down," noted Joyce. "And Hempfield's choice to go with some subs in the third set almost cost them when Warfel got on a strong serving run. In the end, they were just too experienced for us."
Warfel put down 12 kills on the night but couldn't quite catch Hempfield's Jailene Lugo who finished with 17. Kubicar added two aces and one block. Stoner put up 17 assists and Henry recorded 17 digs.
The Comets, at 4-4 in Section One, sit right smack in the middle of the standings.
Three Comet golfers competed in the District Three Championships at Briarwood Golf Course this past Friday and Saturday and one advanced to Regionals.
Logan Hess carded a 3 over-par on Friday and came back with the exact same tally one day later to finish in a tie for seventh place.
"Logan had a great finish," said head coach Tom Reustle. "It was business as usual. As great as it was to make it to Regionals, we have our eyes set for States."
Also competing was Amanda Wolf and Keegan Dings who were 8 and 10 strokes, respectively, away from qualifying for Regionals.
"I am equally proud of Amanda and Keegan who ended up 13th and 14th overall," noted Reustle. "They have so much talent and work ethic. I can't wait to see what they accomplish next season."
With three games on the docket last week, the Comets not only extended their non-beaten streak to 15 but captured their 12 straight Section One title in the process.
After shutting out the opposition eight times in their last nine games, the Comets found themselves in a 1-1 tie last Monday afternoon at home against Twin Valley. All that changed in the second half when Gabby Bitts scored twice in the first seven minutes to give the Comets the lead for good. Bri Harsh added the final tally midway through the half and leaving the hosts with a 4-1 non-league victory.
The Comets, with a 20-4 shots on goal advantage, jumped in front first when Emma DeBerdine stole the ball from an attacker at the Comet 25 and raced 75 yards before drawing the keeper out of the cage and smacking a shot past her.
"It was a signature Emma DeBerdine play," said head coach Matt Soto.
The visitors, however, were up for the challenge and responded 1:38 later, collecting the rebound off a penalty corner to tie the score.
"We asked for more urgency and energy at halftime," stated Soto. "I thought we were playing good field hockey. We needed to play great field hockey. You have to give the team credit, they played a great second half, especially the first ten minutes. And our entire defensive unit (Tiana Edwards, Maeve Montgomery, Ally Rittenhouse, Riley Robinson and goalie Cecily Charles) played very well," he continued.
On the road Wednesday, the Comets got back to their shutout ways and blanked Cedar Crest 6-0. Harsh led the 22 shot attack with a hat trick, Bitts scored twice in the first half to lead a 4-0 charge, and DeBerdine added a second half goal and distributed three assists. The visitors denied the hosts in both shots and corners.
The Comets, with 17 corners and 17 shots, capped the week with a bigger win, topping second place Manheim Township 3-1 in Neffsville to clinch the Section One title.
This one started with a penalty shot, which DeBerdine cashed in for a 1-0 lead not quite five minutes in. Anna May Barbusca's goal 12:25 later made it 2-0 at the half.
The Streaks, looking to challenge, cut the lead in half with a goal 2:50 into the second half, making good on their only corner of the game. DeBerdine picked up an insurance goal with less than five minutes left.
The harrier teams traveled to Witmer last Tuesday to take on Conestoga Valley and Warwick and, despite weather more conducive to running than they've seen in the past, the Comets came away with just one win. The boys pulled out a 25-33 result against the hosts but came up on the wrong side of a 19-38 score against the Warriors.
Graham Thomas was just 19 seconds out of first place and settled in at fourth overall in 17:16. Lou Lindsley followed a pair of Warriors to the line and finished 7th with an 18:09. Placing 10th and finishing behind Warwick's fifth runner was Maxwell Kreiter (18:31). Jordan Photis (13th), Marco Rezkalla (14th), Jesse Kanagy (16th) and Dylan Terry (18th) also finished in the top 20.
Warwick placed four runners in the top seven and ran away from the field, defeating Penn Manor 19-36 and CV 25-31. The Comets also lost to the Bucks, 22-37.
Lauren Zink continues to lead the Comets and finished 6th overall with a 21:52. Madison McCanna and Arden Morgan ran back-to-back placing 9th (22:39) and 10th (22:40) respectively while Becky Kramer (16th, 24:01) and Keegan Dings (17th, 24:14) rounded out the top five. Carly Wall (18th) and Puja Neopaney (20th) were top 20 place winners.
Cedar Crest's Tyler Cruz scored four touchdowns on 93-rushing yards Friday night, propelling the Falcons to a 45-7 homecoming win over Penn Manor. The visitors scored just two minutes into the game, taking control early and not giving an inch. They scored three straight TD's before the Comets on got on board early in the second quarter when Luke Braas hit Stephen Albright for a 78-yard touchdown. The Falcons, however, responded with 10 points over the final 1:15 of the first half and led 31-7 at the break.
The Comets finished with 108 passing yards, rushed for 64 yards and gained just six first downs as they fell to 1-6 overall.
Head coach Paul Taylor was hoping that pouring in a season-high five goals in a 5-2 Saturday (Sept. 29) win over Garden Spot would end Manor's string of one goal losses. That was not the case as the Comets dropped their seventh one goal game of the season last Tuesday against the visiting Falcons of Cedar Crest.
"We have struggled with turnovers and to score all season," stated Taylor. "We have more shots than anyone in Section 1 but we have the lowest scoring percentage. We gave up silly fouls which led to direct kicks which Cedar Crest capitalized on twice."
Tied at 1-1 in the first half against Garden Spot, Hunter Enck, Mitchell Martin, who scored the first goal of the game, Alex Behmer and Paul Karpouzis all found the back of the net in the second half.
Against the Falcons, Manor fought from behind. Down 1-0 at the half, the hosts scored eight minutes after the break and pushed the lead to 3-zip in the 66th minute. Five minutes later, Manor responded with a goal by Enck, his eighth of the season. Three minutes later it was Karpouzis cutting the lead to one, 3-2. But the Comets could get no closer.
"We have the ability to play at a high level, which we did in the final 20 minutes," Taylor stated. "But we still haven't put a complete game together. I was proud of how hard the boys fought when we were down.
"Hunter Enck and Mitch Martin have been leading the way for us offensively," he added.
Their struggles continued with Thursday's 10-1 loss to Hempfield, their most lopsided defeat of the season. Alex Behmer broke up the Knights' shutout bid with a first half goal.
Hoping Saturday's (Sept 29) win over Warwick would provide some momentum, the Comets traveled to Cedar Crest last Tuesday but came home with a 4-2 loss.
"That was disappointing," said head coach Jacob Marino. "We showed some sloppy defense and kept giving up corner kicks and they capitalized on three of them, putting us in a 4-0 deficit. Then we started controlling play and pressing in their half," he continued. "It was totally out of character for us not to defend well in our own box. Usually our defense is the stronger part of our game."
The Comets fell behind 1-0 at the half and closed the gap with the last two goals of the game. Kara Huber scored in the 74th minute and Meghan Greenwalt tallied her second goal of the season just one minute later.
"We did have a few other very close opportunities but did not convert," Marino added.
Despite a competitive first half against Hempfield on Thursday, the Comets gave up a pair of second half goals and suffered a 4-1 defeat. Greenwalt, taking a pass from Lily Sugra, scored her third goal of the season in the first half, keeping the Comets within striking distance, 2-1, at the half.
The tennis team competed in the L-L League Flight Tournament last week but did not advance past the first round games.
"The girls have really come far since August," said head coach Allie Fetter. "And many have expressed an interest in playing in the off-season to improve their game for next year. It was exciting to end the season with a team win over Lebanon and we look forward to starting off next year on our new courts!"
Hess Takes Second in L-L Golf Championship September 30, 2018
After finishing second in Section One, the Comets geared up for the post-season by hosting the L-L League Championships on a soggy Monday afternoon. As he has all season, senior Logan Hess led the Comets with a 4-over par 70, placing second behind Shaun Fedor (2-over).
Kaden Peart finished in 25th place with an 88 and suffered a tough defeat in a playoff for districts.
"Logan qualified for districts and Kaden found himself in a playoff for the final two district spots," said head coach Tom Reustle. "Unfortunately he made a bogey on the first hole. The good news is that he handled himself with dignity and sportsmanship and will be the first alternate at districts."
The top 20 AAA players qualified for districts.
Joining Hess and Peart is freshman Keegan Dings and sophomore Amanda Wolf. Dings (97) tied for seventh and Wolf (102) finished 10th. The girls needed a 104 or better to qualify.
Also competing for the Comets was Griffin Rineer, Josh Heckman and Max Forrey.
In their last regular match of the season, the Comets raised over $1,000 in their Golfing FORE Awareness match, benefitting the DES Foundation for suicide awareness and prevention. Supporters pledged for pars and birdies as the team golfed in memory of classmate Sean Moore.
"I cannot be any more proud of this group," said Reustle. "It's a blessing to be their coach."
Against a team that has also scored just nine goals this season, the Comets opened a three game week with a 2-0 loss in Neffsville. Manheim Township took charge with a pair of second half goals.
"I thought we played a great game and dominated play for the most part," said head coach Jacob Marino. "We had a shot hit the post in the first half and that would have put us in front.
"This has been frustrating," he continued. "We have played very well and have been close in every game."
In a make-up game Wednesday, the Comets faced a Pioneer squad that has been struggling to find the net and dropped a 2-1 heart-breaker. With both teams all but tied in shots on goal and corners, the Pioneers led in execution, scoring twice in the first half. Elise Borys' goal in the 58th minute prevented the shutout. Miriam Badri and Kara Huber split time in goal and recorded three saves apiece.
"Our record (0-6, 1-11 overall) certainly doesn't give an accurate picture of how well the girls have been playing against tough opponents," stated Marino.
Under the lights on a soggy Thursday night, Manor secured its first league win of the season with a 1-0 victory over hosting Warwick. Isabelle Barton scored her first goal of the season and the golden goal with two minutes left to play.
Badri was busy in goal, turning away 11 attempts to preserve the shutout.
With 246 rushing yards on the night, the Comet gridiron team scored the first three touchdowns of the game and went on to defeat host McCaskey 28-14 in a game moved to Saturday night. It was Manor's first win of the season and featured more points than they have scored in their first five games combined.
Quarterback Aaron Gale led the way with three scores, putting Manor on the board with a 47-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter and capping the scoring with a 22-yard strike to Josh Gibson with 22 seconds left in the first half. In between, he found Kyle Murr with a 56-yard pass early in the second quarter to put the Comets in front 14-0.
Gibson, who recorded 119 yards on 13 carries and snagged one interception, pushed the lead to 21-0 with an 81-yard sprint to the end zone with 10:22 left in the half. Liam Hart successfully booted all four PAT's to contribute to the total.
"We had a lot of contributions this game but I'd like to spotlight senior three-year starter and punter (second team all-star last year) Zach Banta," said head coach John Burkholder. "He has provided great play in all phases of the game. On offense he is our 'Y' receiver, capable of playing tight end where he provides good blocking skills. He is also a threat to catch the ball and provides good perimeter block for our run game," Burkholder continued. "On defense, he has played both defensive end and outside linebacker. He has moved around game to game due to need and based on injuries. We've been pleased with his attitude and efforts this season."
The win ends a five game losing streak that includes back-to-back shutouts for this young squad. Look for this boost of confidence to play a role this week as the Comets host a 3-3 Cedar Crest squad.
In their last regularly scheduled match of the season, the tennis team battled Section One leader and undefeated Manheim Township last Monday. Though putting up a gritty effort, the Comets were dealt a 7-0 defeat in Neffsville. Liv Chipriano and Keelan Kirchner recorded the best score of the day but lost 8-2 at No. 3.
In a rescheduled match on Wednesday, the Comets saved their best for last, working a 7-0 shutout over Lebanon. Julie Ward and Audrey Jachimowicz got the ball rolling with a solid 8-3 win at No. 1 doubles while Hannah Smith and Alayna Adams earned an 8-1 result at No. 2. Chipriano and Janae Beiler continued the doubles domination with a shutout at No. 3.
Singles play was more of the same as Ward, Smith, Jachimowicz and Chipriano all secured straight set wins at No. 1 through 4 respectively.
And the beat goes on. After settling for a 3-3 tie against Hershey on September 22, the Comets, with the top four scorers in Section One (Emma DeBerdine, Bri Harsh, Anna May Barbusca, Gabby Bitts) tallied eight goals for the third time this season in a lopsided defeat of Ephrata on Monday.
The Mountaineers were pinned in the backfield the entire game as they failed to get off a single shot or force a single corner. The Comets, on the other hand, peppered Ephrata's keeper with 24 shots coming on the heels of 22 corners.
DeBerdine, who netted two goals and three assists, got the action rolling with a goal in the second minute and the Comets were off. Jasmine Miller added two second half goals while Gabby Bitts (1 assist) and Tianna Edwards scored once in each half and Bri Harsh dished out a pair of assists.
Friday's action against Hempfield was more of the same. The Comet defense denied the Knights in both shots and corners while the offense, behind 39 shots and 24 corners, settled for a 5-0 result. Bitts tallied two of Manor's four first half goals. DeBerdine also scored twice, including the final goal of the game with 1:48 remaining, and dished out two assists. Harsh, with just 30 seconds off the clock, jumpstarted the attack with the first goal of the game.
Cecily Charles was credited with two shutouts without making a single save.
The cross country teams traveled to Hempfield last Wednesday where the boys suffered their first two losses of the season, dropping a 20-36 result against the hosts and falling 22-36 to Cedar Crest.
"Graham Thomas had a nice race up front but overall both teams lacked the depth to stay with Hempfield and Cedar Crest," said co-head coach Tom Ecker.
Thomas finished second overall, just two seconds behind Hempfield's Justin Rittenhouse (17:06). Lou Lindsley clocked an 18:09 and was 11th overall while Marco Rezkalla (16th, 18:34) and David Kramer (17th, 18:37) finished back-to-back as Manor's third and fourth runners. Rounding out the top five was Maxwell Kreiter (19th, 18:41) while Jordan Photis (23rd) also broke into the top 25.
Despite a fourth place effort by Lauren Zink (22:06), the girls also fell short against the hosts 19-46, and the Falcons 24-31. Arden Morgan (11th, 23:14) and Madison McCanna (13th, 23:20) ran as Manor's second and third counters while Keegan Dings (16th, 23:54) and Becky Kramer (19th, 24:39) rounded out the top five.
Penn Manor's string of one goal losses reached for straight last Monday night as Manheim Township left Comet Field with a 1-0 result. After a scoreless first half, the Streaks used a second half goal, fueled by a 15-7 advantage in shots, to pull out the win.
"We have been 'in' all of these games," said head coach Paul Taylor. "Just about every one of our losses has been by one goal. We had some great opportunities with attacks by Mitch Martin and Hunter Enck leading the way," he added. "We have a very skilled group and the ability to beat anyone in the league. We just need to put together a well-executed game."
That execution, however, did not take place Thursday night as the Comets suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 4-1 final against section leading Warwick (5-1).
With both teams managing 12 shots on goal, it was the visitors that executed the finishes, extending a slim 1-0 halftime lead with three second half tallies. Warwick made it 2-0 just one minute into the second half and 3-0 in the 54th minute. Enck's goal 20 minutes later put the Comets (2-8 overall) on the board but that momentum was short-lived as the Warriors (7-1 overall) found the back of the net for the fourth time a quick two minutes later.
The volleyball team ran its winning streak to three straight with victories over Warwick and Conestoga Valley last week.
The Comets opened the week with a shutout over Warwick (25-23, 25-16, 25-20) as they reached the midway point of the season. Shayna Warfel was a strong presence at the net with 12 kills and also served up four aces, benefitting from almost half of Kailey Stoner's 25 assists. Maddie Henry chipped in with 14 digs and Elizabeth Kubicar put up a pair of blocks.
"Each set was back-and-forth," said head coach Tim Joyce. "They played tough defense but out hitters played very smart. We also served smart and kept stealing the momentum with scrappy defense."
Thursday night the Comets swept CV (1-6 overall) with a come-from-behind 3-1 final. Manor, having pulled out a 3-2 thriller in their first meeting with the Bucks, got off to a slow start, bowing out 25-18. But behind Warfel's 21 kill effort, the Comets finished on top convincingly, 25-15, 25-15 and 25-22.
"We got off to a slow start but our captains, Shayna Warfel and Nikki Krahulik, rallied the team to finish the match strong."
Jordan Schucker added to the offense with 7 aces. Henry scrambled for 21 digs and Stoner distributed the ball with confidence, racking up 33 assists.
The Comets sit in a third place tie with Township at 4-2.
Graham Thomas Leads Undefeated Harriers September 16, 2018
A soggy course did not slow the Comets last Tuesday in Quarryville as the boys ran past Solanco (15-55), Elizabethtown (22-35) and Ephrata (24-37) in a rare quad-meet.
"Ephrata's Andrew Foster and Penn Manor's Graham Thomas (17:13) ran two of the top five fastest times on our course," said Solanco boss Craig Ausel.
Thomas, who was second overall, led a pack of Comets that placed five runners in the top 11. "This was the first time Graham finished as our top runner," said co-head coach Tom Ecker. "He ran a very smart race."
Sophomore teammate Lou Lindsley finished third overall (18:00) with David Kramer (18:14) close behind in fifth. Maxwell Kreider (10th, 18:47) and Jordan Photis (11th, 18:56) rounded out the top five while Marco Rezkalla (13th, 19:08) and Jesse Kanagy (15th, 19:17) were in the hunt, helping Manor improve to 4-0.
The girls' squad had a much taller task as they faced five of the top runners in the league in E-town's Katie Locker (1st), Cat Shontz (2nd) and Madeline Quinn (3rd) and Ephrata's Mary Campbell and Alyssa Fedorshak.
"Those top three girls had the 2nd, 3rd and 5th fastest times on our course," Ausel noted, "behind Penn Manor's Greta Lindsley."
The Comets did manage a 16-44 win over Solanco before bowing to the Bears (22-33) and the Mounts (26-30).
Loren Zink, with a 6th place time of 22:19, was tops for the Comets. Co-captain Madison McCanna (22:55) was 7th and Arden Morgan followed in 8th (23:05). Keegan Dings secured fourth place for the Comets, taking 11th in 23:35 while Becky Kramer's 17th place finish in 24:18 rounded out the top five counters. Carly Wall clocked a 25:02 and finished in 20th place overall.
The Comets secured their second straight 8-1 victory last Monday night in Section One action against hosting Hempfield. The visitors, who scored four goals in each half against Cedar Crest, unleashed a punishing 7-0 first half advantage on the Knights. Gabby Bitts and Emma DeBerdine (2 assists) both had hat tricks as Manor pounded out 34 shots while holding the hosts to 4.
Jasmine Miller and Anna Mary Barbusca chipped in with one goal each while Briana Harsh and Tianna Edwards combined for five assists. Cecily Charles needed just three saves to earn the win.
After three dominating wins, the Comets found themselves tested. In a non-league outing Wednesday at Cumberland Valley, Manor matched their season high in corners with 20 and rapped out 10 shots on goal but only managed a slim 1-0 victory.
"We did a great job of attacking their defense but they simply played solid penalty corner defense," said head coach Matt Soto.
Manor scored what proved to be the game-winner off a first half penalty corner. "We got some good passing from Emma and Gabby and a great finish from Bri," Soto explained. "As the game went on, Emma was in control of the midfield and Ally Rittenhouse played a solid game defensively."
CV managed just one shot on goal, which Charles saved in posting Manor's second shutout. "We really prevented them from getting scoring opportunities and were able to keep the pressure on their defense," Soto said.
At the Hershey Tournament on Saturday, the Comets added two more shutouts to their win total, blanking Township 4-0 and Hershey 2-zip.
DeBerdine's goal 2:37 into the first half against MT stood until Manor exploded for three second half goals to pull away. Harsh, Barbusca and DeBerdine again all found the back of the cage to pad the lead.
In a tighter game against the hosts, DeBerdine's goal midway through the first half was all Manor needed. Edwards, however, added a second goal with 6:29 remaining. Charles, with one save against MT, collected five more to keep Hershey at bay.
The Lady Comets opened Section One play last Monday night with a home game against Warwick. Despite a scoreless first half, it was Warwick that pulled out the hard fought victory, scoring the game-winner in the 55th minute.
"They were certainly the stronger attacking side," said head coach Jacob Marino. "We looked very good defensively but could not find the net."
"Senior Elise Borys and junior Belle Barton, playing the middle, anchored the defense," noted Marino. "They did a great job of repelling a lot of Warwick's attacks.
"Offensively, we could have been more creative," he continued. "Our long ball play was too predictable."
Miriam Badri turned back five of Warwick's six shots on goal but suffered the loss.
Thursday the Comets withstood a 20 shot attack, fought off a one goal deficit and forced an extra period only to drop a 3-2 heartbreaker against visiting Cedar Crest. Down 1-0 at the half, Manor tied the game on Meghan Greenwalt's PK and took the lead ten minutes later when Lily Sugra finished a dish from Greenwalt. The lead lasted just two minutes as the Falcons knotted the score and then pulled out the win four minutes into overtime.
Penn Manor's first win of the season did not come via the upset version over Manheim Township this past Friday night in Millersville. The Streaks improved to 4-0 with a 41-0 victory.
The hosts, held to four first downs, gave up one TD in the first quarter, two in the second and three in the third as they suffered their fourth loss.
Six different Comets hauled in passes on the night with Kyle Murr (24 yards), Isaac Hostetter (12 yds) and Josh Gibson (10 yds) snagging two each while Logan Legenstein gained the most yardage with a 39 yard reception. Aaron Gale completed 4-of-11 attempts for 27 yards while Luke Braas, in relief, was 5-of-11 for 72 yards.
On the defensive end, Josh Gibson blocked a field goal late with 29 seconds left in the first half as Township took a 21-0 lead at the half. The Comets also did a decent job in holding Township's running game to 126 rushing yards.
Picking up a 3-2 thriller over Section Three's Ephrata last Monday, the Comets improved to 2-2 overall.
In a match that see-sawed back-and-fourth, the Mounts pulled out identical 25-23 wins in the first and third sets while the visitors fought from behind, winning the second and fourth sets with identical 25-21 scores. With the match on the line, Manor used momentum from their fourth set win to steal the game with a 15-11 final set.
"The whole match was about the serve and received battle," said head coach Tim Joyce. "Both teams had their share of errors, but in the end we were able to string together a few more earned points."
Shayna Warfel's 16 kill effort at the net outmuscled a nine kill effort by Ephrata's Kendall Wales. Kailey Stoner aided Warfel's attack with 31 assists while Elizabeth Kubicar contributed to the offense with 4 aces.
Warfel not only sparked the action at the net but, along with Maddie Henry, scrambled for 18 digs while Lexington Sangrey put up a pair of blocks.
"Our team-wide defense kept us afloat," said Joyce. "Kendra Weiss and Jordan Schucker added 17 and 16 digs respectively. And our Estonian exchange student, Marilyn Keernik, subbed in and added some height to our block and picked up a few points.
"We put together some good serving runs in the fifth set that swung the momentum our way," he added.
Thursday's outing against Cedar Crest mirrored Tuesday's win only this time the Comets came up short 3-2. Manor controlled the first set 25-13 but the Falcons regrouped and stole set two, 25-23. The visitors rose to the challenge with a solid 25-20 third set only to suffer a second two point loss, 26-24 in set four. That momentum carried the hosts to a 15-6 final set and the win.
Warfel recorded a game-high 17 kills and five aces to lead the offense while Schucker collected a game-high 18 digs and Kubicar put up two blocks.
With eight corners and seven shots on goal, Warwick's boys' soccer team kept the Comets busy on defense last Monday night in Lititz. The result was a second half shutout and a 3-1 win in the Section One opener.
Behind Hunter Enck's first half goal, the Comets broke in front early. Warwick countered in the 36th minute sending both teams into intermission deadlocked.
"Hunter took a nice pass, got past some people and had a great shot on goal," lauded head coach Paul Taylor. "But overall, we weren't aggressive to the ball and didn't apply much offensive pressure. We had moments of very good possession but not enough. The boys know they are better than how they played today."
In a defensive battle on the turf Thursday night, the Comets dropped a hard-fought 1-0 OT final against hosting Cedar Crest. Both teams worked five corners and Manor held a slim 7-6 edge in shots but couldn't find the back of the net. The Comets' Fahri Sivri recorded five saves but Crest's Ryan Bernard tallied the game-winner in the 96th minute.
After four straight home matches, the tennis team took advantage of some dry weather on Thursday and battled Warwick on the road. But the sunshine wasn't enough as the Warriors dropped the Comets 7-0. Despite the loss, the Comets made a strong showing in doubles play with Hannnah Smith and Alayna Adams battling Warwick's No. 2 team to a heart-breaking 9-7 result.
Almost as strong at No. 3, Liv Chipriano and Ava Ginder put the Warriors to the test in an 8-5 loss. Chipriano carried that play into singles action where she secured the most games for the Comets in a 6-1, 6-3 loss at No. 4. Also in singles, Julia Ward lost 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1, Smith worked a 6-1, 6-2 loss at No. 2 and Audrey Jachimowicz fell short 6-1, 6-0.
Earlier in the week, the Comets dropped a shortened (due to weather) 4-0 result against Hempfield. The Knights put together three straight doubles wins and added a 6-0, 6-0 result at No. 1 singles to account for the scoring.
In their tightest match of the season, the Comets dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to Ephrata on Thursday. Manor jumped out in front when Smith and Adams worked an 8-3 No. 2 doubles win and Chipriano and Ginder followed up with an 8-5 result but the Mounts prevailed through some tough singles matches. Ward bowed out 7-5, 6-4 at No. 1 and Smith battled to a 3-6, 6-4, 10-3 tiebreaker loss at No. 2. Jachimowicz dropped a 6-4, 6-1 win before Chipriano earned Manor's final point with a come-from-behind tiebreaker win, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7.
Playing in their fourth straight game on Friday, the Comets came out on the short end of a 7-0 final against a 7-1 Pequea Valley squad. Ward put up the best numbers of the day in a 6-3, 6-3 loss.
For the third time this season, the Comet golfers finished in second place in Section One play. A 73 by Logan Hess was the third lowest score at Fairview Golf Course. Kaden Peart carded an 84 with Keegan Dings three strokes back and one ahead of Josh Heckman.
The Comets sit in second place with an 11-5 record and one league match left. Township holds down first at 16-0.
Golfers Hold Down Second Place in Section Play September 9, 2018
At the halfway point of the regular season, the Comet golfers are sitting in second place in Section One (8-4), behind undefeated Manheim Township.
"We're off to a good start," said head coach Tom Reustle. "We have some really good players returning with Logan Hess again being our No. 1, followed by Griffin Rineer, Josh Heckman, Max Forrey and Kaden Peart. I'm also excited about our younger players and the growth they've shown such as Amanda Wolf, Cole Spezialetti, Maggie Eckroat and Keegan Dings who has played her way right into the starting lineup with some tremendous play."
The Comets opened their season on August 16 at Overlook. They went 3-1 with a 341 team score, their lowest to date. Six days later that matched that record with a 325 at Four Seasons but found the going a bit tougher at Bent Creek where they went 2-2 on the day, falling to Lancaster Catholic as well as Township.
To date, Hess fired a season-low 71 at Overlook. Dings shot his best, an 80, to finish second behind Hess at Four Seasons.
"I expect us to make it to leagues again and that most of our players qualify as individuals," Reustle stated. "We should have a few players making it to Regionals as well with the hope of Logan making a trip to States."
Four matches into the season, the racket club continues to work toward securing their first win. Against Section Two opponents to date, they suffered shutouts against L-S and Manheim Central, dropped a 6-2 result against Garden Spot, bowed out 6-1 to Elizabethtown and suffered a hard-fought 5-2 loss to Solanco last Wednesday.
"We graduated most of our lineup," said head coach Allie Fetter, "but in the off-season I had a couple of girls step up playing and going to camps."
Playing No. 1 this year, Julie Ward worked a 6-2, 6-3 win over McKenna Smith for Manor's lone point against Elizabethtown. She also earned a singles win against Garden Spot and teamed with Audrey Jachimowicz for a doubles victory to account for both of Manor's team points.
"Julie was No. 3 last year and is playing a completely different game this year at No. 1," Fetter stated. "She is doing a great job with footwork and consistency."
Last Tuesday the Comets struggled in the heat, bowing out 7-0 against Cedar Crest. Ward put up the best number of the day in a 6-4, 6-3 loss. Hannah Smith and Liz Chipriano each took two games.
Wednesday's loss to the Mares got underway on August 31 but was called due to rain. Ward picked up another singles win, defeating Keirth Paine 6-1, 7-5 while the doubles team of Chipriano and Ginder pulled out an 8-8 (7-5) thriller at No. 3 doubles.
The Comet harriers grabbed the second through sixth place positions to easily defeat visiting Lebanon, 20-39 last Tuesday afternoon. David Kramer led the Comet pack with a second place finish in 19:03. Lou Lindsey and Graham Thomas were one and two seconds, respectively, behind. Marco Rezkalla followed in fifth place (19:17) and Jordan Photis, at 19:18, was sixth. Maxwell Kreiter also broke into the top ten with an 8th place effort in 19:41.
Losing just one senior to graduation, Nick Fafel, the Comets look to challenge in the post-season.
"We have a strong group of tenth graders who are developing and had a great training program over the summer," said co-head coach Tom Ecker.
Lebanon's Evan Blymier, with an 18:47, was the overall winner.
The girls' squad had an even easier time as Lebanon was unable to field a complete squad. Sophomore Lauren Zink (23:20) led the way with Maddy McCanna (24:26), Arden Morgan (23:37), Keegan Dings (25:02) and Becky Kramer (25:31) rounding out the top five. Carly Wall, Puja Neopaney, Julianne West and Kimmy Miller rounded out the top nine.
Like the boys', the girls' squad also lost just one runner, Andrea Funk, to graduation and will look to challenge in the post-season.
"Keegan Deets, a freshman, is one of our top runners," noted Ecker. "Everyone ran conservatively, due to the heat, which was still a challenge even though we pushed the starting time back."
After posting 28 straight wins through the 2017 season, it would only be natural to expect the Comets to open the season with a handful more wins. The Academy of Notre Dame De Namur, however, handed Penn Manor a 3-2 loss in a non-league season opener on August 31.
"They are a highly skilled team and were very well prepared," said head coach Matt Soto. "We need to learn as much as possible from that loss. That will help us with the games to follow."
The Comets, who return four starters in Emma DeBerdine, Gabby Bitts, Bri Harsh and Anna May Barbusca, erased the bitter taste of a loss with a crushing Section One 14-0 defeat of Ephrata Wednesday night. Barbusca poured in four goals and one assist and DeBerdine dished out five assists and scored twice to pace the attack. Jasmine Miller added a hat trick, Bitts finished with two goals and three assists, and Tianna Edwards picked up two goals and one assist in rounding out the multiple goal scorers. Harsh (1g, 1a) and Onya Yurkiewicz (1a) also contributed.
The scoring continued on Friday as the Comets blanked Cedar Crest 8-0. Bitts (2a), Harsh (2a) and Barbusca each scored two goals while Miller (1a) and DeBerdine (2a) each added one goal. It was the second straight game Manor denied its opponent a single shot on goal.
Last year the Comets finished 7-8-3 overall and fell short of qualifying for the post-season, again. This year they look to get over the hump and qualify for districts.
They opened the 2018 campaign on the right foot, defeating Elizabethtown 2-1 Tuesday night. Hunter Enck scored off a corner kick with an assist by Jackson Hostetter in the 22nd minute. Seven minutes later Manor made good on a skilled drive to goal when Mitch Martin finished with a shot to the back of the net.
The Bears cut that deficit in half four minutes before the break on direct kick and neither team capitalized after the break.
"Everyone worked hard in uncomfortable weather," said head coach Paul Taylor. "Along with Enck, Martin and Hostetter, Derek Davis, Kyle Ament, Ryan Dang, Doyle Ebersole and Zach Bailey along with keeper Fahri Sivri were major contributors to our victory.
"We have a solid core of players who can come off the bench and provide quality minutes," he added. "The expectations I have for this team are to train with intensity and to train smart."
Saturday afternoon a second half goal proved to be the difference as Hershey escaped with a 1-0 victory against the hosting Comets.
After going 5-10 a year ago, the volleyball team is looking to move up. They opened their season last Tuesday night with a 3-2 thriller over visiting CV. Down 12-3 in the fifth and deciding set, the Comets rallied behind Maddie Henry's seven point serving run and took advantage of key Buckskin errors to pull out a 17-15 set and the win.
"Tough serving from Lizzy Kubicar put us back into a tie," recalled head coach Tim Joyce. "After a CV serving error at 15-15, Jordan Schucker rotated back to serve CV out of their offensive system and caused them to end the match on an error in our favor.
"Lizzy had some key blocks early on and Shanya Warfel (23 kills) was clutch, picking up kills at important moments," he added.
The Comets solidly took set one 25-19. CV roared back with identical 25-22 second and third set wins before Manor finished the night 27-25, 17-15.
"Lizzy (7 aces) scored four aces in one rotation in that fourth set," noted Joyce. "Setters Jordan Schucker (19 assists) and Kailey Stoner worked hard to get all the second touches and made great decisions and Justine Fry came off the bench (on her birthday) to put some serving pressure on CV for our final points."
Kendra Weiss racked up 17 digs to anchor the defense.
Thursday the Comets battled Hempfield to a closer than it appeared 3-0 loss. The Knights dominated the first set 25-12 but Manor fought back, bowing out 25-22, 25-21.
Kubicar served up seven aces and Warfel put down four kills to lead the offense. Maddie Henry scrambled for nine digs, Lexington Sangrey put up one block and Stoner finished with six assists to round out the stat leaders.
"Lexington, a sophomore starter, is the youngest of six siblings (3 sisters, 2 brothers) that have all played volleyball for Penn Manor," Joyce pointed out. "Her brother Griffin plays in the NCAA for St. Francis (PA), her sister Mikiah plays for Lebanon Valley College, and her sister Remington is a PIAA volleyball official and middle school volleyball coach here at Penn Manor."
The girls' soccer team takes on a young look this season and the team has already by plagued with injuries. "Four of my seniors are out with concussions," said head coach Jacob Marino. "And I have three freshmen in key places on the field. That being said, the girls have remained competitive."
That competiveness however has not resulted in a win. The Comets dropped their opener to Wilson, 3-1, despite being tied 1-1 at the half. "They are easily one of the strongest teams in the state," note Marino.
Last Tuesday the Comets dropped a 2-0 home game against Elizabethtown. "We dominated play on the field and created many chances but failed to find the back of the net," Marino recalled. "Both of their goals were on free-kicks."
On Saturday the team put together a valiant effort but dropped a 4-3 double OT thriller against Hershey. Down 3-0 in the first half, the Comets regrouped and knotted the score after just seven minutes of play in the second half on goals by Maddie Kahler, Megan Burkholder and Kylee Hess. Kara Huber added two assists.
"We kept creating opportunities but couldn't cash in," said Marino. "We ended up out-shooting Hershey 19-8 and controlling most of the play. Last year we lost 7-0 to them. This is quite a turnaround.
"Even though we're 0-3, there are a lot of positives considering the challenges we are facing," he added. "Our success will be determined by our mental focus and composure on the field. We have to do the simple things well. We have the pieces to surprise teams and I'm excited to see how we responded to the challenges."
Just three games into the season the Comets sit with a 0-3 mark as they struggle to put together a complete game.
At Dallastown this past Friday, the Comets, down 21-0 into the second quarter, prevented the shutout when QB Aaron Gale raced 36-yards to paydirt. Manor forced a punt and, two plays later Nicholas Baker's 48-yard run put the Comets at the Dallastown five. The drive stalled, however, and Manor missed a field goal attempt with just seconds on the clock.
The second half was all Wildcats, in particular Nyzair Smith. The senior running back raced 290 yards and scored five touchdowns in their 42-7 victory.
Baker was Manor's top rusher with 75 yards on 12 carries. The Comets managed just 135 total yards of offense on the night.
Comets End Season in District Consolations June 1, 2018
The Comets are not newcomers to the District Three Class 6A Tournament. They have qualified each of the last three years and the past two years they advanced to the finals opposite Chambersburg. Unfortunately, the Trojans finished on top, 13-2 last year and 1-0 in 10 innings in 2016.
This year Penn Manor ended that string of losses, defeating Chambersburg 8-1 in the opening round on May 24. The No. 3 seed Comets hosted the No. 7 Trojans (15-8) at Manor Middle School.
The Comets, with ten hits on the day, scored two unearned runs in the first inning, two more in the fourth and left little doubt of the outcome with a four-run sixth to end Chambersburg's season early.
Brittany Hook anchored the defense, surrendering just two hits on the day. She struck out 13 and walked one.
The Trojans' pitching staff walked four batters and the defense behind them committed three miscues to help the Comets along.
With Chambersburg out of the way, the Comets were looking to once again advance to the title game. Last Tuesday, however, that goal was cut short when Central Dauphin upended the local favorite 5-0 in the semifinals played at Lebanon Valley College.
"Uncharacteristically we had one bad inning and it cost us," said head coach Dave Stokes. "We dropped a ball in the outfield, had one of our infielders commit their first error of the year and things just snowballed. All five of their runs were unearned."
The Rams (15-5), with the help of four Comet miscues, scored all of their runs in the second inning.
The Comets managed just four hits on the day and gained just one free base.
Hook, a University of South Florida commit, retired eight batters and scattered six hits in the loss.
In a consolation game the very next night at Millersville University, the Comets once again went up against Section One foe Warwick. The two teams split the regular season series with Warwick winning 2-0 on April 12 and Manor returning the favor with a 7-3 result April 30. This time, however, a berth in the PIAA tournament was at stake and the Warriors won the rubber match 4-2.
"We had some mental mistakes running and some errors costs us," Stokes said. "And we gave up base hits with runners on."
After falling behind 3-0 after 5.5 innings, the Comets got on board with two in the bottom of the sixth. Julia Tappany, Hook and Madison Trout all collected doubles to spark the comeback. After giving up one more run in the top of the seventh, another rally was in the making. Sophia Rineer reached on an error and Tappany singled to right but a ground out ended the threat and Manor's season at 17-5.
Hook fanned seven batters, pushing her career strikeout total to an impressive 998. "We were hoping to go over 1,000," said Stokes. "And if the Lancaster Catholic and Cocalico games would not have been cancelled, that would have happened. Brittany has had a phenomenal career at Penn Manor. And our seniors played well this week," he added. "It was a good season with the young squad we had."
The Comets have qualified for the PIAA tournament each of the last three seasons.
While the Comets fell short in advancing to the state tournament, a handful of track and field Comets did compete in the State Championships at Shippensburg University May 25-26.
Taraje Whitfield, with a pair of second place seeds, was Manor's top place winner. The senior settled for a silver medal finish in the 300 hurdles (37.62) and was fourth in the 110 highs (14.43).
Running the prelims on Friday afternoon, Whitfield clocked a 39.1 to win his 300 heat and won his heat in the 110 highs with a 14.9 to get to the finals. Unfortunately, North Allegheny's Ayden Owens, one of the nation's top ranked hurdlers posted gold medal times, winning the 110 highs with a meet record 13.69, and the 300's in 36.68.
Whitfield also competed with David Kramer, Chad Mowbray and Theoren McElheny in the 4x400 relay. Seeded 14th with a 3:22.26, the Comets finished second in their heat with an improved 3:21.03 but did not place.
Kramer competed in the 800, posting a 2:08.89 in the prelims and Mowbray finished 5th in his preliminary heat of the open 400 with a 51.28. They did not advance.
Also on the track, Alyssa Schriver raced a 59.50 in the 400, finishing fifth in the prelims.
In the field events, Sarah Harthan tied for 10th place in the pole vault, clearing 11-0 and Jaylyn Clow was 15th in the discus with a toss of 112-04. She was the highest placing freshman in the event.
Boys' Track Finishes Second in District Meet May 24, 2018
Lancaster-Lebanon League athletes grabbed eight gold medals at the District Three Track and Field Championships held May 18-19 at Shippensburg University. Penn Manor was responsible for three of those golds which led to a second place team finish.
With silver medals as both a sophomore and junior, Taraje Whitfield was ready to make a statement. Seeded first in both the 110 high hurdles and the 300's, Whitfield kicked it up a notch and cruised to victory. The senior clocked a 14.13 in the high hurdles, a lifetime best, pulling away from second place finisher Richard Gilchrist of Harrisburg (14.36).
It was more of the same in the 300's where improved his 38.61 seed time with a winning 37.57 to finish ahead of Wilson's Alex Cluff (38.29).
In addition to the hurdles, Whitfield teamed with Theoren McElheny, David Kramer, and Chad Mowbray in the 4x400 baton exchange. The foursome broke their own school record and settled for fourth place finish with a season PR of 3:24.28 (with Daimir Wesley and Josh Gibson as alternates).
The Comets also found success in the field where Alex Scheivert threw his way past Chris Barrett of Northern (192-03) to win the javelin with a 193-01. Josiah Edwards finished in 11th place (156-02).
Also in the throws, Jayln Clow grabbed a fifth place medal in the discus. Her 116-01 improved her seed throw of 112-08. She set a new Comet freshman record and was the only freshman in the 18 person field.
In the shot put, Casey McCollum settled for ninth place with a 48-3.75.
The Comets were also represented in the jumps. Sarah Harthan was the top place-winner in that category, scoring a fifth place medal after clearing 11-06. Brooke Gilbert tied for eighth place in the high jump (4-10) while Matt Julian settled for a tie for ninth place in the pole vault. Four athletes cleared 13-3 to force the tie.
Back on the track the Comets kept adding to their second place team finish with juniors Chad Mowbray and David Kramer earning medals. Mowbray raced to a fifth place finish in the open 400 (50.93) and Kramer finished sixth in the 800 (1.58.47). McElheny also competed in the 100 and 200 meter sprints but did not advance to the finals.
Also representing the boys' was Nick Fafal who finished 13th in the 3200 with a 10:02.57.
On the girls' side was Alyssa Schriver with a fourth place effort in the open 400 (58.58) and Fionna Haines who settled in at 12th place (1:01.12).
While most of the spring sports teams are winding down, the boys' lacrosse team seemed to be gaining momentum. Upset victories over Governor Mifflin (11-7) and top seed Central York (9-8) put the Comets in the District Three Class AAA semifinals, for the first time in school history, opposite No. 4 CV at Hershey High School last Monday. The result was much closer than the 10-4 final sounds.
Down 3-0 in the first quarter, Manor cut the lead to one with two minutes left in the half but CV, making its fourth straight semifinals appearance, scored not once, but twice in the last 42 ticks to stay in front and gain momentum.
"We talked all week about having high energy and being active," said head coach Zack Charles, "but we came out slow. We got into a hole but still stuck around. Those last two goals of the half hurt."
The Comets, who were outshot 46-17, were held scoreless in the third quarter, while giving up two goals and were outscored in the final frame 2-1.
"I thought Billy Briegel had an excellent game," praised Charles. "He slowed down their best offensive threat and also scored two goals."
That threat was Delaware Valley commit Clayton Miller who did not score a single goal.
Manor scored three of their four goals in that second quarter. Other than Briegel, Josh Heckman and Aidan Mahoney each scored once.
In goal, Seth Wilton came away with 16 saves.
The Comets are the first No. 9 seed to reach the district semifinals in the 10 year lacrosse history.
Thursday the boys traveled to Warwick for a chance to qualify for the PIAA tournament. They battled a Wilson squad (No. 3 seed, 18-3) that poured in five first quarter goals en route to an 11-4 victory and finished in third place in District Three.
Another slow start hounded the Comets. They fell behind 6-2 at the half and never got on track.
Penn Manor wraps up the season with a 13-8 record. No further details were available at press time.
Comets Battle Black Knights in Season Ender May 24, 2018
The baseball team traveled to Landisville last Monday for the last game of the regular season but struggled against the third place team in Section One, Hempfield. The 10-10 Black Knights scored three runs in the third inning and broke the game open with a six spot in the sixth. They held the Comets to three hits and finished on top, 9-0.
The hosts, with eight hits on the day, opened the scoring with a pair of back-to-back two out doubles in the third. A pair of errors, two walks and three singles contributed to their six run fifth inning rally.
Dylan Crook struck out three, walked four and gave up three earned runs in four innings of work. Ty Erisman (2K, 2W) and Ryan Glenn (1K) saw action in relief.
Glenn, who finished the season as Manor's top offensive performer (.352 batting average), Dalton Landis and Ty Erisman were credited with Manor's hits.
"Ty Erisman was used only as a pitcher in the first half of the year, but we gave him a chance to be in the lineup over the last eight games and he responded by getting a hit in each of those games and ended up with a .375 batting average," noted head coach Streeter Stuart.
"Obviously the season did not go as well as we had hoped. We had started to turn a corner, winning four of six games, and held a 6-3 lead over McCaskey going into the seventh inning," he continued. "But when we lost that lead and the game, it seemed to deflate the team, and our last two games we really struggled."
The Comets finished 4-12 in Section One and 5-14 overall.
"Our real struggle this year was on the hill," Stuart stated. "But walks and errors were really not our problem. We just got hit around too much. Our team ERA last year was 1.29. This year it was 5.10. Last year we allowed 91 hits in the regular season and this year we allowed 162. That stat tells the difference between a section championship team and a 5-14 team," he continued. "Despite our struggles, Dylan Crook gave us a strong effort almost every time out and Erisman really started to develop as a solid starter as the season progressed."
Brady Hinkle and Cade Thourot joined Glenn and Erisman with solid seasons at the plate, finishing with .292 batting averages. Josiah Snyder finished at .288.
The track teams had a bye last Monday as they prepared for the L-L League Championships. They competed in the Blue Streak Relays on May 5 where Alex Scheivert improved on his school record with a throw of 206-8. He and Josh Gibson, with a 146-4 throw, combined for first place.
"That throw by Alex is number one in PA and in the top ten nationally," noted head coach Dani Myers.
In their last home game of the regular season, the Comets, still fighting for a section title, opened another busy week against third place Hempfield on Monday. In their first meeting on April 11, Manor earned a 6-3 win. This time around it wasn't as close. Seniors Julia Tappany, Brittany Hook and Syndey Duplissey combined for 7 hits in 12 at bats and six RBIs to spark a 10-0 shutout, their third straight. Hook and Duplissey each cracked two run homers, Duplissey's wrapping up a three run third inning while Hook's capped a five run fifth.
The seniors, however, got plenty of support. Freshmen Sophia Rineer (3-4 with one RBI), Madison Trout (1-2, 2 runs scored) and Kaelin Gable (2-3, 1RBI) were solid contributors to Manor's 13 hit effort.
Defensively Hook was perfect going into the fifth inning but the second batter up blooped a single behind third. Hempfield left a runner stranded on third that frame and added a one out single in the fifth.
"We hit the ball with authority," said head coach Dave Stokes. "It was a great effort by our kids."
Playing again Tuesday, Manor needed another win if they were to capture their third straight Section One title. And win they did. The Comets, behind Trout's 4-5 effort at the plate, toppled Manheim Township 12-5 to clinch that section title.
Trout led the way with five RBI while Duplissey pushed in two runs and scored twice in her 2-5 effort at the plate. Also recording two hits were Tappany (3 runs scored), Gable (1RBI) and Kate Green.
"After struggling to score against Warwick and Solanco, the kids went 9-0 to wrap up the regular season," said Stokes. "The freshmen are coming along. It's been a great atmosphere on the team," he added. "The kids have been very focused and Brittany (Hook) seems to be peaking at the right time. She threw her best game against Hempfield. And we're hitting the ball well. Hopefully it will all continue through the post-season."
Hook struck out 12 and gave up one walk in keeping Manheim Township at bay.
On the road again Wednesday in a crossover makeup game, the Comets made short work of Ephrata, plating eight runs in the top of the third and wrapping up the day with an 11-0 win. Hook grabbed the no-hitter with nine strikeouts and zero walks. And she helped her cause at the plate, going 2-3 with 2RBI.
Gable (1-2), Tappany (1-3) and Duplissey (1-3) combined for seven RBI's on the day.
The Comets cap the league season with a 14-2 record.
After a four-year absence, the Comets returned to the League Playoffs, which got underway last Tuesday night at Warwick where Manor drew the top team in the league, Manheim Township (11-0). The Comets battled the Streaks back on April 24 and dropped a 13-3 result. Tuesday night was almost a mirror-image as Township finished on top 12-3.
"I thought defensively we played well," said head coach Zack Charles. "I believe 12 goals was Township's lowest output of the year. Offensively we shot ourselves in the foot with unforced errors giving away possessions."
The Streaks tallied three goals in all four quarters and held the Comets to one in all but the second frame. They held a 19-10 advantage in shots on goal with Seth Wilton recording seven saves in the loss.
Aidan Mahoney netted two goals and Clayton Hollinger one.
The Comets open District play this week.
The Comets capped the regular season with a 3-0 sweep of Cedar Crest last Wednesday night in Millersville but the bigger win was Manheim Township's upset of CV.
"Township beating CV settled us into fourth place (6-6) in Leagues," said head coach Chris Telesco, "and qualified us for the league playoffs. That might give us a better chance of making Districts. We're still on the bubble."
Manor pulled away from Crest for a 25-22 first set win, took the second set more comfortably, 25-17 and took control with a dominating 25-12 match ender.
"I thought we played down a level," said Telesco. "We thought we'd walk in and stomp them because they have won a section match, we were at home, and it was our senior night. It doesn't work like that. We'd go up six points and then give away six points," he continued. "It was us at our sloppiest, but we got the job done."
Hunter Long spread the ball well, putting up 25 assists to Hunter Davis (7 kills), Dylan Zimmerman (6K, Trent Schlemmer (5K) and Matt Schaefer (4K). Hunter Enck defended the back court with nine digs behind Hunter Davis's four blocks.
"Dylan's five aces and overall strong serving kept Cedar Crest off balance," noted Telesco. "It was good to be able to pull our seniors (Josiah Hine, Hunter Long, Hunter Davis) in the last set to honor them."
While the girls' lacrosse team finished the season with a 4-14 record overall, the Comets did have one Lancaster-Lebanon League all-star. Senior Anna Katherine Kirk was voted as an honorable mention all-star. Kirk finished the season with 38 goals and six assists. She had 25 ground balls, 23 caused turnovers and 51 draw controls.
"Anna Katherine had a great season," praised first year head coach Caroline Lovett. "She was a leader on and off the field as a captain and dominated the midfield for us. Her presence will be greatly missed next season.
"As a team, I think we hit our stride late in the season," she continued. "We had big wins over E-town and Warwick to end the season. The girls connected on a level I hadn't seen all year.
"I loved being back at Penn Manor. We had a lot of growing pains, but that was to be expected. I'm excited for the team to continue to grow and improve each season," said Lovett. "We plan to work hard in the off season and come back better and stronger."
Comets Top Mifflin, Upset CY in District Play May 18, 2018
The goal at the start of every season is to win and advance to the post-season. Penn Manor's boys' lacrosse has done just that, and in dramatic fashion. Last Monday, in the District Three playoffs, the No. 9 seed Comets got past No. 8 Governor Mifflin (12-6) in Shillington. The 11-7 victory was Manor's first district playoff win since 2013. And on Wednesday, they knocked off the top seed, Central York with a 9-8 district quarterfinal thriller.
Governor Mifflin jumped out to a 3-0 start before the Comets battled back to tie the game heading into the second period.
"We came out a little nervous and made some mental mistakes that we never make on the defensive side of the ball," stated head coach Zack Charles. "We spotted them that lead before our offense started finding some success. They tried to shut down Josh Heckman and Clayton Hollinger by locking them off from the ball, so we turned to Aidan Mahoney to play some bully ball and it worked."
The hosts again went ahead, this time 4-3, but it was their last lead of the night. The Comets scored three straight goals to go up 6-4 and led 8-6 at the break. Twice the Mustangs cut the lead to one but never got over the hump.
"The defense got their assignments down, and communicated much better which led to only allowing one goal in the second half," added Charles. "Riley Neuman played probably the best game of his year, and Billy (Briegel) was just being Billy, dominating his guy and helping to get the ball up the field."
Aidan Mahoney led all scorers with 5 goals and Clayton Hollinger chipped in with a hat trick. Josh Heckman (1g, 2a), Alex Powders (1g), Reed Morrison (1g) and Riley Newman (1a) also contributed.
"We got smacked around the first time we played them and it left a bad taste in our mouths," said Charles. "We turned things around with a lot of heart and grit."
Central York, despite playing without YAIAA Offensive Player of the Year, Kollin Vaught, took the first quarter 3-2 and the second by the same margin to lead 6-4 at the half. Prior to that, the Comets tied the game at 4-4 on a goal by Seth Wilton, yes the goalie.
"Seth is probably our fastest kid," Charles noted. "We've told him all year, 'you see an all to clear the ball, go ahead and take off, get the ball to an attackman and get your butt back in goal.' Last night, no one slid to Seth when he was running down the field and he let one rip to tie the score."
Manor fought back with three goals in the third quarter to knot the score at 7-7 heading into the final frame.
"We trailed the entire game until about six minutes left," Charles recalled. "We took a 9-8 lead on goals by Aiden and Josh. Late in the game we were actually man down for two minutes but we killed that penalty and the offense did a heck of a job holding onto the ball and running out the clock.
"Izzy Molina dominated the Face off X," he added, "and Heckman led with a hat trick."
Mahoney (2g), Hollinger (2g) and Reed Morrison (1g, 1a) also found the back of the net and Wilton was credited with 14 saves.
After battling their way to repeat as Section One champs for the third straight season, the Comets opened the L-L League playoffs opposite Section Two runner-up Donegal on Saturday, May 12 at Conestoga Valley High School. But the goal of defending their league title was denied as the Indians put together a dramatic seventh inning rally to knock off the favored Comets 4-3.
Manor held a 3-1 lead after six complete innings and Brittany Hook was working a one hitter, giving the Comets confidence. But in the blink of an eye, all that changed. Donegal's Grace Miller launched the first pitch of the seventh inning for a triple. Peighton Hornick followed with a RBI single just over third base, cutting the lead to 3-2. Sierra Neiss kept the rally going with a crushing full count homer over the center field fence.
"That was the first homer Brittany has given up all year," said head coach Dave Stokes. "She gave up just four hits. Those were their only baserunners and all four scored. It was just Donegal's day.
"Two years ago we beat them 1-0," he continued. "They loaded the bases three times and left 16 runners on base. I guess this was payback."
Donegal opened the scoring with a run in the top of the fourth before a two-out double by Sydney Duplissey tied the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Manor pushed ahead in the sixth inning, plating two runs on a bases loaded sac fly by Emma Grumbling and a RBI groundout by Sophia Rineer.
"We put ourselves in a position to win the game and didn't get the key hit we needed," said Stokes of the Comets' six hit effort. "We're disappointed but now we'll focus on districts."
The Comets open District play with a home game Thursday, May 24.
The post-season for the track teams officially got underway Friday and Saturday, May 11-12 as they competed in the L-L League Championships held at Hempfield High School. And when the action concluded late Saturday afternoon, the Comet boys' team rose to a second place finish, collecting 83 points behind Manheim Township's 102.
Hurdle specialist Taraje Whitfield led the way with a pair of gold medal efforts. The senior clocked a 14.80 in the 110 highs and went 38.60 in the 300's.
He also showcased his skills by helping two relays grab silver and bronze medals. Theoren McElheny, David Kramer, who earned a bronze medal in the 800 (1:59.64), and Chad Mowbray joined Whitfield for a second place finish (3:24.18) in the 4x400 while McElheny, Tazaiel Whitfield and Josh Gibson raced with Whitfield for third place in the 4x100 (43.89).
In addition to the relays, McElheny settled for fourth in the 200 (22.83) and eighth in the 100 (11.63).
Joining Whitfield in climbing to the top of the medal stand was a pair of throwers. Casey McCollum recorded a 51-9.5 in the shot put while Alex Schievert beat the field in the javelin with a 209-9 throw.
Also in the field, Matt Julian finished in second place in the pole vault (13-00) and Matt Brubaker added an eighth in the discus (126-2).
The girls' team raced to a tenth place finish and also turned in some solid performances, including Brooke Gilbert in the high jump. The senior cleared 5-2 to grab the only gold medal for the girls.
The Comets also got a third place effort from freshman Jalyn Clow who tossed the discus 112-8.
Other top eight finishers for the girls included Alyssa Schriver - fourth in the 400 (58.64), Fiona Haines - eighth in the 400 (1:00.44), Brianna Ulaky, Andrea Funk, Arden Morgan and Becky Kramer- seventh in the 4x800 relay, and Ulaky, Aniah Washington, Haines and Schriver - eighth in the 4x400 relay.
After squeaking into the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, the Comets had the pleasure of opening tournament play opposite Manheim Central, the No. 2 team in the state and No. 2 team in the District Three Class 2A power ratings. The Section Two champs advanced with a solid 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 win.
The Comets Hunter Davis connected for six kills, thanks to Hunter Long's 26 assists, and Josiah Hine served up one ace. Defensively, Matt Schaefer put up three blocks and Hunter Enck was busy in the back row, hustling for 11 digs.
The Comets continued their post-season run in the opening round of the District Three Championships which got underway this past Thursday evening. Despite dropping three straight 3-0 results, the Comets rose to the challenge Lower Dauphin presented and battled five sets before ending their season with a 3-2 loss (25-18, 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 11-15).
"We surprised Lower Dauphin in the first set," said head coach Chris Telesco. "We played some of the best ball we have all year. Then we fell into some of our old habits in the second set, missing serves and committing errors.
"I was proud of the boys for staying cool and recollecting themselves," he continued. "Our block (6 by Trent Schlemmer)."
The Comets came back strong to win that fourth set and force a tiebreaker but started the fifth with too many errors. "We fought back from a 0-4 start but couldn't hold on," Telesco stated. "We got stuck in one rotation.
"I was sad that the season ended but proud of how the boys fought. I feel like that last set was a microcosm of our entire season."
Topping the stat sheet was Hunter Long dishing out 39 assists with 15 of them going to Dylan Zimmerman for kills. Matt Schaefer added two aces and Hunter Enck anchored the defense with 16 digs.
Comet Boys' Lax Clinches Playoff Berths May 5, 2018
With the post season just around the corner, every game becomes key. Penn Manor's boys' lacrosse team, coming off a 9-4 loss to Palmyra, went 1-1 last week and sits tied for third place in the standings with Warwick at 8-3.
The Comets opened the week with a dominating 13-3 win over Elizabethtown on Monday. A 4-1 second frame advantage put Manor in front 6-1 at the half and a strong fourth quarter saw the visitors put up five more goals to pull away
Clayton Hollinger led the way with four goals and one assist. Aidan Mahoney followed with a hat trick while Josh Heckman (2a) and Reed Morrison each scored twice. Billy Briegel and Rory Campbell added one goal each and Griff Rineer one assist.
"It wasn't our best lacrosse of the season but beating L-S and E-town were two key wins," said head coach Zack Charles. "We clinched a L-L League playoff berth for the first time since 2013 and we also clinched a spot in the District playoffs, which begin May 14," he added.
Their biggest game of the week came Thursday night in Lititz where the Comets battled for sole possession of third place. Up 3-1 at the half, and after a scoreless third frame, the visitors gave up four goals in the fourth quarter and dropped a 5-4 heartbreaker.
"A win would have given us the third seed and would have clinched a first round at home District playoff game," Charles said.
Morrison was tops with two goals, Hollinger and Mahoney added one each and Heckman and Alex Powders recorded one assist each.
For the third time this season, the boys' track team lost by six points or fewer as visiting Cocalico, undefeated in Section Two, outpointed the Comets 78-72 last Monday in Millersville.
The hosts won 11 of 18 events, including two relays, but secured just five seconds and five thirds to come up short. Individually, however, the Comets put forth a number of standout performances. Theoren McElheny won the 100 (10.9) and edged teammate Taraje Whitfield in the 200. He also anchored the winning 4x100 relay with Tazaiel Whitfield, Taraje Whitfield and Daimar Wesley helping to clock a 44.1 and then teamed with Wesley, Dylan Terry and Chad Mowbray for a 4x400 win as well.
Joining McElheny in the multiple wins department was Taraje Whitfield with a 14.2 in the high hurdles and a 39.9 in the 300's.
Mobray added a win in the open 400 (50.9), with David Kramer taking second, and Graham Thomas was tops in the 3200 with a 10:23.9.
Casey McCollum led the scoring in the field with a first in the shot (45-11.5) and a second in the discus.
Alex Schievert, who placed 5th at the Penn Relays with a 195-4, tossed the javelin 194-10 for another win.
In the pole vault, it was Matt Julian clearing 13-10 for the win and Ty Erisman grabbing second.
The girls' team posted just five wins on the day and were dealt a 108-42 loss. Fionna Haines won the 400 (60.8) and anchored the winning 4x400 relay (Alyssa Shriver, Brianna Ulaky and Aniah Washington) to lead the scoring. Washington added a second in the 100 and was third in the 200 behind Shriver's second.
Other firsts included Andrea Funk's 5:43.4 in the mile, Sarah Harthan clearing 11 feet in the pole vault and Jaylyn Clow throwing the discus 99 feet. The Comets also got a second from Grace Bibus in the long jump (14-11) and Brooke Gilbert in the high (5-2).
Knowing they are on the outside looking in at the post-season, the volleyball team went after second place Warwick playing like they had nothing to lose. The result was a solid 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-18) upset last Tuesday in Millersville.
"Knowing that playoffs are out of our control, we are playing with reckless abandon," said head coach Chris Telesco. "The boys were relentless against Warwick. "They served nearly 90 percent of their serves and Hunter Enck and Matt Schaefer each had three aces
"The boys were also relentless on defense," he continued. "Schaefer and Enck led the charge there as well with 15 and 13 digs each, respectively."
That defense led to a solid offense as well. Hunter Long spread the ball and collected 25 assists. Dylan Zimmerman led with 10 kills while Josiah Hine (8), Hunter Davis (7) and Matt Schaefer (6) also contributed.
"Even though we had a shaky start, the boys showed resilence and dominated the rest of the match," Telesco pointed out. "Like the Hempfield match, they weren't deterred by a kill or point by the opponent. We've grown in that way this year. The sign of a good team is that they don't need to look to their coaches for help, and we are finally getting to that point."
The boys were coming off a hard loss to Central Dauphin Monday. "That loss severely hampered our hopes for Districts," Telesco said. "We played without Matt Schaefer and again got off to a slow start, losing the first set 21-15. CY won set two as well, 26-24, before Manor slowed the run with a 25-22 third set win. Unfortunately that momentum was short-lived as CY came back to take the match 25-16.
"Trent Schlemmer, who only plays one rotation in the back row, had one great play where he dug two hard-driven balls with his hands," said Telesco. "He also led with one ace."
Zimmerman put down 10 kills, Hunter Long and Austin Thomas each blocked six times, and Hunter Enck chipped in with 9 digs. Long also had 20 assists.
After topping Township 3-1 on April 10, the improved Comets (6-6 overall) swept the series against the Streaks with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-18) win in Millersville Thursday, May 3. Zimmerman matched Township's Chris Paladino with nine kills but it was his five aces, along with five more from Schaefer that provided a spark. Enck defended with seven digs and Schlemmer six blocks and Hunter Long dished out 22 assists.
Playoffs started a bit early for the softball team. Needing a win over Warwick last Monday to secure first place in the Section One standings, the Comets avenged their 2-0 loss to the Warriors back on April 12 with a convincing 7-3 victory in Lititz.
"It was a big game, for both teams," said head coach Dave Stokes. "I think both squads played a little tight (3 errors each). The difference this time was that the seniors hit and the freshmen didn't play quite as tight as the first time around. And we capitalized on their mistakes."
Senior Brittany Hook struck out 13 batters, walked two and helped her cause at the plate with a RBI single and RBI double. Senior catcher Sydney Duplissey was 2-4 with one RBI.
Freshmen Madison Trout and Tori Hook (2-3) accounted for two RBIs in a first that saw Manor plate three runs. Both teams scored once in the second inning and twice in the fifth with Kate Green's (1-3) double plating Manor's runs. The Comets, with a 10-hit effort, gained some ground with B. Hook's RBI double in the fourth.
At home Wednesday, Manor jumped out to an 8-0 lead after two innings and kept McCaskey off the board in an 8-0 shutout. T. Hook and Kaelin Gable collected two run homers in the first inning, sparking a 5-0 lead.
B. Hook struck out 12, walked one and gave up two hits in what Stokes called her best game of the year.
"We control our own destiny now," he added. "If we win out, we will secure the section title. We need to take care of business."
The Comets did just that on Thursday, blanking Cedar Crest 14-0 in five innings. It was 15 up, 15 down for B. Hook who pitched a perfect game with seven strikeouts and zero walks.
Sophie Rineer was 4-5 with three runs scored. Cheyenne Ortman finished with four RBI on her 3-4 day at the plate while Emma Grumbling's one hit was a three run homer. Julia Tappany (1 RBI) and Duplissey both went 2-4.
Coming off a disappointing 9-8 loss to Saturday, April 28, the Comets regrouped with one of their best efforts of the season and dumped Elizabethtown 15-10 at home last Tuesday. Clinging to a 7-6 first quarter lead, Manor doubled the Bears in the second half, 8-4, to secure their third league win of the season.
"The girls played harder than I have ever seen them play," praised head coach Caroline Lovett. "They took care of the little things and let the bigger things take care of themselves.
"Sarah Wiker (10 saves) had some huge saves in goal and Hannah Brown, Anna Katherine Kirk and Anna May Barubusca dominated the draw and pushed the fast break, placing their shots to give us the lead."
Barbusca and Brown combined for nine goals, with Kirk and Riley Leakway notching two each. Mare Vozzella and Maeve Montgomery each scored once.
Playing four straight games last week, nine seemed to be the magic number. Warwick scored nine runs in Monday's 9-2 win over the Comets. Manor scored nine runs in a 9-8 squeaker over Township on Tuesday and Cedar Crest scored nine in a shutout Thursday. Prior to Crest, Manor found itself in another one run game, this one went to McCaskey 7-6 on Wednesday. It was their second one run loss this season.
Tied at 2-2 after five complete innings, Warwick pulled away with three runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh. They out hit the Comets 9-5 and committed one fewer errors, 4-3.
Dylan Frey was the big hitter of the day, going 2-4 with one RBI. Ryan Glenn, Dalton Landis and Ty Erisman also contributed with hits.
On the hill, Dylan Crook, Josiah Snyder and Noah Johnson combined for six strikeouts, six walks and gave up six earned runs.
Tuesday's game with the Streaks was back-and-forth from start to finish. And the finish was a Brett Beiler walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh, erasing Township's five run top of the inning that put them in front 8-6.
Manor led 2-0 after three, Township tied it in the top of the fourth and pushed ahead with one in the sixth. The Comets took their biggest lead with a four run sixth, setting up the high scoring final inning.
Frey (1RB) was 3-4 on the day, Brady Hinkle (1 RBI) and Glenn were both 2-4. Dalton Landis added 2 RBI going 1-3. Cade Thorout, Beiler, and Brandon Harris all finished with one hit and one RBI and Erisman added one hit.
One night later, the Comets fought off a 3-1 deficit and took a 6-3 lead after six complete only to surrender four runs in the bottom of the seventh to fall short against McCaskey, 7-6. The hosts, trailing 6-4, secured the win with a three run double by Noah Bergey.
Ty Erisman started and allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out six and walking one in five and two-thirds innings. Frey, Hinkle, Erisman, Beiler and Snyder all had one hit as the Comets took advantage of five McCaskey miscues.
Thursday's outing started with first place Cedar Crest scoring four runs in the first inning and finished with them scoring five runs in the seventh. Their 9-0 win was fueled by a 14-4 advantage in hits.
The Comets competed in the L-L League Flight Tournament two weeks ago where just two players advanced to the second round. At No. 1. Curtis Rabatin, the No. 3 seed, defeated Lebanon's Luke Foster 6-1, 6-4 before bowing out with a second round loss to 6th seed Trent Martin, of Manheim Central, 6-2, 6-2.
Also advancing was Bryce Hanna at No. 2. The junior defeated Elco's Dawson Smith 6-7 (5), 6-2, 10-6 but ran into top seed and eventual champ Carson Schreiber, of Manheim Township, in the second round and ended his season with a 6-2, 6-1 loss.
Toby Singer competed in Flight 3 and Petros Karpouzis in Flight 4.
Comet Baseball Tops CV, Donegal April 27, 2018
Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, the ball just doesn't bounce your way. But you keep working and believing that the work you put in will eventually put you on the top. And so, after nine straight losses, Penn Manor's baseball team got some momentum going, winning two of their last three games.
"It was nice to get a couple wins," said head coach Streeter Stuart. "The key was that our pitching was stronger. We allowed fewer hits, and that translated into less runs for the opposition."
And it turns out, Friday the 13th wasn't unlucky for the Comets as they pulled out a 5-2 crossover win over Conestoga Valley with the bulk of the scoring occurring in the first inning.
CV opening the scoring with two runs it the top of the first and Manor roared back with a four spot in the bottom half. Dalton Landis (2-3, 2RBI) stroked a one out liner that scored two runs. Cade Thourot's (1-3, 1 RBI) ground out plated the go ahead run while Aaron Gale's (2-3, 2 RBI) base hit to left made it 4-0.
The bulk of the next four innings was basically three up, three down for both teams. Manor made it 5-2 on Thourot's single to right and CV came back with three base hits and one run in the top of the seventh.
"Dalton Landis (6K, 1W) gave us a great performance," said Stuart. "He's been a solid reliever for us over the last two years, but has always preferred being a relief pitcher. So this was the first game he's started in several years and he kept CV in check."
Ryan Glenn also went 2-3.
Less than 24 hours later, the Comets dropped a hard-fought 3-1 result against a 9-1 Dallastown squad.
"I'm pretty sure they're the top team in the district," noted Stuart. "They threw their top pitcher at us and we had chances to score more runs, and had some great at bats, but ultimately could not get the key hits needed."
Manor plated their only run in the bottom of the first when Brady Hinkel's single pushed in Josiah Snyder who reached on an error.
Dallastown, with a 5-4 edge in hits, scored single runs in the second, third and seventh innings to slowly pull away.
"Josiah did an awesome job keeping their hitters in check," said Stuart of his starting pitcher.
Last Monday, a six run top of the seventh inning effort shut the door on Donegal and lifted the Comets to an 11-3 victory.
"Donegal only had three losses coming in but everything seemed to click for us," said Stuart. "Dylan Crook (7K, 2W) battled out of threats all game long and our hitters pounded the ball when we needed runs late in the game. The huge hit was actually in the sixth," he continued.
Tied at 2-2 and with runners on second and third and with two outs, Ty Erisman crushed a ball up the middle for a single. "That hit just seemed to open the floodgates as we scored nine runs over the last two innings."
Hinkle struck out two in the last 1.33 innings, recording the last four outs to earn the save.
Glenn led a 12 hit effort, going 3-5 with 3 RBI. Brandon Harris, Thourot (2 RBI) and Hinkle collected two hits each.
"We can't hide the fact that it's been a tough year, but the kids continue to be positive and keep playing hard," Stuart added.
The Comets took on the undefeated Warriors last Monday but an upset was not in the making. Freshman Jalyn Clow was Manor's top point-getter, scoring firsts in the shot (30-4.25) and the discus (93-8), which the Comets swept, but it was Warwick that remained perfect on the season, posting a 107-42 result.
Alison Murphy backed Clow in the discus, taking second (87-9) while Carissa Shirk was third (81-5).
Clow also finished second in the javelin (93-2) with Hannah Farabaugh taking third. Grace Bibus added a win in the high jump, clearing 4-9, with Alyssa Heagy taking third. Sarah Harthan, who finished fourth at the Shippensburg Invitational, cleared 11-9 to win the pole vault.
Second places were also hard to come by with Manor winning just four and included Berklee Perry in the shot, Arden Morgan in the 3200 and Fionna Haines in the 400. Haines was fourth at the Shipp Invitational.
The boys' squad was looking for their second win, and, when they split first place finishes against the Warriors, things were looking up. Warwicks' depth, however, was the catalyst in an 83-67 Warrior win.
Taraje Whitfield, fresh off his first place finish in the 300 hurdles at the Shippensburg Invitational, continued to lead the Comets in scoring, gathering firsts in the 100 hurdles (15.2) and the 300's (40.4) and placing second in the 200 (24.1).
"Taraje is having a wonderful season," said head coach Dani Myers. "He, along with Chad Mowbray, David Kramer and Theoren McElheny were second at the Shipp Invitational and broke the school record. They are currently fourth in the state."
Also scoring in two events was sophomore Josh Gibson with seconds in the 100 (11.5) and the javelin (153-0) which was won by Alex Scheivert and his toss of 201-4.
"Alex is ranked second in the state and eighth nationally," Myers noted. "Josiah Edwards was fifth at the invitational.
Another bright spot for the visitors was 3200 meter run where Nick Fafel (10:36.8) and Zach Schucker (10:56) went 1-2.
Other winners for the Comets included Kramer in the mile (4:38), Mowbray in the 400 (50.9), Dylan Terry in the 800 (2:07.3), Matt Brubaker in the discus (126-9) and Matt Julian in the pole vault (13-6).
The tennis team faced two teams above them in the Section One standings last week and put forth a valiant effort before bowing out with identical 4-3 losses.
Their season-ender was against CV last Tuesday. In doubles play, all three match-ups resulted in 8-4 scores with the Comets winning one. Petros Karpouzis and Alex Mowery put the Comets on the board with a No. 3 win.
A 6-1, 6-1 No. 1 win by freshman Curtis Rabatin knotted the score at 2-2 but the Comets earned just one more win, a 6-2, 7-5 result by Nick Bernard at No. 4. Bryce Hanna, at No. 2 and No. 3 Toby Singer, both juniors, suffered straight set losses.
The Comets (3-6, 3-7 overall) were coming off another heartbreaking 4-3 result against McCaskey on April 20. This time Manor held the upper hand in doubles play as Rabatin and Singer posted an 8-6 win at No. 1 and Hanna and Bernard stepped up for an 8-4 win at No. 2.
McCaskey, however, won three of four singles. Rabatin prevented a singles sweep with a hard-fought (6-2, 6-7 (7), 1-0 (3)) result against Will Fenimore.
Friday the 13th was definitely an unlucky day for Garden Spot. The winless Spartans gave up seven goals in the first quarter and six more in the second as Manor rolled to a 16-2 victory.
Clayton Hollinger and Josh Heckman (2 assists) both scored five goals each while Aidan Mahoney (1a) added a hat trick. Luck Cheston, Alex Powders (2a) and Liam Hart also scored while Reed Morrison dished out a game-high three assists.
With the post-season just a couple games away, the Comets are sitting in the top 5 of 12 teams that will qualify for the District Three playoffs. They won three of their last four games and improved to 7-2, 10-3 overall.
A one goal advantage in both the first and third quarters gave Manor all the cushion they needed in a hard-fought 9-7 win over Central Dauphin on Saturday, April 14. Up 4-3 at the half, Manor gained an insurance goal with a 2-1 third and both teams finished with three fourth quarter tallies.
Clayton Hollinger led all scorers with five goals. Aidan Mahoney (1 assist) and Josh Heckman both scored twice with Alex Powders adding two assists. Billy Briegel and Rory Campbell also assisted.
Manor's three game win streak ended Tuesday with a 13-3 loss to the top team in the league, Manheim Township (13-1 overall). The Comets, who were outshot 30-26, fell behind 3-0 in the first quarter and never recovered.
Hollinger, Mahoney and R. Morrison all scored once in the loss. Seth Wilton recorded a combined 24 saves in three games.
After back-to-back losses just over three weeks ago, the Comets have taken care of business, winning five straight including shutouts over Lebanon (4-0) and Garden Spot (2-0) with an 8-2 win over L-S in between.
"We control our destiny," said head coach Dave Stokes. "If we take care of business, we're in a good position to repeat as section champs."
Bella Peters started in the circle against Lebanon, throwing seven strikeouts and one walk through five plus innings and Brittany Hook fanned three and walked one in picking up the save.
Manor scored one in the first, one in the fifth and two in the sixth to earn the shutout.
At L-S on Wednesday, Manor gave up two runs in the bottom of the first but scored in all but the sixth inning to hang an 8-2 loss on the Section Three runners up.
"I was happy with the way we responded after falling behind and that we kept scoring," said Stokes. "We're playing mostly error-free ball and the freshman are getting more comfortable."
Manor's biggest inning was the third, scoring three with two outs. Tori Hook singled in the first run and Sidney Duplissey's two run double made it 5-2.
On the road again Thursday, B. Hook not only struck out 13 batters but cracked a two run homer in the top of the sixth that not only helped to spoil Garden Spot hurler Elizabeth King's perfect game, but provided the Comets with the only runs needed to win.
Needing a win if they were to have any chance of keeping things interesting down the stretch, the volleyball team worked a 3-1 win over CV Tuesday night. After dropping the first set 25-15, the Comets regrouped for three straight wins, 25-21, 25-20, 29-27.
"Because our playoff hopes look dim, we're looking to control what we can and to disrupt as many teams as we can along the way," said head coach Chris Telesco.
"We came in flat and they took advantage, but something lit a fire under our butts in the second set - whether it was the boys deciding to play, the lineup change, the rotation shift, or all three," he continued. "Austin Thomas came in and brought some offense and defense and we eliminated some serving and hitting errors that allowed us to get in a flow."
Dylan Zimmerman was strong at the net, putting down 17 kills and serving up a pair of aces. Hunter Enck scrambled on defense with 12 digs and served two aces as did Bryce Julian. Hunter Long spread out 27 assists and Matt Schaefer added 12 kills, six blocks and 11 digs.
Thursday night the Comets battled undefeated Hempfield and did not go down without a fight. While the Knights improved to 8-0 in Section One, this one wasn't a walkover. Hempfield took the first set 25-13 but needed extra rotations to pull out a 27-25 second set win. The Comets played tough in the third as well but fell short, 25-23.
Schaefer led with 9 kills, Enck collected 16 digs, Long put up 21 assists and Trent Schlemmer added four blocks as the Comets fell to 4-6 in Section One.
After an 11-10 thriller over CV, the Comets were looking for a second straight win on April 13 but a 10-8 first half lead slipped away and Manor dropped a 19-17 heartbreaker to Garden Spot.
Hannah Brown poured in 7 goals with Anna Katherine Kirk and Mare Vozzella notching hat tricks. Mischa Kolibas scored twice while Rylee Leakway (1a) and Alexis Hemmerly found the back of the net once.
One day later, the Comets were outshot 29-8 and dropped a 14-3 result against Cumberland Valley. Brown (2g) and Kirk (1g) accounted for the scoring.
Back in league play on Tuesday, the Comets fell behind early (15-1) and never regrouped in a 21-5 loss to Section One's top squad, Manheim Township. Brown's hat trick was tops for the Comets. Anna May Barbusca and Kolibas each scored once.
Kirk Nets Game-Winner Against Visiting CV April 20, 2018
They may not be piling up the wins but the girls' lacrosse team keeps working hard at trying to crack that win column and they did just that last Tuesday night. After suffering back-to-back non-league losses April 13 and 14, the Comets earned their second league win of the season with an 11-10 thriller over visiting Conestoga Valley.
Tied at 10-10 with 5:38 remaining, the Comets remained poised enough on offense and scrappy enough on defense to pull out the win with a goal by Anna Katherine Kirk with 2:26 left to play.
Despite the closeness of the finish, Manor came out strong. Kirk notched a hat trick in the first 14 minutes of play before the Bucks got on board with back-to-back scores. The hosts possession for the bulk of the last 13 minutes and tallied three more goals. Freshman Maeve Montgomery's goal at the 8:32 mark was sandwiched around a pair by Hannah Brown, leaving Manor in front 6-2 at the break.
The tone changed after the break as the Bucks picked up the pace on the offensive end. A quick goal by Anna Mary Barbusca was met with a pair of goals by CV, who cut the lead to 7-4. Kirk tallied her fourth score of the game before the visitors took control with four unanswered tallies, knotting the game at 8-8.
Unfazed, the Comets pushed ahead on a goal by Montgomery and another by Barbusca but CV answered the challenge with two of their own, setting the stage for Kirk's game-winner.
"We struggled to come out as hard as we did at the start of the game," said head coach Caroline Lovett of the second half. "We let them go on a scoring run before we figured out how to shut down their drives and transition to our offensive end. Even though it took us a little while, I was pleased with how we figured out what CV was doing and that we were able to execute our plays when we got the ball," she added. "Sarah Wiker (9 saves) came up with a lot of big saves and we capitalized when we had the opportunity.
"Maeve is just a freshman and she found the back of the net twice," Lovett said. "She will continue to be a threat on offense."
The Comets were coming off a 19-7 loss to Kennard-Dale and a 21-7 result against Governor Mifflin. "We were without three starters against Mifflin and I thought it was noticeable," said Lovett. "We played two good teams with more depth and we couldn't keep up with their fast pace."
Brown finished with a two game total of six goals. Barbusca and Kirk added three each while Rylee Leakway and Allison Hege finished with one each. Wiker recorded a combined 29 saves.
The tennis team improved to 3-3 in league play with a solid 5-2 road win over Warwick on April 13.
"We played a good match," said head coach Greg Hammond. "The guys went into the match ready to go, and took all three doubles courts. It certainly helped that the weather finally cooperated."
Curtis Rabatin and Toby Singer battled to an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles while Bryce Hanna and Nicholas Bernard were 8-4 winners at No. 2. Petros Karpouzis and Alex Mowery gave the Comets a 3-0 lead with an 8-2 win at No. 3.
Rabatin's straight set, shutout win at No. 1 singles and Karpouzis' 6-3, 6-3 result at No. 4 clinched the victory.
Last Wednesday, however, the going was a bit tougher as the team dropped a 5-2 result against Garden Spot. "This was not our best tennis," said Hammond. "Some of us came out a little flat in doubles which put us in a hole and we were never able to dig ourselves out. It's tough going into singles knowing you need three courts to win...unfortunately we were not able to overcome our sluggish start."
Mowery and Singer pulled out the only doubles win with an easy 8-1 result. Hanna and Bernard dropped a heartbreaker 9-8 (6) and Karpouzis and Mowery also lost a close one, 8-6.
Rabatin was solid at No. 1, winning 6-1, 6-1 for Manor's final point. Singer put up a fight but lost a marathon battle to Adbullah Sallim 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (9).
"We've had an up and down season," noted Hammond, "but we've already exceeded our wins from last year, so from that perspective, we are doing well. It helps to have freshman come in with some competition level experience," he continued. "Curtis Rabatin is doing a great job at No. 1."
On Saturday, April 14, the boys track team competed against 19 other teams and came away with enough place-winning performances to grab the crown. Their 85 team points topped Schuylkill Valley (75), Ephrata (71) and McCaskey (59) who defeated the Comets just five days prior, 83-67 in dual meet competition.
Taraje Whitfield was the top point-getter of the day, winning the high hurdles (14.3) and the 300's (39.5), placing third in the 200, and running with Theron McElheny, David Kramer and Chad Mowbray for third in the 1600 relay. Mowbray was coming off a first place finish in the open 400 (51.5) with McElheny taking second while Kramer grabbed a third in the 800.
In the field, Alex Scheivert won the javelin (191-0), Casey McCollum was second in the shot put and Matt Julian picked up a third in the pole vault.
Key performers on the girls' side included Alyssa Schriver's second place effort in the 400 and Sarah Harthan's second in the pole vault.
More recently, the Comets put up mixed results last Wednesday against Hempfield. The boys' squad came away with 11 firsts and held off the Knights 81.50 - 67.50. The girls' had a tougher time. They were outscored 70-17 on the track and dropped a 96-54 final result.
"That was a big win for the boys," said head coach Dani Myers. "They built on the momentum from the invitational. The throwers really came through and there were numerous excellent performances on the track.
The boys' showed their biggest strength with a 24-3 advantage in the throws and a 37.5-17.5 lead sprint points. McCollum's two win day anchored the throws. He took the shot with a 47-8.5 and led a sweep in the discus (130-4) with Matt Brubaker and Vincent Vozzella taking 2nd and 3rd.
Also in the throws, Alex Scheivert won the javelin (180-6), Josiah Edwards was 2nd (179-1) and Josh Gibson took third.
McElheny sparked the sprints, winning the 100 (11.2), the 200 (22.8), finishing 2nd in the 400 behind Mowbray (51.8) and teaming with Mowbray, Dylan Terry, and Whitfield for a win in the 4x400 relay. Whitfield raced for top times in the high hurdles (14.7) and the 300's (39.5) and picked up a 2nd in the long jump (20-3).
Aidan Toomey added to the firsts with a winning 4:41.3 in the mile.
The girls' won just four events but showed their strength in the field where three of those wins were earned. Alison Murphy's 94-1 led a sweep in the discus as Emily Sensenich and Jalyn Clow followed in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Clow also finished 3rd in the shot and in the discus which the Comets also swept with Hannah Farabaugh's winning 102-4 and Sara Hollinger's 2nd.
The Comets picked up their third sweep of the day in the high jump with Brooke Gilbert (5-2), Alyssa Heagy and Grace Bibus shutting out the Knights. Bibus also added a 2nd in the long jump.
Andrea Funk secured the only first on the track, winning the 3200 in 12:36.6. She was also 3rd in the mile behind Hollinger. Also placing in two events was Aniah Washington with thirds in the 100 and 200.
Fresh off an 8-inning loss to Warwick, the Comets hosted Section Two leader Solanco on Friday and found themselves in another scoreless battle. This one also got away from Penn Manor as Solanco turned a double play to end the game in the bottom of the 10th via the international tiebreaker rule.
"It was two top L-L League teams playing a tight game," said head coach Dave Stokes. "Both pitchers pitched well and neither team hit well. Unfortunately, we did not execute the bunts. Twice we failed on a squeeze play."
The Comets threatened twice during regulation, leaving a runner on third with one out in the fifth and two on with one out in the seventh.
Solanco took that 1-0 lead in the top of the tenth. Randi Rambo started on second base, moved to third on a sac bunt and scored on a wild pitch.
Cherrish Frick took second for the Comets in their half and moved to third on a passed ball. With one out, Kaelin Gable sent a fly ball to right field where Skyla Townsley ran it down and then fired home to complete the double play and seal the win.
"We had one wild pitch and their right fielder made an astonishing play," said Stokes. "That's just the way the game works sometimes. Hopefully we can learn from this."
Last Wednesday the Comets strung together eight straight hits, all with two outs, and plated six of their nine runs in the third inning. Emma Grumbling's three run triple was the big blast that inning. She scored on an overthrow and the Comets topped E-town 9-4.
"It was crazy," said Stokes of the inning. "We had a good pile of hits (16) and Etown did have a couple of errors but we got the result we wanted."
Sophia Rineer was the big hitter of the day, going 3-for-4 at the leadoff spot.
After bowing to Solanco 2-0 on Friday the 13th, Manor's unlucky streak continued last week. Tuesday they dropped a 7-0 result against Ephrata and Wednesday lost 11-1 at Elizabethtown. Both games saw the Comets give up big innings late in the game. The Mounts extended a 2-0 lead with a five-run burst in the top of the sixth. The Bears held a 5-1 lead after four complete innings and sealed Manor's fate with six runs in the bottom of the sixth. Both teams played flawless defense.
"Ty Erisman and Josiah Snyder pitched a great game against Solanco," said head coach Streeter Stuart. "The only difference was that when we had runners in scoring position we couldn't get them in, and Solanco did."
Ryan Glenn, who had a two-out RBI single, and Brady Hinkle both went 2-for-3 against the Bears with Dylan Frey adding one hit.
Glenn, Hinkle Josiah Snyder and Brett Beiler each had one hit in the loss against the Mounts. In the circle, Dylan Crook took the loss, striking out eight, walking one and giving up three earned runs with four hits over six innings.
"Dylan did a great job," said Stuart. "It was just 2-0 when he hit his 100 pitch limit in the top of the seventh.
"In all three games we played good defense but haven't been able to get the base hits when we need them and we can't maintain our pitching all seven innings," he added.
Using the momentum from winning the Comet Clash, the volleyball team ran its winning streak to three straight with last Tuesday's 25-18, 25-16, 27-25 win over Cedar Crest.
"While we didn't play our best, we were able to mix in other talented players, rest others, and still pull out the win," said head coach Chris Telesco. "We barely squeaked out the third set due to sloppy play, but it was good to see some non-starters still pull off the win."
Josiah Hine led with five aces, and Dylan Zimmerman added three. Hunter Long finished with 20 assists and matched Zimmerman with three digs while Matt Scheafer put down four blocks.
"Hunter Davis was outstanding at the net, hitting 0.833 and picking up ten kills," noted Stokes. "Now we enter the second half of the season and look to make a big turnaround."
The turnaround, however, did not get off on the right foot as the Comets dropped a hard-fought 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-17, 22-25, 10-15) battle against McCaskey Thursday night. Long put up 42 assists with Zimmerman converting 14 to kills. Both Hine and Bryce Julian served up three aces each, Schaefer hustled for six digs and Davis put up seven blocks in a balanced effort.
Comets Win Four Straight, Fall to Warwick April 14, 2018
The softball team finally opened their season Friday, April 6 and, other than Saturday, haven't practiced since, playing five games last week. They blanked McCaskey 13-0 in five innings in Lancaster and came back with a 15-0 home result against Cedar Crest on Monday. The winning continued with a 10-2 result against Township and a 6-3 effort over Hempfield Wednesday. Thursday, however, the Comets met their match, going extra innings with Warwick before coming up short 2-0 in the eighth.
"We got the expected result against two teams that will finish at the bottom of Section One," said head coach Dave Stokes of the wins over McCaskey and Cedar Crest.
Brittany Hook earned the wins in the circle, giving up one hit in each game while combining for 21 strikeouts.
The Comets collected 10 hits against the Red Tornado and took advantage of seven walks. The Falcons walked just six batters but committed four errors. Sidney Duplissey (2-4) and freshman Tori Hook (2-2) both collected three RBI with a double and two runs scored. Hook added to the 11 hit attack, going 2-3 with a double, a triple and one RBI.
Tuesday the Comets hosted Township and found the going a bit close early on. Once they settled in and got the bats going they wrapped up a 10-2 seven inning win with Isabella Peters in the circle. The freshman finished with 11 strikeouts, four walks and scattered seven hits.
"It was a nice varsity debut for Bella," said Stokes. "She threw seven pitches and had two strikeouts in that first inning. She came through and will help give Brit some rest this year."
Coming into the fourth inning, the Comets held a 4-2 lead. Freshman Madison Trout had the big hit to that point, a solo homer in the second. But the hosts rapped out eight hits over the next three innings and scored three runs in both the fourth and sixth frames to dominate.
On the road Wednesday, the Comets handed Hempfield a 6-3 loss. "We capitalized on their mistakes," said Stokes of the second inning. "Two errors, a couple of walks and a couple of wild pitches and we score four runs."
Cheyenne Ortman earned Manor's only RBI, a bases loaded walk in that second inning. Kloe Sanchez had two hits, a double and a triple while T. Hook knocked out a pair of singles.
Hook fanned 11 batters and did not give up a single walk. She did however give up seven hits.
The hits were hard to come by on Thursday. Warwick's Amanda Herr fanned seven batters and scattered four hits in picking up the 2-0 win. Hook racked up 13 K's on the day, walked three and gave up four hits.
"With two outs in the eighth we intentionally walked Herr to load the bases," explained Stokes. "The next kid up, who was 0-for-3 on the day, singled to right field to score two runs.
"Warwick got the hits they needed and played flawless defense. You have to give them credit. That was the best game Amanda Herr has ever pitched against us."
The tennis team played the top two teams in Section One, Hempfield and Township (both 6-0, 8-2 overall) back-to-back last week and fell short of the upset.
The visiting Knights prevailed 6-1 on Tuesday while the Streaks sent the Comets home with their third league loss, a 7-0 result Wednesday.
Curtis Rabatin put up the best numbers of the day against the Knights, defeating Jake Curtin 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 to prevent the shutout. In doubles, the No. 3 team of Tommy Hockenberry and Jackson Heiney battled but dropped an 8-3 result to Dillon Otto and Nolan Deck.
Games were even harder to come by on Wednesday in Neffsville. Bryce Hanna's 6-1, 6-1 loss to Carson Schreiber was the only second set game the Comets secured.
Rabatin and Toby Singer were competitive at No. 1 doubles but bowed out 8-3 against Tom Chairs and Schreiber.
Coming off a 4-3 thriller over LCD/Lancaster Catholic and a 13-7 result against Exeter, the Comets pushed their overall record to 6-1 with mixed results last week. They opened with a 21-11 loss to Hempfield on Monday and pulled out a 13-10 squeaker over Ephrata three days later.
"We came out slow and sloppy against Exeter but rebounded with a big win, led by Clayton Hollinger's five goals," pointed out head coach Zachary Charles.
Tied at 6-6 at the half, the Knights exploded with 10 third quarter goals and outscored the hosts 15-5 after the break for the win. Aidan Mahoney, who scored the game-winner with 1:25 left in the game against LCD/LCHS, led the home team with five goals, Hollinger chipped in with four and Josh Heckman (2a) and Alex Powders (1a) added one goal each.
"We came out and played a great first half," said Charles. "Offensively we got careless with the ball and defensively we were a step too slow in the second half and we totally got dominated in the ground ball department."
The Comets rebounded nicely on Thursday, outscoring Ephrata in three of four quarters en route to a three goal win. Aiden Mahoney led all scorers with six goals. Heckman and Powders added two goals each with Reed Morrison, Billy Briegel and Hollinger adding one goal. Luck Cheston was credited with the only assist.
After suffering a 16-5 loss to LCD/Lancaster Catholic April 6, dropping a 12-9 result on April 7 and last Monday giving up 22 goals in a loss to Hempfield, the Comets finally broke through, topping Ephrata 14-8 last Thursday for their first win of the season.
"We are definitely finding our groove and are capitalizing on each other's strengths," said head coach Caroline Lovett. "We are finding the back of the net more and creating more opportunities to go to goal," she continued.
"Sarah Wiker has been stepping up in goal, and Anna May Barbusca, Hannah Brown and Anna Katherine Kirk are doing a great job controlling the draw and transitioning in the midfield. And Ally Hege has been a leader for our defensive unit the past couple of games."
Manor's finding the back of the net more was evident in their season-high 11 goals scored against Hempfield. Brown led the way with four goals while Barbusca, and Kirk both recorded hat tricks. Rylee Leakway added one goal. In the net, Sarah Wiker recorded nine saves.
In a solid effort Thursday, Manor held a 5-3 lead in the first half, and pulled away with a 9-5 second half advantage. Kirk led all scorers with five goals and Barbusca added four goals and two assists. Leakway (2g, 1a), Mare Vozzella (1g), Hannah Brown (1g, 1a) and Hege (1g) also contributed.
Wiker needed five saves in goal to pick up the win.
Dashing between snowflakes, the Comets battled McCaskey on the road last Monday but the elements and McCaskey's depth were too much to overcome. The girls' squad won just two events and suffered a 114-36 loss. The boys' fared a bit better, winning nine events in an 83-67 defeat.
Alyssa Schriver clocked a 60.0 flat in the open 400 with Fiona Haines just two seconds back for second.
Manor's only win in the field was a 98-8 discus toss by Alison Murphy. The throwers also went 2-3 in the javelin with Hannah Farabaugh (86-3) and Emily Sensenich (85-7) taking second and third respectively. Allison Steele finished second in the pole vault.
Brianna Ulaky was second in the 800 and Makayla Miller in the 100, with Aniah Washington following in third.
The boys' split their firsts fairly equally between the track and the field. Taraje Whitfield continued posting top times in the hurdles, winning the highs in 14.9 and the 300's in 40.2. He also anchored the 4x400 relay with Theron McElheny, David Kramer and Chad Mowbray contributing to the winning 3:30.6. Kramer was coming off a double win himself, clocking a 2:02 in the 800 and a 4:44.6 in the mile while McElheny and Mowbray went 2-3 in the 400.
Also on the track, Nick Fafel was second in both the mile and the 3200 and Whitfield was second in the 200.
Grabbing two firsts in the field was Casey McCollum with a 49-11 in the shot and a 127-8 in the discus. Alex Scheivert, who qualified in the javelin for the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on April 26-28, earned the winning throw of 203-9. Josh Gibson followed in second.
Going 1-2 in the pole vault was Matt Julian (11-0) and Trey Erisman.
Like the softball team, the baseball team found themselves in the midst of a marathon schedule, playing seven games from April 5 to April 12. Their results, however, were not as favorable. The Comets went 0-6, suffering three straight losses by three runs and another by one.
"In most of our losses, we simply haven't done a good job getting the other team out," said head coach Streeter Stuart. "Through five games in 2017 we had allowed 18 hits. After five games this year, we allowed 43 hits. Overall, we've actually been hitting pretty well and have improved in that regard since last season. But we need to do a better job keeping opponents off base.
"Against McCaskey (5-2 loss), Spring Grove (5-2) and Cedar Crest (8-2), we simply got beat," he continued. "We had plenty of runners on base and opportunities to score, but didn't get enough key hits."
The Comets were outhit 29-21 over that stretch of games. In a home game against Hempfield on Wednesday, however, the hosts outhit the Knights 12-7 but dropped a 5-4 heartbreaker.
"We had enough hits to give us a chance to win but our defense let us down," noted Stuart. "In the sixth inning we missed three ground balls that led to three runs and was the difference in the game. We rallied in the seventh, scoring two runs to cut the lead to 5-4 and I was proud of that," he continued. "We had runners on second and third with a chance to win, but couldn't get the game-winning hit.
"I certainly think we're better than our record indicates, and we'll keep working to get this turned around."
Ryan Glenn was the big hitter against the Knights, going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Dalton Landis and Dylan Frey were both 2-for-4 with a RBI and Josiah Snyder was 2-for-3.
Thursday the Comets collected 10 hits but gave up 16 and committed four errors in a 10-2 loss to Warwick. Snyder, Brett Beiler, and Brandon Harris each recorded two hits.
After struggling early in the season, losing four straight matches, the Comets regrouped on Saturday, April 7 and worked their way to the finals of their own Comet Clash and defeated Carlisle 2-1 for the tournament title.
"That was just what we needed," said head coach Chris Telesco. "Growth in skill and confidence was almost tangible as the boys worked through pool play and into playoffs. We lost to Exeter 2-0 in pool play but when we met them in the quarterfinals we put everything together," he explained. "Our passing and defense was at a different level, thanks in large part to libero Hunter Enck.
"This mentality carried into the finals against Carlisle. We played like a team, adjusting our block and back row defense and picking them apart on offense. Dylan Zimmerman came to life on the outside. Yet, on the day, setter Hunter Long was the unofficial MVP. He has begun setting with a new consistency and ingenuity."
That momentum carried into Tuesday's 3-1, come-from-behind win over Township. "Even though we lost the first (28-26), we controlled the set until the last five minutes when their toughest server and attacker went on a run. But the boys didn't let that define the match and fought back."
Manor dominated the rest of the match, winning 25-20, 25-26, 25-17 behind the strong play of Josiah Hine. "He was awesome in the back row, picking up seven sprawling digs and then putting down seven kills up front," lauded Telesco. "He also fired three aces."
Dylan Zimmerman led with 10 kills, followed by Trent Schlemmer's nine. Long tallied 31 assists.
"And Enck had his best passing match to date," noted Telesco. "He also had 15 digs. We chalked up 15 blocks as a team - five from Davis and Schlemmer and four from Long and Zimmerman. It was a good team win."
The Comets kept it going on Thursday, blanking Dallastown 25-15, 25-20, 25-23 behind Zimmerman's 12 kills and three aces. Enck added 11 digs, Long dished out 26 assists and Matt Schaefer was tops with 6 blocks.
Graduation Leaves PM VB in Rebuilding Mode April 6, 2018
While most of the spring sports teams are facing rain, snow, muddy field conditions and numerous postponements, the volleyball is going about business as usual in the warm confines of the gym. Unfortunately, the Comets are sitting at 0-3 one year after winning the Section One title, placing third in the district and advancing to the state quarterfinals. The loss of seven seniors have left the Comets in reloading mode.
"We're off to a rough start," said head coach Chris Telesco. "I believe this team just needs time and experience. They'll bounce back. We have a new crew of starters this year. Our goal is to finish the first half of the season at 3-3 and then come back strong in the second half."
The Comets opened league play with a 3-1 loss to McCaskey on March 27 and then dropped a 3-1 result to CV two nights later. Last Tuesday Manor battled the section favorite, Hempfield, and fell short 3-0.
"McCaskey is stronger than I've ever seen them," stated Telesco, "and we were sloppy from beginning to end, committing nearly 40 errors in just our hitting and serving."
Statistically, Matt Schaefer and Dylan Zimmerman served up four aces each and Zimmerman led with 11 kills. Setter Hunter Long tallied 23 assists. "And our libero from two years ago (who just returned to us this year), Hunter Enck, picked up 11 digs," noted Telesco. "Despite all of that, we couldn't pull out a win."
Manor cut down on the errors against CV and improved overall but still fell short. "We cut our hitting and serving errors by 10 but it was still too many," said Telesco. "In order to beat a team like CV, we need to pass well, hit and serve in, and block well. We passed on serve receive the best we've done thus far. Enck is a large part of that improvement; he has catapulted our game."
Manor was poised to take the first set but errors late pushed the Bucks to a 27-25 advantage.
"The second set was all us (25-15)," lauded Telesco. "We dominated the net with Matt Schaefer picking up many of his five blocks and Hunter Davis adding four. But just when it seemed like CV was self-destructing, they made adjustments that we couldn't readjust to, and took the next two sets."
Davis led the team with 12 kills, and Zimmerman added 10. Hunter Long finished with 34 assists.
Last Tuesday's game was the biggest of the season, to date, as the Comets traveled to Section One rival Hempfield. But the Knights, with an advantage in experience, took charge 25-11, 25-10, 25-15 and improved to 2-0.
Hempfield, with nine aces, dominated from the start. Despite the loss, the Comets did tie the third set at 5-5 but the hosts' presence at the net was too much. Ian Flood and Gavin Hanzelman combined for 20 kills on the night. Schaefer was tops for the Comets with 5. Long added three blocks and one ace, Enck recorded 10 digs and Long put up 12 assists and recorded one ace.
"We need to build trust in our team and tear it down on the opponent's side," Telesco stated. "If we learn to do that, we will start to win."
Despite battling the weather, the turf fields have been helpful in allowing the lacrosse teams to move forward in their respective seasons. The girls' squad, under first year head coach and 2011 PM alum, Caroline Lovett, sits at 0-3 while the boys' are 3-0 as of April 5.
Two days after falling to Cocalico, 12-8, the Comets suffered a similar fate against Cedar Crest, 13-8.
"We fell behind 7-3 in the first half against Cedar Crest but we set a new focus for the rest of the game and played hard the last 25 minutes," said Lovett, who played at Washington College and also coaches the Lady Blue Crab Lacrosse Club on the Eastern Shore. "We were focused on playing together and communicating on defense. Anna May, with four goals, definitely stood out on attack," she added. "Ally Hege played well on defense, making stops and transitioning the ball."
Anna Katherine Kirk (2 assists) and Hannah Brown also contributed with two goals each. In goal, Charissa Phillips recorded eight saves with Jackie Siar adding one.
The Comets also struggled against Exeter on Saturday, March 31, with a 20-3 result.
"We hurt ourselves by having four cards, which forced us to play man-down for the last 15 minutes of the game," said Lovett.
"We're still trying to find our groove," she added. "That will come the more we play together and capitalize on each other's strengths."
A consistent defense and a balance on the offensive end has pushed the boy's squad to 3-0. The defense has given up just four goals in each of their three wins while the offense, with nine different scorers, is averaging 11 goals.
"We are happy with our first three wins but we are not content," said second year head coach Zachary Charles. "The kids and the coaching staff always expect to win, and that is the mindset we need throughout the whole program. No more "Wanting" to win and more "Expecting" to win.
"Offensively we will be led by Josh Heckman, seniors Reed Morrison and Aiden Mahoney and freshman Clayton Hollinger," he added. "We will be aggressive in transition and try to use our speed as much as possible while limiting unforced errors."
Manor, six goals from Heckman, used an 8-0 first half run to propel them to a 12-4 victory over Cocalico. Hollinger, with three goals, and Mahoney with two goals and two assists, were the top point-getters. Powders led the way with three assists.
Next up for the Comets was a 10-4 win over Wyomissing. A 5-0 second quarter advantage broke a 3-3 first half tie and gave the home team momentum. Heckman racked up six goals, Hollinger (2g, 1a), Mahoney (1g, 2a), Morrison (1g, 1a), Powders (2a) and Luke Cheston (1a) also contributed.
The Comets earned their second league win of the season with an 11-4 win over Cocalico on March 27. Ben Wright needed just three saves to earn the win.
Hollinger was the top scorer with four goals. Heckman (2), Mahoney (1), Logan Lengenstein (1) and Billy Briegel (1) also found the back of the net.
"We will live and die by our defense this year," said Charles. "The leadership on the defensive side of the ball (Wilton, Briegel and Neuman - all three year starters) is outstanding.
"We got hit pretty hard by the injury bug (3 starters out for the year) but the underclassmen have stepped up. This is the best "Team" I have been around in a long time."
BASEBALL - SOFTBALL
As for the diamond teams, baseball snuck in two games, an 11-5 result which was actually played on Millersville University's field and a 7-4 section opening loss, while the softball team has yet to see action.
"Obviously it's frustrating with the weather so far," said Streeter Stuart who takes over after assisting former head coach Jim Zander for 19 seasons. We haven't been on our field much so it's fortunate that Millersville allowed us to play on their turf field. I was pleased with how we played."
The Comets batted around and scored four runs in the first. Dylan Crook (6K) shut out Lebanon for four innings and Manor (18-9 overall last year) plated another five runs in the third. "With an 8-0 lead I wanted to give some of our new pitchers varsity experience. Lebanon was able to find some holes and cut the lead to 8-5, but I'm confident those pitchers will do a good job for us as they gain experience."
A two-run double from newcomer Brandon Harris sparked a three-run sixth inning. He finished with 3 RBI while Josiah Snyder led with three hits in his first varsity game.
"Dalton Landis pitched a scoreless seventh," noted Stuart. "Our pitching might not be as overpowering as it has been in recent years but I believe we have a chance to be a better hitting team. Last year we held teams to two or fewer runs 16 times, which is an incredible statistic," he added. "That type of performance will be hard to match. We have to generate runs if we have any chance of defending our section title."
The Comets generated four runs in the top of the third, including a two-run shot by Cade Thourot, and out-hit Township 8-6 but it wasn't enough. The Streaks scored runs in the third through sixth innings to come from behind with a 7-4 win Thursday afternoon.
Brett Beiler and Brady Hinkle each collected two hits and starting pitcher Dylan Crook took the loss, striking out five, walking four and giving up three hits in 3.2 innings of work. Hinkle struck out three, walked one and scattered three hits in relief.
Weather depending, the softball team will play every day this week. "It will be a challenge," said head coach Dave Stokes. "If our freshman play well, and with Brittney Hook pitching, we could be tough to beat."
Hook, along with Sydney Duplissey (catching), Julia Tappany (short stop) and Cherish Frick (CR, OF) are Manor's returning starters. Juniors include Chloe Sanchez (OF), Cheyanne Ortman (OF), Emma Hammaker, Hanna Yingling and Kate Green with freshmen Sophia Rineer (2B), Tori Hook (3B), Kalen Gable (1B, DH), Madison Trout (1B, DH) and Emma Grumbling (C). Backing up Hook will be freshmen Bella Peters and Aralynn Hoffert. "They have the potential to be solid," said Stokes of the pitchers.
In a thriller at CV last Thursday, the Bucks needed not one, but two tiebreakers to get past the Comets. "The first tiebreaker is the number of first place finishes," said head coach Dani Myers. "We both finished with nine. The second tiebreaker is second place finishes and they had just one more.
"We have outstanding senior leadership in Theoren McElheny, Taraje Whitfield, Alex Scheivert, Andrea Funk, Sarah Harthan, Alison Murphy, Alyssa Schriver, Brianna Ulaky and Aniah Washington. But we also have a very young team overall with numerous talented athletes ready to do well."
The boys', currently 1-1, were led by Casey McCollum, first in the shot (47-1.75) and discus (122), and Whitfield, tops in the 110 (14.9) and 300 hurdles (41.2). Whitfield also team with McElheney, David Kramer and Chad Mowbray to win the 4x400 while McElheney added a win in the 200 (23.5) and was second in the 100 (11.8) and 400 (53.2) behind Mowbray (53.1). Alex Scheivert easily won the javelin (201-11 to 151-2) and the pole vaulters recorded a sweep with Matt Julian (11-6), Erisman (9-0) and Sensenich (8-6).
The girls' team, with just five firsts, fell to 0-2 with a 91-59 result. Schriver won the open 400 (1:01.8) and joined Washington, Jasminen Miller and Makayla Miller to take the 4x100 relay. Funk picked up a win in the mile (6:04.1) and was second in the 3200.
In the field, Jayln Clow won the discus (94-5) and was third in the shot and Harthan cleared 11-6, a good 5-6 over the competition, to win the pole vault.
Despite the less than desirable conditions, the tennis team has managed to play four matches and currently sits in third place at 2-2 overall. Last week they dropped a 6-1 result against Cedar Crest but managed their first shutout of the season over Lebanon.
Curtis Rabatin and Henry Singer pulled out an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles while Bryce Hanna and Nicholas Bernard and Petros Karpouzis and Alex Mowery controlled the action, winning 8-2 and 8-0 respectively.
In singles play, Rabatin blanked Luke Foster 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1, Hanna posted a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 2, Singer was solid with a 6-2, 6-4 No. 3 win and Karpouzis completed the sweep over Lebanon with a 6-0, 6-2 result.
Against the Falcons, Karpouzis and Mowery's 8-2 win at No. 3 doubles prevented the shutout.
Breitbach, Bowlers Qualify for States March 9, 2018
The goal of any athlete is to compete on the biggest stage possible. For Alaina Breitbach and the Penn Manor bowling team, that stage is the PIAA Championships. Breitbach punched her ticket at the District Championships while the bowling team handled the competition at the PA East Regionals.
After a three week layoff, the Comet swimmers, with a couple of medals and a pair of school records, took to the pool with a vengeance at the District Three Championships held March 3 at Cumberland Valley High School.
Breitbach, seeded second in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:06.46, improved her time, grabbed her second consecutive bronze medal and qualified for the PIAA championships. The sophomore also broke a 1990 school record in the 200 individual medley and placed tenth with a time of 2:10.61. She was seeded eighth but with a 2:13.21.
Also in record-breaking mode was Sam Lutter. The sophomore, seeded 12th in the 100 breaststroke, clocked a 1:00.80, breaking a school record set in 1993. He also dropped five seconds in the 200 IM, posting a time of 2:02.31.
"It was an awesome weekend," said head coach Eric Urban.
The girls 200 medley team of Erica Shaub, Breitbach, Jalyn Clow and Anna Sugra also finished 12th with a time of 1:54.07.
"Anna also PR'd in the 200 free with a 1:59.59 and she PR'd in the 100 free with a 54.88," noted Urban. "Jared Stephan dropped five seconds in the 200 IM and placed 17th with a 2:00.37 and dropped 11 seconds in the 500 free, placing 14th with a 4:52.54."
Also with a chance to extend their season, the Comet bowlers took to the lanes March 2-3 and punched their ticket to the big dance by winning their first East PA Regional Championship by upending Wilson.
"We've been second the past couple of years so it was nice to finish on top," said head coach Chris Vital. "This is such a nerve-wracking day as only the top six teams qualify for states and only the top 12 individuals."
As for the individual competition, that got underway Friday with the boys again competing at Leisure Lanes and the girls at 222 Dutch Lanes. In a pool of 191 qualifying bowlers, the Comets had five chances to break into the top 12 but managed just one. Dan Mease, with a third place finish, became just the fourth Comet to qualify for states in 14 years, joining Tanner Simet, Cody Johnson and Brandon Yarnell.
"Only two boys qualified from the L-L League," noted Vital, "Dan and Tanner Michael from Manheim Central. It's a tough task."
Dan rolled a 246, 247, 250, 238 and 227 for a 1208 total. Danville's Cody Kizis earned the top total with a 1223 and Hunter Mikosz, of Muhlenberg, followed with a 1210.
In the bracket finals, Dan faced Lewisburg's Anthony Neuer in the quarterfinals where he suffered a 278-201 loss. For his efforts, Mease was one of five named to the Eastern PA Boys All-Star Team.
Joining him in the singles competition was Gavin Davidson (43rd with a 1046 total), Nick Mease (57th - 1025), Michael Morris (108th - 944), Mark Smith (109th - 941) and Jimmy Mahler (12st - 924).
"To have five guys qualify is an accomplishment," said Vital. "They all kept battling. And, because of their efforts, I had a pretty good feeling going into the team competition on Saturday."
In the girls' individual competition at Dutch Lanes, Katelyn Welsh was Manor's top finisher, rolling a 948 five game total for 41st place. Carrie Shertz (107th - 774), Lisa Strausner (125th - 739), Lauren Shroyer (140th - 691) and Stephanie Mohn (146th - 651) also competed.
In team competition on Saturday, starters Mark Smith, Davidson, D. Mease, Michael Morris, and N. Mease rolled a 1056 in their first game. "We were in fifth place after that and Dan rolled a 267," noted Vital. "But because of the importance of qualifying for states, I actually made some substitutions, bringing in Jordan Kahler and Jimmy Mahler and Jordan wound up throwing five of the last six strikes. We did better in the second game with everyone throwing over 200."
Davidson (225), D. Mease (242), N. Mease (217), Kahler (245) and Mahler (238) contributed to an 1167 second game score.
"After that second game we were in second place but the lanes started to dry out and most teams were struggling," noted Vital. "We finished with a 1018 and that kept us in second place heading into the baker sets where five bowlers each bowl two frames. We got off to a slow start with a 168 but the rest of our games were over 200 and we finished with a 4569, behind Neshaminy with a 4637."
In the bracket finals, the Comets edged Daniel Boone 2-1 in the semifinals. They rallied from a 244-213 loss to win 217-150, and 232-213 and faced Wilson, who knocked off Neshaminy 2-0, in the finals. Again the Comets got off to a slow start, bowing out 189-184 but came back strong, winning 225-157, and 201-193.
"It was a total team effort," said Vital. "We got contributions up and down the lineup. Now we see if we can secure our third straight PIAA crown."
The girls' team (Welsh, Shertz, Strausner, Shroyer, Michala Harvey, Leila Abbas and Natalie Whiteside) had a rougher time, finishing 12th (3289) out of 31 teams. Shikellamy was the top squad with a 4388 while Elizabethtown finished fourth (4008).