Boys' Track Finishes Second in District Meet May 24, 2018
Lancaster-Lebanon League athletes grabbed eight gold medals at the District Three Track and Field Championships held May 18-19 at Shippensburg University. Penn Manor was responsible for three of those golds which led to a second place team finish.
With silver medals as both a sophomore and junior, Taraje Whitfield was ready to make a statement. Seeded first in both the 110 high hurdles and the 300's, Whitfield kicked it up a notch and cruised to victory. The senior clocked a 14.13 in the high hurdles, a lifetime best, pulling away from second place finisher Richard Gilchrist of Harrisburg (14.36).
It was more of the same in the 300's where improved his 38.61 seed time with a winning 37.57 to finish ahead of Wilson's Alex Cluff (38.29).
In addition to the hurdles, Whitfield teamed with Theoren McElheny, David Kramer, and Chad Mowbray in the 4x400 baton exchange. The foursome broke their own school record and settled for fourth place finish with a season PR of 3:24.28 (with Daimir Wesley and Josh Gibson as alternates).
The Comets also found success in the field where Alex Scheivert threw his way past Chris Barrett of Northern (192-03) to win the javelin with a 193-01. Josiah Edwards finished in 11th place (156-02).
Also in the throws, Jayln Clow grabbed a fifth place medal in the discus. Her 116-01 improved her seed throw of 112-08. She set a new Comet freshman record and was the only freshman in the 18 person field.
In the shot put, Casey McCollum settled for ninth place with a 48-3.75.
The Comets were also represented in the jumps. Sarah Harthan was the top place-winner in that category, scoring a fifth place medal after clearing 11-06. Brooke Gilbert tied for eighth place in the high jump (4-10) while Matt Julian settled for a tie for ninth place in the pole vault. Four athletes cleared 13-3 to force the tie.
Back on the track the Comets kept adding to their second place team finish with juniors Chad Mowbray and David Kramer earning medals. Mowbray raced to a fifth place finish in the open 400 (50.93) and Kramer finished sixth in the 800 (1.58.47). McElheny also competed in the 100 and 200 meter sprints but did not advance to the finals.
Also representing the boys' was Nick Fafal who finished 13th in the 3200 with a 10:02.57.
On the girls' side was Alyssa Schriver with a fourth place effort in the open 400 (58.58) and Fionna Haines who settled in at 12th place (1:01.12).
While most of the spring sports teams are winding down, the boys' lacrosse team seemed to be gaining momentum. Upset victories over Governor Mifflin (11-7) and top seed Central York (9-8) put the Comets in the District Three Class AAA semifinals, for the first time in school history, opposite No. 4 CV at Hershey High School last Monday. The result was much closer than the 10-4 final sounds.
Down 3-0 in the first quarter, Manor cut the lead to one with two minutes left in the half but CV, making its fourth straight semifinals appearance, scored not once, but twice in the last 42 ticks to stay in front and gain momentum.
"We talked all week about having high energy and being active," said head coach Zack Charles, "but we came out slow. We got into a hole but still stuck around. Those last two goals of the half hurt."
The Comets, who were outshot 46-17, were held scoreless in the third quarter, while giving up two goals and were outscored in the final frame 2-1.
"I thought Billy Briegel had an excellent game," praised Charles. "He slowed down their best offensive threat and also scored two goals."
That threat was Delaware Valley commit Clayton Miller who did not score a single goal.
Manor scored three of their four goals in that second quarter. Other than Briegel, Josh Heckman and Aidan Mahoney each scored once.
In goal, Seth Wilton came away with 16 saves.
The Comets are the first No. 9 seed to reach the district semifinals in the 10 year lacrosse history.
Thursday the boys traveled to Warwick for a chance to qualify for the PIAA tournament. They battled a Wilson squad (No. 3 seed, 18-3) that poured in five first quarter goals en route to an 11-4 victory and finished in third place in District Three.
Another slow start hounded the Comets. They fell behind 6-2 at the half and never got on track.
Penn Manor wraps up the season with a 13-8 record. No further details were available at press time.
Comets Battle Black Knights in Season Ender May 24, 2018
The baseball team traveled to Landisville last Monday for the last game of the regular season but struggled against the third place team in Section One, Hempfield. The 10-10 Black Knights scored three runs in the third inning and broke the game open with a six spot in the sixth. They held the Comets to three hits and finished on top, 9-0.
The hosts, with eight hits on the day, opened the scoring with a pair of back-to-back two out doubles in the third. A pair of errors, two walks and three singles contributed to their six run fifth inning rally.
Dylan Crook struck out three, walked four and gave up three earned runs in four innings of work. Ty Erisman (2K, 2W) and Ryan Glenn (1K) saw action in relief.
Glenn, who finished the season as Manor's top offensive performer (.352 batting average), Dalton Landis and Ty Erisman were credited with Manor's hits.
"Ty Erisman was used only as a pitcher in the first half of the year, but we gave him a chance to be in the lineup over the last eight games and he responded by getting a hit in each of those games and ended up with a .375 batting average," noted head coach Streeter Stuart.
"Obviously the season did not go as well as we had hoped. We had started to turn a corner, winning four of six games, and held a 6-3 lead over McCaskey going into the seventh inning," he continued. "But when we lost that lead and the game, it seemed to deflate the team, and our last two games we really struggled."
The Comets finished 4-12 in Section One and 5-14 overall.
"Our real struggle this year was on the hill," Stuart stated. "But walks and errors were really not our problem. We just got hit around too much. Our team ERA last year was 1.29. This year it was 5.10. Last year we allowed 91 hits in the regular season and this year we allowed 162. That stat tells the difference between a section championship team and a 5-14 team," he continued. "Despite our struggles, Dylan Crook gave us a strong effort almost every time out and Erisman really started to develop as a solid starter as the season progressed."
Brady Hinkle and Cade Thourot joined Glenn and Erisman with solid seasons at the plate, finishing with .292 batting averages. Josiah Snyder finished at .288.
The track teams had a bye last Monday as they prepared for the L-L League Championships. They competed in the Blue Streak Relays on May 5 where Alex Scheivert improved on his school record with a throw of 206-8. He and Josh Gibson, with a 146-4 throw, combined for first place.
"That throw by Alex is number one in PA and in the top ten nationally," noted head coach Dani Myers.
In their last home game of the regular season, the Comets, still fighting for a section title, opened another busy week against third place Hempfield on Monday. In their first meeting on April 11, Manor earned a 6-3 win. This time around it wasn't as close. Seniors Julia Tappany, Brittany Hook and Syndey Duplissey combined for 7 hits in 12 at bats and six RBIs to spark a 10-0 shutout, their third straight. Hook and Duplissey each cracked two run homers, Duplissey's wrapping up a three run third inning while Hook's capped a five run fifth.
The seniors, however, got plenty of support. Freshmen Sophia Rineer (3-4 with one RBI), Madison Trout (1-2, 2 runs scored) and Kaelin Gable (2-3, 1RBI) were solid contributors to Manor's 13 hit effort.
Defensively Hook was perfect going into the fifth inning but the second batter up blooped a single behind third. Hempfield left a runner stranded on third that frame and added a one out single in the fifth.
"We hit the ball with authority," said head coach Dave Stokes. "It was a great effort by our kids."
Playing again Tuesday, Manor needed another win if they were to capture their third straight Section One title. And win they did. The Comets, behind Trout's 4-5 effort at the plate, toppled Manheim Township 12-5 to clinch that section title.
Trout led the way with five RBI while Duplissey pushed in two runs and scored twice in her 2-5 effort at the plate. Also recording two hits were Tappany (3 runs scored), Gable (1RBI) and Kate Green.
"After struggling to score against Warwick and Solanco, the kids went 9-0 to wrap up the regular season," said Stokes. "The freshmen are coming along. It's been a great atmosphere on the team," he added. "The kids have been very focused and Brittany (Hook) seems to be peaking at the right time. She threw her best game against Hempfield. And we're hitting the ball well. Hopefully it will all continue through the post-season."
Hook struck out 12 and gave up one walk in keeping Manheim Township at bay.
On the road again Wednesday in a crossover makeup game, the Comets made short work of Ephrata, plating eight runs in the top of the third and wrapping up the day with an 11-0 win. Hook grabbed the no-hitter with nine strikeouts and zero walks. And she helped her cause at the plate, going 2-3 with 2RBI.
Gable (1-2), Tappany (1-3) and Duplissey (1-3) combined for seven RBI's on the day.
The Comets cap the league season with a 14-2 record.
After a four-year absence, the Comets returned to the League Playoffs, which got underway last Tuesday night at Warwick where Manor drew the top team in the league, Manheim Township (11-0). The Comets battled the Streaks back on April 24 and dropped a 13-3 result. Tuesday night was almost a mirror-image as Township finished on top 12-3.
"I thought defensively we played well," said head coach Zack Charles. "I believe 12 goals was Township's lowest output of the year. Offensively we shot ourselves in the foot with unforced errors giving away possessions."
The Streaks tallied three goals in all four quarters and held the Comets to one in all but the second frame. They held a 19-10 advantage in shots on goal with Seth Wilton recording seven saves in the loss.
Aidan Mahoney netted two goals and Clayton Hollinger one.
The Comets open District play this week.
The Comets capped the regular season with a 3-0 sweep of Cedar Crest last Wednesday night in Millersville but the bigger win was Manheim Township's upset of CV.
"Township beating CV settled us into fourth place (6-6) in Leagues," said head coach Chris Telesco, "and qualified us for the league playoffs. That might give us a better chance of making Districts. We're still on the bubble."
Manor pulled away from Crest for a 25-22 first set win, took the second set more comfortably, 25-17 and took control with a dominating 25-12 match ender.
"I thought we played down a level," said Telesco. "We thought we'd walk in and stomp them because they have won a section match, we were at home, and it was our senior night. It doesn't work like that. We'd go up six points and then give away six points," he continued. "It was us at our sloppiest, but we got the job done."
Hunter Long spread the ball well, putting up 25 assists to Hunter Davis (7 kills), Dylan Zimmerman (6K, Trent Schlemmer (5K) and Matt Schaefer (4K). Hunter Enck defended the back court with nine digs behind Hunter Davis's four blocks.
"Dylan's five aces and overall strong serving kept Cedar Crest off balance," noted Telesco. "It was good to be able to pull our seniors (Josiah Hine, Hunter Long, Hunter Davis) in the last set to honor them."
While the girls' lacrosse team finished the season with a 4-14 record overall, the Comets did have one Lancaster-Lebanon League all-star. Senior Anna Katherine Kirk was voted as an honorable mention all-star. Kirk finished the season with 38 goals and six assists. She had 25 ground balls, 23 caused turnovers and 51 draw controls.
"Anna Katherine had a great season," praised first year head coach Caroline Lovett. "She was a leader on and off the field as a captain and dominated the midfield for us. Her presence will be greatly missed next season.
"As a team, I think we hit our stride late in the season," she continued. "We had big wins over E-town and Warwick to end the season. The girls connected on a level I hadn't seen all year.
"I loved being back at Penn Manor. We had a lot of growing pains, but that was to be expected. I'm excited for the team to continue to grow and improve each season," said Lovett. "We plan to work hard in the off season and come back better and stronger."
Comets Top Mifflin, Upset CY in District Play May 18, 2018
The goal at the start of every season is to win and advance to the post-season. Penn Manor's boys' lacrosse has done just that, and in dramatic fashion. Last Monday, in the District Three playoffs, the No. 9 seed Comets got past No. 8 Governor Mifflin (12-6) in Shillington. The 11-7 victory was Manor's first district playoff win since 2013. And on Wednesday, they knocked off the top seed, Central York with a 9-8 district quarterfinal thriller.
Governor Mifflin jumped out to a 3-0 start before the Comets battled back to tie the game heading into the second period.
"We came out a little nervous and made some mental mistakes that we never make on the defensive side of the ball," stated head coach Zack Charles. "We spotted them that lead before our offense started finding some success. They tried to shut down Josh Heckman and Clayton Hollinger by locking them off from the ball, so we turned to Aidan Mahoney to play some bully ball and it worked."
The hosts again went ahead, this time 4-3, but it was their last lead of the night. The Comets scored three straight goals to go up 6-4 and led 8-6 at the break. Twice the Mustangs cut the lead to one but never got over the hump.
"The defense got their assignments down, and communicated much better which led to only allowing one goal in the second half," added Charles. "Riley Neuman played probably the best game of his year, and Billy (Briegel) was just being Billy, dominating his guy and helping to get the ball up the field."
Aidan Mahoney led all scorers with 5 goals and Clayton Hollinger chipped in with a hat trick. Josh Heckman (1g, 2a), Alex Powders (1g), Reed Morrison (1g) and Riley Newman (1a) also contributed.
"We got smacked around the first time we played them and it left a bad taste in our mouths," said Charles. "We turned things around with a lot of heart and grit."
Central York, despite playing without YAIAA Offensive Player of the Year, Kollin Vaught, took the first quarter 3-2 and the second by the same margin to lead 6-4 at the half. Prior to that, the Comets tied the game at 4-4 on a goal by Seth Wilton, yes the goalie.
"Seth is probably our fastest kid," Charles noted. "We've told him all year, 'you see an all to clear the ball, go ahead and take off, get the ball to an attackman and get your butt back in goal.' Last night, no one slid to Seth when he was running down the field and he let one rip to tie the score."
Manor fought back with three goals in the third quarter to knot the score at 7-7 heading into the final frame.
"We trailed the entire game until about six minutes left," Charles recalled. "We took a 9-8 lead on goals by Aiden and Josh. Late in the game we were actually man down for two minutes but we killed that penalty and the offense did a heck of a job holding onto the ball and running out the clock.
"Izzy Molina dominated the Face off X," he added, "and Heckman led with a hat trick."
Mahoney (2g), Hollinger (2g) and Reed Morrison (1g, 1a) also found the back of the net and Wilton was credited with 14 saves.
After battling their way to repeat as Section One champs for the third straight season, the Comets opened the L-L League playoffs opposite Section Two runner-up Donegal on Saturday, May 12 at Conestoga Valley High School. But the goal of defending their league title was denied as the Indians put together a dramatic seventh inning rally to knock off the favored Comets 4-3.
Manor held a 3-1 lead after six complete innings and Brittany Hook was working a one hitter, giving the Comets confidence. But in the blink of an eye, all that changed. Donegal's Grace Miller launched the first pitch of the seventh inning for a triple. Peighton Hornick followed with a RBI single just over third base, cutting the lead to 3-2. Sierra Neiss kept the rally going with a crushing full count homer over the center field fence.
"That was the first homer Brittany has given up all year," said head coach Dave Stokes. "She gave up just four hits. Those were their only baserunners and all four scored. It was just Donegal's day.
"Two years ago we beat them 1-0," he continued. "They loaded the bases three times and left 16 runners on base. I guess this was payback."
Donegal opened the scoring with a run in the top of the fourth before a two-out double by Sydney Duplissey tied the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Manor pushed ahead in the sixth inning, plating two runs on a bases loaded sac fly by Emma Grumbling and a RBI groundout by Sophia Rineer.
"We put ourselves in a position to win the game and didn't get the key hit we needed," said Stokes of the Comets' six hit effort. "We're disappointed but now we'll focus on districts."
The Comets open District play with a home game Thursday, May 24.
The post-season for the track teams officially got underway Friday and Saturday, May 11-12 as they competed in the L-L League Championships held at Hempfield High School. And when the action concluded late Saturday afternoon, the Comet boys' team rose to a second place finish, collecting 83 points behind Manheim Township's 102.
Hurdle specialist Taraje Whitfield led the way with a pair of gold medal efforts. The senior clocked a 14.80 in the 110 highs and went 38.60 in the 300's.
He also showcased his skills by helping two relays grab silver and bronze medals. Theoren McElheny, David Kramer, who earned a bronze medal in the 800 (1:59.64), and Chad Mowbray joined Whitfield for a second place finish (3:24.18) in the 4x400 while McElheny, Tazaiel Whitfield and Josh Gibson raced with Whitfield for third place in the 4x100 (43.89).
In addition to the relays, McElheny settled for fourth in the 200 (22.83) and eighth in the 100 (11.63).
Joining Whitfield in climbing to the top of the medal stand was a pair of throwers. Casey McCollum recorded a 51-9.5 in the shot put while Alex Schievert beat the field in the javelin with a 209-9 throw.
Also in the field, Matt Julian finished in second place in the pole vault (13-00) and Matt Brubaker added an eighth in the discus (126-2).
The girls' team raced to a tenth place finish and also turned in some solid performances, including Brooke Gilbert in the high jump. The senior cleared 5-2 to grab the only gold medal for the girls.
The Comets also got a third place effort from freshman Jalyn Clow who tossed the discus 112-8.
Other top eight finishers for the girls included Alyssa Schriver - fourth in the 400 (58.64), Fiona Haines - eighth in the 400 (1:00.44), Brianna Ulaky, Andrea Funk, Arden Morgan and Becky Kramer- seventh in the 4x800 relay, and Ulaky, Aniah Washington, Haines and Schriver - eighth in the 4x400 relay.
After squeaking into the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, the Comets had the pleasure of opening tournament play opposite Manheim Central, the No. 2 team in the state and No. 2 team in the District Three Class 2A power ratings. The Section Two champs advanced with a solid 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 win.
The Comets Hunter Davis connected for six kills, thanks to Hunter Long's 26 assists, and Josiah Hine served up one ace. Defensively, Matt Schaefer put up three blocks and Hunter Enck was busy in the back row, hustling for 11 digs.
The Comets continued their post-season run in the opening round of the District Three Championships which got underway this past Thursday evening. Despite dropping three straight 3-0 results, the Comets rose to the challenge Lower Dauphin presented and battled five sets before ending their season with a 3-2 loss (25-18, 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 11-15).
"We surprised Lower Dauphin in the first set," said head coach Chris Telesco. "We played some of the best ball we have all year. Then we fell into some of our old habits in the second set, missing serves and committing errors.
"I was proud of the boys for staying cool and recollecting themselves," he continued. "Our block (6 by Trent Schlemmer)."
The Comets came back strong to win that fourth set and force a tiebreaker but started the fifth with too many errors. "We fought back from a 0-4 start but couldn't hold on," Telesco stated. "We got stuck in one rotation.
"I was sad that the season ended but proud of how the boys fought. I feel like that last set was a microcosm of our entire season."
Topping the stat sheet was Hunter Long dishing out 39 assists with 15 of them going to Dylan Zimmerman for kills. Matt Schaefer added two aces and Hunter Enck anchored the defense with 16 digs.
Comet Boys' Lax Clinches Playoff Berths May 5, 2018
With the post season just around the corner, every game becomes key. Penn Manor's boys' lacrosse team, coming off a 9-4 loss to Palmyra, went 1-1 last week and sits tied for third place in the standings with Warwick at 8-3.
The Comets opened the week with a dominating 13-3 win over Elizabethtown on Monday. A 4-1 second frame advantage put Manor in front 6-1 at the half and a strong fourth quarter saw the visitors put up five more goals to pull away
Clayton Hollinger led the way with four goals and one assist. Aidan Mahoney followed with a hat trick while Josh Heckman (2a) and Reed Morrison each scored twice. Billy Briegel and Rory Campbell added one goal each and Griff Rineer one assist.
"It wasn't our best lacrosse of the season but beating L-S and E-town were two key wins," said head coach Zack Charles. "We clinched a L-L League playoff berth for the first time since 2013 and we also clinched a spot in the District playoffs, which begin May 14," he added.
Their biggest game of the week came Thursday night in Lititz where the Comets battled for sole possession of third place. Up 3-1 at the half, and after a scoreless third frame, the visitors gave up four goals in the fourth quarter and dropped a 5-4 heartbreaker.
"A win would have given us the third seed and would have clinched a first round at home District playoff game," Charles said.
Morrison was tops with two goals, Hollinger and Mahoney added one each and Heckman and Alex Powders recorded one assist each.
For the third time this season, the boys' track team lost by six points or fewer as visiting Cocalico, undefeated in Section Two, outpointed the Comets 78-72 last Monday in Millersville.
The hosts won 11 of 18 events, including two relays, but secured just five seconds and five thirds to come up short. Individually, however, the Comets put forth a number of standout performances. Theoren McElheny won the 100 (10.9) and edged teammate Taraje Whitfield in the 200. He also anchored the winning 4x100 relay with Tazaiel Whitfield, Taraje Whitfield and Daimar Wesley helping to clock a 44.1 and then teamed with Wesley, Dylan Terry and Chad Mowbray for a 4x400 win as well.
Joining McElheny in the multiple wins department was Taraje Whitfield with a 14.2 in the high hurdles and a 39.9 in the 300's.
Mobray added a win in the open 400 (50.9), with David Kramer taking second, and Graham Thomas was tops in the 3200 with a 10:23.9.
Casey McCollum led the scoring in the field with a first in the shot (45-11.5) and a second in the discus.
Alex Schievert, who placed 5th at the Penn Relays with a 195-4, tossed the javelin 194-10 for another win.
In the pole vault, it was Matt Julian clearing 13-10 for the win and Ty Erisman grabbing second.
The girls' team posted just five wins on the day and were dealt a 108-42 loss. Fionna Haines won the 400 (60.8) and anchored the winning 4x400 relay (Alyssa Shriver, Brianna Ulaky and Aniah Washington) to lead the scoring. Washington added a second in the 100 and was third in the 200 behind Shriver's second.
Other firsts included Andrea Funk's 5:43.4 in the mile, Sarah Harthan clearing 11 feet in the pole vault and Jaylyn Clow throwing the discus 99 feet. The Comets also got a second from Grace Bibus in the long jump (14-11) and Brooke Gilbert in the high (5-2).
Knowing they are on the outside looking in at the post-season, the volleyball team went after second place Warwick playing like they had nothing to lose. The result was a solid 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-18) upset last Tuesday in Millersville.
"Knowing that playoffs are out of our control, we are playing with reckless abandon," said head coach Chris Telesco. "The boys were relentless against Warwick. "They served nearly 90 percent of their serves and Hunter Enck and Matt Schaefer each had three aces
"The boys were also relentless on defense," he continued. "Schaefer and Enck led the charge there as well with 15 and 13 digs each, respectively."
That defense led to a solid offense as well. Hunter Long spread the ball and collected 25 assists. Dylan Zimmerman led with 10 kills while Josiah Hine (8), Hunter Davis (7) and Matt Schaefer (6) also contributed.
"Even though we had a shaky start, the boys showed resilence and dominated the rest of the match," Telesco pointed out. "Like the Hempfield match, they weren't deterred by a kill or point by the opponent. We've grown in that way this year. The sign of a good team is that they don't need to look to their coaches for help, and we are finally getting to that point."
The boys were coming off a hard loss to Central Dauphin Monday. "That loss severely hampered our hopes for Districts," Telesco said. "We played without Matt Schaefer and again got off to a slow start, losing the first set 21-15. CY won set two as well, 26-24, before Manor slowed the run with a 25-22 third set win. Unfortunately that momentum was short-lived as CY came back to take the match 25-16.
"Trent Schlemmer, who only plays one rotation in the back row, had one great play where he dug two hard-driven balls with his hands," said Telesco. "He also led with one ace."
Zimmerman put down 10 kills, Hunter Long and Austin Thomas each blocked six times, and Hunter Enck chipped in with 9 digs. Long also had 20 assists.
After topping Township 3-1 on April 10, the improved Comets (6-6 overall) swept the series against the Streaks with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-18) win in Millersville Thursday, May 3. Zimmerman matched Township's Chris Paladino with nine kills but it was his five aces, along with five more from Schaefer that provided a spark. Enck defended with seven digs and Schlemmer six blocks and Hunter Long dished out 22 assists.
Playoffs started a bit early for the softball team. Needing a win over Warwick last Monday to secure first place in the Section One standings, the Comets avenged their 2-0 loss to the Warriors back on April 12 with a convincing 7-3 victory in Lititz.
"It was a big game, for both teams," said head coach Dave Stokes. "I think both squads played a little tight (3 errors each). The difference this time was that the seniors hit and the freshmen didn't play quite as tight as the first time around. And we capitalized on their mistakes."
Senior Brittany Hook struck out 13 batters, walked two and helped her cause at the plate with a RBI single and RBI double. Senior catcher Sydney Duplissey was 2-4 with one RBI.
Freshmen Madison Trout and Tori Hook (2-3) accounted for two RBIs in a first that saw Manor plate three runs. Both teams scored once in the second inning and twice in the fifth with Kate Green's (1-3) double plating Manor's runs. The Comets, with a 10-hit effort, gained some ground with B. Hook's RBI double in the fourth.
At home Wednesday, Manor jumped out to an 8-0 lead after two innings and kept McCaskey off the board in an 8-0 shutout. T. Hook and Kaelin Gable collected two run homers in the first inning, sparking a 5-0 lead.
B. Hook struck out 12, walked one and gave up two hits in what Stokes called her best game of the year.
"We control our own destiny now," he added. "If we win out, we will secure the section title. We need to take care of business."
The Comets did just that on Thursday, blanking Cedar Crest 14-0 in five innings. It was 15 up, 15 down for B. Hook who pitched a perfect game with seven strikeouts and zero walks.
Sophie Rineer was 4-5 with three runs scored. Cheyenne Ortman finished with four RBI on her 3-4 day at the plate while Emma Grumbling's one hit was a three run homer. Julia Tappany (1 RBI) and Duplissey both went 2-4.
Coming off a disappointing 9-8 loss to Saturday, April 28, the Comets regrouped with one of their best efforts of the season and dumped Elizabethtown 15-10 at home last Tuesday. Clinging to a 7-6 first quarter lead, Manor doubled the Bears in the second half, 8-4, to secure their third league win of the season.
"The girls played harder than I have ever seen them play," praised head coach Caroline Lovett. "They took care of the little things and let the bigger things take care of themselves.
"Sarah Wiker (10 saves) had some huge saves in goal and Hannah Brown, Anna Katherine Kirk and Anna May Barubusca dominated the draw and pushed the fast break, placing their shots to give us the lead."
Barbusca and Brown combined for nine goals, with Kirk and Riley Leakway notching two each. Mare Vozzella and Maeve Montgomery each scored once.
Playing four straight games last week, nine seemed to be the magic number. Warwick scored nine runs in Monday's 9-2 win over the Comets. Manor scored nine runs in a 9-8 squeaker over Township on Tuesday and Cedar Crest scored nine in a shutout Thursday. Prior to Crest, Manor found itself in another one run game, this one went to McCaskey 7-6 on Wednesday. It was their second one run loss this season.
Tied at 2-2 after five complete innings, Warwick pulled away with three runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh. They out hit the Comets 9-5 and committed one fewer errors, 4-3.
Dylan Frey was the big hitter of the day, going 2-4 with one RBI. Ryan Glenn, Dalton Landis and Ty Erisman also contributed with hits.
On the hill, Dylan Crook, Josiah Snyder and Noah Johnson combined for six strikeouts, six walks and gave up six earned runs.
Tuesday's game with the Streaks was back-and-forth from start to finish. And the finish was a Brett Beiler walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh, erasing Township's five run top of the inning that put them in front 8-6.
Manor led 2-0 after three, Township tied it in the top of the fourth and pushed ahead with one in the sixth. The Comets took their biggest lead with a four run sixth, setting up the high scoring final inning.
Frey (1RB) was 3-4 on the day, Brady Hinkle (1 RBI) and Glenn were both 2-4. Dalton Landis added 2 RBI going 1-3. Cade Thorout, Beiler, and Brandon Harris all finished with one hit and one RBI and Erisman added one hit.
One night later, the Comets fought off a 3-1 deficit and took a 6-3 lead after six complete only to surrender four runs in the bottom of the seventh to fall short against McCaskey, 7-6. The hosts, trailing 6-4, secured the win with a three run double by Noah Bergey.
Ty Erisman started and allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out six and walking one in five and two-thirds innings. Frey, Hinkle, Erisman, Beiler and Snyder all had one hit as the Comets took advantage of five McCaskey miscues.
Thursday's outing started with first place Cedar Crest scoring four runs in the first inning and finished with them scoring five runs in the seventh. Their 9-0 win was fueled by a 14-4 advantage in hits.
The Comets competed in the L-L League Flight Tournament two weeks ago where just two players advanced to the second round. At No. 1. Curtis Rabatin, the No. 3 seed, defeated Lebanon's Luke Foster 6-1, 6-4 before bowing out with a second round loss to 6th seed Trent Martin, of Manheim Central, 6-2, 6-2.
Also advancing was Bryce Hanna at No. 2. The junior defeated Elco's Dawson Smith 6-7 (5), 6-2, 10-6 but ran into top seed and eventual champ Carson Schreiber, of Manheim Township, in the second round and ended his season with a 6-2, 6-1 loss.
Toby Singer competed in Flight 3 and Petros Karpouzis in Flight 4.
Comet Baseball Tops CV, Donegal April 27, 2018
Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, the ball just doesn't bounce your way. But you keep working and believing that the work you put in will eventually put you on the top. And so, after nine straight losses, Penn Manor's baseball team got some momentum going, winning two of their last three games.
"It was nice to get a couple wins," said head coach Streeter Stuart. "The key was that our pitching was stronger. We allowed fewer hits, and that translated into less runs for the opposition."
And it turns out, Friday the 13th wasn't unlucky for the Comets as they pulled out a 5-2 crossover win over Conestoga Valley with the bulk of the scoring occurring in the first inning.
CV opening the scoring with two runs it the top of the first and Manor roared back with a four spot in the bottom half. Dalton Landis (2-3, 2RBI) stroked a one out liner that scored two runs. Cade Thourot's (1-3, 1 RBI) ground out plated the go ahead run while Aaron Gale's (2-3, 2 RBI) base hit to left made it 4-0.
The bulk of the next four innings was basically three up, three down for both teams. Manor made it 5-2 on Thourot's single to right and CV came back with three base hits and one run in the top of the seventh.
"Dalton Landis (6K, 1W) gave us a great performance," said Stuart. "He's been a solid reliever for us over the last two years, but has always preferred being a relief pitcher. So this was the first game he's started in several years and he kept CV in check."
Ryan Glenn also went 2-3.
Less than 24 hours later, the Comets dropped a hard-fought 3-1 result against a 9-1 Dallastown squad.
"I'm pretty sure they're the top team in the district," noted Stuart. "They threw their top pitcher at us and we had chances to score more runs, and had some great at bats, but ultimately could not get the key hits needed."
Manor plated their only run in the bottom of the first when Brady Hinkel's single pushed in Josiah Snyder who reached on an error.
Dallastown, with a 5-4 edge in hits, scored single runs in the second, third and seventh innings to slowly pull away.
"Josiah did an awesome job keeping their hitters in check," said Stuart of his starting pitcher.
Last Monday, a six run top of the seventh inning effort shut the door on Donegal and lifted the Comets to an 11-3 victory.
"Donegal only had three losses coming in but everything seemed to click for us," said Stuart. "Dylan Crook (7K, 2W) battled out of threats all game long and our hitters pounded the ball when we needed runs late in the game. The huge hit was actually in the sixth," he continued.
Tied at 2-2 and with runners on second and third and with two outs, Ty Erisman crushed a ball up the middle for a single. "That hit just seemed to open the floodgates as we scored nine runs over the last two innings."
Hinkle struck out two in the last 1.33 innings, recording the last four outs to earn the save.
Glenn led a 12 hit effort, going 3-5 with 3 RBI. Brandon Harris, Thourot (2 RBI) and Hinkle collected two hits each.
"We can't hide the fact that it's been a tough year, but the kids continue to be positive and keep playing hard," Stuart added.
The Comets took on the undefeated Warriors last Monday but an upset was not in the making. Freshman Jalyn Clow was Manor's top point-getter, scoring firsts in the shot (30-4.25) and the discus (93-8), which the Comets swept, but it was Warwick that remained perfect on the season, posting a 107-42 result.
Alison Murphy backed Clow in the discus, taking second (87-9) while Carissa Shirk was third (81-5).
Clow also finished second in the javelin (93-2) with Hannah Farabaugh taking third. Grace Bibus added a win in the high jump, clearing 4-9, with Alyssa Heagy taking third. Sarah Harthan, who finished fourth at the Shippensburg Invitational, cleared 11-9 to win the pole vault.
Second places were also hard to come by with Manor winning just four and included Berklee Perry in the shot, Arden Morgan in the 3200 and Fionna Haines in the 400. Haines was fourth at the Shipp Invitational.
The boys' squad was looking for their second win, and, when they split first place finishes against the Warriors, things were looking up. Warwicks' depth, however, was the catalyst in an 83-67 Warrior win.
Taraje Whitfield, fresh off his first place finish in the 300 hurdles at the Shippensburg Invitational, continued to lead the Comets in scoring, gathering firsts in the 100 hurdles (15.2) and the 300's (40.4) and placing second in the 200 (24.1).
"Taraje is having a wonderful season," said head coach Dani Myers. "He, along with Chad Mowbray, David Kramer and Theoren McElheny were second at the Shipp Invitational and broke the school record. They are currently fourth in the state."
Also scoring in two events was sophomore Josh Gibson with seconds in the 100 (11.5) and the javelin (153-0) which was won by Alex Scheivert and his toss of 201-4.
"Alex is ranked second in the state and eighth nationally," Myers noted. "Josiah Edwards was fifth at the invitational.
Another bright spot for the visitors was 3200 meter run where Nick Fafel (10:36.8) and Zach Schucker (10:56) went 1-2.
Other winners for the Comets included Kramer in the mile (4:38), Mowbray in the 400 (50.9), Dylan Terry in the 800 (2:07.3), Matt Brubaker in the discus (126-9) and Matt Julian in the pole vault (13-6).
The tennis team faced two teams above them in the Section One standings last week and put forth a valiant effort before bowing out with identical 4-3 losses.
Their season-ender was against CV last Tuesday. In doubles play, all three match-ups resulted in 8-4 scores with the Comets winning one. Petros Karpouzis and Alex Mowery put the Comets on the board with a No. 3 win.
A 6-1, 6-1 No. 1 win by freshman Curtis Rabatin knotted the score at 2-2 but the Comets earned just one more win, a 6-2, 7-5 result by Nick Bernard at No. 4. Bryce Hanna, at No. 2 and No. 3 Toby Singer, both juniors, suffered straight set losses.
The Comets (3-6, 3-7 overall) were coming off another heartbreaking 4-3 result against McCaskey on April 20. This time Manor held the upper hand in doubles play as Rabatin and Singer posted an 8-6 win at No. 1 and Hanna and Bernard stepped up for an 8-4 win at No. 2.
McCaskey, however, won three of four singles. Rabatin prevented a singles sweep with a hard-fought (6-2, 6-7 (7), 1-0 (3)) result against Will Fenimore.
Friday the 13th was definitely an unlucky day for Garden Spot. The winless Spartans gave up seven goals in the first quarter and six more in the second as Manor rolled to a 16-2 victory.
Clayton Hollinger and Josh Heckman (2 assists) both scored five goals each while Aidan Mahoney (1a) added a hat trick. Luck Cheston, Alex Powders (2a) and Liam Hart also scored while Reed Morrison dished out a game-high three assists.
With the post-season just a couple games away, the Comets are sitting in the top 5 of 12 teams that will qualify for the District Three playoffs. They won three of their last four games and improved to 7-2, 10-3 overall.
A one goal advantage in both the first and third quarters gave Manor all the cushion they needed in a hard-fought 9-7 win over Central Dauphin on Saturday, April 14. Up 4-3 at the half, Manor gained an insurance goal with a 2-1 third and both teams finished with three fourth quarter tallies.
Clayton Hollinger led all scorers with five goals. Aidan Mahoney (1 assist) and Josh Heckman both scored twice with Alex Powders adding two assists. Billy Briegel and Rory Campbell also assisted.
Manor's three game win streak ended Tuesday with a 13-3 loss to the top team in the league, Manheim Township (13-1 overall). The Comets, who were outshot 30-26, fell behind 3-0 in the first quarter and never recovered.
Hollinger, Mahoney and R. Morrison all scored once in the loss. Seth Wilton recorded a combined 24 saves in three games.
After back-to-back losses just over three weeks ago, the Comets have taken care of business, winning five straight including shutouts over Lebanon (4-0) and Garden Spot (2-0) with an 8-2 win over L-S in between.
"We control our destiny," said head coach Dave Stokes. "If we take care of business, we're in a good position to repeat as section champs."
Bella Peters started in the circle against Lebanon, throwing seven strikeouts and one walk through five plus innings and Brittany Hook fanned three and walked one in picking up the save.
Manor scored one in the first, one in the fifth and two in the sixth to earn the shutout.
At L-S on Wednesday, Manor gave up two runs in the bottom of the first but scored in all but the sixth inning to hang an 8-2 loss on the Section Three runners up.
"I was happy with the way we responded after falling behind and that we kept scoring," said Stokes. "We're playing mostly error-free ball and the freshman are getting more comfortable."
Manor's biggest inning was the third, scoring three with two outs. Tori Hook singled in the first run and Sidney Duplissey's two run double made it 5-2.
On the road again Thursday, B. Hook not only struck out 13 batters but cracked a two run homer in the top of the sixth that not only helped to spoil Garden Spot hurler Elizabeth King's perfect game, but provided the Comets with the only runs needed to win.
Needing a win if they were to have any chance of keeping things interesting down the stretch, the volleyball team worked a 3-1 win over CV Tuesday night. After dropping the first set 25-15, the Comets regrouped for three straight wins, 25-21, 25-20, 29-27.
"Because our playoff hopes look dim, we're looking to control what we can and to disrupt as many teams as we can along the way," said head coach Chris Telesco.
"We came in flat and they took advantage, but something lit a fire under our butts in the second set - whether it was the boys deciding to play, the lineup change, the rotation shift, or all three," he continued. "Austin Thomas came in and brought some offense and defense and we eliminated some serving and hitting errors that allowed us to get in a flow."
Dylan Zimmerman was strong at the net, putting down 17 kills and serving up a pair of aces. Hunter Enck scrambled on defense with 12 digs and served two aces as did Bryce Julian. Hunter Long spread out 27 assists and Matt Schaefer added 12 kills, six blocks and 11 digs.
Thursday night the Comets battled undefeated Hempfield and did not go down without a fight. While the Knights improved to 8-0 in Section One, this one wasn't a walkover. Hempfield took the first set 25-13 but needed extra rotations to pull out a 27-25 second set win. The Comets played tough in the third as well but fell short, 25-23.
Schaefer led with 9 kills, Enck collected 16 digs, Long put up 21 assists and Trent Schlemmer added four blocks as the Comets fell to 4-6 in Section One.
After an 11-10 thriller over CV, the Comets were looking for a second straight win on April 13 but a 10-8 first half lead slipped away and Manor dropped a 19-17 heartbreaker to Garden Spot.
Hannah Brown poured in 7 goals with Anna Katherine Kirk and Mare Vozzella notching hat tricks. Mischa Kolibas scored twice while Rylee Leakway (1a) and Alexis Hemmerly found the back of the net once.
One day later, the Comets were outshot 29-8 and dropped a 14-3 result against Cumberland Valley. Brown (2g) and Kirk (1g) accounted for the scoring.
Back in league play on Tuesday, the Comets fell behind early (15-1) and never regrouped in a 21-5 loss to Section One's top squad, Manheim Township. Brown's hat trick was tops for the Comets. Anna May Barbusca and Kolibas each scored once.
Kirk Nets Game-Winner Against Visiting CV April 20, 2018
They may not be piling up the wins but the girls' lacrosse team keeps working hard at trying to crack that win column and they did just that last Tuesday night. After suffering back-to-back non-league losses April 13 and 14, the Comets earned their second league win of the season with an 11-10 thriller over visiting Conestoga Valley.
Tied at 10-10 with 5:38 remaining, the Comets remained poised enough on offense and scrappy enough on defense to pull out the win with a goal by Anna Katherine Kirk with 2:26 left to play.
Despite the closeness of the finish, Manor came out strong. Kirk notched a hat trick in the first 14 minutes of play before the Bucks got on board with back-to-back scores. The hosts possession for the bulk of the last 13 minutes and tallied three more goals. Freshman Maeve Montgomery's goal at the 8:32 mark was sandwiched around a pair by Hannah Brown, leaving Manor in front 6-2 at the break.
The tone changed after the break as the Bucks picked up the pace on the offensive end. A quick goal by Anna Mary Barbusca was met with a pair of goals by CV, who cut the lead to 7-4. Kirk tallied her fourth score of the game before the visitors took control with four unanswered tallies, knotting the game at 8-8.
Unfazed, the Comets pushed ahead on a goal by Montgomery and another by Barbusca but CV answered the challenge with two of their own, setting the stage for Kirk's game-winner.
"We struggled to come out as hard as we did at the start of the game," said head coach Caroline Lovett of the second half. "We let them go on a scoring run before we figured out how to shut down their drives and transition to our offensive end. Even though it took us a little while, I was pleased with how we figured out what CV was doing and that we were able to execute our plays when we got the ball," she added. "Sarah Wiker (9 saves) came up with a lot of big saves and we capitalized when we had the opportunity.
"Maeve is just a freshman and she found the back of the net twice," Lovett said. "She will continue to be a threat on offense."
The Comets were coming off a 19-7 loss to Kennard-Dale and a 21-7 result against Governor Mifflin. "We were without three starters against Mifflin and I thought it was noticeable," said Lovett. "We played two good teams with more depth and we couldn't keep up with their fast pace."
Brown finished with a two game total of six goals. Barbusca and Kirk added three each while Rylee Leakway and Allison Hege finished with one each. Wiker recorded a combined 29 saves.
The tennis team improved to 3-3 in league play with a solid 5-2 road win over Warwick on April 13.
"We played a good match," said head coach Greg Hammond. "The guys went into the match ready to go, and took all three doubles courts. It certainly helped that the weather finally cooperated."
Curtis Rabatin and Toby Singer battled to an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles while Bryce Hanna and Nicholas Bernard were 8-4 winners at No. 2. Petros Karpouzis and Alex Mowery gave the Comets a 3-0 lead with an 8-2 win at No. 3.
Rabatin's straight set, shutout win at No. 1 singles and Karpouzis' 6-3, 6-3 result at No. 4 clinched the victory.
Last Wednesday, however, the going was a bit tougher as the team dropped a 5-2 result against Garden Spot. "This was not our best tennis," said Hammond. "Some of us came out a little flat in doubles which put us in a hole and we were never able to dig ourselves out. It's tough going into singles knowing you need three courts to win...unfortunately we were not able to overcome our sluggish start."
Mowery and Singer pulled out the only doubles win with an easy 8-1 result. Hanna and Bernard dropped a heartbreaker 9-8 (6) and Karpouzis and Mowery also lost a close one, 8-6.
Rabatin was solid at No. 1, winning 6-1, 6-1 for Manor's final point. Singer put up a fight but lost a marathon battle to Adbullah Sallim 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (9).
"We've had an up and down season," noted Hammond, "but we've already exceeded our wins from last year, so from that perspective, we are doing well. It helps to have freshman come in with some competition level experience," he continued. "Curtis Rabatin is doing a great job at No. 1."
On Saturday, April 14, the boys track team competed against 19 other teams and came away with enough place-winning performances to grab the crown. Their 85 team points topped Schuylkill Valley (75), Ephrata (71) and McCaskey (59) who defeated the Comets just five days prior, 83-67 in dual meet competition.
Taraje Whitfield was the top point-getter of the day, winning the high hurdles (14.3) and the 300's (39.5), placing third in the 200, and running with Theron McElheny, David Kramer and Chad Mowbray for third in the 1600 relay. Mowbray was coming off a first place finish in the open 400 (51.5) with McElheny taking second while Kramer grabbed a third in the 800.
In the field, Alex Scheivert won the javelin (191-0), Casey McCollum was second in the shot put and Matt Julian picked up a third in the pole vault.
Key performers on the girls' side included Alyssa Schriver's second place effort in the 400 and Sarah Harthan's second in the pole vault.
More recently, the Comets put up mixed results last Wednesday against Hempfield. The boys' squad came away with 11 firsts and held off the Knights 81.50 - 67.50. The girls' had a tougher time. They were outscored 70-17 on the track and dropped a 96-54 final result.
"That was a big win for the boys," said head coach Dani Myers. "They built on the momentum from the invitational. The throwers really came through and there were numerous excellent performances on the track.
The boys' showed their biggest strength with a 24-3 advantage in the throws and a 37.5-17.5 lead sprint points. McCollum's two win day anchored the throws. He took the shot with a 47-8.5 and led a sweep in the discus (130-4) with Matt Brubaker and Vincent Vozzella taking 2nd and 3rd.
Also in the throws, Alex Scheivert won the javelin (180-6), Josiah Edwards was 2nd (179-1) and Josh Gibson took third.
McElheny sparked the sprints, winning the 100 (11.2), the 200 (22.8), finishing 2nd in the 400 behind Mowbray (51.8) and teaming with Mowbray, Dylan Terry, and Whitfield for a win in the 4x400 relay. Whitfield raced for top times in the high hurdles (14.7) and the 300's (39.5) and picked up a 2nd in the long jump (20-3).
Aidan Toomey added to the firsts with a winning 4:41.3 in the mile.
The girls' won just four events but showed their strength in the field where three of those wins were earned. Alison Murphy's 94-1 led a sweep in the discus as Emily Sensenich and Jalyn Clow followed in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Clow also finished 3rd in the shot and in the discus which the Comets also swept with Hannah Farabaugh's winning 102-4 and Sara Hollinger's 2nd.
The Comets picked up their third sweep of the day in the high jump with Brooke Gilbert (5-2), Alyssa Heagy and Grace Bibus shutting out the Knights. Bibus also added a 2nd in the long jump.
Andrea Funk secured the only first on the track, winning the 3200 in 12:36.6. She was also 3rd in the mile behind Hollinger. Also placing in two events was Aniah Washington with thirds in the 100 and 200.
Fresh off an 8-inning loss to Warwick, the Comets hosted Section Two leader Solanco on Friday and found themselves in another scoreless battle. This one also got away from Penn Manor as Solanco turned a double play to end the game in the bottom of the 10th via the international tiebreaker rule.
"It was two top L-L League teams playing a tight game," said head coach Dave Stokes. "Both pitchers pitched well and neither team hit well. Unfortunately, we did not execute the bunts. Twice we failed on a squeeze play."
The Comets threatened twice during regulation, leaving a runner on third with one out in the fifth and two on with one out in the seventh.
Solanco took that 1-0 lead in the top of the tenth. Randi Rambo started on second base, moved to third on a sac bunt and scored on a wild pitch.
Cherrish Frick took second for the Comets in their half and moved to third on a passed ball. With one out, Kaelin Gable sent a fly ball to right field where Skyla Townsley ran it down and then fired home to complete the double play and seal the win.
"We had one wild pitch and their right fielder made an astonishing play," said Stokes. "That's just the way the game works sometimes. Hopefully we can learn from this."
Last Wednesday the Comets strung together eight straight hits, all with two outs, and plated six of their nine runs in the third inning. Emma Grumbling's three run triple was the big blast that inning. She scored on an overthrow and the Comets topped E-town 9-4.
"It was crazy," said Stokes of the inning. "We had a good pile of hits (16) and Etown did have a couple of errors but we got the result we wanted."
Sophia Rineer was the big hitter of the day, going 3-for-4 at the leadoff spot.
After bowing to Solanco 2-0 on Friday the 13th, Manor's unlucky streak continued last week. Tuesday they dropped a 7-0 result against Ephrata and Wednesday lost 11-1 at Elizabethtown. Both games saw the Comets give up big innings late in the game. The Mounts extended a 2-0 lead with a five-run burst in the top of the sixth. The Bears held a 5-1 lead after four complete innings and sealed Manor's fate with six runs in the bottom of the sixth. Both teams played flawless defense.
"Ty Erisman and Josiah Snyder pitched a great game against Solanco," said head coach Streeter Stuart. "The only difference was that when we had runners in scoring position we couldn't get them in, and Solanco did."
Ryan Glenn, who had a two-out RBI single, and Brady Hinkle both went 2-for-3 against the Bears with Dylan Frey adding one hit.
Glenn, Hinkle Josiah Snyder and Brett Beiler each had one hit in the loss against the Mounts. In the circle, Dylan Crook took the loss, striking out eight, walking one and giving up three earned runs with four hits over six innings.
"Dylan did a great job," said Stuart. "It was just 2-0 when he hit his 100 pitch limit in the top of the seventh.
"In all three games we played good defense but haven't been able to get the base hits when we need them and we can't maintain our pitching all seven innings," he added.
Using the momentum from winning the Comet Clash, the volleyball team ran its winning streak to three straight with last Tuesday's 25-18, 25-16, 27-25 win over Cedar Crest.
"While we didn't play our best, we were able to mix in other talented players, rest others, and still pull out the win," said head coach Chris Telesco. "We barely squeaked out the third set due to sloppy play, but it was good to see some non-starters still pull off the win."
Josiah Hine led with five aces, and Dylan Zimmerman added three. Hunter Long finished with 20 assists and matched Zimmerman with three digs while Matt Scheafer put down four blocks.
"Hunter Davis was outstanding at the net, hitting 0.833 and picking up ten kills," noted Stokes. "Now we enter the second half of the season and look to make a big turnaround."
The turnaround, however, did not get off on the right foot as the Comets dropped a hard-fought 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-17, 22-25, 10-15) battle against McCaskey Thursday night. Long put up 42 assists with Zimmerman converting 14 to kills. Both Hine and Bryce Julian served up three aces each, Schaefer hustled for six digs and Davis put up seven blocks in a balanced effort.
Comets Win Four Straight, Fall to Warwick April 14, 2018
The softball team finally opened their season Friday, April 6 and, other than Saturday, haven't practiced since, playing five games last week. They blanked McCaskey 13-0 in five innings in Lancaster and came back with a 15-0 home result against Cedar Crest on Monday. The winning continued with a 10-2 result against Township and a 6-3 effort over Hempfield Wednesday. Thursday, however, the Comets met their match, going extra innings with Warwick before coming up short 2-0 in the eighth.
"We got the expected result against two teams that will finish at the bottom of Section One," said head coach Dave Stokes of the wins over McCaskey and Cedar Crest.
Brittany Hook earned the wins in the circle, giving up one hit in each game while combining for 21 strikeouts.
The Comets collected 10 hits against the Red Tornado and took advantage of seven walks. The Falcons walked just six batters but committed four errors. Sidney Duplissey (2-4) and freshman Tori Hook (2-2) both collected three RBI with a double and two runs scored. Hook added to the 11 hit attack, going 2-3 with a double, a triple and one RBI.
Tuesday the Comets hosted Township and found the going a bit close early on. Once they settled in and got the bats going they wrapped up a 10-2 seven inning win with Isabella Peters in the circle. The freshman finished with 11 strikeouts, four walks and scattered seven hits.
"It was a nice varsity debut for Bella," said Stokes. "She threw seven pitches and had two strikeouts in that first inning. She came through and will help give Brit some rest this year."
Coming into the fourth inning, the Comets held a 4-2 lead. Freshman Madison Trout had the big hit to that point, a solo homer in the second. But the hosts rapped out eight hits over the next three innings and scored three runs in both the fourth and sixth frames to dominate.
On the road Wednesday, the Comets handed Hempfield a 6-3 loss. "We capitalized on their mistakes," said Stokes of the second inning. "Two errors, a couple of walks and a couple of wild pitches and we score four runs."
Cheyenne Ortman earned Manor's only RBI, a bases loaded walk in that second inning. Kloe Sanchez had two hits, a double and a triple while T. Hook knocked out a pair of singles.
Hook fanned 11 batters and did not give up a single walk. She did however give up seven hits.
The hits were hard to come by on Thursday. Warwick's Amanda Herr fanned seven batters and scattered four hits in picking up the 2-0 win. Hook racked up 13 K's on the day, walked three and gave up four hits.
"With two outs in the eighth we intentionally walked Herr to load the bases," explained Stokes. "The next kid up, who was 0-for-3 on the day, singled to right field to score two runs.
"Warwick got the hits they needed and played flawless defense. You have to give them credit. That was the best game Amanda Herr has ever pitched against us."
The tennis team played the top two teams in Section One, Hempfield and Township (both 6-0, 8-2 overall) back-to-back last week and fell short of the upset.
The visiting Knights prevailed 6-1 on Tuesday while the Streaks sent the Comets home with their third league loss, a 7-0 result Wednesday.
Curtis Rabatin put up the best numbers of the day against the Knights, defeating Jake Curtin 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 to prevent the shutout. In doubles, the No. 3 team of Tommy Hockenberry and Jackson Heiney battled but dropped an 8-3 result to Dillon Otto and Nolan Deck.
Games were even harder to come by on Wednesday in Neffsville. Bryce Hanna's 6-1, 6-1 loss to Carson Schreiber was the only second set game the Comets secured.
Rabatin and Toby Singer were competitive at No. 1 doubles but bowed out 8-3 against Tom Chairs and Schreiber.
Coming off a 4-3 thriller over LCD/Lancaster Catholic and a 13-7 result against Exeter, the Comets pushed their overall record to 6-1 with mixed results last week. They opened with a 21-11 loss to Hempfield on Monday and pulled out a 13-10 squeaker over Ephrata three days later.
"We came out slow and sloppy against Exeter but rebounded with a big win, led by Clayton Hollinger's five goals," pointed out head coach Zachary Charles.
Tied at 6-6 at the half, the Knights exploded with 10 third quarter goals and outscored the hosts 15-5 after the break for the win. Aidan Mahoney, who scored the game-winner with 1:25 left in the game against LCD/LCHS, led the home team with five goals, Hollinger chipped in with four and Josh Heckman (2a) and Alex Powders (1a) added one goal each.
"We came out and played a great first half," said Charles. "Offensively we got careless with the ball and defensively we were a step too slow in the second half and we totally got dominated in the ground ball department."
The Comets rebounded nicely on Thursday, outscoring Ephrata in three of four quarters en route to a three goal win. Aiden Mahoney led all scorers with six goals. Heckman and Powders added two goals each with Reed Morrison, Billy Briegel and Hollinger adding one goal. Luck Cheston was credited with the only assist.
After suffering a 16-5 loss to LCD/Lancaster Catholic April 6, dropping a 12-9 result on April 7 and last Monday giving up 22 goals in a loss to Hempfield, the Comets finally broke through, topping Ephrata 14-8 last Thursday for their first win of the season.
"We are definitely finding our groove and are capitalizing on each other's strengths," said head coach Caroline Lovett. "We are finding the back of the net more and creating more opportunities to go to goal," she continued.
"Sarah Wiker has been stepping up in goal, and Anna May Barbusca, Hannah Brown and Anna Katherine Kirk are doing a great job controlling the draw and transitioning in the midfield. And Ally Hege has been a leader for our defensive unit the past couple of games."
Manor's finding the back of the net more was evident in their season-high 11 goals scored against Hempfield. Brown led the way with four goals while Barbusca, and Kirk both recorded hat tricks. Rylee Leakway added one goal. In the net, Sarah Wiker recorded nine saves.
In a solid effort Thursday, Manor held a 5-3 lead in the first half, and pulled away with a 9-5 second half advantage. Kirk led all scorers with five goals and Barbusca added four goals and two assists. Leakway (2g, 1a), Mare Vozzella (1g), Hannah Brown (1g, 1a) and Hege (1g) also contributed.
Wiker needed five saves in goal to pick up the win.
Dashing between snowflakes, the Comets battled McCaskey on the road last Monday but the elements and McCaskey's depth were too much to overcome. The girls' squad won just two events and suffered a 114-36 loss. The boys' fared a bit better, winning nine events in an 83-67 defeat.
Alyssa Schriver clocked a 60.0 flat in the open 400 with Fiona Haines just two seconds back for second.
Manor's only win in the field was a 98-8 discus toss by Alison Murphy. The throwers also went 2-3 in the javelin with Hannah Farabaugh (86-3) and Emily Sensenich (85-7) taking second and third respectively. Allison Steele finished second in the pole vault.
Brianna Ulaky was second in the 800 and Makayla Miller in the 100, with Aniah Washington following in third.
The boys' split their firsts fairly equally between the track and the field. Taraje Whitfield continued posting top times in the hurdles, winning the highs in 14.9 and the 300's in 40.2. He also anchored the 4x400 relay with Theron McElheny, David Kramer and Chad Mowbray contributing to the winning 3:30.6. Kramer was coming off a double win himself, clocking a 2:02 in the 800 and a 4:44.6 in the mile while McElheny and Mowbray went 2-3 in the 400.
Also on the track, Nick Fafel was second in both the mile and the 3200 and Whitfield was second in the 200.
Grabbing two firsts in the field was Casey McCollum with a 49-11 in the shot and a 127-8 in the discus. Alex Scheivert, who qualified in the javelin for the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on April 26-28, earned the winning throw of 203-9. Josh Gibson followed in second.
Going 1-2 in the pole vault was Matt Julian (11-0) and Trey Erisman.
Like the softball team, the baseball team found themselves in the midst of a marathon schedule, playing seven games from April 5 to April 12. Their results, however, were not as favorable. The Comets went 0-6, suffering three straight losses by three runs and another by one.
"In most of our losses, we simply haven't done a good job getting the other team out," said head coach Streeter Stuart. "Through five games in 2017 we had allowed 18 hits. After five games this year, we allowed 43 hits. Overall, we've actually been hitting pretty well and have improved in that regard since last season. But we need to do a better job keeping opponents off base.
"Against McCaskey (5-2 loss), Spring Grove (5-2) and Cedar Crest (8-2), we simply got beat," he continued. "We had plenty of runners on base and opportunities to score, but didn't get enough key hits."
The Comets were outhit 29-21 over that stretch of games. In a home game against Hempfield on Wednesday, however, the hosts outhit the Knights 12-7 but dropped a 5-4 heartbreaker.
"We had enough hits to give us a chance to win but our defense let us down," noted Stuart. "In the sixth inning we missed three ground balls that led to three runs and was the difference in the game. We rallied in the seventh, scoring two runs to cut the lead to 5-4 and I was proud of that," he continued. "We had runners on second and third with a chance to win, but couldn't get the game-winning hit.
"I certainly think we're better than our record indicates, and we'll keep working to get this turned around."
Ryan Glenn was the big hitter against the Knights, going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Dalton Landis and Dylan Frey were both 2-for-4 with a RBI and Josiah Snyder was 2-for-3.
Thursday the Comets collected 10 hits but gave up 16 and committed four errors in a 10-2 loss to Warwick. Snyder, Brett Beiler, and Brandon Harris each recorded two hits.
After struggling early in the season, losing four straight matches, the Comets regrouped on Saturday, April 7 and worked their way to the finals of their own Comet Clash and defeated Carlisle 2-1 for the tournament title.
"That was just what we needed," said head coach Chris Telesco. "Growth in skill and confidence was almost tangible as the boys worked through pool play and into playoffs. We lost to Exeter 2-0 in pool play but when we met them in the quarterfinals we put everything together," he explained. "Our passing and defense was at a different level, thanks in large part to libero Hunter Enck.
"This mentality carried into the finals against Carlisle. We played like a team, adjusting our block and back row defense and picking them apart on offense. Dylan Zimmerman came to life on the outside. Yet, on the day, setter Hunter Long was the unofficial MVP. He has begun setting with a new consistency and ingenuity."
That momentum carried into Tuesday's 3-1, come-from-behind win over Township. "Even though we lost the first (28-26), we controlled the set until the last five minutes when their toughest server and attacker went on a run. But the boys didn't let that define the match and fought back."
Manor dominated the rest of the match, winning 25-20, 25-26, 25-17 behind the strong play of Josiah Hine. "He was awesome in the back row, picking up seven sprawling digs and then putting down seven kills up front," lauded Telesco. "He also fired three aces."
Dylan Zimmerman led with 10 kills, followed by Trent Schlemmer's nine. Long tallied 31 assists.
"And Enck had his best passing match to date," noted Telesco. "He also had 15 digs. We chalked up 15 blocks as a team - five from Davis and Schlemmer and four from Long and Zimmerman. It was a good team win."
The Comets kept it going on Thursday, blanking Dallastown 25-15, 25-20, 25-23 behind Zimmerman's 12 kills and three aces. Enck added 11 digs, Long dished out 26 assists and Matt Schaefer was tops with 6 blocks.
Graduation Leaves PM VB in Rebuilding Mode April 6, 2018
While most of the spring sports teams are facing rain, snow, muddy field conditions and numerous postponements, the volleyball is going about business as usual in the warm confines of the gym. Unfortunately, the Comets are sitting at 0-3 one year after winning the Section One title, placing third in the district and advancing to the state quarterfinals. The loss of seven seniors have left the Comets in reloading mode.
"We're off to a rough start," said head coach Chris Telesco. "I believe this team just needs time and experience. They'll bounce back. We have a new crew of starters this year. Our goal is to finish the first half of the season at 3-3 and then come back strong in the second half."
The Comets opened league play with a 3-1 loss to McCaskey on March 27 and then dropped a 3-1 result to CV two nights later. Last Tuesday Manor battled the section favorite, Hempfield, and fell short 3-0.
"McCaskey is stronger than I've ever seen them," stated Telesco, "and we were sloppy from beginning to end, committing nearly 40 errors in just our hitting and serving."
Statistically, Matt Schaefer and Dylan Zimmerman served up four aces each and Zimmerman led with 11 kills. Setter Hunter Long tallied 23 assists. "And our libero from two years ago (who just returned to us this year), Hunter Enck, picked up 11 digs," noted Telesco. "Despite all of that, we couldn't pull out a win."
Manor cut down on the errors against CV and improved overall but still fell short. "We cut our hitting and serving errors by 10 but it was still too many," said Telesco. "In order to beat a team like CV, we need to pass well, hit and serve in, and block well. We passed on serve receive the best we've done thus far. Enck is a large part of that improvement; he has catapulted our game."
Manor was poised to take the first set but errors late pushed the Bucks to a 27-25 advantage.
"The second set was all us (25-15)," lauded Telesco. "We dominated the net with Matt Schaefer picking up many of his five blocks and Hunter Davis adding four. But just when it seemed like CV was self-destructing, they made adjustments that we couldn't readjust to, and took the next two sets."
Davis led the team with 12 kills, and Zimmerman added 10. Hunter Long finished with 34 assists.
Last Tuesday's game was the biggest of the season, to date, as the Comets traveled to Section One rival Hempfield. But the Knights, with an advantage in experience, took charge 25-11, 25-10, 25-15 and improved to 2-0.
Hempfield, with nine aces, dominated from the start. Despite the loss, the Comets did tie the third set at 5-5 but the hosts' presence at the net was too much. Ian Flood and Gavin Hanzelman combined for 20 kills on the night. Schaefer was tops for the Comets with 5. Long added three blocks and one ace, Enck recorded 10 digs and Long put up 12 assists and recorded one ace.
"We need to build trust in our team and tear it down on the opponent's side," Telesco stated. "If we learn to do that, we will start to win."
Despite battling the weather, the turf fields have been helpful in allowing the lacrosse teams to move forward in their respective seasons. The girls' squad, under first year head coach and 2011 PM alum, Caroline Lovett, sits at 0-3 while the boys' are 3-0 as of April 5.
Two days after falling to Cocalico, 12-8, the Comets suffered a similar fate against Cedar Crest, 13-8.
"We fell behind 7-3 in the first half against Cedar Crest but we set a new focus for the rest of the game and played hard the last 25 minutes," said Lovett, who played at Washington College and also coaches the Lady Blue Crab Lacrosse Club on the Eastern Shore. "We were focused on playing together and communicating on defense. Anna May, with four goals, definitely stood out on attack," she added. "Ally Hege played well on defense, making stops and transitioning the ball."
Anna Katherine Kirk (2 assists) and Hannah Brown also contributed with two goals each. In goal, Charissa Phillips recorded eight saves with Jackie Siar adding one.
The Comets also struggled against Exeter on Saturday, March 31, with a 20-3 result.
"We hurt ourselves by having four cards, which forced us to play man-down for the last 15 minutes of the game," said Lovett.
"We're still trying to find our groove," she added. "That will come the more we play together and capitalize on each other's strengths."
A consistent defense and a balance on the offensive end has pushed the boy's squad to 3-0. The defense has given up just four goals in each of their three wins while the offense, with nine different scorers, is averaging 11 goals.
"We are happy with our first three wins but we are not content," said second year head coach Zachary Charles. "The kids and the coaching staff always expect to win, and that is the mindset we need throughout the whole program. No more "Wanting" to win and more "Expecting" to win.
"Offensively we will be led by Josh Heckman, seniors Reed Morrison and Aiden Mahoney and freshman Clayton Hollinger," he added. "We will be aggressive in transition and try to use our speed as much as possible while limiting unforced errors."
Manor, six goals from Heckman, used an 8-0 first half run to propel them to a 12-4 victory over Cocalico. Hollinger, with three goals, and Mahoney with two goals and two assists, were the top point-getters. Powders led the way with three assists.
Next up for the Comets was a 10-4 win over Wyomissing. A 5-0 second quarter advantage broke a 3-3 first half tie and gave the home team momentum. Heckman racked up six goals, Hollinger (2g, 1a), Mahoney (1g, 2a), Morrison (1g, 1a), Powders (2a) and Luke Cheston (1a) also contributed.
The Comets earned their second league win of the season with an 11-4 win over Cocalico on March 27. Ben Wright needed just three saves to earn the win.
Hollinger was the top scorer with four goals. Heckman (2), Mahoney (1), Logan Lengenstein (1) and Billy Briegel (1) also found the back of the net.
"We will live and die by our defense this year," said Charles. "The leadership on the defensive side of the ball (Wilton, Briegel and Neuman - all three year starters) is outstanding.
"We got hit pretty hard by the injury bug (3 starters out for the year) but the underclassmen have stepped up. This is the best "Team" I have been around in a long time."
BASEBALL - SOFTBALL
As for the diamond teams, baseball snuck in two games, an 11-5 result which was actually played on Millersville University's field and a 7-4 section opening loss, while the softball team has yet to see action.
"Obviously it's frustrating with the weather so far," said Streeter Stuart who takes over after assisting former head coach Jim Zander for 19 seasons. We haven't been on our field much so it's fortunate that Millersville allowed us to play on their turf field. I was pleased with how we played."
The Comets batted around and scored four runs in the first. Dylan Crook (6K) shut out Lebanon for four innings and Manor (18-9 overall last year) plated another five runs in the third. "With an 8-0 lead I wanted to give some of our new pitchers varsity experience. Lebanon was able to find some holes and cut the lead to 8-5, but I'm confident those pitchers will do a good job for us as they gain experience."
A two-run double from newcomer Brandon Harris sparked a three-run sixth inning. He finished with 3 RBI while Josiah Snyder led with three hits in his first varsity game.
"Dalton Landis pitched a scoreless seventh," noted Stuart. "Our pitching might not be as overpowering as it has been in recent years but I believe we have a chance to be a better hitting team. Last year we held teams to two or fewer runs 16 times, which is an incredible statistic," he added. "That type of performance will be hard to match. We have to generate runs if we have any chance of defending our section title."
The Comets generated four runs in the top of the third, including a two-run shot by Cade Thourot, and out-hit Township 8-6 but it wasn't enough. The Streaks scored runs in the third through sixth innings to come from behind with a 7-4 win Thursday afternoon.
Brett Beiler and Brady Hinkle each collected two hits and starting pitcher Dylan Crook took the loss, striking out five, walking four and giving up three hits in 3.2 innings of work. Hinkle struck out three, walked one and scattered three hits in relief.
Weather depending, the softball team will play every day this week. "It will be a challenge," said head coach Dave Stokes. "If our freshman play well, and with Brittney Hook pitching, we could be tough to beat."
Hook, along with Sydney Duplissey (catching), Julia Tappany (short stop) and Cherish Frick (CR, OF) are Manor's returning starters. Juniors include Chloe Sanchez (OF), Cheyanne Ortman (OF), Emma Hammaker, Hanna Yingling and Kate Green with freshmen Sophia Rineer (2B), Tori Hook (3B), Kalen Gable (1B, DH), Madison Trout (1B, DH) and Emma Grumbling (C). Backing up Hook will be freshmen Bella Peters and Aralynn Hoffert. "They have the potential to be solid," said Stokes of the pitchers.
In a thriller at CV last Thursday, the Bucks needed not one, but two tiebreakers to get past the Comets. "The first tiebreaker is the number of first place finishes," said head coach Dani Myers. "We both finished with nine. The second tiebreaker is second place finishes and they had just one more.
"We have outstanding senior leadership in Theoren McElheny, Taraje Whitfield, Alex Scheivert, Andrea Funk, Sarah Harthan, Alison Murphy, Alyssa Schriver, Brianna Ulaky and Aniah Washington. But we also have a very young team overall with numerous talented athletes ready to do well."
The boys', currently 1-1, were led by Casey McCollum, first in the shot (47-1.75) and discus (122), and Whitfield, tops in the 110 (14.9) and 300 hurdles (41.2). Whitfield also team with McElheney, David Kramer and Chad Mowbray to win the 4x400 while McElheney added a win in the 200 (23.5) and was second in the 100 (11.8) and 400 (53.2) behind Mowbray (53.1). Alex Scheivert easily won the javelin (201-11 to 151-2) and the pole vaulters recorded a sweep with Matt Julian (11-6), Erisman (9-0) and Sensenich (8-6).
The girls' team, with just five firsts, fell to 0-2 with a 91-59 result. Schriver won the open 400 (1:01.8) and joined Washington, Jasminen Miller and Makayla Miller to take the 4x100 relay. Funk picked up a win in the mile (6:04.1) and was second in the 3200.
In the field, Jayln Clow won the discus (94-5) and was third in the shot and Harthan cleared 11-6, a good 5-6 over the competition, to win the pole vault.
Despite the less than desirable conditions, the tennis team has managed to play four matches and currently sits in third place at 2-2 overall. Last week they dropped a 6-1 result against Cedar Crest but managed their first shutout of the season over Lebanon.
Curtis Rabatin and Henry Singer pulled out an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles while Bryce Hanna and Nicholas Bernard and Petros Karpouzis and Alex Mowery controlled the action, winning 8-2 and 8-0 respectively.
In singles play, Rabatin blanked Luke Foster 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1, Hanna posted a 6-3, 6-0 win at No. 2, Singer was solid with a 6-2, 6-4 No. 3 win and Karpouzis completed the sweep over Lebanon with a 6-0, 6-2 result.
Against the Falcons, Karpouzis and Mowery's 8-2 win at No. 3 doubles prevented the shutout.
Breitbach, Bowlers Qualify for States March 9, 2018
The goal of any athlete is to compete on the biggest stage possible. For Alaina Breitbach and the Penn Manor bowling team, that stage is the PIAA Championships. Breitbach punched her ticket at the District Championships while the bowling team handled the competition at the PA East Regionals.
After a three week layoff, the Comet swimmers, with a couple of medals and a pair of school records, took to the pool with a vengeance at the District Three Championships held March 3 at Cumberland Valley High School.
Breitbach, seeded second in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:06.46, improved her time, grabbed her second consecutive bronze medal and qualified for the PIAA championships. The sophomore also broke a 1990 school record in the 200 individual medley and placed tenth with a time of 2:10.61. She was seeded eighth but with a 2:13.21.
Also in record-breaking mode was Sam Lutter. The sophomore, seeded 12th in the 100 breaststroke, clocked a 1:00.80, breaking a school record set in 1993. He also dropped five seconds in the 200 IM, posting a time of 2:02.31.
"It was an awesome weekend," said head coach Eric Urban.
The girls 200 medley team of Erica Shaub, Breitbach, Jalyn Clow and Anna Sugra also finished 12th with a time of 1:54.07.
"Anna also PR'd in the 200 free with a 1:59.59 and she PR'd in the 100 free with a 54.88," noted Urban. "Jared Stephan dropped five seconds in the 200 IM and placed 17th with a 2:00.37 and dropped 11 seconds in the 500 free, placing 14th with a 4:52.54."
Also with a chance to extend their season, the Comet bowlers took to the lanes March 2-3 and punched their ticket to the big dance by winning their first East PA Regional Championship by upending Wilson.
"We've been second the past couple of years so it was nice to finish on top," said head coach Chris Vital. "This is such a nerve-wracking day as only the top six teams qualify for states and only the top 12 individuals."
As for the individual competition, that got underway Friday with the boys again competing at Leisure Lanes and the girls at 222 Dutch Lanes. In a pool of 191 qualifying bowlers, the Comets had five chances to break into the top 12 but managed just one. Dan Mease, with a third place finish, became just the fourth Comet to qualify for states in 14 years, joining Tanner Simet, Cody Johnson and Brandon Yarnell.
"Only two boys qualified from the L-L League," noted Vital, "Dan and Tanner Michael from Manheim Central. It's a tough task."
Dan rolled a 246, 247, 250, 238 and 227 for a 1208 total. Danville's Cody Kizis earned the top total with a 1223 and Hunter Mikosz, of Muhlenberg, followed with a 1210.
In the bracket finals, Dan faced Lewisburg's Anthony Neuer in the quarterfinals where he suffered a 278-201 loss. For his efforts, Mease was one of five named to the Eastern PA Boys All-Star Team.
Joining him in the singles competition was Gavin Davidson (43rd with a 1046 total), Nick Mease (57th - 1025), Michael Morris (108th - 944), Mark Smith (109th - 941) and Jimmy Mahler (12st - 924).
"To have five guys qualify is an accomplishment," said Vital. "They all kept battling. And, because of their efforts, I had a pretty good feeling going into the team competition on Saturday."
In the girls' individual competition at Dutch Lanes, Katelyn Welsh was Manor's top finisher, rolling a 948 five game total for 41st place. Carrie Shertz (107th - 774), Lisa Strausner (125th - 739), Lauren Shroyer (140th - 691) and Stephanie Mohn (146th - 651) also competed.
In team competition on Saturday, starters Mark Smith, Davidson, D. Mease, Michael Morris, and N. Mease rolled a 1056 in their first game. "We were in fifth place after that and Dan rolled a 267," noted Vital. "But because of the importance of qualifying for states, I actually made some substitutions, bringing in Jordan Kahler and Jimmy Mahler and Jordan wound up throwing five of the last six strikes. We did better in the second game with everyone throwing over 200."
Davidson (225), D. Mease (242), N. Mease (217), Kahler (245) and Mahler (238) contributed to an 1167 second game score.
"After that second game we were in second place but the lanes started to dry out and most teams were struggling," noted Vital. "We finished with a 1018 and that kept us in second place heading into the baker sets where five bowlers each bowl two frames. We got off to a slow start with a 168 but the rest of our games were over 200 and we finished with a 4569, behind Neshaminy with a 4637."
In the bracket finals, the Comets edged Daniel Boone 2-1 in the semifinals. They rallied from a 244-213 loss to win 217-150, and 232-213 and faced Wilson, who knocked off Neshaminy 2-0, in the finals. Again the Comets got off to a slow start, bowing out 189-184 but came back strong, winning 225-157, and 201-193.
"It was a total team effort," said Vital. "We got contributions up and down the lineup. Now we see if we can secure our third straight PIAA crown."
The girls' team (Welsh, Shertz, Strausner, Shroyer, Michala Harvey, Leila Abbas and Natalie Whiteside) had a rougher time, finishing 12th (3289) out of 31 teams. Shikellamy was the top squad with a 4388 while Elizabethtown finished fourth (4008).
Lady Comets Finish 8th in District 6A Playoffs March 2, 2018
Thursday night at Hempfield, the Comets had one last chance to qualify for the PIAA Championships. Standing in their way was Section One champ Manheim Township. The Comets (15-10) had lost to the Streaks 44-43 and 62-57 during the regular season. And in a battle for the final PIAA playoff spot, Township, the districts' top seed, again prevailed, 57-41.
"Not exactly how we wanted to go out, but finishing eighth in the district isn't too shabby, especially when we weren't even picked to finish in the top half of our section and considering the loss of our center (Kate Levato) all season," said head coach Megan Collins.
Both teams came out determined. Carroll, Greggs and Heisey all hit first quarter threes and Township's Megan Baldassare racked up nine points all by herself as both teams fought to an 11-11 tie. The Streaks, however, started to pull away after that, using a 15-10 second quarter run to push out to a 26-21 halftime lead.
"We did cut the lead to three in the third quarter, but couldn't get any closer," said Collins. "We made some turnovers that they converted and we couldn't come back."
Manor all but tied Township in the third quarter 12-10 but the Streaks, who had three players in double figures, pulled away with a 19-10 final frame effort.
Baldasarre led all scorers with 24 points while Shriver was tops for the Comets with 15. Carroll followed with 10, including a pair of treys, and both Heisey and Greggs netted seven each with Wiker adding one field goal.
"I'm thrilled with the effort and passion our girls showed this season," Collins remarked. "They made me proud to be their coach."
After a ten point loss to Elizabethtown in the District Three Class 5A quarterfinals, the Comets matched up against Cedar Cliff last Monday night in the consolation semifinals at Warwick High School. With a less than typical shooting performance, the Comets suffered another hard-fought loss, this time 35-29.
Denied a single point in the opening quarter, the Colts weren't exactly lighting up the nets either. They led just 4-0 after eight minutes.
"It seemed like a repeat of the E-town game as far as the offensive side of the game is concerned," said Collins. "We couldn't seem to finish, and it's hard to win when you don't score."
The Comets all but matched the Colts in the scoring department over the next three quarters, falling short 31-29. Cedar Cliff, seeded 6th, led 6-0 before a pair of Alyssa Schriver free throws put the Comets on the board in the second quarter. In fact, it was the free throw line where the 10th seed Comets picked up six of their nine points, falling behind 14-9 at the half. Schriver went 3-for-4 and was 5-for-8 for the game and Macy Carroll's three ball right before the buzzer, was Manor's only field goal of the half.
The Comets outscored the Colts 10-8 in the third quarter and cut the lead to 20-19 on a trey by Schriver with 2:19 on the clock. Cedar Cliff, however, used a 10-0 run that started with the last bucket of the third and continued into the fourth for the biggest lead of the night.
"Defensively, I felt we gave ourselves a chance to win," said Collins. "When we cut the lead to one, we needed some kind of spark or momentum and we couldn't seem to find one and they went on a decent run."
The Colts hit for 13 points in the fourth quarter and held a 32-20 lead with 2:04 left to play. Manor ended the game with a 9-0 run that included making 5-of-6 free throws.
Schriver matched the Colts' Rachael Reilly with a game-high 12 points. Macy Carroll added eight while Danielle Heisey, Ella Hart, Nasheyla Greggs and Sarah Wiker added two points each with Dashona London collecting one.
With a trip to Hershey and the PIAA Championships on the line, five Comet matmen competed in the District Three/South Central Region Class 3A wrestling tournament February 22, 23, and 24. While all five failed to advance, they represented more than a handful of grapplers who wished their seasons had continued through districts.
Tanner Stefanick, a sectional champ at 106, got off to a strong start, posting a 4-0 lead over Red Land's Christian Dennison before working a 1:24 fall. In the quarterfinals, the freshman met up with Ben Monn of Cumberland Valley. The eventual champ worked a pair of takedowns and four nearfall points en route to an 11-0 major decision.
Stefanick rebounded against Esteven Muniz. The Reading grappler fell behind 6-0 before Stefanick wrapped things up with a 2:18 fall.
In the consi-round of four, Stefanick's season came to a close with a 5-2 loss to Governor Mifflin's Jalon Lavine. Stefanick opened with the first takedown of the night but was denied after that.
Wrestling at 126, Nick Fafel's round of 16 bout resulted in a 5-2 decision over Red Land's Bryce Brennan. After a scoreless first, period, Fafel earned three nearfall points in the second and a pair of escapes in the third to advance to the quarterfinals opposite Spring Grove's Dalton Rohrbaugh. Down just 2-0 in the first period, Fafel gave up six more points in the second and dropped a 9-0 major.
The senior then met up with Nick Tewell, of Mechanicsburg. Tied at 2-2 after two periods. Fafel's season came to a close when he gave up a fourth period escape with 32 seconds left and was denied the chance to advance.
Also advancing as a sectional silver medal winner, Nick Baker (160) went 2-2 in district action. Leading 3-2 in his opening bout, Baker finished with a 6-4 decision over Governor Mifflin's Johnny Arentz. In the quarterfinals, the sophomore lost to Caden Morrison, of West Perry in ultimate tie breaker.
He rebounded in the consolation bracket with another extended bout, escaping Shippensburg's Eddie Ocker in the second OT period for a 2-1 thriller. Baker's third period escape extended the bout.
His second consolation match was yet another one point result, unfortunately it was Exeter Township's Matt Ward that advanced with a 4-3 win. Ward led 2-0 early in the second period before Baker escaped with 25 second left. His third period escape tie the score at 2-2. Neither wrestler gained ground in the fourth and fifth periods. Ward's reversal in the sixth was more than Baker's escape that followed.
Another Comet freshman, Caden Rogers (132) also gained valuable post-season experience and finished with a 2-2 mark. After two scoreless periods, Rogers gave up eight nearfall points and lost his round of 16 bout 9-2 against Mason Myers of Central York.
Determined to pick up a win, Rogers shook off a 2-0 first period deficit with an escape, a takedown and four nearfall points en route to a dominating 15-4 major decision over Garden Spot's Christian Schilling.
He followed that up with a 4-3 thriller over Anthony Steinmeyer of Wilson. Rogers' second period takedown midway through the second period gave him a 2-1 advantage. Steinmeyer tied the score with an escape but gave up late takedown to fall behind 4-2. He was awarded a third period stalling point but Rogers survived with the victory.
His season ended with a 6-2 loss to the eventual third place finisher, Zack Zeamer of Manheim Central. Rogers worked a first period takedown but was denied after that.
Wrestling at 195, TJ Keener got off to a rough start, suffering a 2:49 fall against Darrick Rudisill of New Oxford, the eventual fourth place finisher. The junior settled in, however, with back-to-back wins, working a 4:16 fall over Garden Spot's Brandon Sabasino and then scoring a first period takedown and a second period reversal in a 4-0 shutout over Kegan McCord of Manheim Central.
Keener, like three of his teammates, fell one bout short of the consi-semifinals. He gave up a first period takedown but dominated the second period with a reversal and five nearfall points for a 7-2 advantage. The third period, however, belonged to West Perry's Jake Quaker who started his comeback with an escape and a takedown followed by five nearfall points and a 10-7 win. Quaker finished fifth overall.
Six Penn Manor bowlers competed in the District Three singles bowling championships at Berks Lanes on Saturday, February 24 and one came home with a medal.
In the preliminary round of six games, Nick Mease rolled a 203, 269, 193, 244, 233, 187 for a 1329 total and, in a field of 36 bowlers, finished in fifth place. With the top six bowlers advancing to the finals, Mease faced the fourth place finisher, freshman Alex Horton of Daniel Boone.
"Nick lost that game 206-191 and Horton went on to beat CV's Ryan Graham and Conrad Weiser's Dan Althouse," noted head coach Chris Vital.
Also placing for the boys was Dan Mease, who's 1285 was 22 pins shy of the top six, was 10th. Mark Smith (1235, 17th) and Michael Morris (1178, 21st) followed.
Placing for the girls' team was Katelyn Welsh (1127, 23rd) and Carrie Shertz (1050, 32nd).
Comet Bowlers Grab 5th Straight L-L League Title March 1, 2018
Penn Manor's bowling team captured its fifth straight Lancaster-Lebanon League bowling title on Wednesday, February 14 at Rocky Springs with a 5-2 victory over Warwick in the championship game.
"The team championship seems to be our specialty," said head coach Chris Vital. "This was our eighth title in 14 years."
After capturing their ninth Section One title in 14 years, the Comets opened league playoffs with 4-0 wins over both Manheim Central and Ephrata to get to Warwick.
Gavin Davidson's 236 and a 222 by Dan Mease fueled a 1063-966 game one over the Barons while Nick Mease, with a 237 and Michael Morris (221) led a 1030-858 effort in the second game.
The Comets battled Ephrata in the semifinals where Davidson (244) and N. Mease (223) anchored a 964-910 win in game one.
"Ephrata kinda fell apart in the second game and we won easily, 1035-884," noted Vitale. The Mease brothers led the way with Nick rolling a 246 and Dan collecting a 212.
"In the finals, Warwick came out strong and we struggled," noted Vitale. "They beat us 965-918 and I felt the lanes got even tougher in the second game. I took Dan out and put Gavin back in," he added. "Gavin really had a great day.
"Michael was struggling too so I took him out and put Katelyn Welsh in and she finished with four strikes to end the game. It was a nail biter but we pulled it out 938-912."
Then, in the first frame of the rubber match game, Welsh threw the first ball and left the 10-pin standing. "I took Katelyn out and went with Dan, a lefty, who converted the spare and then throws the last six strikes to win," Vitale stated. "We won that last game 998-906."
Thursday at Leisure Lanes the girls, in a field of 63, competed in the L-L League singles championships.
"Carrie Shertz finished 11th and Katelyn was 13th," note Vitale, "and they both qualified for the district tournament."
Also placing for the Comets was Stephanie Mohn 23rd, Lauren Shroyer 24th and Leila Abbas 26th.
Penn Manor capped its busy week on Friday when the boys took their shot at the individual championships held at Dutch Lanes. In a field of 91, five of the Comets placed in the top 14.
"The boys had a really good day," said Vitale.
The first round of qualifying consisted of five games. The top 25 advanced to bowl four more games. The top five after this round bowled head to head finales. Mark Smith, who was in fourth place after the first round, stayed in fourth place and was the only Comet to advance to the finals. He dropped his opening round game to Kolby Bennett, of Cedar Crest, 259-216 and finished in fifth place overall.
"Nick was just three pins away from fifth place," noted Vitale, "and Dan was seventh."
Davidson was 12th, Morris finished 14th and Jimmy Mahler settled for 26th place.
After an eight year playoff absence, the girls' basketball team made the most of the opportunity last Monday night, rallying from behind to knock off No. 7 Governor Mifflin, 55-45 in a first-round District Three Class 6A game at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School.
The last time Penn Manor won a district game was back in 2002 when the Comets defeated McCaskey 64-58 in double overtime in the opening round. Athletic Director Jeff Roth was the head coach.
With both teams feeling each other out in the first quarter, the Comets (14-8), behind Macy Carroll's eight points, held a 12-11 edge. In the second frame, however, the hosts picked it up a notch. With eight points from Ta'shonna Wright-gaskins, and a pair of three balls from senior Kyra Hartman, the Mustangs exploded for 20 points, held the Comets to 12 and led 31-24 at the break.
They extended that lead to 38-25 midway through the third quarter before the No. 10 Comets dug deep. Alyssa Shriver hit for five points that frame, Dashona London hit a pair of jumpers in the lane and Nevaeh Neal beat the buzzer as the Comets closed the quarter with a 10-0 run and cut the lead to 38-35 with eight minutes remaining.
With momentum on their side, Nasheyla Greggs knocked down a triple that knotted the score at 38-38 and Carroll unleashed three more treys as the Comets took the lead for good. They racked up 20 points in the quarter and held the Mustangs (17-8) to seven points in both the third and fourth quarters to advance to the quarterfinals opposite L-L League foe and No. 2 seed Elizabethtown.
"In that second half we went into a full denial man defense," said head coach Megan Collins of the comeback. "Our up-tempo defense caused a number of turnovers. Plus we knew we had to stop their three point shooting."
Hartman netted four treys, all in the first half, and finished with a game-high 24 points and teammate Stella Mallica added two first half triples. But Mifflin's seven third quarter turnovers proved bigger than those points.
"Macy Carroll took a charge in the second half which proved to be a pivotal turning point," added Collins. "And Nevaeh Neal's defense was on point, especially at the top of the key.
"To come back from being down 13 in the third, and going on a 16-0 run to end up winning by 10 is just a great win. I'm proud of the girls and the effort and passion they played with and have played with all season."
Carroll finished with four treys on the night and paced the Comets with 17 points. Schriver, who did not score in the first quarter, followed with 13 and went 4-for-7 from the foul line. Greggs and London each chipped in with seven points, Neal added five and Sarah Wiker and Ella Hart combined for six.
Thursday night the Comets traveled to Elizabethtown for their third meeting against the Bears. This time, a trip to the Giant Center was on the line. Unfortunately, the Bears remembered it was the Comets (15-9) that denied them a shot at the Section One title and enacted a bit of revenge with a 38-28 victory.
This low scoring game featured just one double figure scorer. Amber Orban paced the Bears with 10 points. Seven different Comets reached the scoring column but none had more than Schriver and London who both netted 6. Carroll and Neal combined for 9.
"We just couldn't buy a bucket," said Collins. "No one was hitting. Our plan was to shut down Megan Lonardi (7pts), because if we did, we knew we had a chance. We gave ourselves a chance by playing good defense, but not finishing shots and not boxing out ended up hurting us."
E-town took control early, leading 11-4 at the end of one. The Comets picked up the scoring in the second quarter, netting 10, but still fell behind 19-14 at the half.
Manor cut the lead to three, 22-19, with a putback by Danielle Heisey in the third quarter but the hosts outscored the Comets 12-7 in the quarter for a 31-21 advantage with eight minutes left.
The cold shooting Comets managed just seven points in the final frame as well.
Saturday, February 17, at Hempfield High School, the Comet matmen wrestled a good part of the day in hopes of punching their ticket to the District Three tournament in Hershey. Five Comets placed in the top four at that Class 3A Section II tournament and extended their seasons. For their efforts, the team finished in fourth place out of 15 with 143.5 points. Central Dauphin claimed the team title (208) with Manheim Central (181) and Lower Dauphin (157) rounding out the top three.
Freshman Tanner Stefanik, seeded second, rose to the top and was Manor's only gold medal winner. Stefanik opened action with a 1:33 quarterfinals fall over Manheim Central's Brandon Kheuangthirath and then got past Josh Miller, from CD, 12-7.
"This match was back-and-forth early until Tanner came out on top with a headlock to go up 11-6," recalled head coach Mike Fowler. "This was a break through match for Tanner to guarantee him a district appearance."
In the finals, Stefanick faced No. 4 Micah Sams. The Township grappler pinned the top seed in the semifinals. Stefanick turned a 6-5 lead into a 1:33 fall and grabbed the gold.
"With the score 6-5 after just a minute, I thought maybe the match would end up 24-22 or something crazy when Tanner locked up a bar and got the fall," said Fowler.
Finishing in second place was Nick Fafel. The 126 pounder pinned Solanco's Zach Spade in the quarterfinals in 4:51 and then blanked No. 2 seed Nick Carroll (25-4) with a 4-0 result. After a scoreless first period, Fafel took the lead with a second period reversal.
"This was the first time I saw Nick smile this season after a win," said Fowler. "He punched his ticket to districts after missing it the last two years."
Fafel, in the finals, faced top seed Chris Wright, from Central Dauphin, who is ranked No. 1 in the state at 40-1 and dropped a hard-fought 2-0 loss.
"It was 0-0 after two periods," recalled Fowler. "Nick was in on a shot deep late but couldn't finish. This was a great match. Nick never backs down and loves to compete. This was definitely one of his better performances."
Also settling for a silver medal was Nick Baker (160) who met Solanco's AJ Wilson, the top seed, in the finals. "Wilson beat Nick 13-0 and 8-1 already this year but he closed the gap to 4-0," Fowler noted. "He continues to grow with every tough match he wrestles.
"Getting experience at districts for the underclassmen will be very important for the upcoming seasons," he added.
Baker opened with a 15-0 quarterfinals result over Rus Hanes of Hempfield and then pinned Donegal's Will Small in 5:45 in the semis.
Picking up a bronze medal was fourth seed Caden Rogers. The freshman topped Lampeter's Michael Hazboun 8-1 in the quarterfinals but was pinned by Andrew Wert, a Central Dauphin senior.
"Wert, I believe, is ranked #1 in the state," said Fowler. "Now Caden needed to win one more to get to districts. He came back with a 4-1 decision over Solanco's Chase Charles, who he beat twice already this year, and then, in the consi finals, he worked an escape and rode out Lower Dauphin's Tyler Walters, another senior, to win 1-0."
Manor's final district qualifier was TJ Keener who settled for fourth place at 195 after suffering a 2:49 fall to Solanco's Nick Yannutz.
After getting pinned in the quarterfinals by fourth seed Steven Seepaul of Warwick, Keener needed two wins to advance. He bounced back with a 1:23 fall over Hershey's Austin Courchaine and then flattened E-town's Blake Andrews in 3:50.
"Andrews came in at 24-5 and beat TJ 8-2 at the league meet," Fowler noted. "This was a big win for TJ and hopefully a confidence booster to let him know he can go with some of the top guys if he wrestles to the best of his ability."
Ending their seasons with fifth place finishes was Trevor Grassel (113), Owen Rohrer (120) and Marquis Sweigart, the seventh seed at 170, while Kole Marley at 152 was close behind in sixth.
Grassel lost to both the third and fourth place finishers, Rohrer went 3-2 with a loss to the third place finisher and Sweigart also went 3-2 having suffered a loss to the eventual second place winner, Nylem Flucas of Hershey before placing with a hard-fought 5-4 decision over Lampeter's Connor Penry.
Marley went 2-3 and was bounced to the consolations with a quarterfinals loss to eventual champ, Clayton Ulrey of Lower Dauphin.
"The boys had a strong finish this year and we're hoping to win some more at districts," said Fowler. "These guys do not back down and I look forward to sitting in their corner and watching them battle with the best."
Lady Comets Qualify for District Three Playoffs February 9, 2018
An overtime victory over Conestoga Valley last Tuesday on the road improved Penn Manor's record to 14-8 overall and moved them into the ninth seed of the District Three Class 6A playoffs behind top seed Manheim Township and No. 3 seed Elizabethtown.
"We were 8-14 last year so this year's record is the exact opposite," said head coach Megan Collins. "It has been eight or nine years since the girls have qualified for districts, so we're definitely excited and ready. It shows that hard work goes a long way."
That hard work started with Manor avenging a 59-48 loss to the Bucks in their first half meeting. CV's leading scorer, Kenzie Reed, bucketed a game-high 24 points that game. Tuesday night, however, Reed was not in the lineup but the Bucks didn't seem to mind as they opened the first quarter with a 16-5 advantage.
The Comets slowly battled back. With a seven-point second quarter from Alyssa Schriver, the visitors outscored the hosts 13-6 in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 22-18 at the break.
Manor maintained its consistency in the third frame, got a nine point effort from Schriver that included two treys and again outscored the Bucks 13-11 to get within two, 33-31. The fourth quarter was every bit as close and just before the final buzzer, Macy Carroll dropped in a jumper to tie the score at 43-43.
"Macy also hit two free throws in overtime to give us the lead," noted Collins. "We struggled in that first quarter. Nothing seemed to be working, but I was proud of how we came back."
Schriver, a senior, led all scorers with 20 and Carroll chipped in with 15 to lead the double digit scorers.
"Alyssa shot the ball rather well from the outside, which was a huge help in digging us out of the hole we were in," noted Collins.
The Comets were coming off a hard-fought 56-46 Friday night (Feb. 3) loss to Cedar Crest (14-7 overall) where again, a sluggish start proved to make the going difficult.
"We missed too many layups and foul shots to be able to win that one," said Collins. "We talk about the simple things and how they are so important in games, especially against good teams."
Crest came out on fire, drilling three treys and jumping out to a 17-9 first quarter lead. They got an eight point effort from Hannah Woelfling (game-high 21 points) in the second quarter and again outscored the Comets 12-6.
Despite looking at a 29-15 halftime deficit, the Comets regrouped and played a strong second half. Ella Hart and Nasheyla Greggs combined for 11 points as Manor outscored the visitors 17-10, closing the lead to 39-32 but could get no closer.
Crest hit just two field goals in the fourth frame but went 13-for-14 from the free throw line to pull away. Hart collected six more points in that quarter and finished with a team-high 16. Greggs, with nine in the second half and a 4-for-4 effort from the foul line, added 14 points and Schriver, who was recognized before the game with a 1,000 career points game ball, added 10. Seniors Danielle Heisey, Macy Carroll, Nasheyla Greggs, and Sarah Wiker were also honored before the game.
The bowling team, setting its sights on the post-season, clinched the Section One title with a 5-2 victory over Conestoga Valley, Friday, Feb. 2 and then wrapped up the regular season last Monday with their eighth shutout of the season, blanking third place Hempfield.
The Comets got off to a strong start against the Bucks. Behind Mark Smith's 207, Manor won the first game by 34 pins. Four of the Comets rolled over 200 in the second game and the Comets clinched the win with a 50 pin advantage.
Nick Mease collected a 202 but two of CV's bowlers racked up 228 as the Bucks won the third game 960-912 but it wasn't enough. The Comets had the last say, out rolling CV in total pin count by 36.
Michael Morris rolled the highest game of the day with a 223 and finished with a 594 series but Smith led the team with a 601, rolling a 207-216-178. N. Mease followed with a 590 (179-209-202). Chipping in with two game totals was Gavin Davidson (331), Jordan Kahler (349) and Dan Mease (402).
Against Hempfield on Monday, the Comets got out in front early, went to the bench for the third game, and pulled away for a fairly east shutout.
"Once we scored enough in those first two games I put some senior girls in that never bowled varsity," said head coach Chris Vital. "It worked out well for us. Now we'll get ready for the League team tournament and singles."
The Comets topped the Knights by 28 pins in the first game, a slim seven in the second and another 27 in the final game. They won the total pin count by 67 pins.
Contributing with two game totals was D. Mease (485), Smith (475), Davidson (441), N. Mease (428) and Carrie Shertz (332). Others rolling single games included Katelyn Welsh (256), Morris (205), Steph Mohn (193), Kahler (177) and Michala Harvey (137).
While the boys' basketball team didn't exactly pile up the wins, finishing 6-16 overall, they did improve as the season moved along. Four of their last five games were lost by six points or less, including a 53-51 loss to CV last Tuesday night.
Having dropped a 15 pointer to CV in their first meeting, the Comets were determined to end their season, at home, on a high note. And they almost did.
The Comets got off to a great start. With Josiah Edwards netting seven points in the paint and Colin Morrison and Kevin Roldan combining for nine more, Manor took a 16-12 lead after eight minutes.
"The game shifted in the second quarter," noted head coach Larry Bellew. "Their two best offensive players (Logan and Austin Monroe) were on the bench in foul trouble and we were not able to extend the lead. I felt we missed a real opportunity to go up 10 or 12 points."
Both teams finished with seven points and the Comets maintained their four point lead, 23-19, at the break.
The hosts started strong in the third frame, stretching the lead to ten, but CV responded with a run of their own, scored the final four points of the half, and took a one point lead after winning the frame 16-11.
"We missed a couple assignments late in that third quarter that let them back in," Bellew.
The Comets got hot from three point range in the fourth quarter with Drew Greenawalt and Ethan Hine each burying two but it wasn't enough as the Bucks, behind Logan Monroe's eight points, pulled out a squeaker.
"The Monroe brothers were able to control the quarter with their ability to score and make plays for others," commented Bellew. "I was disappointed in our sloppiness with the ball. That and a couple of key defensive mistakes were too much to overcome."
Edwards led all scorers with 17 points and Greenawalt chipped in with 13. Roldan (8), C. Morrison (7), Hine (6) also contributed.
The Comets were coming off a hard-fought 62-51 Friday night loss to playoff bound Cedar Crest.
After suffering a 31 point loss in their first meeting, the Comets had nothing to lose Friday night and, with seven points from Roldan, tied the hosts at 12-12 early on. With gaining confidence, Edwards and Reed Morrison combined for 10 of the team's 15 second quarter points and helped carry the Comets to a 27-21 lead at the break.
The momentum, however, did not carry over into the second half. Crest started their comeback with a 20-15 third quarter advantage, including a pair of treys that helped cut the lead to one, 42-41.
"Then Crest amped up the defensive pressure and their attack on offense and we were not able to hold up," said Bellew. "We missed some open shots and did not get any help from the whistles. Plus we missed two foul line box outs that led to four points in that fourth quarter which were huge.
"Early on our ball handlers were able to beat their man off the dribble and knock down some shots," he continued. "Ty Erisman knocked down three treys that way but as the game progressed, we started missing those shots."
Crest won that final quarter 21-9, holding the Comets to just two field goals in the frame.
Roldan, who finished as the high scorer for the season with 226 points, put up a team-high 12 points and Edwards added 10. Erisman (9), R. Morrison (6), C. Morrison (5), Jacob Matias (5), Greenawalt (2) and Anthony Rosario (2) contributed to the final total.
"I was impressed with the leadership and unselfishness of this team," stated Bellew. "They had every reason, when the season wasn't going right, to play for themselves and they didn't. They pulled together and proved to themselves and others that we are capable of playing with everyone in Section One."
Comet Bowlers Win 10th Straight Match February 2, 2018
Comet bowlers continued to make short work of their Lancaster-Lebanon League opponents last week, winning their tenth straight match, this one a 5-2 result against Manheim Township.
Michael Morris rolled the top series of the day with a 674 and Nick Mease, with a 668 series, claimed the top individual game with a 244.
The Comets won the first game by 225 pins. The Streaks tried to make a comeback in the second game, but fell short by 93 pins. They did, however, take the third game, topping the Comets 1001 - 955. Manor earned its fifth point of the match with a 3076 total pin count. Township finished at 2804.
Also rolling for the Comets was Mark Smith (221-201-165 - 587), Gavin Davidson (189-227-165 - 581) while Dan Mease and Katelyn Welsh combined for a 566.
The Comet swimmers, against visiting Hempfield, honored seniors Karley Frankford, Thomas Hartenstine, Aidan Mahoney, Trevor Charles and Vincent Vozzella last Tuesday in their last home meet of the season. But it was the Knights that left town with a win. The second place boys' squad (4-1) topped the Comets 111-59 while the Lady Knights (3-2) defeated the Lady Comets (1-4) 103-67.
"We did have a number of personal best swims," noted head coach Eric Urban. "And Vinny Vozzella won the 50 free by .01 in his last duel meet of his high school career."
Pan Kunya was the top point-getter for the Comets, winning both the 100 free (51.38) and the 100 back (1:00.50).
Third place finishes included Jared Stephan in the 200 IM, Andrew Pursel in the 200 free, and Noah Buckwalter with a PR in the 100 fly (1:02.1).
The girls' picked up four wins on the day but couldn't catch the third place Knights. Manor opened strong, with Erica Shaub, Alaina Breitbach, Jalyn Clow and Anna Sugra winning the 200 medley relay in 1:59.09.
Sugra, who was second in the 100 breaststroke, went on to win the 200 free with a personal best 2:02.20 while Breitbach added two wins, taking the 200 IM (2:15.98) and the 100 back (1:01.77).
The Comets also got seconds from Jordyn Kendig in the 500 free and Allison Steele in the 100 back.
"Kelly Johnson also dropped significant time in the 200 free and Kayla McCormick swam her best time in the 500 free," noted Urban.
A Friday night upset win over Elizabethtown and last Monday's crossover victory over Garden Spot pushed Penn Manor's win streak to five straight. That all ended, however, when the Streaks, fighting for the Section One crown, took care of business Tuesday night and held off a spirited Comet effort with a 62-57 result.
Manor fell behind 30-21 at the half but gained some ground with a 21-12 third quarter effort that knotted the score with eight minutes left.
"We played a fantastic third quarter and took the lead early in the fourth," recalled head coach Megan Collins. "But we needed to be more disciplined offensively and play better defense down the stretch. We had to foul them late in the game to stop the clock and give ourselves a chance. It wasn't the result we were looking for, but we have showed that we can play with all of these teams."
The Streaks pulled away with a 20-15 fourth quarter advantage that included 10-of-13 free throws.
Township's Olivia Matteo, who is closing in on 1,000 career points, led the way with 29. Macy Carroll was tops for the Comets with 14. Nasheyla Greggs, who canned four triples on the night, finished with 13, Alyssa Schriver added 11, and Ella Hart chipped in with 9.
On Monday, the hosting Section Two Spartans anticipated a battle against the Comets and were poised for an upset in their own fight for a playoff berth. But the Comets had just a little more. They outscored GS by two points in each of the first two quarters for a 22-18 halftime advantage.
Behind Carroll's nine point effort, they padded the lead by six more points with a 16-10 third quarter that sealed the deal as both teams knocked down 19 fourth quarter points. Free throws were the difference in this one. The Comets nailed an impressive 18-of-19 attempts including 8-of-9 in the fourth quarter.
"This was a nice win on the road," said Collins. "It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. The court we played on was small and we struggled to make those adjustments. Just things to continue to work on as we strive to improve."
Schriver led a trio of Comet double-digit scorers with 19 points, including a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe. Carroll chipped in with 15 and Greggs followed with ten.
Prior to last week, the Comets gained momentum with a 34-32 thriller over Elizabethtown Friday, January 19. Hart's put-back bucket at the buzzer was the game-winner.
This one was nip-and-tuck the whole way. With both teams battling on the defensive end, the Bears held a slim 16-15 lead at the half. E-town forged ahead in the third, outscoring the Comets 9-5 only to see the Comets return the favor in the fourth with a 14-7 advantage and that game-winning bucket.
"Our defense, rebounding and foul shots won that game for us," Collins stated. "We wanted the game more at the end and it showed."
Clinging to a one point lead, Carroll knocked down a pair of free throws to push it to three before E-town drained a triple to tie it up.
"I called timeout with about nine seconds left," said Collins. "The initial play we designed didn't work but Ella saw an opening and went for it. It was an amazing game and atmosphere to be a part of."
Hart bucketed a team-high 11 points, including seven in the second quarter. Carroll finished with eight and both Dashona London and Schriver added four each.
After avenging a first half loss to McCaskey with a 53-50 result Tuesday, January 23, the Comets nailed down their second straight win and third of the season with a solid 57-45 victory over Lebanon three days later.
The Cedars defeated the Comets 44-31 in their first half meeting but this time around Manor was deadly from three point range and gained momentum with a 21-13 first quarter that featured five made triples, two each by Kevin Roldan and Colin Morrison. The Comets drained eight on the night with Roldan canning four. He finished with a game-high 18 points.
"We knocked down 8 of the first 10 threes we took," noted head coach Larry Bellew. "That was a good reason for our early lead.
"But the key was the defense on their two main scorers," he continued. "Drew Greenawalt, Colin Morrison and Jakob Matias did an outstanding job limiting Luis Aquino-Rios (the third leading scorer in the section) to six points. Sincere Scott finished with 13 but he missed a lot of perimeter shots."
Manor led 33-23 at the half and outpointed the Cedars by one in both the third and fourth quarters, pushing their overall mark to 3-11.
"We were efficient enough in the second half that we never felt the pressure of a lead slipping away," said Bellew.
C. Morrison also hit double figures with 15 while Josiah Edwards added 10.
Last Tuesday the Comets were four points away from their third straight win. Tied at 41-41 to start the fourth quarter, visiting Manheim Township outscored the hosts 13-9 to steal a 54-50 win. Roldan netted six of Manor's nine points and finished with a game-high 18 points.
"Kevin knocked down a three with just under three minutes left to give us our last lead," Bellew recalled. "Down the stretch we missed two foul shots and had a turnover on an inbounds play. We missed some scoring chanced and the opportunity to make a good shot a great one."
The first half was just as close as the final minutes with neither team leading by more than five. Township led 30-25 at the half. Roldan and Reed Morrison each knocked down a trey and hit two jumpers to account for Manor's 14 third quarter points and a tied ball game.
C. Morrison finished with 10 points, R. Morrison added 9 and Ty Erisman netted 7.
Fresh off a fifth place finish (out of 22 teams) at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships, the Comet matmen traveled to Spring Grove High School last Tuesday to compete in the District Three Class 3A team tournament opposite the home team, No. 2 seed Rockets. Knowing it was an uphill battle, Manor dropped a 45-16 result.
"We knew it was going to be a tough match," said head coach Mike Fowler. "They had a lot of guys from 30-0 to 18-5. And they only had maybe four weaker spots, one being heavyweight, which we do not have."
Down 23-0, Manor got on board with TJ Keener's 5:16 fall over Calvin Flemmens (195). After three straight forfeits, two by the Comets, Trevor Grassel (113) controlled Braden Ross to the tune of a 14-2 major decision.
"They were just a little better than us, staying one step ahead all the time," said Fowler. "We did score first at 138 (Chad Mowbray) and 145 (Ian Young) but they were a little tougher on the mat. Our guys fought hard the entire time, and with experience and practice, we will get better at these types of matches over the next few years."
As for the League Meet January 26-27, the Comets, who finished with ten medal winners, were in third place after Friday's action but couldn't push enough guys through to the finals, thus settling for fifth place out of 22 teams.
Caden Rogers', with a second place effort at 132, was Manor's highest place winner.
"He beat a tough senior from Garden Spot, Christian Schilling, in the semis before losing 6-1 to Central's Zack Zeamer," said Fowler.
The Comets also came home with three bronze medals efforts. "Freshman Tanner Stefanick (106) lost a tough one in the semis (8-6) to Donegal's Ethan Herr, the eventual champ," said Fowler. But bounced back with a 4:27 fall over Garden Spots Mason Casey.
At 126, Nick Fafel also suffered a semifinals loss, bowing out against Cocalico's Kayde Althouse before placing with a 5-0 decision over Warwick's Mateo Chacon.
Nick Baker (160) was Manor's third bronze medal winner who dropped in the semis, losing 8-1 to Solanco's AJ Wilson, the eventual champ, before rebounding with a 53 second fall over Donegal's William Small.
"Nick wrestled great," said Fowler. "This was a good test for him going into sectionals."
Finishing in fourth place was Chad Mowbray (138). "Chad did not get many varsity matches last year and this year he is taking advantage of the opportunity and has over 20 wins," Fowler noted.
Manor's sixth place medal winners included Keener (195), Trevor Grassel (113) and Dylan Coleman (120).
"Dylan wrestled through a lot of pain, competing with, what we found out later was a ruptured appendix," said Fowler. "And still, he placed."
Marquis Sweigart (170) contributed to the team total with a seventh place finish while Ian Young, seeded 10th at 145, placed eighth.
Greenawalt Ices Victory Over Visiting McCaskey January 26, 2018
Drew Greenawalt's layup with 32 seconds left to play against McCaskey gave the Comets the three point edge they needed last Tuesday, pushing the score to 53-50 which proved to be the final score and Manor's second league win of the season, fifth overall.
"The first time we played them we did not handle their trapping press and they hit five threes in the first quarter to go up 20-0 in the blink of an eye," stated head coach Larry Bellew. "This time we attacked the press well and converted at the other end and after four minutes, they were out of the press."
The Red Tornado got out quickly, posting a 20-14 first quarter advantage and extending it to 31-22 at the break. Down but not out, the Comets poured in their own 20-point quarter with Colin and Reed Morrison and Greenawalt each scoring six, and then turned in a pivotal 11-7 fourth quarter advantage to steal the win. Greenawalt dropped in seven of his team-high 13 that frame to lead the comeback.
"We were down one going into the fourth," Bellew recalled. "We played well the first 5:30 of the quarter and pushed out to a six point lead. Then we missed an open layup and had three turnovers. But our defense held up until the 45 second mark when they hit a three to cut the lead to one. We ran a sideline inbounds play with 20 second left," he continued. "They jumped on the first option and Drew flashed to the opening and scored a layup that pushed the lead back to three.
"It was nice to have a balanced effort on offense but defensively we were passive in that first quarter, giving up 20 points," added Bellew. "But we only gave up 30 points the rest of the game. Josiah Edwards and Reed did a nice job rebounding and Kevin Roldan had a number of steals and Colin finished some of those steals in transition. It was a great win for the kids. They've continued to stay together and work every day. They needed a win."
C. Morrison followed with 10 points while M. Morrison and Edwards each netted eight. Roldan (7), Ty Erisman (5) and Jakob Matias (2) also contributed.
When the top team in the section takes on the bottom team, a very lopsided result is usually anticipated. On Friday, January 19, however, that was not the case as the then 1-8 Comets almost pulled off the upset of the season over then 8-1 Hempfield.
"The game was close all night," said Bellew. "Defensively we wanted to limit Ryan Moffatt's effectiveness and to try to take their point guard, Eli Washington, out of the game. Moffatt scored about his average (18) but Washington was held to two points. Offensively, we attacked the zone much better."
Down three (38-35) headed into the fourth quarter, the Comets eventually knotted the score at 41-41 before being outscored 5-2 down the stretch and bowing out a respectable 49-43.
Greenawalt, with a pair of threes, accounted for half of Penn Manor's first quarter total as they tied the Knights after eight minutes. Roldan, who bucketed a team-high 17 and dished out six assists, sparked the second quarter with nine as Manor continued to go toe-to-toe with the hosts and went into halftime down one, 26-25.
The back-and-forth continued in the third quarter as well with Hempfield holding a slim 11-10 advantage, setting the stage for a fourth quarter that saw the Knights finish on top 12-8.
"They switched to a 2-3 zone in the fourth and we struggled to get the ball to the middle and the rim," said Bellew.
Edwards chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The girls' basketball team is in the midst of a four game win streak after topping McCaskey last Tuesday and Hempfield on Friday, January 19.
"We've been playing well enough to win these last four games," head coach Megan Collins stated. "We are still working on being able to play a strong 32 minute game."
Alyssa Schriver not only bucketed a game-high 21 points in Manor's 47-39 win over the Red Tornado but hit the 1,000 point plateau with a pair of free throws last Tuesday on the road. She needed 21 points to hit the mark and did so with a nine point fourth quarter that included a 5-5 effort from the free throw line. Schriver becomes just the third Comet to reach the mark following Kelsey Caruthers (2008) and Carol Flinchbaugh (1989).
In what proved to be a slow start for both teams, the Comets held an 11-9 first quarter advantage before the hosts stepped up the offense while holding Manor to just four second quarter points. The result was a 28-15 lead for McCaskey.
"We played a terrible second quarter and found ourselves down 13 at the half," said Collins. "We talked about the adjustments we needed to make and that we needed to come out on fire and play with a lot of heart. We did just that, holding McCaskey to 11 points and scoring 32," she continued. "I love our desire, our want to win and the heart that we played with in the second half. You could tell we wanted it more. I'm proud of our squad for not getting down and giving up. Good teams find a way to win and we did."
Ella Hart got going in the third quarter, netting six of her ten and Schriver chipped in with five as the Comets out-pointed the hosts 15-6 to cut the lead to 34-30. The momentum continued through the final eight minutes with Schriver sparking a 17-5 advantage and the win.
"Ella has been a great contributor for us, replacing Kate Levato (ACL)," stated Collins. "And right now we seem to be playing more together as a team."
Dashona London and Macy Carroll each chipped in with six points.
In what has proved to be one of the biggest rivalries of Section One bowling, the Comets, who blanked the Warriors on their home lanes on December 14, survived Warwick on Friday, January 19, 4-3, and hold a comfortable lead on the top of the standings.
The Comets got off to a strong start, taking the first game 969-930 but hosts were determined and came back to win the second game by an even bigger margin, 1132-993. Now tied at 2-2, the Comets dug deep. Behind Mark Smith's 244 game, the visitors took the third game 1032-988 to clinch the victory.
With Warwick's Isaac Erickson rolling the top series of the day (744), the Warriors closed the gap by winning the total pin count, 3050-2994 but it wasn't enough. Nick Mease followed with a 650 series that included the highest second game score of 251. Dan Mease was close behind, rolling a 3-game 635 series. Rounding out the Comet five was Smith (597), Michael Morris (576) and Gavin Davidson (536).
The Comets continued their winning ways last Monday with a 7-0 final over McCaskey for their sixth shutout of the season. Smith, with a 672, rolled the top series of the day. M. Morris, with the highest single game of 279, finished with a 649 with Carrie Shertz just two pins behind. N. Mease picked up a 638 and Jimmy Mahler rounded out the top five with a 573 total.
Thursday afternoon the Comets met little resistance from Lebanon as they posted yet another shutout and pushed their overall record to 60-10.
Morris led all bowlers with a 703 series. Smith was consistent in rolling a 674 while Davidson finished with a 658. Katelyn Welsh earned the fifth highest series of the day with a 600.
The swim teams hosted Warwick last Tuesday afternoon and were left with a pair of losses. The boys' squad, hoping to move ahead of the Warriors in the Section One standings, suffered a 100-70 loss and were denied a single first place finish.
The girls' (3-5) had a tougher challenge facing the 6-1 Warriors but earned three firsts in a 92-78 loss.
"With leagues next, I gave some swimmers rest in their strong events," said head coach Eric Urban, "and to get end of the season times for some strokes they haven't swam before."
While the boys came up empty in the wins department, Jared Stephan led the way with a personal best second in the 200 free (1:54.25) and another second in the 100 breaststroke. Andrew Pursel also clocked a PR, going 5:28.74 in the 500 free for another second place effort. Other second place finishers included freshman Everett Barry in the 200 IM, Vincent Vozella in the 50 free, and 100 backstroker and freshman Pan Kunyu.
Anna Sugra picked up the only individual win on the day, recording a 2:06.14 in the 200 free. She also anchored the winning 4x400 free relay with Jaylyn Clow, Allison Steele and Erica Shaub and was the lead-off swimmer in the 200 free relay, joining Clow, Shaub and Alaina Breitbach. She also grabbed a second place finish in the 100 breaststroke.
Shaub added to the scoring with seconds in the 200 IM and the 100 free. Clow was second in the 100 fly and Breitbach was second in the 100 back.
In their final regular season match, the Comets fought from behind to defeat McCaskey 50-22 in Lancaster Wednesday night.
"Going in, there were some matches that I knew what to expect, but there were others I wasn't sure of," said head coach Mike Fowler. "113, 120 and 152 we had seen before but 106, 145 and 152 we had not and their two biggest studs are at 120 and 152. I was hoping if we won two of the other four we would be good."
In a match that started at 145, the hosts worked a decision and a major decision for a 7-0 advantage. The Comets, however, came back with four straight wins for a lead they never relinquished. Nick Backer opened the run with a dominating 20-5 tech fall over Gilbert Valentin and a Marquis Sweigart's (170) fall over Daniel Ortiz put the Comets in front for good.
"Nick broke open what looked to be a close match," Fowler recalled. "He looked great on his feet and got a few sets of back points as well. He worked hard for five and a half minutes to get that tech fall."
AJ Cox (182) added a 4:59 fall over Nathanael Saez and TJ Keener (195) followed by putting Shayne Hartley to his back in 1:32.
McCaskey closed the gap to 23-19 when the Comets forfeited at 220 and 285 but won just one bout after that, an 8-4 decision at 120. Prior to that, Manor's Tanner Stefanick (106) picked up more bonus points with the fastest fall of the night, decking Jordan Holland in 49 seconds and Trevor Grassel added an 18-2 teach fall at 113.
"Tanner has been very aggressive and looking tough," stated Fowler, "and Trevor got a good win against a solid opponent."
Nick Fafel (126), with a fall, Caden Rogers (132) with a major decision and Chad Mowbray's forfeit victory capped the scoring for the Comets.
Matmen Beat Solanco 41-30 in Key Section Clash January 20, 2018
It was a great day to be a Comet!
Last Wednesday Penn Manor hosted Solanco in a key Section One matchup. The winner would maintain sole possession of second place in the standings. And when all was said and done, the Comets, on senior night, calmly walked away with a rather convincing 41-30 victory.
"These boys gave me one of the best birthday gifts ever, on top of a snow day to spend with my kids," said head coach Mike Fowler. "We knew this would be a very tough match and all of the guys wrestled tough. Every single kid had a part in this win and I am proud of the work they put in every day."
After both teams traded forfeits, Tanner Stefanick (106) set the tone, pinning Dominic Flatt in 37 seconds. Bonus points were the story of the night as only one bout, Ian Young's (145) 5-1 final over Joey Vandegriff, finished with a straight decision.
"That was probably the biggest match, on paper," said Fowler. "Ian went out and got two takedowns and an escape to win. That may have been his best match of the year."
Solanco forfeited at 113 and came back with a major decision at 120 to cut the lead to 18-10. That was as close as it would get.
Senior Nick Fafel (126) turned a 5-0 lead into a 2:58 fall over Zach Spade and Caden Rogers (132) fought off a tight 3-2 first period advantage to finish with a takedown at the final buzzer that provided an 11-3 major over Chase Charles.
Then, Solanco's Grayson Charles pinned Chad Mowbray at 138, cutting the lead to 28-16.
"I knew we were going to forfeit two bouts and we were trying to give them to their best guys," said Fowler. "By winning the coin flip we were able to forfeit to Ben Root (170), who only has one loss on the year. This gave the rest of our guys a chance to win matches and save us points.
"Tanner got the fall, Owen Roher fought off his back at 120 and saved us two points. Nick gets a fall and Caden gets a major decision," Fowler continued. "Charles is a hammer but Chad fought hard."
The 152 bout was the most exciting of the night and brought the Comet crowd to their feet as Kole Marley gave up a late takedown to Tucker Pierson, knotting the score at 9-9 with 14 seconds left. He scored the opening takedown in overtime and decked Pierson for the fall in 6:09.
"I knew we had a chance to win that one," Fowler stated. "It was back-and-fourth but they had the momentum with that late takedown. I was nervous but Kole hit a big move to get the fall."
That gave the Comets a commanding 37-16 lead with four bouts left.
Solanco's AJ Wilson scored a major decision over Nick Baker (160) and the Comets forfeited to Root and moved Marquis Sweigart up to 182 and opposite Chaneef Carter.
"Nick battled for six minutes and saved us two team points against one of their studs," said Fowler. "And Sweigart was fantastic. He kept constant pressure on top and clinched the match with a 10-0 win.
"While the final bout of the night went to Solanco 10-2, AJ Cox just battled. I talked to him a few matches before and told him we may need him to fight hard for six minutes and not get pinned, all when he is giving up 20 pounds. He never complains. He lost the final home match of his career to a tough kid but AJ never backs down."
The Comets were coming off a solid performance at the Annville-Cleona Duals on January 13, picking up wins over East Pennsboro 58-17, A-C 50-30 and Northeastern 53-27 before falling to Middletown 38-27 and L-S 39-30.
Fafel, Baker (4 pins), and Sweigart (3 pins) all went 5-0 on the day with TJ Keener (3 pins) and Caden Rogers (2 pins) both going 4-1.
"We are a young team and the guys are getting better each time they step on the mat," he added.
Last Thursday night, the Comets improved to 4-4 in Section One (9-6 overall) after pulling away from a young Warrior squad 54-34.
Alyssa Schriver led all scorers with 23 points. After just seven in the first half, Schriver picked up the defensive intensity and turned a handful of steals into layups. She sparked a 15 point third quarter with nine points.
Ella Hart's presence in the paint and on the boards was also key. With 11 points in the second half, she finished with 17.
After a dead even first quarter, 11-11, the Comets gave up five straight points to start the second but then held the Warriors scoreless en route to a 23-16 lead at the half. They picked up the intensity in the second half with scrappy full court pressure and solid rebounding that frustrated Warwick.
Macy Carroll (7 points), Nasheyla Greggs (4-of-4 free throws) and Dashana London (2) also scored.
After a string of three straight losses, including a Friday night 59-48 loss to Conestoga Valley on January 12, the Lady Comets picked up a 50-34 non-league win over Exeter on Saturday. Hart, with a career-high 18 points, matched Schriver, who hit 10-of-11 free throws, for game-high honors as the Comets led 27-22 in the first half and sealed the win by holding Exeter to single digits in the third and fourth quarters.
"Ella did a nice job of finding the low block and finishing inside," said Collins. "We knew it was a winnable game and that it mattered, so they picked up the momentum in the second half."
Hart and Schriver combined for 10 of the teams' 12 first quarter points and 12 of their 15 points in the second.
Greggs led the third quarter with four points and Carroll hit for double figures with ten points, including a pair of three pointers.
A day earlier the Comets battled Conestoga Valley for fourth place in the Section One standings. The visiting Bucks outscored the hosts 24-17 over the middle two frames to extend their three point edge in the first quarter. Schriver scored 12 of her team high 20 in the fourth quarter as the Comets outscored CV 19-16, but it wasn't enough as the Bucks prevailed, 59-48.
Carroll (9), Greggs (9) and Neal (6) also scored.
Consistency is a key ingredient to winning basketball games. The boys' team, inexperienced at the varsity level, has battled every game this season but, for the most part, one dismal quarter has prevented them earning more wins.
Last Wednesday's 58-49 loss to Warwick is a perfect example. The Warriors buried five three pointers in the first quarter and led 20-9 after eight minutes. The Comets regrouped, and though they only scored six in the third quarter, outscored the hosts 40-38 over the final three quarters only to fall short.
"We knew we needed to limit their dribble penetration and defend the three point line," said head coach Larry Bellew. "We seemed to over-help or miss a rotation and every time they knocked down a shot.
"We were down 18 and cut the lead to nine at the half," he added. "But in the third we missed some makeable shots, had some unforced turnovers and they hit a couple more threes to stretch it back to 15."
Kevin Roldan matched Warwick's Clayton Mohler, who hit four triples, for game-high honors with 14 points.
Jakob Matias followed with nine. Reed Morrison, with five in the fourth, and Josiah Edwards added seven points each while Ty Erisman (5) and Colin Morrison (5) and Anthony Rosario (2) also contributed.
"Our inconsistencies, lack of a primary scorer and too many turnovers means our defense has to be almost perfect each night," said Bellew. "We've done a good job most nights limiting our opposition's top or top two players but then those teams always seem to have someone else step up with a career night."
A 21-7 deficit in the second quarter against CV on Friday, January 12, was the turning point in a game that went to the Bucks 54-39. CV outscored the hosts over the other three frames but only by two points, 33-32.
Another key component in that quarter was the sharp-shooting of CV's Brad Stoltzfus who canned four of his five triples in the game. He finished with a game-high 19 points. Josiah Edwards was tops for the Comets with 13, including hitting 7-of-8 effort free throws. Drew Greenawalt and Jakob Matias each finished with five points.
"We're just not shooting the ball as well as I had hoped," said Bellew. "We're about 28 percent from 3 and haven't helped ourselves from the foul line either. We're shooting less than 60 percent for the season."
One night later it was Exeter that finished on top, 55-48. This time the Comets fought off a 21-11 first quarter deficit and outscored the hosts 26-22 in the second half but it was too little, too late.
Anthony Wise scored 12 of his game-high 16 in that pivotal first quarter. Edwards netted six of his 15 in the first frame as well. Greenawalt followed with 12 points, including three triples. In a game that was definitely winnable, the Comets hit just 11-of-18 free throws.
"Josiah had given us an inside presence and has been able to get us some easy baskets and offensive rebounds to give us some extra possessions."
The bowling team continued rolling their way past the competition, posting another 7-0 victory, this time over Hempfield on Friday, January 12.
Hempfield's Taylor Fair earned the highest series of the day with a 709 but the Comets took the next three as Nick Mease finished with a 686, Michael Morris added a 666 and Gavin Davidson collected a 659. Mark Smith's 603 was the fifth highest score of the day.
Manor topped the Knights by ten pins in the first game, 15 in the second and left little doubt with a 1060 to 912 third game result.
The Comet swimmers came home with mixed results from Cedar Crest Thursday night. The boys' team improved to 2-1 (5-2 overall) with a strong 102-66 win while the girls' team dropped a 103-67 result.
"We had some really good swims and four best times," said head coach Eric Urban.
Jared Stephan's 5:18.69 in the 200 IM not only secured first place but was a PR as well. He also won the 500 free with Andrew Pursel, who took the 200 free in 1:56.97, taking second. The two also swam with Pan Kunyu and Aidan Mahoney to win the 200 free relay in 1:42.95.
The Comets also went 1-2-3 in the 100 back with Kunyu (59.97), Mahoney and Tom Hartenstine.
While the girls' did not get the final result they were looking for, they did swim four personal bests. Carli May's best time in the 100 free (1:01.70) backed Anna Sugra's first place effort in 57.41 while Mary Anna Vozzella (6:37.68) and Brianna Nissley (7:18.61) did their best in the 500 free following Jordyn Kendig's third place finish in 6:07.98.
Manor's top scorers were Alaina Breitbach and Sugra each with two wins. Sugra took the 200 free (2:06.82) in addition to the 100, while Breitbach won the 200 IM (2:15.20) and the 100 breaststroke (1:07.38). They also teamed with Jalyn Clow (2nd in the 50 free and 100 fly) and Erica Shaub (2nd in the 100 back) to win the 400 free relay.
Comets Face Falcons, Streaks Back-to-Back January 12, 2018
The Comets returned to Section One play with back-to-back outings last week, hosting Cedar Crest Tuesday and traveling to Neffsville one night later.
The hosts, definitely lacking in size this season, fell behind early against the Falcons and never really got on track, bowing out 66-35. Crest dropped in three triples in the first quarter and knocked down 19 points and canned three more in the second, all from the hand of game-high scorer Cole Laney (21 points) and led 41-22 at the half. Morrison Reed scored all seven of his points in the first quarter and Josiah Edwards added seven of his 10 in the second frame. Drew Greenawalt finished with six points, hitting 3-point buzzer beaters at the end of both the second and third quarters. Kevin Roldan also hit for six points.
The Comets got off to a good start in Neffsville Wednesday but couldn't hold on, eventually dropping a heart-breaker, 59-56 to the Streaks.
Colin Morrison netted all nine of his points in an opening quarter that saw the visitors take a 15-8 lead. Township, behind Brendan Mellott's eight points, gained ground in the second frame, outscoring the Comets 22-9 for a 30-24 advantage at the half.
Not to be out done, Manor, behind a seven point effort by Edwards, and three pointers by R. Morrison, Greenawalt and Ty Erisman, outscored the Streaks 20-13 for a 44-43 advantage with eight minutes left.
That momentum, however, fell short down the stretch. Township's Tyler Crespo netted 8 of his 10 points and Will Greiner added a pair of three's, helping the hosts to a 16-12 final frame advantage and the win.
Roldan was Manor's spark down the stretch, splashing in eight of his team-high 11. Edwards followed with 10 points, while Greenawalt, Morrison and Morrison each chipped in with nine apiece.
The Comets came into league play last week after suffering a 61-58 overtime loss to West York as part of the War of the Roses Tournament on Saturday, January 6.
The Comets saw a 45-41 lead evaporate in the fourth quarter due in part to a 5-for-13 free throw shooting effort and seven turnovers. The result was an 18-9 final quarter rally by West York that forced the extra period.
The Comets went back in front, 55-52. West York's Jared Shearer, however, dropped in a trey to tie the game and Dayvon Cortez poured in the final nine points to hold off the Comets. Shearer and Cortez each finished with 18 points.
Roldan led a quartet of double figure scorers with a team-best 13. Drew Greenawalt finished with 11 and Josiah Edwards and Colin Morrison each netted 10.
The Comet bowlers, with three straight shutouts under their belt, last Tuesday collected three of the top four scores of the day and edged Cedar Crest 5-2 in a home match.
"We won the first game by 108 pins but they came back in the second game and beat us by 75," recalled head coach Nick Vital. "That third game went down to the wire and we pulled out a win by 15 pins."
The Falcons notched the top score (724) but Dan Mease, who opened with a 257, Nick Mease, who's top game was a 244, and sophomore Jordan Kahler followed. D. Mease finished with a 718 series, N. Mease added a 695 and Kahler rolled a 636.
One day later the Comets gathered their sixth straight win, blanking Elizabethtown 7-0.
"There is never an easy match this time of year," said Vital, "but the guys were on a roll and beat E-town by 400 pins. We seem to be gaining momentum right now."
Michael Morris rolled the top series of the day (223-275-236 - 734) and Kahler, with the high game of the day (279) finished second with a 697 series. D. Mease's 664 series made it a top three sweep.
"Michael had a big match," said Vital. "He's starting to show some leadership."
Last Tuesday night in Lebanon, the Comets got off to a slow start and while their scoring picked up throughout the game the visitors couldn't stop the hosts and dropped a 53-35 Section One outing.
Held to two field goals in the first quarter, one by Alyssa Schriver and another by Ella Hart, the Comets fell behind 11-4. In a low scoring second frame, Manor got one point back but was on the short end of a 17-11 halftime score.
The Comets matched their first half scoring output in the third quarter but the Falcons exploded for 21 to pull away. Manor held Crest to three fourth quarter field goals but the hosts canned 8-of-12 free throws to remain in front.
Schriver dropped in a game-high 15 points but was Manor's only double figure scorer. Carroll Macy chipped in with nine points.
In Thursday's makeup game with Manheim Township, a valiant fourth quarter comeback fell just short of a victory as the Comets bowed 44-43 to the Streaks in Millersville.
Down 32-24 heading into the final quarter, Schriver netted nine of her team-high 12 points and Hart added six of her ten as the hosts outscored the Streaks 19-12 only to fall short by one.
"Down 44-41 we called a timeout to set up for a 3-point shot," said head coach Megan Collins. "We couldn't get that shot off, instead missed a long two, grabbed the rebound and Nevaeh Neal scored a layup with .5 left.
"I was extremely proud of them and how hard they played," she added. "We played with a lot of heart and no matter how many times they went ahead, we found a way to fight back and never gave up."
Nasheyla Greggs finished with 8 points, Carroll added 7 and Miriam Badri and Danielle Heisey added 2 each.
The Comets fall to 3-3 in Section One while the Streaks sit on top at 6-0.
Wednesday's league match against visiting Cocalico was a big one. The Eagles', having previously defeated CV and Solanco, left Millersville with a 45-18 win and sit on top of the Section One standings.
Looking closely at the match, in the 11 bouts actually wrestled, the Eagles won six, posting two pins, a tech fall and a major, securing what would have been a tighter 27-18 result. The Comets, however, forfeited three bouts, giving Cocalico an easy 18 additional points.
"They're tough from top to bottom," stated head coach Mike Fowler.
The Comets got bonus points from Tanner Stefanick, who posted a 15-0 tech fall over Dylan Rapp, and Trevor Grassel with a major over Seth Fritz (113).
"Trevor, a sophomore, wrestled a kid who was fifth at leagues last year," noted Fowler. "He's been winning key matches lately. And Tanner has been on fire since he dropped to 106 a few weeks ago."
That 9-0 advantage went to the wayside when Cocalico won three of the next four bouts, including a 4-0 win by Josiah Gehr over Nick Fafel (126).
Chad Mowbray's exciting 13-7 decision over Trevor Hale interrupted Cocalico's run.
Kole Marley (152) earned a 9-8 decision, breaking an 8-8 tie with Devin Sensenig with an escape with 40 seconds left and Nick Baker's 8-2 decision at 160 rounded out the Comet scoring.
"Less than a month ago Kole lost to Alex May 11-3," Fowler recalled. "Tonight he wins.
"Nick has been pretty solid this year and Chad improved to 12-8. Almost every guy on the team had some bright spots even in their losses. So from here we will work on our weaknesses and continue to grow as a team."
Saturday, December 6 was a busy day for the Comets. They went 4-1 at the Anthracite Duals at Panther Valley High School and finished in third place in the 16 team tournament.
Despite forfeiting at least two weight classes in each match, the Comets won big. They opened with a 59-19 win over Panther Valley, picked up a 51-24 result over Wissahickon and ran over No. Schuylkill 63-15 before bowing out 41-27 against a tough Wilson Boro squad. The Comets rebounded with a hard-fought 37-35 win over Shikellamy to finish third overall.
"The guys wrestled well in those first three matches," said Fowler. "We had a lot of good wins and things went about as planned. The win against Shikellamy, however, was pretty exciting."
Manor jumped out to a 10-0 lead with a major by Baker (160) and a fall by Marquis Sweigart.
Shikellamy came back with a fall at 187, Manor forfeited at 195, dropped a 10-5 decision at 220 and then forfeited at heavyweight to fall behind 21-10.
With eight bouts left to make up the ground, Manor started with Stefanick's 37 second fall at 106 and Grassel provided some motivation with a 3-2 thriller. Down 2-0 going into the second period, Grassel escaped and then scored a takedown for the 3-2 edge. He finished on top in the third for two minutes and cut the lead to 21-19.
Dylan Coleman's 48 second fall at 120 put the Comets in front, 25-21 but Shikellamy came back with a 4-0 decision over Fafel, who went 4-1 on the day.
Holding a one point lead with four bouts left, Rogers earned a 1:56 fall at 132 and Mowbray sealed the deal with a 49 second fall at 138. Shikellamy took the final two bouts of the night, winning by tech fall and pin but it wasn't enough.
Rogers, a freshman, and Stefanick both went 5-0 with four falls and a forfeit and Coleman, also a freshman, went 3-0 with three falls.
In Section One competition last week the Comets hosted Manheim Township but didn't have the depth to pull off the upsets. The Streaks came into Millersville with identical 4-0 overall records and left with one better. The boys' dropped a 118-52 result and fell to 1-1 in Section action while the girls lost 122-48 and are also 1-1.
"I thought the meet went well," said head coach Eric Urban, "but Township is very strong this year."
Township's biggest edge was going 1-2 in all three relays, a 30 point advantage. They won all but three events.
Sam Lutter was Manor's first winner of the night, taking the 100 fly in 57.61. He also finished second in the 200 IM.
Pan Kunyu followed with a first in the 100 free (51.05) and was second in the 100 back while Jared Stephan's 5:03.74 was the winning time in the 500 free. He also finished second in the 100 breaststroke ahead of teammate Everett Barry who was third.
Andrew Pursel chipped in with a third place effort in the 200 free.
The girls' managed a second place finish in the opening 200 medley relay with the team of Erica Shaub, Alana Breitbach, Jayln Clow and Anna Sugra but recorded just one win on the night, a 1:06.77 by Breitbach in the 100 breaststroke. The sophomore was also second in the 200 IM.
Sugra chipped in with a second in the 200 free and was third in the 100 while Clow added a third in the 100 fly and Shaub was third in the 100 back. Jordyn Kendig added thirds in both the 50 and 500 freestyle events.
Comets Improve to 4-0, Top Warwick 51-23 January 5, 2018
After a successful December, the Comets improved to 4-0 in Section One with a convincing 51-23 victory over Warwick last Wednesday night in Lititz. Penn Manor shares the top spot in the section with Cocalico while the Warriors fall to 0-3.
The Comets jumped out to a 24-0 lead and never looked back. Owen Rohrer (120) got the crowd going early, breaking a 4-4 tie with a third period escape and posting a 5-4 thriller over Conner Esbenshade.
Nicholas Fafel made it 7-0 with an 8-0 major decision over Mateo Chacon and Caden Rogers (132) added more bonus points when he pinned Shaun Stafford in 5:29.
"Caden used a variety of takedowns to open up the match until he could find something tight to secure the fall," stated head coach Nick Fowler.
The bonus points continued at 138 and 145 as Chad Mowbray worked a tech fall over Preston Johnson (16-1) and Ian Young (145) decked Patrick Tocci in the first period.
"Chad pushed the pace and scored a lot of points," said Fowler. "And Ian used a double leg to secure the takedown, followed by a cobra to get the fall in 1:21."
Warwick's Luke Hirtzel calmed the Comet crowd, working a 3:41 fall over Kole Marley at 152 but the momentum was short-lived as Nick Baker (160) broke open a 4-3 edge with a late second period reversal and tacked on six third period points to pick up an 11-3 major over David Hnasko. Marquis Sweigart (170) dominated Andrew Morgan with a 22-6 tech fall that pushed the lead to 33-6.
The Warriors countered with a 20-5 tech fall at 182 but TJ Keener extended Manor's led with a 4:40 fall over Roland McClune at 195.
"TJ had some nice leg attack defense to prevent McClune from scoring and once they got to the mat, TJ used multiple moves to turn McClune and earn the fall," Fowler noted.
The last four bouts of the night were a wash as the Comets forfeited at 220 and 285 and Warwick returned the favor at 106 and 113.
The Comets competed in three tournaments in December. They finished 12th in Solanco's 26 team tournament, were 22nd in their own 28 team tourney and ended 2017 with a bang, finishing second in Governor Mifflin's 24 team event December 28-29.
Fafel was Manor's highest place-winner at Mifflin, finishing second at 126. He came in seeded 6th. "He upset the No. 3 seed in the quarters and then had a great 2-0 victory over the No. 2 seed to get to the finals," recalled Fowler.
Freshman Tanner Stefanick made 106 for the first time this season. He placed fourth and finished with six falls.
Also a freshman, Caden Rogers chipped in with a fifth place effort at 132 while Mowbray (138) and Baker (160) brought home sixth place finishes.
Seventh place finishes included Trevor Grassel at 113, Sweigart at 170 and Keener at 195 and settling for eight place was Owen Rohrer (120) and AJ Cox (182).
"The best thing about the tournament was that we were everywhere from first to fifth place in the team scoring throughout the first night," said Fowler. "The last round was our biggest night. Fafel won a tight semifinals bout to get to the finals and we had nine other guys in the blood round. If they won, they would come back Friday morning to continue. If they lost, they were done. I was hoping for 5-6 wins to give us a good group coming back," he continued. "After the first 5-6 matches, I realized we had not yet lost. At the end of the round I just smiled and could not believe that the guys put together the best round I have ever seen. We won nine of nine matches to guarantee placing ten guys. That was the difference," Fowler said. "We never looked back."
The swim teams traveled to Franklin and Marshall's Kunkel Aquatic Center to take on McCaskey in the Section One opener last Tuesday evening. With a combined 19 of 22 first place finishes, the squads swept the Red Tornadoes.
The girls' team won all but one event and got a pair of wins from both Erica Schaub and Alaina Breitbach in a 126-35 win. Jared Stephan and Pan Kunyu did the same for the boys' leading them to a 116-52 final.
"We swam some good times and came away with two wins," said head coach Eric Urban.
Shaub won the 100 free (1:00.45) and the 100 back (1:06.46) and opened the winning 200 medley relay with Breitbach, Jalyn Clow and Anna Sugra chipping in. The same foursome won the 400 free relay with Breitbach, who won the 200 IM (2:17.17) and the 100 breaststroke (1:08.41), anchoring. Sugra added a first in the 50 free (26.62) and Clow was tops in the 100 fly (1:09.17) and anchored the 200 free relay with Jordyn Kendig, Karly Frankford and Kelly Johnson, who was second in the 200 free, contributing.
Kendig also won the 200 free (2:30.55) and was second in the 100.
Other key seconds were earned by Kailey Stoner in the 50 free, Sugra in the 500, Allison Steele in the 100 back, and Carli May in the 100 breaststroke.
Stephan opened his busy day by anchoring the 200 medley relay. Kunyu swam the opening leg with Sam Lutter and Noah Buckwalter following. The same group, with the exception of Andrew Pursel stepping in for Buckwalter, won the 400 free relay in 3:41.18. Stephan also won the 200 IM (2:09.19) and the 500 free (5:13.07) while Kunyu took charge in the 100 free (52 flat) and the 100 back (58.88).
Pursel, who was second in the 100 free, added a first in the 200 (1:58.9), Buckwalter won the 100 fly by a touch (1:02.41) and Lutter, who was also second in the 200 IM, brought home the top time in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.55) to round out the winners.
Vincent Vozzella chipped in with a key second in the 50 free and freshman Everett Barry was second in the 100 breaststroke.
After suffering three straight losses, the boys' basketball team capped the 2017 portion of their schedule by winning the Northern Lebanon Holiday Tournament December 27 and 28. They head into the New Year with an overall record of 4-6.
"That was the boost we needed at this point in the season," said head coach Larry Bellew.
The Comets opened the tournament with a 55-43 win over Schuylkill Valley on the 27th and then held off a 7-1 Cedars' squad 54-51 one night later to claim the championship.
After a tightly contested first quarter against SV, the Comets gained some breathing room with a 17-6 second quarter effort and led 46-31 heading into the final frame.
Kevin Roldan's game-high 16 points paced the Comets. Ty Erisman chipped in with 12 points and Colin Morrison and Jaden Matias combined for 15.
One night later the Comets survived a 25-point fourth quarter rally by N. Lebanon to grab the tourney trophy. Manor led 11-7 in the first quarter and was up 22-18 at the half. Reed Morrison tallied six of his 13 points in the third quarter as the Comets outscored the hosts 18-7 for a 14 point lead heading into the final frame.
The Cedars' Alex Yeager did his best to overtake the Comets, pouring in 13 of his game-high 18 points, but it wasn't enough. Despite connecting on just six of 13 free throws down the stretch, Manor got six points from Roldan and held off the comeback.
"Their starting guards are nice players so we focused on shutting them down and taking our chances with the other three," said Bellew. "We held the one to nine and then Yeager finished with 18. Had we been more efficient from the free throw line we could have had a comfortable win. But credit them for battling to the end."
Roldan, who was named tourney MVP, and R. Morrison finished with 13 points each. C. Morrison, also voted to the all-tourney team, netted nine and Erisman and Josiah Edwards combined for 11.
"The season has been a bit of a roller coaster," said Bellew. "We've been engaged in a number of close games. We've been able to pull a couple out and we lost two where we had shots inside the last 10 seconds of the game to tie or take the lead.
"From a 'varsity experience' point-of-view, we're young," he continued. "But they are growing each day and coming together. They need to continue to push and hold each other accountable to be their best. If we can eliminate some turnovers and poor shot selection, and continue to improve defensively, we will give ourselves chances to win each night."
A year ago the Lady Comets went 6-13. They lost their leading scorer, Alyssa Schriver, to a knee injury with seven games left in the season. This year their starting center, Kate Levato, went down with a torn ACL. But the Comets are showing their resiliency this season and are putting together a winning record to date. They capped the 2017 portion of their schedule by winning Solanco's Holiday Tournament, December 28-29.
The Comets faced Pequea Valley in the opener and survived the Braves 60-51 in overtime.
Manor got off to a slow start, scoring just seven points in the opening quarter and fell behind 25-20 at the half. A 23 point third quarter, however, helped the Comets turn things around. Ella Hart scored eight of her career-high 13 points in sparking that third quarter run and put the Comets in front 43-39.
The Braves, however, hit a pair of threes in the fourth and outscored the Comets 10-6 to force an extra frame. Both teams hit just one field goal in overtime but the Comets drained 9 of 11 free throws to advance to the championship game for the second year in a row.
Schriver, with six points in the OT period, tossed in a game-high 19. In addition to Hart netting double figures, Macy Carroll scored eight, both Nasheyla Greggs and Sarah Wiker finished with seven and Danielle Heisey added six.
Another slow start plagued the Comets in the title game against Solanco. The Mares jumped out in front 10-0. They led 14-9 at the end of eight minutes and held a 24-15 advantage at the half.
That nine point lead, however, wasn't enough to survive Manor's second half rally. Schriver poured in ten third quarter points and the Comets outscored the hosts 15-4 to take a 30-28 lead. While the Mares regained their composure down the stretch, it wasn't enough. Schriver canned 11-of-14 free throws to help hold the Mares at bay, 48-42. She finished with a season-high 25 points and was named MVP of the tournament.
"Our motivation, in both games, was to not bring home the runner-up trophy for the second year in a row," said head coach Megan Collins. "We made the necessary adjustments at halftime, and had more intensity and fire in both second halves of play.
"We've had to play small this season with Kate going down in our third game but we've gotten great additions in Nevaeh Neal and Dashona London," she added.
Comets Cap Perfect Season With PIAA Crown November 19, 2017
Penn Manor's magical ride through the 2017 season ended this past Saturday afternoon on a soggy field at Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall. But the weather didn't dampen the Comets performance or their spirits as they capped a perfect 28-0 season with a 2-0 victory over Downingtown West to earn their third PIAA Class 3A Championship.
"This is just awesome," said head coach Matt Soto. "I'm so proud of this team."
The District One champs, making their first appearance in the state finals since 1988, found themselves pinned in the backfield for the bulk of the contest. Manor, as they have done often through the post-season, set the tone early. After two straight corners, Emma DeBerdine found Alyssa Schriver on the left side for what proved to be the only goal they needed just 3:50 into the game.
They worked their eighth corner of the half with five minutes remaining but again failed to convert. The Whippets (25-1), who advanced with a convincing 3-1 semifinal victory over perennial power Emmaus, thus ending their 81-game winning streak, barely managed to get the ball over the 25 yard line. They were pressing late in the half when the Comets exploded in transition and notched an insurance goal when DeBerdine sent a shot across the circle that made its way to Bri Harsh on the left wing with just 40.6 seconds left in the half.
"The girls were just terrific today," said Soto.
While the second half went scoreless, the Comets were knocking on the door, earning six more corners.
Downingtown, who came into the state championship game, like the Comets, undefeated, managed their first corner of the game with 13:40 left but couldn't crack Penn Manor's defense. Their second and final corner came with 3:53 left but they failed to get off a shot, leaving the Comets as the No. 1 team in the country as rated by MaxFieldHockey.com.
"This whole season, the girls just worked so well together," Soto noted.
Britney Hook again stood alone in goal, collecting her 23rd shutout of the season having made just 19 saves all year. Penn Manor capped its perfect season with eight straight playoff game shutouts. The last and only fifth goal surrendered this season was against Donegal in the L-L League finals on October 17.
"This is the school's first-ever undefeated season," pointed out Athletic Director Jeff Roth. "Girl's soccer won section, league, districts and states in 2002 but were not undefeated. And the field hockey team did not trail in a game all season."
Advancing to the PIAA semifinals was nothing new for the Comets. They've gotten that far each of the last six years. Getting past that point, however, was a bit tougher. In each of the last two seasons, Penn Manor fell to Emmaus in the semifinal round. Before being named PIAA co-champions with Palmyra in 2014, they again bowed out in the semifinals, this time to Lower Dauphin.
"Of course we talked about the past," said Soto. "We knew it was time to make a change."
And so the Comets traveled to Warwick last Tuesday night where they faced, four the fourth time this season, a very familiar opponent in Hershey High School. They not only handed the Trojans a 2-0 loss but advanced to the PIAA finals for the third time in six years. Back in 2008, when the Comets earned their first PIAA crown, they dominated Hershey 5-0.
"They always play us tough and I think every time they've played us this year they have improved," said Soto. "We really didn't change our game plan," he added. "We made a few adjustments but this team is so talented that they can make changes during the game."
Hershey (20-6) went on the attack first, forcing keeper Britney Hook to make one save within the first three minutes. That effort, however, was short-lived. Manor regrouped, gained possession and charged to the other end of the field where they put together a flurry of four straight corners before being awarded a penalty stroke. Eleven minutes into the contest, Emma DeBerdine stepped to the line and calmly placed the ball past Kit Olmsted (8 saves) and into the right corner of the cage.
Olmsted saved Manor's initial shot on goal, an effort by Gabby Bitts, but then dove on the ball to prevent an easy goal and a penalty stroke opportunity was awarded.
Neither team mounted any real threats after that. The Comets finished with six corners in the half and Hershey, who advanced to the semis with two straight shutouts, ended the half in transition with a shot that sailed over the goal.
Manor opened the second half by pinning the Trojans in their half of the field and working their corner options. On their fifth attempt, DeBerdine, who caught the Bri Harsh insert, dribbled across the baseline and sent a pass back to Harsh who connected for the insurance goal.
Hershey, finished with two corners, both late in the game, and managed just one shot, easily saved by Hook.
The Comets finished the season with 148 total goals scored and were led by Gabby Bitts (35 goals, 23 assists) who was one of six Penn Manor players selected for the 17-player All-League team. Also selected was Emma DeBerdine (27g, 30a), Hannah Brown (10g, 10a), Alyssa Schriver (8g, 10a), Lisa Schaefer and Mia Clancy (10g, 2a).
Manor's first team all stars included Clancy, Autumn Gager, Schaefer, Barbusca, Bitts, Brown, DeBerdine, and Schriver.
Rounding out Manor's double-digit scorers were Bri Harsh (22g, 17a) and Anna Mary Barbusca (22g, 15a).
26-0 Comets Advance to PIAA Semifinals November 15, 2017
The top ranked team in the Nation confidently secured its fifth straight post-season shutout this past Saturday at Exeter Township High School, taking one more step in achieving a PIAA crown. Penn Manor, following up on Tuesday's 4-0 opening round victory over Central Bucks South, made quick work of Central Bucks East, ending the Patriots (19-5) season with a convincing 6-0 victory.
And like they did Tuesday, the Comets jumped in front early and never looked back.
"Scoring first is always a great way to start the game," said head coach Matt Soto.
Tuesday, at Warwick's Joseph Grosh Field, and despite some freezing rain, the Comets needed just a minute to jump in front of CBS. From the opening whistle, they sprinted toward the goal, earned the first of 21 corners, and capitalized. Emma DeBerdine took the insert at the top of the circle, dribbled to the right and centered the ball back to Gabby Bitts, who quickly sent the ball to the back of the cage.
Penn Manor's speed was again on display Saturday. Needing just 48 seconds, the District Three champs grabbed the upper hand against CBS when Alyssa Schriver made good on their first shot of the game.
The Comets finished with 15 shots and 13 corners and scored twice more before the half. DeBerdine, assisted by Bri Harsh, capitalized on Manor's sixth corner and pushed the lead to 2-0 with 10:54 left in the half.
"I thought Emma played great defense on their best player and also enjoyed offensive success," stated Soto.
Six minutes later they struck again, this time Anna May Barbusca sent a DeBerdine pass to the back of the cage and the Comets were on top 3-0 at the break.
"I was a little bit surprised by the lopsided score but when we click, we can score some goals," said Soto.
The Patriots, making just their second PIAA appearance, worked their only corner and only shot (saved by keeper Britney Hook) of the game late in the second half but by that time the Comets had tallied three more goals. Bitts, the team's leading scorer, collected her 34th and 35th goals of the season just five minutes apart after Barbusca's second goal pushed the lead to 4-0.
That six goal tally currently leaves the Comets with 144 total goals scored but just as impressive, if not more so, is the slim five total goals they've given up all season.
"Our defense has been very solid," said Soto of Lisa Schaefer, Mia Clancy, Brooke Spezialette, Autumn Gager and Britney Hook in goal.
The Patriots, the third place team out of District One, got to the quarterfinals with a 9-0 rout of District 2 champ Delaware Valley on Tuesday while the Comets took care of CBE.
With 21 corners against CB South (13-10-1), one might expect more than four goals scored but the Titan defense, for the most part, stood tall. Ten minutes after Bitts put the Comets in front, DeBerdine was on the receiving end of a Bitts pass that was sent to the back of the net for a 2-0 cushion.
The second half found Bitts again on the receiving end of a DeBerdine assist, making it 3-0 while Barbusca capped the scoring with 7:34 left in the game.
CB South's keeper, Jillian Heilig, picked up four saves on the day while the defenders in front of her chipped in with two defensive saves.
The wins push the Comets into the PIAA Class 3A semifinals where they will face Hershey on Tuesday, November 14 at Warwick at 7 pm. The Comets have dominated Hershey three times already this season by a combined score of 9-1. Hershey advanced with a 4-0 win over Conestoga.
"I'm not sure it's an advantage playing them again but we certainly have plenty of experience in playing them," Soto said. "We need to simply sharpen our entire game."
As voted on by the Section One coaches, four Comet soccer players received all-star recognition. Senior defender Conlin Groft was a first team selection, senior goalie Blake Martin and junior midfielder Hunter Enck were second team selections, and Conner Braun was an academic all-star.
Comets Blank LD For District 3A Crown November 5, 2017
Penn Manor, the top ranked team in the country, continued its unbeaten streak (24-0) with a convincing 3-0 win over Lower Dauphin (16-5-1) in the District Three Class 3A field hockey championship held at Henry Hershey Field on Saturday, November 4. Having finished second to Palmyra in each of the last two years, the Comets earned their first district crown since 2012 and fourth overall.
"That's a real good change," said head coach Matt Soto to his team after the game.
"It was a very nice win. I really didn't know what to expect but I knew we had the upper hand in possession," stated Soto. "It was just a matter of time. The girls were very focused."
After 11 minutes and a pair of corners, Manor opened the scoring. Emma DeBerdine took a corner insert from Briana Harsh, dribbled to the right and sent a pass to Gabby Bitts, who redirected the ball to the back right corner of the cage.
Lower Dauphin earned its first and only corner of the contest eight minutes later but Manor's swarming defense prevented a shot and in turn transitioned to the other end of the field where they picked up their fourth corner of the half. Harsh again inserted to DeBerdine at the top of the circle. She dished a pass to Bitts who quickly connected and sent the ball back across the circle where Anna May Barbusca easily converted for a 2-0 lead.
The Comets, who defeated LD 1-0 earlier in the season, talked at halftime about catching the ball more consistently and keeping pressure on the Falcons when they used their back transfers.
The second half continued with Manor again dictating the pace and just three minutes in they converted yet another corner. DeBerdine, uncontested at the top of the circle, carried the ball to the right before centering a short pass to Bitts who sent the ball toward the goal where Harsh, patiently waiting on the left post, slipped the ball behind the keeper.
The rest of the half found both teams battling between the 25-yard-lines but failing to crack the defenses.
"I think they sent more runners at our ball handlers in the second half," said Soto. "But our team speed worked to our advantage.
"Now we start a brand new tournament," he added. "We gear up for that and keep working hard."
The Comets open state tournament action this Tuesday opposite Central Bucks South at Warwick. "It's become our home-away-from-home," said Soto of the Warriors field in Lititz.
Penn Manor advanced to the finals with a 2-0 victory over No. 4 Hershey in a double header last Wednesday night at Warwick. Despite 14 corners and 13 shots for the game, it took the Comets until the second half to break on top. With 12:42 left to play, DeBerdine converted Manor's 11th corner with a solid shot from the top of the circle that found its way to the backboard.
Three minutes later it was 2-0. DeBerdine fired another shot on goal but this time the rebound found its way to Harsh who quickly sent the ball to the right corner.
"In that second half we simply said if we get open shots to take them," stated Soto. "We needed to focus on good scoring opportunities and capitalize on them."
The Comets traveled to Section One leader Manheim Township this past Friday night for their last game of the season. The Streaks were coming in with six straight wins and a chance to claim their first Section One title since 2004. And it was Senior Night. Township took care of business and handed the visitors a 62-14 loss, improving to 7-0 in Section One (9-1 overall).
"We were a bit outmatched talent-wise," said head coach John Brubaker. "They have enough tools to contend for the district title."
The Streaks opened the scoring with a 70-yard passing touchdown by Xavier Roman and Grayson Sallade picked up TD's runs of 66 and 59-yards that pushed the lead to 21-0 in the second quarter. Sallade rushed for 169-yards on the night and went over the 1,000 yards for the season.
Manor got on the board with a 52-yard reverse by Taraje Whitefield, taking a handoff from sophomore Josh Gibson.
"That was an exciting score and was executed perfectly," said Brubaker. "Taraje also caught three passes and blocked an extra point.
"We did have some success in running the ball with Cole Heckaman rushing for 97 yards and Josiah Edwards going 93. Josiah also completed 7-of-11 passes," Brubaker added.
The Streaks ran off four more TD's before the Comets added to their total with a 77-yard run by Heckaman in the fourth quarter.
"We did leave a couple points off the board when we missed a field," Brubaker noted. "We were fourth-and-four at the goal line and elected to kick the field goal but it was blocked.
My expectations were higher than we finished," he continued. "After all, wins are the measuring stick but I think these last two weeks the boys still had a hunger and wanted to play hard. The last couple of years we weren't winning much so the motivation to continue wasn't there but this year it was different," said Brubaker. "We have a great group of seniors and they continued to want to play hard.
"Football isn't an easy sport but it builds character and teaches that you need to be leaders in life," he added. "I hope that the boys learned more than just football."
The Comets, who were 0-10 and 2-8 in each of the last two years, were 3-4 in Section One and 3-7 overall. They finished with three of the top ten rushers in the league. Edwards was seventh with 645 yards and 6 TD's, Heckaman was eighth with 584 yards and four touchdowns and Ben Wright, who scored six times, rushed for 539 yards and was tenth.
Just one Comet runner competed in the PIAA Championships held at the Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey this past Saturday. In a field of 236 runners, senior Nick Fafel finished in 90th place with a 17:08. Fafel, the team's top runner all season, opened with a 5:17 first mile split and found himself in 143 place. He buckled down and moved into 102nd place by the second mile and passed 12 runners down the stretch to earn that 90th place finish, just two places behind E-town's Charles Scharf. He was the 9th L-L League runner to complete the 3.1 mile course.
Neshaminy's Rusty Kujdych claimed the PIAA 3A title with a 15:47.