Comet Swimmers Grab Two District Medals March 8, 2019
After failing to qualify a single swimmer to the District Three Championships last year, the Comets made up for lost time. On March 1-2 at Cumberland Valley High School, nine Comet swimmers competed in the 3A championships where they grabbed two medals, set a school record and earned a couple of personal bests along the way.
Freshman Avery Groff led the medal-winners, claiming seventh place on Friday with a 5:16 in the 500 freestyle. Senior Anna Sugra earned Manor's second medal with her eighth place finish and personal best 1:56.79 in the 200 free on Saturday. Groff finished 17th in the same event with a 1:59.79.
Also on Saturday, the 200 medley relay team of Jalyn Clow, Sugra, Groff and Erica Shaub posted an 11th place finish with a new school record time of 1:53.66.
Rounding out Saturday's action was Erica Shaub with a 2:17.78 in the 200 IM good for 18th place as the Comets finished in 13th place as a team overall.
Shaub also competed on Friday where she settled for 25th place in the 100 backstroke with a 1:02.75. Sugra also hit the water on Friday, securing a 10th place finish in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:07.91.
Top place winner for the boys' team was Jared Stephan who's personal best 1:59.06 gave him a 10th place finish in the 200 IM on Saturday. He opened the meet with a 12th place finish on Friday, dropping his 500 free time by over five seconds for a 4:49.73.
The 200 medley relay team of Wes Kendig, Stephan, Andrew Pursel and Pan Kunyu turned in an 11th place finish with a 1:40.67 while the same group competing in the 400 free relay secured 14th place with a 3:20.49.
Pursel, Kendig and Kunyu all placed in two individual events. Pursel turned in a personal best 22.33 for 17th place in the 50 free with Kendig taking 21st in 22.75. Pursel was also 25th in the 100 free, recording yet another PR (49.73). Kendig settled for 20th place in the 100 butterfly (55.02) while Barry Everett matched that placing in the 100 breaststroke (3:20.49).
Kunyu scored a pair of 29th place finishes, clocking a 50.24 in the 100 free and a 57.53 in the 100 back.
"Overall, this season was incredible," said second year head coach Eric Urban. "I learned a lot about the team last year and we returned a lot of talent. Both teams had winning records (boys 6-2, girls 5-3) and both teams finished third at the LL League Championships.
"Our senior class were positive role models and very spirited, which pushed our underclassmen at meets," he continued. "Even though the numbers were down, especially on the boys' team, we had talent on both teams that I was able to place in all events. We really didn't have a weak link in any of the events which allowed for our success this season.
"We set two new team records, girls 200 medley and 400 free relay (Sugra, Shaub, Clow and Groff)," Urban pointed out. "Anna placed first in the 200 free at the League Meet. We had nine swimmers qualify for districts, including four relays, as compared to none last year."
The Comet bowlers competed in the Eastern PA Regional Championships Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 at Leisure Lanes and Dutch Lanes where their seasons came to a close.
"We were hoping we could sneak someone through to states," said head coach Chris Vital. "But we struggled. We kind of struggled all year."
The singles championships took place on Friday with Gavin Davidson emerging as Manor's top finisher. "Gavin finished 24th," noted Vital. "He was on the bubble going into the last game. An 1135 series was the 12th and last series to advance. Gavin rolled a 1093."
Davidson rolled 200 or better in each of his first five games, including a 255 in the fourth game but was 42 pins shy of extending his season.
Also qualifying for the boys in singles play was Mark Smith, Derek Warfel, Jimmy Mahler and Evan Wright. Smith, a senior, was Manor's most consistent bowler this year. His highest game of the series was a 245 in the opening round. Smith finished 37th with a 1059 series.
Warfel's 978 was the third highest Comet total. The freshman rolled a 236 in his opening game. He was followed by Mahler, who settled for 158th while Wright, a sophomore, was 178th.
A total of 191 bowlers competed with the top 12 advancing to the stepladder finals.
In girls' action, Delaney Reitnauer rolled three games over 200 and recorded a 989 five game total that left her in 19th place out of 145.
"Delaney is just a sophomore," noted Vital. "I was impressed with her finish. She worked very hard to get there."
Katelyn Welsh rolled a 924 series and finished in 34th place and Willow Hee, with a 736, settled for 118th.
On Saturday the teams competed in the team portion of the tournament. Penn Manor's boys' squad, with a 3929, earned a 13th place finish out of 39 teams while the girls were 16th, with a 3108, in a field of 31.
"The top six teams advanced and Township earned that sixth spot with a 4165," Vital stated. "Ethan Keohana and Derek Warfel, both freshmen, did a nice job."
Also competing for the boys were Mahler, Welsh, Smith Davidson, and Graylin Hyson. Smith, with a three game 613 series and Welsh, with a 570, both rolled two games over 200.
Reitnauer's 506 was tops for the girls' side. Lisa Strausner followed with a 486 with Lisa Shroyer adding a 417. Also competing was Willow Hee and Ariana Cuba.
Officially wrapping up the basketball seasons was the announcement of the all-star teams. Freshman Morgan Miller is Manor's only first team selection. Ella Hart, Kate Levato, Kevin Roldan and Ty Erisman are all second team all-stars while Ethan Hine was voted as an honorable mention all-star.
Baker Punches Ticket to State Wrestling March 1, 2019
The Comets qualified eight wrestlers to the District Three Wrestling Championships held in Hershey, February 22-23 and came home with one fourth, one fifth and one sixth place medal. Overall, they collected 16 wins against 18 losses.
"It wasn't a bad weekend for the guys," said head coach Brandon Vernalli. "I was happy to see all eight of the guys get at least one district win under their belt."
Nick Baker was the lone Comet to punch his ticket to states via a fourth place finish at 182. On his way to that medal, Baker had to knock off a familiar face in Manheim Central's Keegan McCord.
"That was the fourth meeting between the two this year alone," noted Vernalli. "Nick split the series 2-2 in the consi-semis on Saturday. Going in, we knew it would be exciting and that he needed to win in order to qualify for states. The match went into ultimate 30-second ride-out," the coach explained. "Being that it was our choice, we knew we had to take bottom. About 15 seconds in, Nick found a way and was able to cut loose and get the one point escape to secure the win."
Baker settled for fourth after suffering a tight 8-7 loss to Hershey's Neiman Flucas. Down 4-2 after the second period, Baker earned three escapes and a takedown down the stretch but it wasn't enough.
Baker opened the tournament with a 9-3 decision over Susquehanna Township's Troy Ambush then worked a 3:04 fall over Dylan Forbes of New Oxford. In the semifinals, Baker suffered another one point loss, this one 5-4 to Nemiah Diggs, of Harrisburg, the eventual gold medal winner. Down 5-1, Baker earned an escape and was awarded two stalling points but couldn't gain the lead.
Securing a fifth place medal and finishing just one match shy of qualifying for states was Tanner Stefanick. The 113-pounder made quick work of Jevin Guldin, of Exeter Township, posting a 1:18 fall before dropping an 8-1 loss to eventual champ Benn Monn of Cumberland Valley.
Stefanick worked his way back in the consolations, picking up an 8-1 win over Gettysburg's Montana DeLawder before pinning Kelvin Rodrigues (Susquehannock Township) in 2:37. In the consi-semis, Stefanick gave up a third period escape in a 1-0 loss to Gavin Richard (Daniel Boone) but bounced back with a come-from-behind 4-2 decision over Liam Strouse (N. York) to place.
Manor's lone senior qualifier, TJ Keener, settled for sixth place. "TJ wrapped up his high school career finishing one win shy of qualifying for states," stated Vernalli. "It was certainly an honor to be able to coach TJ and I'm very anxious to see how well he develops wrestling next year at Millersville University."
Keener needed just 1:16 to win his opening match over Christian Connor (Gettysburg) via the fall and in the quarterfinals he broke a 2-2 second period tie with a reversal and two nearfall points, topping Ben Sola (Cocalico) 6-2.
That winning streak ended with a 15-0, 2:28 tech fall at the hand of eventual champ Kyle Swartz (Northern York).
The 195-pounder, in the consi-semis, was pinned by Hunter Hefflefinger (Big Spring) and then dropped a 10-5 decision to L-L League foe, Chase Mathias of Hempfield.
At 152, Colt Barley also came up just short of extending his season. "Colt wrestled a very tough tournament, knocking off top seed Colby Romjue (Susquehannock) with a 13-4 major decision," Vernalli said.
The upset win came on the heels of an 8-4 decision over Taylor Sheaffer (Conestoga Valley). Unfortunately, Barley's run ended with three straight losses, an 8-4 decision against second place winner Colton Zimmerman (Carlisle), a 4-1 decision to Seth Runshaw (Chambersburg) and a hard-fought 4-3 effort against Kolbe Eidle (Wilson).
At 126, Ty Grassel followed Stefanick in the lineup. After dropping an 8-1 opening round loss to Logan Paluch (Central York), Grassel rebounded with wins over L-L League opponents Cameron Kistler and Dylan Bowers. Grassel pinned CV's Kistler in 2:14 and worked a 10-2 major decision over Donegal's Bowers.
"Grassel turned a page in his book beating two tough L-L guys, one who pinned him in the first period at the L-L League tournament," said Vernalli. "Bowers made short work of Ty back in January. This meeting was a completely different match. Ty looked like a totally different wrestler and controlled all three periods. He has come a long way since stepping in for his older brother, Trevor."
Grassel ended the season with a 15-0 loss to Cael Turnbill of Downingtown.
Also competing and finishing the season with one win against a pair of losses was Owen Rohrer (132), Dylan Coleman (138) and Kole Marley (160). Coleman led Colton Jumper (Carlisle) 3-2 before advancing by default. Unfortunately, he was knocked to the consis with a 9-2 loss to eventual champ Matt McCann (Waynesboro) and then dropped a 12-11 heartbreaker to Nick Nettleton despite holding a 9-2 lead.
Rohrer and Marley each suffered first round losses before picking up wins. Rohrer defeated Wilson's Ryan Lesko 6-4 while Marley pinned Carson McGregor (Waynesboro) in a quick 32 seconds. Their seasons ended with losses.
"With the exception of TJ, all of our other district qualifiers still have at least another year of wrestling left," noted Vernalli. "I'm very excited to see what happens in the years to come!"
The Comets had three bowlers competing in the District Three Individual Championships held at ABC Lanes North in Harrisburg, February 23. Gavin Davidson turned in Manor's highest finish of the day, settling for 9th place in a field of 36. Davidson rolled a six game 1217 total with his highest game, a 245, coming in the last game. Mark Smith, with a high game of 212, settled for 18th place and an 1132 total.
Cedar Crest's Darren Zombro rolled the highest series, 1363, and advanced through the bracket finals to claim the gold.
Katelyn Welsh represented the girls' side and, like Smith, also finished in 18th place. She finished with a 1060 series and a high game of 187.
Crest's Paige Boyd rose to the top with a 1252 series but Muhlenberg's Mackenzie Schlegel advanced through the bracket finals unscathed.
Comet Wrestlers Finish Third in Sectionals February 22, 2019
At Hempfield High School on Friday and Saturday, February 15-16, the Comet matmen placed nine wrestlers in the top six of the District Three Class 3A Section 2 tournament and finished third overall with 159. 5 team points, following Central Dauphin (226) and Manheim Central (176.5) while staying just ahead of Lampeter-Strasburg (153). The top four advance to the 3A South Central Regional Championships at Hersheypark Arena.
"I was extremely happy with the way my guys wrestled," said head coach Brandon Vernalli. "There were only two teams (Palmyra and Milton Hershey) that we hadn't already seen earlier in the year. Qualifying eight to districts is the most I can remember in quite some time."
The Comets advanced three matmen to the finals and settled for three silver medal finishes. They also grabbed three bronze medals, a pair of fourths and one sixth place effort.
Colt Barley, Nick Baker and TJ Keener represented Manor in the finals. Barley (152), a sophomore, was the first to medal, advancing to the finals with falls over McCaskey's Gilbert Valentin (3:14) and Central Dauphin's Hunter Benz (5:11). Unfortunately, Hershey's Tanner Updegraff ended Barley's run with a 2:38 fall.
Wrestling at 182 and entering the tournament with just three losses, Baker also opened action with a fall, decking Warwick's Charles Lumene in 3:30 before escaping Central's Keegan McCord in a 3-2 decision. His tournament ended with a second straight 3-2 final, only this time Hershey's Nyiem Flucas finished on top.
"Nick had a great tournament and finally got the win he's been waiting for over the Manheim Central wrestler," stated Vernalli. "He wrestled a smart match to get that semifinal win.
"Flucas is a tough wrestler," stated Vernalli of Baker's final opponent. "He's ranked second in the district and Nick gave him everything he could handle. I'm looking for big things from him in districts."
TJ Keener, unlike Barley and Baker, did not get an opening round bye. He pinned E-town's Ray Perez in 19 seconds, added a 16-12 decision over Hershey's Andrew Burd and decked Hempfield's Chase Mathias in 4:39 in the semifinals. The senior settled for silver after suffering a 16-5 result against Jackson Talbert of Central Dauphin.
Sophomore Tanner Stefanick led a trio of third place finishers when he topped Solanco's Jackson Houghton 4-2 in the consolation finals. Stefanick opened the tournament with a 3:36 fall over Donegal's Jason Flohr but was knocked to the consolations with an 8-5 decision to CD's Josh Miller, the eventual 113-pound champ. He rebounded with a 3:53 fall over Lampeter's Hunter Erb before stopping Houghton.
Dylan Coleman, also a sophomore, went 3-1 on the weekend to grab his bronze medal. He pinned Warwick's Shaun Stafford in 4:21 and, like Stefanick, suffered a quarterfinals loss to the eventual champ. CD's Tye Weathersby scored an 11-4 decision to advance. Coleman came back with a 2:16 fall over McCaskey's Julian Holland and pulled out a 10-9 thriller over Solanco's Ronnie Fulton.
At 160, Kole Marley took the long road to the podium, suffering an 11-8 opening round loss to Donte Hibbert of Hershey before working his way back with four straight wins.
Marley scored a 6-2 decision over Milton Hershey's Jose Mendez, flattened Township's Charlie Leidig in 38 seconds and scored a 5-3 decision over Hempfield's Dylan Bard to get to the consi finals where he earned his second fall of the weekend, putting CD's Ethan Pae to his back in 2:42.
"Kole lost to Bard twice this year," recalled Vernalli. "He wrestled a heck of a match to get the victory he's been working towards."
Advancing to districts with fourth place finishes were Ty Grassel at 125 and Owen Rohrer at 132.
Grassel, a freshman, suffered a 9-2 opening round loss to Palmyra's Jacob Myers but came back with two straight wins, pinning Hershey's Mark Lavelle in 2:32 and eking out a 4-3 decision over Dakota Thomas, of Manheim Central. In the consi finals, Solanco's Chase Charles prevailed with a 7-3 decision.
Rohrer got off to a great start, avenging two previous losses to Solanco's Joey Vandegriff with a convincing 2:51 fall. In the quarters, however, the junior met up with eventual champ Cade Zeamer of Manheim Central and suffered a 19-3 loss. He bounced back with a 1:44 fall over Warwick's Mateo Chacon before falling 12-3 to CD's Bryce Buckman.
"Owen lost to Vandegriff twice this year but did what he had to do and played it smart," said Vernalli.
Also grabbing a medal was freshman Anthony Glessner who settled for sixth place at 149. Glessner pinned E-town's Zach Frank and Donegal's Joe Fox before suffering three straight losses, including a 3:05 fall against eventual second place finisher David Ober of Manheim Township.
Cole Shenk went 2-2 at 170, suffering losses to both the third and fifth place finishers.
Penn Manor's string of five straight L-L League team championships ended last Tuesday afternoon at Cain's Lanes as the Comets lost two straight games to Warwick and settled for second.
"Warwick's kids bowl a lot," said head coach Chris Vital. "They were getting accustomed to the lanes and we were tiring. Eight games is a lot to bowl for some of these kids."
The Warriors, coached by former PM assistant and Chris Vital's brother, Neal, pulled out a close 922-907 first game win despite six straight strikes by Derek Warfel.
"Derek kept us in it," said Vital, "but by the last game the lanes were really tough. They were tough the whole tournament but we finished with a 778, our lowest score of the year."
Warfel's 246 was the bright spot in a dismal finish.
The Comets opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Northern Lebanon. "Katelyn Welsh set the tone with a 236 in our 916-850 win," stated Vital. "And Jimmy Mahler's 190 was also key. He was steady.
"We won the second game as well, though we only rolled an 852," Vital continued. "Warfel, with a 211, was the star in that one."
The Comets faced Cocalico, a winner over Elizabethtown, in the semifinals and needed three games to advance. The Eagles jumped out with an 864-794 first game win. Gavin Davidson (170) and Jimmy Mahler (168) were tops for the Comets.
"We missed everything," stated Vital. "We knew we needed to step it up or it was over."
The closely contested second game came down the final frame. Davidson's strike pushed the Comets to a 950-937 win.
"It was pin dropping quite when Gavin stepped up to roll that game-clinching strike," Vital said.
The final game was just as close, with the Comets earning another 13 pin win, 950-937. Mark Smith was tops with a 199 and Welsh followed with a 190, helping to push the Comets back to the finals.
In other bowling news Welsh and Davidson were Manor's top place-winners in the L-L League individual tournaments. Welsh finished ninth out of 53 girls bowling at Clearview Lanes while Davidson settled for 10th out of 100 competitors at Leisure Lanes.
Swim Teams Finish Third in League Meet February 13, 2019
The Comet swimmers, against 12 other L-L League teams, rose to third place at the League Championships held February 8-9 at Wilson High School. The girls won seven medals and finished with 52 team points. Warwick claimed the team title with 85 points. Manheim Township, with 80 points, was second.
The boys also collected 52 team points and brought home eight medals for their third place finish. Township, with 150 points, swam away from the field. Cedar Crest was second with 65 points.
"We swam out of our minds," said head coach Eric Urban. "Almost every single race was a season or lifetime best. And this was the highest finish we've had in a few years."
Ana Sugra paced the medal winners with three. She exceeded her second seed position in the 200 free with a gold medal, season-best 1:57.21 on Friday night.
"That was an exciting finish as she pulled ahead in the last lap," said Urban.
Also on Friday, Sugra, along with Erica Shaub, Jaylyn Clow and Avery Groff earned a fourth place medal in the 200 medley relay (1:54.36). They were seeded sixth.
Sugra picked up two more medals on Saturday, grabbing bronze in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.52) and anchoring the 400 free relay with Groff, Clow and Shaub for fifth place. And that was after Groff touched second in the 500 free with a 5:14.32.
"Avery's race was amazing to watch," said Urban. "She almost caught CV's Raasch, who was ahead for most of the race. Avery swam a smart race and almost pulled away with the win.
"And the 400 free relay team broke a record set in 1999."
The Comets also earned a sixth in the 200 free relay with Kelly Johnson, Jordyn Kendig, Clow and Stoner and Shaub picked up a seventh in the 200 IM.
Wes Kendig earned four medals and match Jared Stephan as the highest place-winners for the boys' squad. Three of those medals came on Friday. Kendig was part of the 200 medley relay that placed third. Pan Kunyu, Jared Stephan and Andrew Pursel contributed to that bronze medal finish.
Kendig also finished fourth (55.32) in the 100 fly and was sixth (22:59) in the 50 freestyle behind Pursel, who exceeded his seventh seed with a fourth place effort in 22:53. Stephan matched Kendig's fourth place effort with a 4:55.48 in the 500 free.
On Saturday, Kendig anchored the second place 400 free relay (3:20.85) with Pursel, Kunyu, and Stephan leading the way.
Kunyu picked up two other medals on Saturday, placing seventh in the 100 free (50.08) and eighth in the 100 back (56.27).
Everett Barry was fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.24) and Pursel finished eighth in the 100 free.
"We had a lot of great swims," added Urban. "We should have nine swimmers going to districts but we're still waiting on the final seeding times."
After securing a come-from-behind win over McCaskey on January 25, the Lady Comets suffered losses in each of their last four games, the most recent a 66-28 result against Cedar Cliff on February 8, leaving them with a 6-7 Section One record.
The results also leave the Comets shy of qualifying for the District Three Class 6A tournament. They finished 14th in a field that only takes 12. Cedar Cliff, at 17-5 overall, enters the bracket at the No. 3 seed.
The Colts did the most damage in the first quarter, knocking down five of their eight threes and kicking out to a 21-6 first quarter lead. Ella Hart and Kate Levato each scored four points in the second quarter but the visitors were still in front, 39-16. That quarter, however, was Manor's best offensive effort as the Comets were held to 5 points in the third and 7 in the fourth.
"Cedar Cliff is a very disciplined team and it's no surprise they are the 3 spot in districts," stated head coach Megan Collins. "Any team that makes seven threes in one half is shooting the ball really well."
Levato finished with 10 points, including 6-for-8 from the free throw line, Morgan Miller chipped in with eight and Hart added six as the Comets fell to 8-14 overall.
"We had a rebuilding year, losing four quality starters from last season," Collins said. "Even though we didn't make post-season play, we grew in a lot of areas and we have a very bright and exciting future ahead of us."
Comets Knock Off Cedar Crest, 43-41 February 8, 2019
Ty Erisman hit back-to-back threes and Jakob Matias dished a cross key pass to Anthony Rosario who scored what proved to be the game-winning bucket, lifting last place Penn Manor over then first place Cedar Crest 43-41 in Millersville last Monday.
The come-from-behind victory started with an 11-0 run by the Falcons. The Comets answered, engineering a 19-2 run that started with 3:17 left in the first and ran all the way through the 3:40 mark of the second quarter. Erisman and Kevin Roldan each tossed in five points during the run and Ethan Hine chipped in with the last four, putting the Comets in front, 19-13.
But the section leaders weren't going to go down easy, scoring seven straight for a 20-19 lead at the half.
The third frame went bucket-for-bucket, was tied twice and the Falcons remained in front 29-28.
An Erisman trey with 4:10 left cut the lead to 34-33 before Crest went on a 7-2 run for a 41-35 advantage with 2:20 left and setting the stage for Erisman, whose second trey, after taking a charge that fired up the student section, tied the game at 41-41 with 1:12 left. Crest turned the ball over, and Rosario scored in the paint. Both teams traded turnovers after that and the visitors had possession with 4.7 left but failed to get off a shot.
"The kids showed the spirit and heart they played with the entire season," said head coach Larry Bellew. "Down six with over two minutes to play and Kevin Roldan fouls out and we find a way to win.
"When we played them the first time, their on-ball defense against our point guards totally disrupted us and kept us from getting into a rhythm," Bellew explained. "We put in a set to have our forward bring the ball up to alleviate that pressure. That helped us get into our sets and slowed the game down."
Erisman, with five triples, splashed in a game-high 17. Hine followed with a dozen and Roldan chipped in with ten.
Playing their fourth game in five days, the Comets ended their season with a 56-51 Tuesday night loss to visiting Octorara. Despite holding a 30-24 lead at the half, and a 42-37 edge after three, the hosts were outscored 17-9 down the stretch.
"Not being able to finish the season with a win was a temporary disappointment," said Bellew. "Ethan was sent home with a stomach bug so I knew before it started that we would have to play well. Octorara's big, Naji Hamilton, was exceptional against us. We struggle to guard most bigs and a 6'7" kid that is athletic was a challenge. Regardless, we held a lead heading into the fourth," he continued. "We tried to pressure their guards but they held up and Hamilton was able to finish at the other end with a couple emphatic dunks. We had some chances to cut it to one or tie the game but the shots wouldn't fall."
Erisman poured it on with 23 points, including six treys, while Joel Modesto and Jaden Matias both scored ten. Rosario (7) and Roldan (1) also contributed.
The Comets started their string of four games with a Friday night, 69-63 overtime heartbreaker at Manheim Township, February 1.
The visitors played one of their best quarters of the season, jumping to an 18-4 lead after eight minutes. Township closed the gap in the second frame with a 16-9 run that left the score at 27-20 at the break. The hosts continued their run through the third quarter, doubling Manor up, 18-9, for a 38-36 advantage.
Erisman got hot in the fourth quarter, netting ten of Manor's 20 points, including a three-ball at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
"We played well when we moved and shared the ball but with the lead, we got sloppy," noted Bellew. "We had some turnovers and a couple bad shots that led to some runouts. And in the overtime, we couldn't get the stop when we needed it and combined that with another bad shot or two. When we had to trap Tyler Crespo, he made us pay by getting the ball ahead and scoring on us."
Crespo, Township's new all-time scoring leader, poured in a game-high 32 points.
Hine knocked down 20 points, Erisman netted 19 and Roldan settled for 16.
Saturday afternoon, despite a strong first half, the Comets ran out of gas, dropping a 52-43 final to West York.
"We played well through the first half but struggled to score against their zone in the second half," recalled Bellew. "And in the fourth they started feeding their big, wide body, Gabe Mummert the ball. He had eight of his 16 points that quarter. Jakob Matis was out with an injury and we saw the lack of legs down the stretch, missing some really good looks that we usually knock down."
Erisman posted a team-high 12 points with Roldan and Hine adding 10 each and Rosario finishing with 7.
"I can't express how proud I am of this team," said Bellew. "I was impressed by how much they cared about each other and the sacrifices many players made for the good of the team. They carried themselves with class and dignity and were competitive in all but one of our 22 games. This is a testament to their resolve and determination," he continued. "Sadly, we won't be able to suit up for another game together, but they accomplished something special. They bought a lot of excitement and joy to the Penn Manor community and created an energy and bond that brought everyone together. They won't hang a banner in the gym for that, but it is something special they can hold in their hearts forever."
The Comet bowlers celebrated their seniors (Jimmy Mahler, Riley Neuman, Mark Smith, and Lisa Strausner) in their last home match of the season, Tuesday, February 5 when they hosted fourth place Hempfield at Leisure Lanes. The Knights, however, rose to the occasion in this one, hanging a tight 4-3 loss on the Comets.
Smith's 237 first game led three Comets over 200 and Manor picked up a 1060-860 win. The momentum changed in the second game as the Knights heated up and pulled out a 969-939 victory and went on to win the third game as well 989-923.
Gavin Davidson, with a 678 series, finished as Manor's top bowler, and followed Hempfield's Ben Helman (730). Smith finished with a 678, while Jimmy Mahler (564), Riley Neuman (552) and Lisa Strausner (485) rounded out the scoring.
The Comets were coming off a 7-0 shutout over McCaskey, Friday, February 2. Manor got off to a strong start, winning a 958-955 first game final and picking up the pace in the second game. With four Comets bowling 200 or better, Manor put together an 1103 second series, crushing McCaskey's 795. With a 1029-809 game three result, Manor took control.
Davidson's 680 series was tops for the day. Smith added a 675 and Welsh a 626. Rounding out the Comet five was Delaney Reitnauer (588) and Neuman (521).
The swim team wrapped up the regular season Friday, February 1, with mixed results at Cedar Crest. The boys, with six firsts, secured a 100-64 result, pushing their overall record to 6-2. They finished third in Section One with a 3-2 mark.
The girls' had a tougher time, coming out on the short end of a 106-64 result to the third place Falcons. Manor finishes in fourth place at 2-3, 5-3 overall.
"This meet was just a mess because of the weather and having a few no shows because of driving issues," stated head coach Eric Urban.
Jared Stephan was the top point-getter of the day, winning the 200 IM (2:04.48) and the 500 free (5:10.59) and teaming with Pan Kunyu, Andrew Pursel and Wes Kendig for the top time in the 400 free relay (3:36.03).
"Jared came from behind to win the 200 IM," said Urban. "He did the same thing last year against the same swimmer."
Kunyu touched first in the 100 back (58.00) and Kendig did the same in the 100 fly (57.47). And they both, along with Mason Sweigart and Pursel, contributed to a come-from-behind winning 200 medley relay (1:43.50).
Erica Shaub earned two firsts, winning the 200 IM (2:23.5) and the 100 backstroke (1:06.13). Ana Sugra was the only other individual winning, taking the top time in the 100 free (57.50).
In the relays, Johnson, Jalyn Clow, Jordan Kendig and Kailey Stoner put together a winning 1:51.04 in the 200 free.
"It was not our best meet as a team," added Urban. "The girls did have some PR's in the 200 free relay."
The Lady Comets played three games in four days and came out on the short end in each one.
"Three games without practice is always difficult to do no matter in what part of the season it occurs," said head coach Megan Collins. "But having it at the end, when vying for a spot in districts, makes it that much more challenging."
The Comets got off to a slow start and were unable to gain momentum against the visiting Streaks, Friday, February 1. They were held to single digits in each of the first two quarters and suffered a 54-32 home loss.
"Township heading to the free throw line 19 more times than us was the big difference in the game," stated Collins. "We have been talking about watching fouls and not allowing teams to get to the line as often and we needed to do a better job of attacking the basket aggressively to get the calls in return."
Emma Hart's 15 points were a team best. Kate Levato and Morgan Miller combined for 11.
On the road Saturday afternoon, Miller and Hart combined for nine of Manor's 15 first quarter points and held a one point lead over West York. The Bearcats, however, regrouped in the middle two frames, pouring in 26 points while holding the Comets to seven. The 40-22 deficit was too much for the visitors to overcome, and, despite a 15-13 fourth quarter win, Manor lost 53-37.
Free throws, or lack of, continued to plague the Comets. West York canned 20-of-28 attempts. The Comets were 6-of-17.
"We got off to a good start and then Ella got injured in the second quarter," noted Collins. "We struggled to find any offense in the third quarter. And they went to the foul line 11 more times and shot 71% to our 35%."
Miller scored a team-high 8 points. Sydney Shepos added 6, Tyzae Ballard and Kayla Mills added 5 each and Lily Sugra and Hart combined for 8.
The Comets hit the road again last Monday, traveling to first place Cedar Crest. Down a hard-fought 23-17 at the half, the Falcons' (12-1 league) Raven Morgan, with 10 of her game-high 25 points, sparked a 16-4 third quarter to pull away.
The visitors rose to the challenge in the fourth, outscoring the hosts 17-16, but still suffering the loss. Miller, who had four free throws in the third, splashed in 10 points down the stretch.
"We went five or six minutes in that third quarter without scoring," noted Collins. "You can't do that against good teams. But we did a nice job on the line, going 11-for-14. Miller had 16 despite not feeling well and again, Hart was a no-go.
"Raven only had 14 against us the first time," she continued. "We played well in the fourth quarter."
Shepos and Sugra backed Miller with seven points each off the bench. Evelyn Weaver and Ballard each added four points.
Lady Comets Rally To Hold Off McCaskey February 1, 2019
Despite jumping out to an 8-0 lead to start the game, and holding an 18-11 advantage late in the first quarter, the lady Comets found themselves in a game of ebbs and flows before pulling out a 54-52 thriller over McCaskey, Friday, January 25.
Starting out the fourth quarter down six, the Comets dug deep and rallied. Ella Hart's seven points and a three-ball by Morgan Miller fueled a 10-2 run and tied the game at 52-52 with 3:44 left. After a McCaskey turnover, freshman Sydney Shepos scored on a put back with 2:05 remaining for what proved to be the game-winner.
"I wasn't too happy that we had a rather decent lead and gave it away, again," stated head coach Megan Collins. "The closer the game stayed, the more McCaskey felt they could win. I was proud, however, that even being down as many as eight, the girls didn't quit because that would have been the easy thing to do. They persevered and pulled out the win."
Miller, who finished with six treys and 18 points, dropped in a three to start the second frame, giving Manor its biggest lead of the night, 21-12. But the hosts scored 13 straight to go in front, 25-21. Not to be out done, the Comets returned the favor, ending the frame with a 12-2 run and a 33-27 lead. A traditional three point play by Kayla Mills and another triple by Miller ended the half with Manor in front.
McCaskey put up its biggest number of the night in the third, outscoring the Comets 19-7 for a 46-40 advantage. They scored the first bucket of the final quarter but managed just two more field goals as Manor made its run to take the for good.
"Morgan Miller's six threes were instrumental in our victory," said Collins.
Hart also hit double figures, netting 11 while Tyzae Ballard added eight, including the first four of the game. Shepos (4), Kim Miller 3, Emma Hamaker 2, Kate Levato 2, and Lily Sugra 2 also contributed.
Hoping to catch Cedar Crest and regain first place in the Section One standings, the Comets hosted third place Manheim Township last Monday but failed to sweep the Blue Streaks. The visitors avenged the 5-2 defeat suffered on their home lanes with a 4-3 victory.
Township took charge with a 985-932 first game win and picked up win two with a 1019-984 result.
"We missed eight 1-pin spares in that first game," noted head coach Chris Vitale. "If we make five of those, we win. At least we bowled a monster of a game in the third game (1094-880)."
Three Comets bowled over 200 in that third game - Mark Smith with a 279, Katelyn Welsh with a 268, and Delaney Reitnauer with a 225.
Smith, Manor's most consistent bowler, scored the top series with a 192-238-279 for a 709. Welsh, who had the second highest game of the day with a 268, rolled the third highest series, a 630. Gavin Davidson followed with a 575 (193-218-164) while Jimmy Mahler chipped in with a 540 series.
"Delaney is coming on strong and threw a very nice last game," said Vitale. "It looks like right now we're locked into second place in the standings and will compete in the playoffs on February 12 at Cains Lanes in Manheim. I hope we catch fire at the right time."
After a third place finish in the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships, the Comets competed in the District Team tournament last Wednesday at Wilson High School where they went up against Central Dauphin. Despite taking an 18-6 lead after four bouts, the Comets won just two more weight classes and suffered a 47-26 defeat.
"The match was closer than the score showed," stated head coach Brandon Vernalli. "It's tough to go into districts knowing you're giving up a forfeit. Looking across the board, the majority of the teams in the postseason are filling an entire lineup plus some. I was happy with the way my guys wrestled."
Caleb Banzhoff provided some early momentum for the Comets, working a 5:32 fall over Aliyar Nassyrov in the first bout of the night, 106.
The Rams answered the call with a fall at 113. Not to be out done, Manor responded with two straight pins and grabbed an 18-6 lead. Tanner Stefanick (120) pinned Liam Kennedy in 2:35 and Tyler Grassel followed with a 3:28 fall over Tyler Faust.
"Ty, younger brother of Trevor Grassel, stepped up big with that fall," said Vernalli. "He was trailing the match, hit a nice reversal and grounded out the fall to extend the lead. Only a freshman, he wrestled a smart match and didn't once let up."
The Rams, however, came back strong, winning eight of the next ten bouts. Colt Barley (152) interrupted CD's string of three straight wins when shook off a 5-0 deficit and decked Wade McClune in 3:31 at 152. Two bouts later, Nick Baker (182) worked a 5-0 decision over Nathaniel Mosey, cutting the lead to one, 28-27.
"Nick had the match of the night," Vernalli said. "He came out on top in double overtime. His conditioning played a big part in the win and was very evident."
CD came back with two straight falls and picked up six more points when Manor forfeited at 285.
"Owen Rohrer (132) and Dylan Coleman (138) both wrestled tough but fell short against two of their better kids," noted Vernalli. "As did freshman Anthony Glessner (145), who wrestled a smart match.
"I'm excited to see how we do come sectionals," he added. "I believe you will see a lot of Penn Manor wrestlers make some noise and punch a ticket to the district tournament."
Placing eight wrestlers in 14 weight classes, the Comets finished in third place in the Lancaster-Lebanon League championships held January 25-26 at Garden Spot, posting 177 team points. Manheim Central (184.5) and N. Lebanon (183.5) secured the top two places.
Wrestling at 152, Barley was Manor's only gold medal winner. After a bye, he opened with a 1:06 fall over Cedar Crest's Dylan Styver and then hung a 3-0 decision on Central's Austin Sauder. Barley advanced to the finals with a 16-2 major over N. Lebanon's Nick Winters. In the finals, he received a medical forfeit over Township's David Over.
"Colt had a great tournament and wrestled tough the entire time," said Vernalli.
Also advancing to the finals was Baker who settled for second after suffering a hard-fought 3-2 loss to Central's Keegan McCord. Baker pinned his way to the finals, decking Garden Spot's Tyler Martin in 47 seconds, Solanco's Nick Yannutz in 1:59, and Warwick's Charles Lumene in 4:32.
"We were really counting on Nick to get the victory and widen the team race," Vernalli said. "He wrestled McCord earlier this year at Governor Mifflin and dropped a close decision. I honestly thought he would beat McCord without a problem but Central was on its heels and really needed that win. He will have another shot at McCord at sectionals."
The Comets also got a bronze medal finish from Tanner Stefannick (120) who went 4-2 with a fall over Catholic's Evan Hart, a tech fall over Hempfield's Luke Kramer, a 3-2 decision over Lampeter's Arik Harnish, and an 8-6 decision over Pequea's Jace Beegle. He lost his battle for second with a 2:03 fall against Garden Spot's Garrett Gehr.
"Tanner did a nice job, especially coming off an injury," Vernalli said.
Other medal winners included Rohrer (132), Glessner (145), Cole Shenk (170) and TJ Keener (195) with fifth place finishes, Coleman (138) in 7th, and Caleb Banzhof in 8th.
Faced with more than likely needing to win out in order to sneak into the back end of the district playoffs, the Comets pull out a 57-55, come-from-behind thriller over McCaskey, Friday, January 25 at home.
The Red Tornado came ready to win. Sparked by three first quarter triples, they jumped to a 21-11 first quarter lead.
"They shot extremely well to start the game," said head coach Larry Bellew. "Because we were concerned with their big kid inside, Jahsaan Greaves, who was the difference maker in our first contest, our three point defense was soft and they made us pay for it."
The Comets went to a full court trap in the second quarter, looking for some energy. They created a couple of turnovers, forced some quick shots and cut the lead to six with a 15-11 advantage. Ty Erisman, who finished with 15 points, and Ethan Hine, who added 14, combined for 11 points and three triples in the quarter.
McCaskey maintained, off and on again, an eight point lead through most of the third quarter and were up 44-36 heading into the final frame. "Jakob Matias really picked up his game and scored eight of our ten third quarter points to keep us alive," noted Bellew.
The Comets ended the game like McCaskey started, exploding for 21 points that included a game-winning left-handed layup by Kevin Roldan with just over four seconds remaining.
"They tied the game on two free throws with just under 20 seconds left," Bellew recalled. "We executed a sideline inbounds play with Kevin attacking the middle of their defense and scoring. Then we were able to highly contest their last second three."
Erisman (9 points) and Hine (2 threes) connected on critical three pointers that cut the lead and eventually gave the Comets a one point advantage. They, along with Roldan, combined for 19 of Manor's fourth quarter points after not scoring in the third frame.
"During the last three minutes of the game we executed well on both sides of the floor," Bellew said.
Comets Fall in Triple OT Against Black Knights January 25, 2019
With a three point win over Hempfield in their first meeting, it wasn't surprising that round two was close as well...actually closer, even though the result was another three point spread. The Comets took the Knights through not one, or two, but three overtimes before bowing out, 54-51 in Landisville last Tuesday. The loss drops the Comets to 3-7 in Section One, 9-8 overall.
"This was a tight game the entire night," stated head coach Larry Bellew. "We had an opportunity to win the game at the end of regulation, but missed a good shot in the lane."
Kevin Roldan netted four straight free throws, including two with .8 seconds left to force a second overtime after Hempfield rallied to tie the game at the end of regulation.
Hempfield's Elijah Washington, after being fouled on a three point attempt, knocked down all three freebies to force the third OT period after rallying from a 43-38 deficit.
"We squandered that opportunity, a five point lead with under a minute to go," noted Bellew. "And we missed the front end of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left. Plus we had a layup attempt at the buzzer but couldn't convert."
Hine scored four points in the third extra period, Roldan and Erisman added two each but the Knights put up 11 and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to go in front. Manor's last possession, a long three with two seconds left, was off the mark leaving the Knights on top.
"This was a disappointing loss because we had opportunities to get a huge road win," Bellew said.
The Comets led 31-28 after three quarters and in a defensive third, Hempfield outscored the visitors 5-2 to start the string of extra periods.
Roldan led all scorers with 18 points, Erisman added 15, including three treys, and Hine and Jaden Matias combined for 14. The Comets hit 8-of-11 free throws while the Knights converted 12-of-17 attempts.
Hine and Erisman canned back-to-back threes, helping to erase an 11 point deficit, and knotted the score at 38-38 early in the fourth quarter against Warwick, Friday, Jan. 11. But that was as close as they would get as the Warriors dropped in 3-of-5 free throws down the stretch to pull out a 41-38 victory.
This one was nip-and-tuck early. Both teams scored six first quarter points and the Comets held a slim 17-16 lead at the break. The third quarter, however, proved to be the difference as Warwick poured in 22 points, held the Comets to 10, and grabbed a 38-27 lead with eight minutes left.
Manor opened that fourth quarter with an 11-0 run, knotting the score. Warwick managed just three points that frame but they were the last three points of the game and pushed the visitors over the top.
"We had multiple opportunities in the last minute to tie or take the lead," said head coach Larry Bellew. "We settled for two long threes that didn't fall. Our defense was very solid but we lost discipline on offense and couldn't generate enough good scoring opportunities."
The loss may have the Comets at the bottom of the Section One standings but they currently sit in 16th place in recent District 3 power ranking with the top 12 teams advancing.
"These last two games are really going to hurt as we try to sneak into the back end of the district playoffs," Bellew stated.
Against Section Two leader Warwick last Thursday at Leisure Lanes, the Comets suffered their second 7-0 shutout of the season and find themselves trailing Section One leader Cedar Crest.
"We're down by four points," said head coach Chris Vital. "But Crest hasn't bowled Warwick yet. If we win our last three and if Warwick beats Cedar Crest, we still have a shot at the section title."
Warwick, coached by Chris Vital's brother, a former assistant at Penn Manor, came from behind to win the first game 967-956 and used that momentum to forge ahead, winning the second game 1,001-905 and the third, 1,063-900.
"We showed our youth and inexperience today," said Vital. "Warwick just muscled the ball down the lanes but we're still fighting. We're in playoffs again and we've finished either first or second in our division for each of the last 15 years."
Mark Smith, with a 217-199-224, rolled the third highest series of the day, a 640. Gavin Davidson, with a 212 in game two, settled for a 609 and Derek Warfel followed with a 471.
"Delaney Reitnauer, a sophomore, is coming along," noted Vital. "She had a 207 in the second game."
Penn Manor's rollercoaster ride continued last Tuesday. After surviving a Warwick rally on January 11, the Comets were looking for a sweep against visiting Hempfield. Instead they were handed a 38-33 loss.
For the second game in a row, the Comets got off to a slow start, scoring just two field goals in the first quarter and three in the second to fall behind 15-10.
"We didn't come out ready to play," said head coach Megan Collins. "And it wasn't like Hempfield outplayed us. We just couldn't find anything that worked early on."
Manor picked up the scoring a bit in the third quarter, with five players contributing to 10 points. But the visitors knocked down 14 to extend the lead to 29-20.
With a chance to qualify for districts looming in the near future, the Comets rallied in the fourth quarter. Kate Levato scored nine of her team-high 13 points down the stretch, including 7-of-8 free throws and the Comets outscored the Knights 13-9 but ran out of time.
"Kate getting to the line was definitely a spark in the fourth quarter," said Collins. "Morgan Miller hit a three and we took the lead but then gave up too many layups at the other end."
Morgan Miller, who averages just over 10 ppg, was held to five points. Sydney Shepos and Lily Sugra came off the bench with four points each.
"We're on the brink of qualifying for playoffs so we have to play our remaining games like we are capable of," Collins said. "If we do, anything is possible."
The Lady Comets picked up a road win Friday, January 11, in Lititz. Manor started slow and finished slow but the middle two frames were more than enough to pull off a 42-37 victory over Warwick.
The Comets were held to a single field goal in the first quarter but the Warriors only led 5-2 after eight minutes.
Miller netted half of Manor's 16 second quarter points to provide some offensive momentum. Defensively, the visitors held the Warriors to six and grabbed an 18-11 lead at the break.
Hart kept the momentum going, scoring half of her game-high 16 points in the third quarter as the Comets extended the lead to 35-22.
Warwick looked to rally down the stretch, pouring in 15 points but it wasn't enough. The Comets hit 5-fo-10 free throws and one field goal to remain in front.
Miller backed Hart with 14 points and Levato, who was 7-for-8 from the charity stripe, settled for nine.
The Comets were 9-of-15 from the foul line and benefitted from Warwick's 10-for-23 performance.
The swimmers hosted the top team in Section One Thursday afternoon and were dealt their most lopsided loss of the season, a 116-53 result against Manheim Township.
"We expected this," said head coach Eric Urban. "Township is incredibly strong this year and a lot of the coaches that have been around for decades say their boys' team is the best in league history."
Manor won the first race of the day when Pan Kunyu, Jared Stephan, Wesley Kendig and Andrew Pursel clocked a 1:42.82. But they only won two races after that. Pursel, Kunyu, Stephan and Kendig, who was third in the 50 free, held off Township in the 400 free relay with a 3:26.88 and Stephan touched first in the 100 breaststroke, recording a 1:03.28, and was third in the 500 free.
Kunyu, with a season best 57.81, was second in the 100 back and Noah Buckwalter added a third in the 100 fly (59.95).
"We swam well," said Urban. "But the most noteworthy was Noah, a senior, finally breaking a minute in the 100 fly. He was super excited about that."
The result leaves the Comets tied with Warwick at 2-2.
The girls' squad also fell to 2-2 as the undefeated Streaks hung a similar score on the Comets, winning 112-58.
Anna Sugra was the top point-getter in this one, claiming both the 200 free with a season best 2:01.48 and the 100 breaststroke (1:12.05). Jalyn Clow was Manor's only other winner, taking the 100 butterfly in 1:05.85.
Erica Shaub was second in the 200 IM and the 100 back, Avery Groff and Jordyn Kendig went 2-3 in the 500 free, and Kailey Stoner was third in the 100 breaststroke, rounding out additional key efforts.
On the mats last Wednesday, the Comets recorded six falls, four in the first period, and took advantage of four forfeits to easily pull away from Manheim Township, 67-9, on a night that celebrated four seniors.
"It was nice that the seniors all got wins in their last home match," said head coach Brandon Vernalli. "Unfortunately, Caleb Banzoff had a forfeit win and wasn't able to get a match like I was hoping. But Cole Shenk, TJ Keener and Greg Zanowiak all looked great."
Nick Baker (182) and Keener (195) recorded the fastest falls of the night, decking their opponents in 44 and 47 seconds respectively. Zanowiak (220) made it three straight first period pins when he put Josh Williams to his back in 1:16, pushing the lead to 21-0 after Shenk opened the night with a 7-4 decision at 170.
"Greg, a first year wrestler, is coming off an injured shoulder so to see him pull out the win was exciting," noted Vernalli. "Coming out with no experience your senior year shows a great deal of heart and dedication. I was also very excited about TJ and Cole both winning."
The next seven bouts saw very little action. Manor forfeited once, Township four times and, in between, Matt Rafter added yet another first period fall, putting Hayden Brennan (113) to his back in 1:59. Owen Rohrer battled a little longer at 132 but also came away with a fall, securing the result in 4:47.
"Matt was down 5-0 but battled back to get the fall with one second remaining in the first period," Vernalli said. "In my mind, the crowd played a vital role. Matt went out with some fire and it showed when he battled back."
Township (0-8 overall) picked up a hard-fought 6-4 decision over Anthony Glessner at 145 but Manor's Colt Barley (152) worked a major decision over David Over (18-6) and Kole Marley followed with a 3:37 fall to wrap up the action.
"Anthony, a freshman, went the distance against one of their better kids," said Vernalli. "I'm expecting big things from him in the future. And Barley wrestled a smart match against a tough, experienced senior," he added.
Free Throws Play a Key Role for Lady Comets January 21, 2019
With wins over McCaskey and Hempfield, the two teams under Penn Manor in the Section One standings, the Comets recently tackled the top two teams in the section, Cedar Crest and Manheim Township, but suffered a pair of tight losses. Free throws played a key role in those outcomes.
On Friday, Jan. 11, they put forth a strong effort against visiting Cedar Crest. The Falcons prevailed, 42-33, but needed to dig deep to do so.
"We played exceptionally well," praised head coach Megan Collins. "They made 20 free throws, which is more than we attempted. That was the difference. We were even with 2 three's each, and we scored more field goals. It came down to the foul line."
Crest needed an 8-0 run in the first period to erase a 6-3 deficit and took an 11-6 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Comets went toe-to-toe with the visitors in the second frame, tying the score at 15-15 on a bucket by Ella Hart. Unfortunately, another 8-0 run put the Falcons back in front, 23-17 at the break.
Both teams traded baskets in a low scoring third quarter, which the Comets won 8-7. They in fact tied the Falcons at 19-19 through the middle two quarters. Crest, however, finished strong, outscoring the hosts 12-8 over the final eight minutes, collecting ten of those points at the free throw line as the Comets were forced to foul down the stretch.
Morgan Miller, with a pair of threes, and Kate Levato, who saw limited minutes due to foul trouble, both dropped in nine points while Lily Sugra finished with seven.
One night later, the Comets earned a non-league victory over Exeter, shaking off a sluggish 9-4 first quarter deficit and outscoring the hosts in each of the next three quarters. M. Miller, who canned another two treys on the night, sparked the second quarter with four of her game-high 15 points and the Comets grabbed 17-16 halftime lead.
Hart scored four of her 10 points in the third quarter, which Manor won 9-6 to extend the lead to 26-22. And Miller fueled the fourth quarter, going 5-for-6 from the charity stripe and dropping in a three-ball for eight of the team's 14 points.
"We played a slower game," stated Collins, "and that was expected after playing a great game the evening before and turning around for a noon game. That's tough but I was pleased with our win."
Hart backed Miller with 10 points. Ballard added 5 and Sydney Shepos and Levato netted 4 each.
The Comets, looking to create chaos in the Section One standings with an upset over Township last Tuesday, got off to a great start, outpointing the hosts 14-6. But, with a 16-6 second quarter effort, the Streaks erased that deficit, took the lead for good, and settled for a 51-41 win.
"We really took it to them and played with energy in the beginning," said Collins. "But they started chipping away and we lost that momentum. And again, free throws were pivotal."
The Comets (4-4 in Section One, 6-9 overall) were 9-of-14 from the charity stripe while the hosts connected on 15-of-24 attempts.
The Streaks extended their 22-20 first half lead to 38-34 after three and outscored the Comets 13-7 down the stretch.
M. Miller's 12 point effort paced the Comet attack. Sugra, who continues to be a spark off the bench, tossed in seven points while Levato and Hart each added six. Kimmy Miller (4), Shepos (4) and Kayla Mills (2) also contributed.
In a match that would give the winners the inside track in achieving the Section One crown, Penn Manor was denied. Despite grabbing a 31-16 lead with four bouts to go, Conestoga Valley gained some momentum with a pair of forfeit wins and then posted back-to-back falls at 106 and 113 to knock off the Comets, 40-31 in Millersville last Wednesday, Jan. 16.
"We knew going in that giving up 12 points was going to be a factor," stated head coach Brandon Vernalli. "It's frustrating but sometimes it's the way it goes. There were some toss-up matches we didn't get but I'm proud of the way the guys battled. The outcome wasn't what we wanted but we will grow and become better because of this."
This one was back-and-forth early. Tanner Stefanick, up 8-0 in the first period, put the Comets on the board early, dominating Rafael Rodriguez (120) with a 13-0 major decision.
CV responded when Cameron Kistler survived Trevor Grassel's rally, watching a 5-0 advantage dwindle to a 6-4 decision at 126.
At 132, Owen Rohrer's 3-2 first period lead ballooned to a 10-5 decision over Andrew Dariychuk for a 7-4 lead. "Owen wrestled a smart match," Vernalli said. "He pinned Dariychuk his freshman year so I was confident this kid was going to come out hoping for payback."
But the Bucks came back with a 12-4 major decision that knotted the score and then took the lead when David Dariychuk (145) turned a 10-2 lead into a third period fall over Anthony Glessner.
"Anthony has stepped in for Chad Mowbray (dislocated elbow)," noted Vernalli. "He's a hard-working freshman we're happy to have."
Colt Barley's 59 second fall over Vu Nguyen at 152 knotted the score at 13-13.
Again, CV forged ahead, this time with a 5-1 overtime thriller by Taylor Sheaffer over Cole Shenk (160).
"Cole wrestled a great match," Vernalli said. "It was a big match for us but we came up short."
But that momentum was short-lived as the Comets rallied for three straight falls and the biggest lead of the night. Kole Marley (170) decked Conrad Dillman in 1:58, Nick Baker (182), up 4-0 after two periods, flattened Isiah Gantt in 4:33 and TJ Keener, clinging to a 7-6 advantage, settled instead for a fall over Eddie Lopez (5:29). But that only set the stage for CV's comeback and dropped the Comets to 5-1 (13-3 overall).
The Comets were coming off a 5-0 effort at the Dutchmen Duals where they defeated L-S 34-33, West York 65-18, E. Pennsboro 45-30, Kennard-Dale 63-6 and A-C 54-18. Baker's 9-5 decision in the final bout of the day, clinched the win over L-S. He went 5-0 for the day. Glessner was 4-0 with 4 falls and Coleman was 5-0 with 3 pins.
With the playoffs just around the corner, and the need for a couple more wins under their belts, the boys' basketball team sandwiched one non-league win around a pair of league losses.
Manor held a 7-5 first quarter lead over the second place team in Section One, Cedar Crest, on the road last Friday, Jan. 11. The Falcons responded with a 20-6 second quarter, took a 25-13 lead at the half and never trailed again. They finished in front 48-30.
The Comets, with five points by Ethan Hine, outscored Crest 11-10 in the third quarter but couldn't keep the momentum going. The Falcons extended their lead with a 13-6 fourth quarter effort.
Kevin Roldan, with a pair of triples, and Hine, who went 3-for-4 from the free throw line, both settled for 10 points. Ty Erisman and Anthony Rosario added four points each and Jakob Matias added 2.
One night later, the Comets regrouped, pulling out a 61-52 victory over Exeter after outscoring the visitors 37-27 in the second half.
Hine went 6-for-8 from the charity stripe in the third quarter and netted 11 of Manor's 19 points and the hosts went in front, 43-40.
It was a balanced fourth quarter that saw the Comets outscore Exeter 18-12 to earn the victory. Rosario and Roldan each netted five of their seven points that frame. Erisman, who led all scorers with 21, dropped in four. He tallied six treys on the night. Hine picked up two more points and settled for 15 and Tim Hermansen added two free throws and finished with four.
The Comets were 14-of-20 from the free throw line. Exeter collected 16-of-25 attempts and was 10-of-12 in that fourth quarter.
Back in Section One play Tuesday, Jan. 15, the Comets were dealt a hard-fought 66-57 loss by Manheim Township. In a game that featured a combined 13 three-pointers, Hine connected four times from downtown and netted 20 points. Unfortunately, Township's Brendan Mellott poured in 29, including 16 in the first quarter, sparking a 20-17 advantage.
The visitors extended that lead with a 15-8 second quarter. Manor, behind six points from Roldan, rallied in the third frame, outscoring the Streaks 19-14 but the momentum did not last. Township knocked down 10-of-14 free throws in the fourth quarter and won the frame 17-13 to secure the victory.
Roldan also reached double figures with 11 while Ty Erisman and Jaden Matias each added 9. Jakob Matias (6), and Anthony Rosario (2) also contributed. The Comets were an impressive 14-of-16 from the free throw line, but managed just 18 field goals to Township's 25.
Hoping to sweep the series against Cedar Crest last Thursday, the Comets dropped a 5-2 result to the Falcons. "They're a good team and they bowled better," said head coach Chris Vitale. "We beat them 7-0 on our home lanes so we're evenly matched."
Gavin Davidson was the top bowler for the Comets, rolling a 619 series. Delaney Reitnauer picked up Manor's highest game of the day, a 256. Derek Warfel added a 589 and Mark Smith followed with a 583.
Earlier in the week the Comets posted a 5-2 victory over Lebanon. Jimmy Mahler not only rolled the highest series (670) but had the highest game as well, a 270 in game three. Davidson added a 608 series.
The Comets, with a 47-16 mark, are currently two games ahead of Cedar Crest in the Section One standings.
The Comet swimmers swept McCaskey last Tuesday and both squads improved to 2-1 in Section One.
The girls' team won 7 of the 11 events and cruised to a dominating 111-57 home victory while the boys', with six wins, pulled out a tighter 93-77 win.
Anna Sugra paced the scoring for the girls with firsts in the 50 free (26.15) and 500 free (5:37.72) and contributed to two relays as well. Erica Shaub, Jaylyn Clow and Avery Groff joined Sugra for the top time in the 200 IM (1:58.69) while Allison Steele, Kailey Stoner and Jordyn Kendig followed Sugra to win the 400 free relay in 4:22.85.
Other winners included Avery Groff in the 100 fly (1:04.57), Stoner, who led a sweep with Jillian Burkholder (2nd) and Sophia Collier (3rd), in the 100 free (1:02.07) and Shaub in the 100 back (1:06.02) while Clow finished one second behind Groff in the 100 fly for a season and lifetime best.
The Comets also picked up a handful of second place finishes with Steele (200 free), Shaub (200 IM), Stoner (50 free), Kendig (500 free) and Johnson (100 breaststroke).
The boys' meet was a bit closer with the Comets winning six of the 11 events and earning some key second place efforts to pull away.
"Jared Stephan, who won the 200 IM (2:05.84), had a season best with a five second drop in the 500 free for second place," noted head coach Eric Urban. "Both squads swam well, better than we did against Warwick, and are setting themselves up for a good finish to the season."
Pan Kunyu was the top point-getter with firsts in the 100 free (50.74) and the 100 back (59.27). He also swam the opening leg of the winning 200 medley relay with Everett Barry, Buckwalter and Andrew Pursel contributing to the 1:46.86.
Barry went on the win the 100 breaststroke (1:05.41) and was 2nd in the 200 IM. Pursel was second in the 200 free and second behind Wes Kendig in the 50 free. Kendig also grabbed second in the 100 fly. Mason Sweigart also added a second in the 100 breaststroke.
Comet Boys Top Warwick, Swimmers 4-1 Overall January 11, 2019
Despite mixed results in Tuesday's Jan. 8 home meet with Warwick, the Penn Manor swim teams sport identical 4-1 overall records. The boys' improved with their 97-67 victory over a typically strong Warwick team while the girls' suffered a 112-58 defeat. Both teams are 1-1 in Section One action.
"Warwick's boys, with only 8 or 10 on the roster, are slim in numbers so that's why we won by the margin we did," noted head coach Eric Urban. "The guys they do have are quick.
"Overall, I don't think we swam our best but we did have some good times," he continued. "Dan Shaut dropped 10 seconds in his 500 freestyle and Noah Buckwalter had his best time in the 100 butterfly (3rd). And Anna Sugra's winning 2:02 in the 200 free is her season best so far."
The boys' got off to a strong start and never let up. Pan Kunyu and Jared Stephan led the scoring with multiple wins. Kunyu won the 100 free (51.25) and the 100 back (1:00.74) and Stephan was tops in the 200 IM (2:08.42) and the 500 free (5:03.18). They also teamed with Everett Barry and Wes Kendig to win the opening 200 medley relay and with Andrew Pursel and Barry to close the meet with a win in the 400 free relay.
Pursel, who was second in the 200 free, and Kendig went 1-2 in the 50 free and Everett added seconds in the 200 IM, and 100 breaststroke. Kendig added a second in the 100 fly.
Sugra sparked the scoring for the girls, securing two of their three firsts on the day. In addition to the 200 free, she won the 100 breaststroke (1:10.37) while Avery Groff was a winner in the 500 free (5:30.25) and was third in the 50 free. Erica Shaub added a second in the 100 back and was third in the 200 IM and Jalyn Clow was third in the 100 fly.
The Comets remained on top of the Section One standings despite suffering their first loss of the season, a 7-0 shutout against Section Two's Elizabethtown on Monday. Penn Manor got a match high 703 series by Gavin Davidson but it wasn't enough. E-town's Elizabeth Vexta finished with the highest single game, a 257, nipping Davidson by three pins in the last game.
Mark Smith was the fourth highest scorer of the day, rolling a 185-246-216 for a 647 series. E-town's Eyrn Moore held off Smith for the third spot with a 648 total.
The Comets improved to 40-9 with Wednesday's 7-0 result against Hempfield. Cedar Crest sits second in Section One at 35-14.
Smith rolled the highest game of the day against the Knights, posting a 289 in his second series and finished with a match high 739. Jimmy Mahler was almost as impressive, recording two straight 227s and finishing with a 246 for a 701 series.
Davidson, with a 246 high game, rolled a 643 for the third highest total of the day while Katelyn Welsh followed with a 607 and Derek Warfel rounded out the Comets top five with a 533.
The girls' basketball team improved to 4-2 in Section One with wins over McCaskey on Tuesday, Jan. 8 and Hempfield Friday, Jan. 4.
Ella Hart's eight first quarter points, and triples by Kayla Mills and Morgan Miller, also that frame, pushed the hosts to a 21-7 first quarter lead en route to a convincing 58-30 win over McCaskey. Kate Levato's six points in the second quarter fueled another 21 point frame as eight different Comets contributed to the scoring.
Unfortunately, the abundance of point scoring did not continue in the second half as the Comets managed just 16 points but held McCaskey to 11 in securing the victory.
Hart led all scorers with 14 points, Levato chipped in with a dozen and both Miller and Tyzae Ballard added 8 each. Also scoring: Lily Sugra 3, Mills 3, Emma Hamaker 2, Kiara Wakefield 2, Kimmy Miller 2, Sydney Shepos 2, and Emily Riggs 2.
The Comets picked up their third league win of the season on the road against Hempfield. Using a 14-2 run in the first quarter, Manor prevailed 38-32. Up 26-12 at the half, the Comets were outscored 11-4 in the third quarter and 9-8 in the fourth but survived the Knights' rally.
"Hempfield was a nice, and needed win," said Collins. "We had that big lead but then let them back in. We did make some clutch free throws at the end of the game which helped to seal the deal."
Hart and Levato each tossed in 9 points while Shepos, a freshman, and Sugra combined for 11.
At home on Saturday, the Comets went up against last year's District 3 6A sixth place finisher. The bigger, deeper Dallastown squad went home with a 55-32 final.
"They are solid all around," stated Collins. "And they have depth in the guard and post positions, which we are still developing with our young squad."
A jumper by senior guard Emma Hamaker opened the scoring but the more physical Wildcats, with six seniors on the roster, took charge after that, outscoring the hosts in three of the four quarters. They led 33-14 at the break and 47-20 heading into the final frame, which the Comets won 12-8.
What the Comets lacked on the offensive end they made up for with their hustle on every defensive possession, despite the score. Their hard work and determination caused 11 Dallastown turnovers in the second half.
Freshman Morgan Miller knocked down a pair of three's in the second quarter and finished with 8 points. Sugra came off the bench with 8 points in the second half while Levato (8 rebounds) and Hamaker netted 6 points each.
All 14 of Dallastown's players saw action and nine of them reached the scoring column. They were led by junior center Anlya Matthew's 13 points.
"We're a fairly young group but they have the dedication needed to make us thrive," she added. "I'm excited to see where the remainder of the year takes us."
A disappointing 54-48 Section One loss at McCaskey Tuesday, Jan. 8 dropped Penn Manor's record to 3-3 (8-4 overall). Tied at 46-46 with three minutes left, a lack of scoring down the stretch and a lack of rebounding led to Manor's demise. The Red Tornado scored three second attempt buckets to gain momentum and steal the victory.
Manor got off to a quick start in this one, netting 21 points, their highest quarter of the game, while holding the Tornado to 14. Ethan Hine dropped in 10 of his game-high 20, finished with 3 treys and went 4-for-5 from the foul line. Kevin Roldan, who also hit double figures with 11, scored seven in that high scoring first quarter.
McCaskey regained the lead with a 15-6 second quarter and extended their 29-27 halftime edge with a 13-7 third quarter effort. Not to be outdone, the Comets rallied. Back-to-back 3's by Roldan and Hine tied the score only to see Manor fall short despite winning the frame 14-12.
Other offensive contributors included Ty Erisman, Jakob Matias and Jaden Matias all with four points each while Anthony Rosario and Luis Sanchez combined for five.
The Comets were coming off a 53-23 non-league loss at Dallastown Saturday. The Wildcats led from start to finish in this one, outscoring the visitors in all four quarters, and getting a game-high 22 points from Kobe Green.
Jaden Matias was tops for the Comet with 8 points and Rosario added 5.
The Comets remained on top of the Section One standings, tied with Conestoga Valley at 5-0, after thumping Cocalico 45-12 last Wednesday, Jan. 9. Manor hosts CV this Wednesday in a battle for the section title.
After a no contest at 120, Manor ran off eight straight wins, six of them via the fall, to pull away.
"Our guys wrestled tough," stated head coach Brandon Vernalli. "They bumped a good portion of their lineup up a weight class thinking it would be beneficial for them. It backfired a bit because the guys were ready to go no matter who they wrestled. The boys looked on point and I think they're beginning to click at the right time."
After a no contest at 120, Trevor Grassel opened the action with a 9-2 decision over Todd Fritz at 126. Owen Rohrer (132) and Dylan Coleman (138) scored back-to-back second period falls, pushing the lead to 15-0.
At 145, Anthony Glessner fought off a 7-2 deficit to pull out an 8-7 thriller over Seamus Finnegan.
"Conditioning played a huge role in that victory and I think it was quite evident," Vernalli said. "Owen also pulled out a huge win, pinning one of their better kids. He came out strong and did what he had to do."
Two straight first period falls by Colt Barley (152) and Kole Marley (160) quickly extended the lead to 30-0.
Cole Shenk's 9-2 decision at 170 and Nick Baker's 3:34 fall over Wyatt Gehman at 182 made it eight straight wins for the visitors.
Cocalico ended the night with two falls of their own but then forfeited the 113 match to cap the scoring.
After handing the Warriors a 52-21 Section One loss on Jan. 2, the Comets competed in the Anthracite Duals at Panther Valley on Saturday where they went 3-2 to finish in third place out of 12 teams. Penn Manor defeated Brandywine Heights 54-21, Panther Valley 66-6 and Phoenixville 52-24 and lost to mid-West 42-28 and Wilson Area 35-19.
Senior TJ Keener led the way, going 5-0 with four pinfalls. Junior Nick Baker and sophomore Dylan Coleman both went 4-1.
"Grassel, a freshman, and Anthony Glessner both recorded their first varsity win of the season," pointed out Vernalli, "as did first year wrestler and senior heavyweight Greg Zanowiak."
Comet Matmen Upend Warwick, 51-26 January 4, 2019
Under first year head coach Brandon Vernalli, the Comet grapplers, with eight returning starters, entered 2019 sitting on top of Section One tied with Conestoga Valley at 3-0. They opened the new year with a solid 52-21 effort over Warwick while CV topped Solanco 51-26 as both teams moved to 4-0 as of January 2.
"I knew Warwick had some holes and were giving up a couple of forfeits but they gave up two more than they have been all year which was surprising," said Vernalli, an assistant at Penn Manor under Mike Fowler the last six years. "I knew if the guys wrestled tough, the score would be about what it was."
Manor forfeited the first bout of the night and Warwick worked a fall at 285 for a quick 12-0 lead. That led to five more forfeits, three by the Warriors, and put Manor in the driver's seat, 24-18. The hosts went on to win six of the next seven bouts, including three falls in under three minutes.
"Bonus points are huge in big matches," said Vernalli. "I was happy to see those guys (Colt Barley, Kole Marley, Nick Baker) go out, get the fall early and secure some reassurance points for the team."
But it was back-to-back decisions that started the run. Dylan Coleman earned a 9-0 major at 138 and Chad Mowbray survived Hydn Shreiner 5-4, pushing the lead to 31-18.
"Chad is a senior who shows a great deal of heart," stated Vernalli. "He wrestled an entire six minutes and was able to stay focused and relaxed, something we've been working on with him."
Barley (152) followed with a 5:27 fall and Marley pinned DeVonte Hess in 2:58 at 160 to clinch the victory.
Warwick ended the run with a hard-fought 4-3 win over Cole Shenk while Baker's 2:51 fall at 182 and TJ Keener's 6-4 decision at 195 capped the scoring.
"TJ wrestled a smart match and did what he needed to do to win," Vernalli said. "And I thought Cole wrestled an awesome match. He's a senior that grinds every last second, and he gives up almost 20 pounds in weight every match. We're thankful that he's able to step up and step into the lineup.
The Comets, in a field of 23 teams, wrapped up the 2018 season with a seventh place finish in the Governor Mifflin Holiday Tournament. With no one wrestling in the finals, the Comets made their move going 4-for-4 in third place consolations. Caleb Banzhof (106), Coleman (138), Barley (152) and Baker (182) all settled for third place medals while Marley and Shenk added sixth place finishes and Owen Rohrer finished in seventh place.
What a difference a year makes. Last season the Comets finished 6-16 overall. This year they sit comfortably at 8-2 overall.
Manor opened the season with four straight wins before a one point loss against Elizabethtown followed by a 61-46 loss to Lebanon two nights later. They wrapped up 2018 with three straight wins including capturing the Solanco Holiday Tournament on December 29 with a 37-33 squeaker over Manheim Central.
"Manheim mixed up their defenses and kept us off balance and out of rhythm," said head coach Larry Bellew. "We were able to take an early lead in the fourth quarter and never relinquished it. We were never able to pull away but made enough free throws down the stretch to get the win.
"Anthony Rosario was a stabilizing force in the game for us and Ethan Hine made 5-of-6 free throws late to secure the win," he added.
The Section Three Barons held a 12-9 lead in the first quarter and were up 17-16 at the half. Neither team budged in a 7-7 third quarter frame, leading to an exciting finish. With just three field goals in the final eight minutes, the Comets were 7-of-11 from the free throw line and outscored the Barons 14-9 to pull out the victory.
Hine finished with nine points on the night. Rosario added eight points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the stripe while Jakob Matias scored seven of his eight points in the second half. Joel Modesto and Roldan combined for nine and Jaden Matias rounded out the scoring with three points.
The Comets opened the holiday tourney with a solid 56-37 Friday night victory over the hosts. A 33-18 advantage over the middle two frames helped secure their sixth win of the season.
"We have been solid on the defensive end this season," said Bellew. "Offensively we are hot and cold because we lack an interior scorer but we've been able to scratch out enough points when we've needed them so far.
"We were sloppy in the first quarter against Solanco but started getting some stops and, combined with some scores, built some momentum."
Kevin Roldan knocked down a game-high 20 points, including nine in a 21-14 third quarter run, and Hine, who added seven points in that third quarter, finished with 14.
In the Section One opener, January 3 at home, Roldan drained a three-pointer at the buzzer and Penn Manor held off Hempfield 61-58.
The Comets got off to a slow start, falling behind 11-5 in the first quarter but closed the gap with a 19-15 second frame and gained momentum with a dominating 19-9 third stanza effort. Holding a 43-35 lead with eight minutes left, the hosts struggled and Hempfield started to rally. Ryan Hilton scored all 11 of his points down the stretch and Elijah Washington, who led all scorers with 26, added another nine as the Knights outscored the Comets 23-18 but couldn't grab the lead.
Trailing by three with 19 seconds left, Hempfield's Austin Groff drained a triple to knot the score and set the stage for Roldan's heroics.
Hine was the top point-getter for the Comets with 20, including five triples. Roldan netted 16 while Jakob Matias and Jaden Matias, who was 6-for-6 from the free throw line, each finished with 10.
The Comet swimmers entered the 2019 portion of their schedule with matching 3-0 records, having defeated Lampeter-Strasburg, Lancaster Catholic and Manheim Central.
The girls' squad continued that run Thursday, January 3, opening their Section One season with a rare and thrilling 86-84 victory over Hempfield.
"I'm pretty sure this is the first time since the L-L League was created (early 2000) that we beat them," said head coach Eric Urban. "It's tough to point out key races," he added, "but I do know the 200 free relay (Kailey Stoner, Kelly Johnson, Jordyn Kendig, Avery Groff) turned the meet around. We were down two points but finished first and third to go up four and we held that lead to the end. The relay needed just a second place finish to win and I was confident that we would get that."
Chipping in with two wins for the Comets was Anna Sugra with top times in the 100 free (55.91) and 100 breaststroke (1:11.82) and Avery Groff who secured the 200 free (2:02.23) and 500 free (5:31.60).
Placing third in that pivotal 200 free relay was Jillian Burkholder, Kayla McCormick, Abigail Stoner and Sophia Collier.
Other second place winners included Erica Shaub in the 100 back and 200 IM, Stoner in the 50 free, Clow in the 100 free and the 400 free team of Shaub, Sugra, Clow and Stoner.
"Kelly Johnson, a senior, had major drops in the 200 free (6 seconds for 4th place) and the 100 fly (1.5 seconds for third)," also noted Urban.
The boys' squad put forth a strong effort but fell short, 90-80.
"Sophomore Wes Kendig had his best meet of the year for us, winning the 50 free and 100 butterfly," Urban praised. "The boys fought very hard."
The boys won seven events on the day but lacked the depth needed to top the Knights. Pan Kunyu, Jared Stephan, Kendig and Andrew Pursel opened with a win in the 200 medley relay (1:42.63) and later teamed for the top time in the 400 free relay (3:25.96).
Kunyu matched Kendig with firsts in the 100 free (50.99) and 100 back (58.0), and Stephan, who was second in the 200 IM, added a win in the 500 free (5:03.27).
Other second place finishers included Pursel in the 200 free and 50 free, the 200 free team of Everett Barry, Noah Buckwalter, Kyle Echterling and Mason Sweigart and Barry in the 100 breaststroke.
The Comets, winners of three straight boys' state team titles, are off to a good start this season, posting four shutouts and a 5-2 win over Manheim Township to date.
Thursday, January 3, at Leisure Lanes, Mark Smith rolled a match-high 642 series that included the highest single game of the day, 242. Katelyn Welsh, who added a 606, rolled a 234 in her first game. Gavin Davidson (581) and Derek Warfel (573) rounded out the top four scores of the match. Riley Neuman, with a 234 second game, added a 402 two game total and Jimmy Maher added a 164 as the Comets, who look to claim their sixth straight L-L League title, blanked McCaskey 7-0.
With the culmination of the Solanco Holiday Tournament, the Lady Comets are nine games into their season and sit with a 3-6 overall record as of January 3.
"With the graduation of 4/5 starters, we're very young this year," said head coach Megan Collins. "But when we play together, anything is possible."
The Comets came into the Solanco Tournament riding a 62-52 win over Lebanon but that momentum was halted when the hosts advanced to the championship round with a 67-41 victory on December 28.
Clinging to a 13-11 first quarter lead, Solanco pulled away for good with a dominating 29-10 second quarter performance.
"We had too many turnovers and it led to easy layups for them," stated Collins.
Kate Levato, back into the lineup after being injured last season, and returning starter Ella Hart combined for 21 points but it didn't offset a pair of 20 points-plus performances by Grace Kreider (22) and Jess Cabrera (21), who paced the Mares.
One night later the Comets were back in Quarryville and picked up a consolation round victory over Conestoga Valley. The 50-39 final was their second win over the Bucks, having defeated CV 46-34 on December 13.
"Having played them before, we knew what to expect and knew we needed to be ready to go," Collins said. "Our 14-3 first quarter lead was instrumental in our victory, as well as having three players in double figures. When we play unselfish basketball, we have the ability to be unstoppable."
Newcomer Morgan Miller, a freshman, led all scorers with 18 points, just 4 shy of her season-high 22 scored in a 50-45 loss to Ephrata. Hart and Levato combined for a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line and added 11 and 10 points respectively.
"Freshman Sydney Shepos, along with Miller, is another key newcomer as is senior transfer Tyzae Ballard," noted Collins.
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.