Flatt Receives Character Award March 14, 2019
Solanco's Dominic Flatt won his first Lancaster-Lebanon League title this past January as an undersized 106 pounder, weighing in at 99.5 pounds. At the League tournament, he began a friendship with two brothers, Jaxon and Cooper Brubaker, who have Saul-Wilson Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, characterized by small stature. The brothers are two of just13 in the world with this condition.
"Upon receiving his first-place medal at the tournament, Dominic gave his medal to Jaxon Brubaker realizing Jaxon would never get the chance to wrestle," recounted Solanco head coach Tony Mendez.
Many individuals in the wrestling community became aware of this story, including Clair Beiler, owner of Lancaster Awards & Apparel, who supplies the league wrestling tournament with all the awards.
"Mr. Beiler wanted to donate a new championship medal to Dominic for his incredible act of kindness," continued Mendez. "He was presented with this award, the 'Extemporaneous Character Award' at the Lancaster-Lebanon League All-Star banquet on Monday (3/11). As I suspected, Dominic placed the medal around Cooper Brubaker's neck so he had a medal to match his brothers. Once again, showing his incredible character as a wrestler and person."
Solanco Falls in PIAA Opener to Mt. St. Joseph March 11, 2019
In the first round of the PIAA 5A girls basketball tournament this past Saturday night at Upper Dublin High School, Solanco found itself in a back-and-forth matchup against the No. 2 seed out of District One, Mount St. Joseph. The Magic, however, used a 17-10 run through the fourth quarter to turn a three point lead into a 10-point victory, 49-39.
The Mares, who shot just 25 percent from two point range and only three percent from behind the arc, struggled to find their shooting rhythm most of the night but kept fighting from behind. Tied at 3-3 early, the Magic used a 7-0 run late in the first quarter for a 10-5 lead.
"It was an absolute surprise to me that we struggled shooting the ball the whole game," said head coach Chad McDowell. "We had a great week of practice where we shot the ball well, even in our scrimmage earlier in the week against Elizabethtown we were making shots. That 25 percent could be a season low," he added. "They made shots and we didn't. That was the difference in the game."
Solanco took its first lead of the night when Aleksa Burger made one-of-two free throws with 5:24 left in the half for a 13-12 edge. Prior to that free throw, Grace Kreider scored twice, Burger, who led the team with 13 rebounds, including 11 at the offensive end, scored on a put back and Jenna Dombach's free throw tied the game at 12 all.
"Aleksa had a terrific game on the boards," lauded McDowell. "She has been a mainstay on the boards all four years she has played, hauling in a 709 career total."
The Magic responded with five straight points before a Kreider steal turned layup and another put back by Burger put Solanco in front again, 19-17 with 1:56 left in the half. Mt. St. Joseph's Grace Niekelski, who controlled the paint and finished with 14 points, tied the game for the fourth time with a bucket in the post and Lauren Vesey, who led all scorers with 16 points, ended the half with five straight, putting the Magic in front 24-19.
"They had decent size and utilized it well, especially at the offensive end," McDowell stated. "One of our Achilles' heels all season has come against teams that had any kind of size. We have had some difficult matchups at times throughout the season."
Solanco used a 6-2 run to start the third quarter, and cut the lead to 26-23 on a put back by Jess Cabrera. They ended the frame with another 6-2 run. Jade Eshleman hit a jumper on the wing, Paige Phillips scored on a baseline move and Dombach's layup left it at 32-29 after three complete quarters.
But the Mares could get no closer. The Magic scored eight straight points and Solanco's offense went stagnant for just over a three minute span that saw Burger score on yet another offensive rebound at 6:30 and Kreider drop in a three ball with 2:42 left, cutting the lead to 42-34.
"The turning point, in my opinion, came early in the game when we were unable to create turnovers (zero in the first quarter and three in the second)," McDowell pointed out. "One thing that has exemplified our team all season long was our ability to cause other teams to make mistakes, to play faster and then for us to capitalize on those mistakes. MSJ did not make mistakes and did not turn the ball over, which did not allow us to get into any defensive rhythm.
"Then, in the fourth quarter, we were settling for threes," he continued. "We needed to continue to attack the basket and look for kick out shots, but we forced some shots instead. And then we had that scoring lull during a crucial stretch."
Fouls and free throws played a role in the final minutes as the Magic converted 8-of-11 at the stripe to maintain their lead and extend their season.
Burger, with 12 points, finished as the Mares only double-digit scorer. Kreider added nine points and picked up all four of Solanco's steals. Dombach added eight points and five rebounds while Eshleman and Cabrera combined for eight points and seven rebounds.
The Mares, who finished fourth in District Three, ended the season at 20-8 overall.
Post-season awards included Burger, Kreider and Cabrera being named as Section Three first team all-stars. Eshleman was a second team selection, Dombach received honorable mention recognition and Cabrera was named Section Three MVP. Kara McClune was the Section Three Unsung Hero and coach McDowell was voted as Section Three Coach of the Year.
"It was a fantastic season," McDowell exclaimed. "This group of young ladies have accomplished so much both on and off the court. They were Section Champions, developed lasting friendships, and experienced life lessons. They have brought a lot to our Solanco Community and I am very proud of every one of them. I wish the graduating senior the best in their future endeavors," he added. "They will always be a big part of a legacy in our Solanco girls' basketball family.
"For the underclassmen...the off-season starts now!"
Solanco Finishes Fourth in District 3 5A Playoffs March 4, 2019
Solanco's exciting run through the District Three 5A girls' basketball bracket came to an end this past Thursday night in Quarryville. The school's first ever top seed advanced to the semifinals with a solid 51-44 win over No. 16 New Oxford and a come-from-behind thriller over No. 8 Mechanicsburg before suffering losses to Palmyra (54-51 OT) and Twin Valley (45-37) last week, and settling for fourth place in the district.
Tuesday the girls hosted No. 12 Palmyra for a chance to play in the District Championship at the Santander Arena in Reading. The Cougars, however, were in the midst of their own Cinderella run, having knocked off fifth seed Lampeter-Strasburg and fourth seed Spring Grove, on a last second shot, to get to Solanco.
After falling behind 5-0, Solanco regrouped behind Grace Kreider's seven points and a three-ball by Paige Phillips that put the Mares in front 13-9 with 1:02 left in the first. They settled for a 15-12 edge on a steal by Kara McClune and a dish to Phillips with a bucket at the buzzer.
Kreider (4 steals, 3 assists), who led all players with 20 points, dropped in five in the second quarter as Solanco doubled up the visitors 10-5 for a 25-17 lead at the break.
"Grace played an excellent game," praised head coach Chad McDowell. "She elevated her play. She has the drive to play big in big game situations."
The Mares, creating some turnovers on their full court press, looked to take control. Three-pointers by McClune and Phillips (8 points) sandwiched a jumper by Olivia Richardson and pushed the lead to 35-24 with 3:08 left in the third. But the Cougars, who have battled adversity all season long, responded with an 11-0 run and a 37-35 lead with 6:42 left in regulation.
It was nip-and-tuck from that point forward. Down 40-36, Solanco, in front of a large pack of boisterous home fans, got two straight buckets from Jade Eshleman (4 points, 5 rebounds) and a pair of free throws from Kreider to go back in front, 42-40 with 4:20 left.
Kreider's jumper with 1:06 left broke the 44-44 tie but Richardson's (16 points) two free throws with 29 seconds pushed the game into overtime as Kreider's final attempt was blocked.
Both teams traded buckets early before free throws down the stretch determined the outcome. Jenna Dombach converted a one-and-one with 1:07 left but Palmyra made four straight, including two with 7.3 left to wrap up the scoring.
The Cougars (15-10) were 17-of-20 for the game and went on to top No. 3 Gettysburg (22-5) to win the District crown. Solanco hit 10-of-18.
"They were a good foul shooting team and we gave them too many opportunities," said McDowell. "They got into the bonus early in the third quarter and then gained momentum with that run late in the quarter. We did have our chances," he continued, "but we missed too many foul shots in the fourth quarter and overtime when the game was on the line. We usually make those.
"We had a great game plan coming in and we executed it for the majority of the game."
Also contributing was Jess Cabrera and Aleksa Burger who combined for 11 points and 6 rebounds and Mackenzie Gladfelter who hit the boards in the first half with Eshleman on the bench with two fouls.
Two nights later the Mares hosted No. 2 Twin Valley (19-5) with a third place finish on the line. The Raiders were coming off a ten point loss to three seed Gettysburg and rely heavily on their leading scorer, Peyton McDaniel (22.9 ppg avg), the Berks Player of the Year.
"Peyton has over 40 offers to play at the college level, mostly D1 and D2 offers...many from the Ivy League schools," shared McDowell. "Aleksa got the defensive assignment and did an outstanding job. For four seasons, she has drawn some of the toughest defensive assignements and always steps up. When Aleksa needed a break, we rotated Ilynd Rapant in. She did a great job as held."
With Burger and Rapant frustrating McDaniel, sophomore guard Ava Morrow (game high 16) stepped up and netted eight of TV's 13 first quarter points. Kreider was on fire from long range, dropping in three for nine of the teams' 11 points.
Cabrera (8 points) and McClune each dropped in a three and Burger added four points in the second frame as Solanco grabbed a 23-22 lead at the break.
Cabrera netted half of Solanco's 10 third quarter points and the Raiders managed just seven and fell behind 33-29. But with eight minutes left, the roles were reversed. Dombach and Burger managed one field goal each to account for the hosts total while McDaniel (13 points) got loose for five of the Raider's 16 quarter points to spark the come-from-behind win.
"The first three quarters were close but we struggled to get shots to fall in the fourth quarter," McDowell said. "We had some good looks but we went cold. We did everything we could, but they outlasted us," he added. "They got some easy looks and we just struggled.
"Each game during districts was a battle," McDowell continued. "I am proud of the team for their effort. They played their hearts out in each game. And we had a ton of support from the community, the pep band and the Blackhole. We thank them."
The loss leaves Solanco as the fourth place team in the District Three 5A class and matches the school's highest finish. The 2011-12 team also finished in fourth place. They came in as the No. 5 seed and opened with a double OT win over Harrisburg and a four point win over Manheim Township before falling to Central Dauphin and Wilson.
The Mares (20-7) open PIAA playoff action this Saturday with a 5:30pm game at Upper Dublin High School against District One runner-up Mount St. Joseph (13-13).
Solanco Advances to District Semifinals February 25, 2019
In the win or go home portion of their schedule, top seed Solanco dug deep for a 51-44 victory over a scrappy No. 16 New Oxford team last Tuesday night in the opening round of the District Three Class 5A playoffs in Quarryville. The win punched Solanco's ticket to the PIAA playoffs.
Three days later, they earned a 64-53 come-from-behind win over Mechanicsburg to advance to the semifinals opposite Palmyra.
"After a ten day layoff between games, it was great to get back on our home court and play," said head coach Chad McDowell of Tuesday's outing. "I thought we responded well to the layoff and took control of the game with a quick start."
The Mares shook off 13 first half turnovers and survived a second half shooting slump while never losing the lead. Solanco, with a balanced scoring quarter, jumped out to a 15-9 lead. New Oxford, behind an aggressive press and taking advantage of turnovers, scored the first six points of the second quarter, knotting the score at 15-15 with 5:18 left.
"We did a spectacular job on their big, Morgan Adams (6 points in the first half)," said McDowell. "We knew coming in that she would cause problems in the paint but we double teamed her every time she touched the ball in the low block. Jade Eshleman, Mackenzie Glatfelter, Kara (McClune), Aleksa Burger and Jenna Dombach did an outstanding job guarding her and doubling her," he added. "We knew we needed to box out and I thought we did a good job there, winning the battle on the boards 33-28."
Solanco countered with a pair of Burger buckets sandwiched around a Grace Kreider free throw and pushed the lead back to five, 20-15 while a jumper by Dombach and a Jess Cabrera steal turned layup before a New Oxford free throw made it 24-19 at the break.
A Cabrera (5 points) fueled 9-2 run started the third quarter and Solanco seemed poised to pull away, leading 33-21 with 5:22 left and 40-29 at the start of the fourth.
The 9-14 Colonials opened the final frame with a 9-2 run, cutting the lead to 42-38. With both teams trading turnovers, and fouls, the Mares maintained the lead with five different players combining to hit 7-of-12 free throws over the final three minutes and clutch rebounding by Jade Eshleman who hauled in 12 on the night.
"They made a few runs but we were able to weather them," McDowell said. "We stepped up and made shots when we needed to or got a stop when we needed it. When faced with adversity, this team responds time again."
Burger notched a team high 13 points but also grabbed eight boards, five steals and dished out five assists. Cabrera also hit for double figures with a dozen while Kreider, also with five steals, put up eight points with Eshleman adding seven and Dombach netting six. Paige Phillips and Mackenzie Gladfelter combined for five.
"I was pleased with our effort and hustle," stated McDowell, "but we need to do a better job of taking care of the ball. Moving forward we need to continue to play together as a team and focus on the big picture."
Top seed Solanco, facing a 39-32 deficit after three quarters against No. 8 Mechanicsburg in Quarryville, Friday, February 22, found another gear as the final minutes got underway. Eshleman, who recorded a double-double, netted eight of her 14 points in the paint, Kreider added eight points including a pair of dagger three-pointers, and Cabrera sank seven-of-eight free throws, combining for 23 points of an impressive 32-point quarter that vaulted Solanco into this week's semifinals with a 64-53 win.
"That was a hard-earned 32 points," said McDowell. "We had 22 offensive possessions and scored on 15 of them. We committed just two turnovers in the quarter and were 15-of-18 from the foul line. Plus our defense held them to 14 points. It was a complete quarter of basketball."
The Mares put up 32 points over the course of the first three quarters and matched that effort over the final eight minutes.
Solanco, with a 9-0 run, tied the score at 43-43 on a three-ball by Phillips, who finished with nine points after nailing two key triples in the third quarter.
Back-to-back buckets by Eshleman put Solanco in front with 3:30 left while Kreider added an exclamation point, nailing two straight three-pointers that pushed the lead to 55-49 with 1:51 on the clock. They managed nine more points down the stretch to lock up the win.
Down 25-18 at the break, Solanco went to a full court man defense in the second half in hopes of making up ground.
"We don't normally play man-to-man defense but felt it was what we needed to do to give ourselves a chance to win," stated McDowell. "And in the fourth quarter, everyone stepped up and we got stops. The girls never stopped believing in themselves and you could see their confidence grow with every possession. We were down nine with 7:15 to play and just dug in and took charge," he continued. "Paige and Jade made several key shots that broke the game open. They stepped when they were called upon. But that has happened all season. Every night someone different steps up and takes charge."
But this night they all stepped up with big plays at different times throughout the game. Burger netted a team-high 17 points, including nine in the first half to keep Solanco within striking distance. Dombach added all four of her points in that pivotal fourth quarter while McClune and Gladfelter combined for five points.
Eshleman hauled in 10 points to lead the battle on the boards. Kreider was tops with six steals and six assists and also grabbed eight rebounds while Burger hauled in seven boards.
"It was an awesome atmosphere," said McDowell. "The fans, the pep band and the Black Hole were phenomenal. Everyone in the gym contributed to this win. They were our sixth man! We worked hard to earn the right to play at home during the playoffs and it has truly been a benefit. We thank everyone!
This past weekend three sophomores and one senior made the trip to Hersheypark Arena to compete in the District Three Class 5A championships. It was a first for all of them.
"We knew going in that we had some tough matchups," said head coach Tony Mendez. "The guys wrestled well, though the records to not reflect that. You always like to see a couple sneak through but this experience, for three sophomores, will make a big difference next year."
Chase Charles (126), the lone senior in the group, suffered a 10-1 loss to Dallastown's Cael Turnbill and then dropped a 2-0 result, on a first period takedown, to Dylan Ramsey of Shippensburg. Both Turnbill and Ramsey advanced to the consi-semis.
"Last year Chase was 15-18," noted Mendez. "He came full circle, coming into districts with a 25-11 record. I couldn't have asked for more from a senior leader."
Solanco lightweight, Dominic Flatt went 2-2 over the weekend. He opened with a 4-1 decision over Dallastown's Caden Dobbins but was knocked to the consolations with a 3:37 fall to Cedar Cliff's Aiden Lewis. He rebounded with a 3-1 win over Donegal's Ethan Herr, breaking a 1-0 deficit at the end of the second period with a third period escape and takedown.
Flatt's season ended with a 7-4 loss to Joey Asterino of Exeter Township. The sophomore held a 4-3 lead with 57 seconds left but gave up four points, including a takedown with nine seconds left, to fall short.
At 113, Jackson Houghton wrestled tough in his opening bout against Wilson's Kelvin Rodriguez but was knocked to the consolations with a 5:29 fall. Tied at 3-3 in the first period and up 8-6 after two, Houghton gave up a pair of takedowns before suffering the fall.
His consolation loss was a 5-2 decision to Bodie Rouzer, of Waynesboro. Houghton led 2-0 in the first period but was held scoreless after that.
Ronnie Fulton (138) also went 0-2 but had a tough opening draw, facing eventual champ Troy-Thomas Elhajj, of Lower Dauphin and coming up short, 8-5. In the consolations, Fulton went up against Ephrata's Kayde Althouse and struggled to get going. Althouse forged ahead 9-0 before Fulton scored a reversal in the final seconds of the bout.
The Mules were coming off a strong showing in the sectional tournament held at Hempfield, February 15-16, placing seven wrestlers in the top six.
Flatt's second place finish was the highest. He was pinned in the finals by Hershey's Ayden Bertoldi but advanced with a 19-4 tech fall over Lampeter's Austin Reiff and held off Donegal's Ethan Herr, 4-3.
Charles took the long road to his third place medal, suffering a first round fall to Central's Dakota Thomas before working four straight wins to grab the bronze. Charles scored a 12-1 tech fall over Devohn Page, of Milton Hershey, pinned Hempfield's Clay Gainer, and put together back-to-back decisions over Palmyra's Jacob Myers and Ty Grassel.
"Chase was winning 5-0 in the second period before getting caught and pinned," said Mendez. "He was able to re-group and battled back to place."
Finishing fourth was Houghton and Fulton. Houghton got underway with a 14-0 major over L-S's Hunter Erb but suffered a 6-3 quarterfinals loss to Hershey's Ethan Ketner. He came back with a 1:36 fall over Josiah Lutz, of Manheim Central before bowing out with a 4-2 loss to Tanner Stefanick.
Fulton opened with falls over Hempfield's Luke DeGeorge and McCaskey's Jullian Holland before getting pinned by eventual second place finisher Cade Zeamer, of Manheim Central. Fulton shook off that loss with a solid 9-1 major over Hershey's Tariqu VonGetzie but came out on the short end of a 10-9 decision to Penn Manor sophomore Dylan Coleman (33-13).
"Ronnie loss to Coleman 7-5 earlier this year," Mendez said. "And he was beating Zeamer before getting pinned."
Juniors Nathanael Neuhauser (285) and Joey Vandegriff (132) both settled for fifth place finishes. Neuhauser went 2-2 with four straight falls while Vandegriff earned three wins, two by fall, and suffered two losses. He was pinned by eventual fourth place finisher Owen Rohrer of Penn Manor and dropped a 10-2 major to third place winner Bryce Buckman of Central Dauphin.
"Joey beat Rohrer twice this season in tough matches and lost to Buckman, who beat him earlier this year," noted Mendez.
Wrestling at 220, Shaneef Carter was a sixth place finisher.
"Having your team perform their best as the post season begins is always the goal," stated Mendez. "I thought we had a good week of practice leading up to the tournament but we didn't seem to have that extra edge this weekend."
Three Straight Games Cap Mules Season February 11, 2019
Solanco's boys' basketball team wrapped up their 2018-19 season with four games in five days, including three in a row last week. The Mules dropped a 20 point final to Cocalico on Monday, fell 72-40 on the road at Warwick Tuesday, and hosted Eastern York on Wednesday, bowing out 73-60.
"It certainly was a rough stretch to end the year," said head coach Scott Long. "And adding to the difficulty was not being able to practice due to the weather issues.
"And, even though we struggled on the scoreboard, I was proud of how our guys competed," he added. "They played with energy against some very good teams."
The Mules capped their busy week with that 13 point loss against the top team in District 3 4A.
Despite a slow start that saw the visitors push out to a commanding 48-24 halftime lead, Solanco regrouped and pushed back in the second half. The Mules won the third quarter 20-15 and the fourth frame 16-10, but it was too little too late.
Dawson Kreider led the way with 17 points, including five triples.
"Dawson had a stellar season," lauded Long. "He led the entire L-L League in three pointers made with 57. Perhaps more impressive is that he shot just over 49% from that range. Most games he had the other team's top defenders on him," Long continued. "He didn't always get the easy looks."
Kreider finished with a 13 ppg and 3.2 assists per game average.
"I anticipate Dawson to be named a L-L League all-star," said Long. "I believe he can play at the next level and we are exploring possible schools."
Backing Kreider against the Golden Knights was Zed Baker with 12, Carson Kilgore and Zach Wiker with 9 each, Coleson Shaeffer with 5, and Jalen Henry and Jordan Rush with 4 each.
Another slow start Tuesday saw the Mules fighting from behind in an effort to catch Warwick (12-1), the top team in Section Two. Down 32-17 at the half, Solanco did not have an answer after the break. The Warriors pumped in an impressive 11 three-pointers on the day, including seven in the second half, and pulled away with a 40-23 advantage.
Kreider's 14 points were a team high. Henry and Kilgore scored 7 each, Ethan Clary added 4, and Wiker and Shaeffer each scored from behind the arc.
Solanco opened the week with its best first quarter, staying within two of Cocalico, 17-15. Unfortunately, the visitors used a 23-7 third quarter run to pull away. The Mules did win the fourth quarter 17-11 but fell short of the victory, 75-54.
"Zach Wiker also shot the ball exceptionally well this year, connecting on 44 three pointers while shooting 44%," said Long. "Zach worked hard to improve as a defender and rebounder and, down the stretch, was one of our better rebounders. The last two games he led us in rebounding with 13 total boards. He is continuing his academic and basketball career next season at Steven's Tech.
"Carson Kilgore also ended his senior campaign on a high note," Long continued. "He played very well at Warwick (7 points, 5 rebounds) and recorded a season-high eight boards against Eastern.
"Our last senior, Joey Gote, returned from ACL surgery just nine months ago, to play in our last six games," he added. "The effort he put into his rehab was remarkable. I was happy he made it back."
The Mules finished with a 2-11 Section Three record and were 3-19 overall.
"I think there is plenty to get excited about with the returning players," stated Long. "Jalen Henry, a junior, played his best basketball over the last six games. He works hard, plays with passion and wants to win. And, in my opinion, he is one of the better attackers in the league. As he keeps improving his finishing skills, the sky is the limit.
"Zed Baker, a sophomore, averaged nearly 8 ppg, second on our team, but more importantly, improved as a defender," Long said. "He can have a major impact on both ends of the floor and I cannot wait to see what he does the next two years.
"Jordan Rush ended his sophomore season starting the last handful of games and really became our go-to person inside," the coach continued. "He has the ability to score in the paint and rebounds very well. Sophomores Ryan Smith, Colesen Sheaffer and Ethan Cleary all saw varsity action down the stretch. This experience will be huge for them."
Solanco's ten game winning streak came to a close in the quarterfinal round of the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs held this past Saturday night in Quarryville. The Section Three champs suffered a 55-38 loss to Section Four runner-up Elco (10-3, 19-4) after surrendering a 14-4 run over the last four minutes of the game.
"They created some turnovers and got easy transition points," stated head coach Chad McDowell of Elco's fourth quarter run.
Both teams had seven players contribute to the point total but the Raiders put three players in double figures. Grace Kreider, Aleksa Burger and Jess Cabrera each scored eight to lead the Mares.
Cabrera canned a triple with .02 seconds left in the first quarter, converted the free throw and knotted the score at 13-13.
The second quarter was almost as close but the visitors held a slim 21-19 edge at the break.
That nip-and-tuck feel of the first half, however, didn't materialize after the break. Elco held a five point lead midway through the third quarter and pushed it to eight by the start of the fourth.
"They increased their defensive pressure and that limited us offensively," said McDowell. "We were unable to create the normal turnovers that we are used to getting and we never got into a defensive flow," he added. "They flipped the turnover game into their favor in the second half."
Solanco battled early in the final quarter, cutting the lead to 41-34 with 3:47 left but a strong 14-4 run by the Raiders proved to be the difference.
Elco made good use of the free throw line, canning 14-of-21 attempts while Solanco was a slim 2-for-4.
The Raiders also held a slim advantage from behind the arc, netting three to Solanco's 2.
"This was a great atmosphere and we competed for four quarters," McDowell stated. "They played their hearts out and I could not ask for more. We just struggled with their defensive pressure and their inside presence. Ryelle Shuey (17 points) was the difference maker in the paint.
"It has been a great accomplishment getting to the quarterfinals these past two seasons but now we need to get over the hump and win that quarterfinal game."
The week opened with a 10-point win at Cocalico last Monday, 61-51. In a game that featured a total of 15 three pointers, Solanco used a 27-18 second half run to extend their 34-33 halftime lead.
"It was a shooters night," stated McDowell. "When you have good ball movement, you get some great shots."
The Eagles, fighting for a league playoff berth, kept things close in the first half, hitting 5-of-8 from down town.
"They made some good shots that we contested," recalled McDowell. "But we got into a bit of foul trouble and could not press like we usually do. We came out in the second half with our trapping press and were able to get steals and easy transition points. Very early on we had three steals on back-to-back-to-back possessions and pushed our lead to ten," he continued. "That was a big momentum swing."
With a balanced offensive attack, Kreider's 15 points led the way. She was also tops with six steals and five assists. Cabrera dropped in 12 points and Burger, who grabbed seven rebounds, netted 11. Leading rebounder, with ten, Jade Eshleman finished with nine points, Paige Phillips added eight and Jenna Dombach hit for six.
One night later, Solanco hosted Section Two's third place finisher, Warwick (8-13), and used a 21-10 third quarter domination to pull away with a lopsided 59-31 win.
Burger paced the attack with a double-double, netting a season-high 20 points and hauling in a team-best 10 rebounds.
"Aleksa had six offensive rebounds that she either converted into points or she got to the foul line," noted McDowell.
While Solanco earned a lopsided victory, they did send the Warriors to the free throw line 25 times (Warwick converted 10).
"This was three games in three days with no practice in over a week," said McDowell. "We didn't have time to refocus on our defensive footwork and we had some slow reactions. We just need to get back into the gym and get that defensive rhythm back."
Kreider backed Burger with ten points. Dombach and Eshleman combined for 15 points while Phillips (4 rebounds) and Cabrera (5 assists) scored five points each. Kara McClune (3) and Kenzie Gladfelter (4 rebounds, 1 point) also contributed.
"This was our senior night where we celebrated Grace, Aleska, Jess, Kara and Kenzie along with Hanna Phillips (injured) and Noelle Schneider, our videographer," McDowell said. "I cannot express enough gratitude and thanks to each and every one of these seniors for all that they have done and brought to our program over the past four years. They are a special group of young ladies!"
Solanco is the top seed in the District 3 5A bracket and will host New Oxford (9-13), Tuesday, February 19 at 7 pm. It is believed that this is the first time in school history that Solanco holds the No. 1 seed in the district playoffs.
In non-league action on the mats last Wednesday, the Mules took on Donegal as a tune-up for the post-season- sectionals that get underway this Saturday at Hempfield High School.
Despite a slow start, featuring Donegal jumping out to a quick 18-0 advantage, the Mules worked their way back with six straight wins and pulled away for a 41-30 victory.
Nick Yannutz started the six bout run with an 11-7 decision over William Small (182) while Robert Castagna worked a 6-3 decision over Joel Grillo at 195, cutting the lead to 18-6.
Shaneef Carter, at 220, recorded a 6-0 shutout over Elliot Burnette before Donegal forfeited at 285 to Nathanael Neuhauser, closing the gap to 18-15.
Dominic Flatt's sudden victory OT win over Ethan Herr not only tied the match but provided momentum. Tied at 1-1 at the end of three, Flatt scored and early takedown to win the 106 bout and the Mules went on to win four of the next six bouts.
"That was a key win," said head coach Tony Mendez of Flatt's effort. "He and Herr wrestled earlier in the season and Dominic won in OT as well."
Jackson Houghton pinned Jansen Flohr in 1:37, Chase Charles (126) posted a dominating 15-0 tech fall over Dylan Bowers, and Joey Vandegriff (132) scored the fastest fall of the night, decking Jefferson Flores in 37 seconds. Ronnie Fulton capped Solanco's scoring with a 5:35 fall over Jeremy Algoe.
"Chase wrestled a very tough opponent in Bowers (23-3) and controlled from the start of the match," noted Mendez. "It was his final dual meet as a senior. What a strong way to end.
"We also got good wins from Joey, Jackson and Ronnie," he added. "Winning these matches by fall helped win the dual."
Solanco Beats Manheim, Clinches Section Crown February 4, 2019
Playing their first and only game of the week this past Saturday afternoon, Solanco's girls' basketball team shook off the rust and weathered a gutsy effort by a young Manheim Central squad to clinch the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Three title outright, 48-49 in Quarryville.
Solanco's last title was in 2011-12 when they were in Section Two. Saturday the Mares improved to 10-2 in league play (16-4 overall) and secured the Section Three crown with one regular game remaining.
"We had big contributions from everyone," said head coach Chad McDowell. "Jade Eshleman did a great job on the boards and converted several of her offensive boards for points. Kara McClune has been a defensive spark since returning from her minor surgery around the holidays," he continued. "Her energy has been a vital part to our success this season.
"Paige Phillips hit a big three to keep momentum on our side and Mackenzie Gladfelter hit two huge baskets in the first quarter to propel us in our quick start," added McDowell. "Nikki Trout also did an awesome job when we ran into foul trouble at the guard spot. She stepped in and was an effective defensive presence when we needed it."
That quick start included a 7-0 run to start the game and a 17-5 advantage after eight minutes.
The young Barons, starting three freshmen and with no seniors, battled back and, over the course of the next three quarters, actually outscored Solanco 34-31. With an 8-0 run late in the second quarter, Manheim cut the lead to 27-21 but a bucket by Aleska Burger, two free throws from Grace Kreider and a transition basket by McClune lifted Solanco to a 33-23 lead at the break.
"It was a challenging week, with the weather, early dismissals and cancellations, getting in the gym," noted McDowell. "We practiced Monday and got in 20 minutes on Wednesday before the Cocalico game was cancelled. Then we held a modified practice Saturday morning, prior to the game.
"So we definitely looked rusty. But a win is good, no matter how it looks. We never really got into a rhythm, offensively or defensively," he added. "The missed layups and the lack of moving our feet on defense were all the result of the broken practice. However we were able to persevere and got the expected result."
Both teams were held to single digits in the third and fourth quarters as numerous shots were missed by both squads. After three minutes of scoreless play, Kreider opened the third quarter with a bucket in the paint. Burger and Phillips added back-to-back put backs that gave the hosts a 39-25 lead with 1:30 left in the quarter. Manheim responded with a 7-0 run, including a triple by Kamryn Miller that cut the lead to 39-32 before Phillips canned a deep three with 1.5 seconds left.
Jess Cabrera opened the fourth with a pair of free throws and Burger scored in the paint for a comfortable 46-32 lead. Manheim, again, responded. This time with a 6-0 run that cut the lead to 46-39 with 2:16 left. Cabrera's fast-break layup with 49 seconds to go sealed the victory.
Burger led all scorers with 14 points and Cabrera added 9. Eshleman (8), Kreider (6), Phillips (5), Gladfelter (4) and McClune (2) also contributed.
The Mares, who dominated Manheim 64-38 back on January 15, were a solid 7-for-9 from the free throw line while the Barons (2-17 overall) were 10-of-23.
Head coach Tony Mendez and his troops realized the task of taking on the top seed in the District Three team tournament last Wednesday but met that challenge head on. "We knew it was a tough match but it was also a great opportunity," said Mendez. "There were some very tough individual matches which will help the guys as we prepare for the post-season."
Dallastown took charge early and never hesitated in a 55-15 home victory. The hosts won the first seven bouts of the night, all with bonus points, and including two forfeits.
The Mules slowed that run when Robert Castagna scored an 11-9 decision over Blake Feeney at 195.
After getting pinned at 220 and 285, Solanco came back with a pair of hard-fought decisions. Dominic Flatt (106) came away with a 6-4 decision and Jackson Houghton won a 14-12 thriller in sudden victory overtime.
"Jackson got way behind on the board, getting cradled three times," recalled Mendez. "But he showed a lot of heart coming back in the third period with several takedowns to tie the score and push it into overtime where he quickly scored the winning takedown."
Solanco forfeited at 120 and Chase Charles closed the action with a 2:18 fall over Donovan Trauger (126).
"Chase was in control the whole match," said Mendez. "Nick Yannutz (220) wrestled a 2018 state qualifier competitively before giving up a five point move. Again, gaining valuable experience that will hopefully help him prepare for the sectional tournament in one week."
With the extreme weather last week, the basketball team managed just one game, a road trip to Manheim Central Saturday afternoon. The Barons, sitting just above Solanco in the Section Three standings, used a pair of 20-points plus quarters to hold off the Mules, 65-55.
The hosts, dropping in four of their ten treys on the day, took charge early, jumping out to a 20-12 first quarter surge. Solanco, behind eight points from Dawson Kreider, got one point back in the second frame but the Mules were still in the hole, 34-27, at the break.
Cameron Snell and Kreider each put up eight third quarter points but it was the Barons that scored a 23 point third quarter, splashing in another four triples and grabbing their biggest lead of the night, 57-37. They opened the frame with a 12-0 run, forcing five turnovers in a three minute span and converting at the other end.
Down, but not about to give up, the Mules, who fell to 3-16 overall, got to work. Colesen Sheaffer and Zach Wiker each netted five points, including a triple, and Kreider added six as Solanco outscored the Barons 18-8 before running out of time.
Kreider knocked down a game-high 20 points, including a 6-for-8 effort at the free throw line. Wiker and Zed Baker, with six points in the first quarter, finished with eight points, and Jalen Henry added seven. Sheaffer (5), Jordan Rush (4) and Ryan Smith (3) rounded out the scoring.
Matmen Top McCaskey, Girls Win Three More January 28, 2019
In their last home match of the season, the Mules hosted McCaskey in a match that featured just seven bouts. Forty-five minutes later, Solanco secured four falls, three forfeits and wrapped up a 52-6 win that pushed their Section One to 4-3.
At 170, Reshawn Carter got things rolling with a 10-2 major over Timothy Freddrick. Up 7-1 in the second period, Carter scored a takedown in the last ten seconds of the bout to get the bonus point.
Robert Castagna (182) also scored a decision, breaking a 3-3 second period tie with a takedown in the third for a 6-4 final, pushing the team score to 7-0.
Nick Yannutz (195) scored the first fall of the night, taking a 5-0 lead before putting Justin Pacheco to his back in 1:48.
Shaneef Carter entertained the longest bout of the night, scoring a 3-1 decision in a sudden victory overtime over Kyler Rodriguez while Nate Neuhauser (285), posted the fastest bout of the night, pinning Thyago Alvarez in just 36 seconds and extending the lead to 22-0.
After a pair of forfeits and a double forfeit, Chase Charles, a senior, took to the mat opposite Jose Tirado and posted a 3:56 fall.
"Chase had a great win against a tougher kid," said head coach Tony Mendez. "It was nice to see him get a win in his last home match."
Ronnie Fulton capped the action with a 2:44 fall over Julian Holland at 138.
Over the weekend, the Mules competed in the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships at Garden Spot. The two-day tournament included 23 teams and saw Solanco finish in 8th place.
"We had seven guys in the blood round but only two got through," noted Mendez. "And three or four of those were probably by one and two points so we definitely have things we can work on. Overall, we had five of our 11 guys place so we did a good job on Saturday. Though you always want to do better, pretty much everyone exceeded their seed."
No. 3 seed Dominic Flatt rose as Solanco's only first place finisher. "He had a great tournament," said Mendez.
Flatt (27-6) opened with a 15-0 tech fall over Lampeter's Austin Reiff and then scored a 4-0 decision over Central's Uriah Warner. In the quarterfinals, Flatt picked up another tech fall, this one over Annville's Ethan Missimer, sending him to the semifinals opposite Catholic High's Eric Howe (22-4). Flatt, a sophomore, worked a 9-2 decision to get to the finals and there scored an 8-1 decision over Township's Micah Sams.
At 113, Jackson Houghton, a top seed, settled for silver when he gave up a 6-3 championship decision to Annville's Matthew Inman. Houghton, a sophomore, pinned his way to the finals, decking Columbia's Michael Alvarado (3:10), Octorara's Tyler Walton (1:24) and CV's Keaton Fischer (17-9) in 3:27.
"Jackson, in the finals, wrestled a kid who has been wrestling all year at 120," Mendez noted.
At 132, Joey Vandegriff (18-10) finished in fourth place. After receiving a bye, he opened with a 40 second fall over Elco's Sami Good and then pinned N. Lebanon's Seth Fisher in 2:44 to get to Central's Cade Zeamer in the semifinals. Zeamer, the eventual champ, hung a 9-1 major on Vandegriff, bouncing him to the consolations. Vandegriff regrouped, pinning Penn Manor's Owen Rohrer in 1:35 but settled for fourth after suffering a 6-1 loss to Hempfield's Reagan Lefevre.
Nick Yannutz was Solanco's next highest finisher, setting for fifth place. The sixth seeded, 182-pound junior placed with a 1:37 fall over N. Lebanon's Seth Ebersole. After a bye, his tournament opened with a 1:17 fall over Columbia's Michelan Stewart. Unfortunately, he was knocked to the consolations by Penn Manor's Nick Baker, who advanced with a 1:59 fall and finished in second place.
Yannutz battled through the consolations, pinning Hempfield's Gordy Hoover in 2:53, working a 2-0 decision over Elco's Trey Donmoyer before giving up a 1:41 fall to eventual third place finisher Logan Davidson (23-9) of Lampeter-Strasburg.
Another sophomore, Ronnie Fulton (138) wrapped up his two-day tournament with a sixth place effort. Fulton (18-14) worked an opening round 11-4 decision over Garden Spot's Aaron Martin and then pinned Elco's Keegan Donmoyer. In the quarterfinals he faced Ephrata's Kayde Althouse, the eventual champ, and suffered a 3:04 fall. His consolation bracket journey included a 10-3 decision over Cocalico's Tervor Hale and an injury default win over Cedar Crest's Ryan Scicchitano. Annville's Hayden Funck stopped that run with a 6-4 decision while Octorara's Michael Trainor claimed fifth place with a 9-4 decision.
This week the Mules will go up against top seed Dallastown in the District Team Tournament.
"For this team, who is still rebuilding, to be in the district team tournament, I'll take it," said Mendez. "It's a good opportunity."
In a key Section Three clash last Thursday in Lampeter, Solanco swept the series against Lampeter-Strasburg with a more than convincing 44-25 victory and moved into first place in the standings.
"They have chased us for two years and with four starters back, they played with intensity and shot better," stated head coach Tony Fink. "They were the better team tonight and their depth helped them."
Emma Gochnauer, who put up a team-high 11 points, scored off the tip and then again on a pair of free throws to open the scoring for L-S. Solanco's Jade Eshleman answered with a traditional three point play before Olivia Vranich canned two free throws for a 6-3 Pioneer lead. Grace Kreider, who popped in a game-high 14 points, knocked down the first of her four triples, tying the game at 6-6. Jess Cabrera converted a turnover, and Kara McClune scored in the paint for a 10-6 lead the Mares would not relinquish.
Solanco started to pull away with a 10-0 run in the second frame. After Gochnauer's triple cut the lead to 12-9, Cabrera drained back-to-back threes, Aleska Burger scored in transition and Kreider scored off a turnover, pushing the lead to 22-9. Jackie Martin's three-ball with 56 seconds left closed the gap to ten but didn't dampen Solanco's momentum.
In a low scoring third quarter (9-7 Solanco), the Mares used a 7-0 run to push out to a 29-14 advantage but a basket by Gochnauer and a three-ball by Nora Holmes cut the lead to 10 before Cabrera bucket at the buzzer again provided momentum.
A 5-0 run early in the fourth favored the visitors. Holmes and Zameroski canned a pair of threes but it wasn't enough as Kreider netted two of her own and the Mares finished the game with a 13-6 quarter advantage.
On the road again two night later, the Mares took a road trip to central PA where they defeated Hollidaysburg 50-36.
"We used this as a learning experience," said McDowell of the 3-hour trip. "Last year we traveled in the state playoffs and were not as successful as we had hoped to be so we decided to do something different to prepare for that.
"I'm originally from Altoona and wanted to bring my team to my hometown to play a game," he continued. "It was a team weekend as we spent the night in Altoona then traveled to the Penn State vs. Rutgers women's game at State College.
"This was a good win against a team that was a state qualifier last year."
The Mares, behind 12 points by Burger, used a 9-2 first quarter and a 15-7 third frame to take control. Cabrera added 9 points, McClune and Phillips added 6, Kreider and Dombach finished with 5.
Earlier in the week, Cabrera joined the 1,000 point club with a 20-point effort that fueled a lopsided 56-22 victory over Garden Spot. Needing 15 points going in, the senior guard achieved her goal with a buzzer-beater just before the half.
McClune, with a steal in the backcourt, scored with five seconds remaining. Kreider snatched the inbounds pass and dished to Cabrera (20 points) who was breaking down the left side for a layup, beating the halftime buzzer. She becomes the seventh Solanco girls' basketball player to reach the milestone and the first since 2013 when Gillian Glackin, a former standout at Messiah College, joined the club.
"Jess has been a four-year starter and a leader for our program," said McDowell. "This is quite an accomplishment for her and our program.
"I remember when she was a freshman, we stood in the gym looking at the 1,000 point banner and she turned to me and said, "Coach, I am going to be on that list before I graduate. That is my personal goal," McDowell recalled. "Goal accomplished! What makes this milestone so special is that Jess always puts the team first. She said she would not have accomplished this without her teammates, past and present, which is spot on. I am proud of her."
Holding a 27-13 lead at the half, Solanco, who defeated Spot by just ten points earlier this year, continued to dominate, posting a 29-9 second half advantage.
"Aleksa Burger did an awesome job defending Megan Fisher, who joined the 1,000 point club in their last game," noted McDowell. "She's been averaging close to 20 points over the last four or five game and Aleksa held her to three, all free throws.
"Defense has been our focus all season," he added. "If we keep teams in the 30's we have a great chance of winning. Everyone played with a lot of energy and there was a positive buzz amongst the team."
With a team effort on the boards, Eshleman (7 points), Burger (6 points) and Kreider, who led with 10 steals, all hauled in five while McClune (6 points) led the category with six and tied Cabrera with 4 assists. Phillips added 5 points and Jenna Dombach chipped in with 2 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
Despite outscoring Garden Spot 24-6 from behind the arc, Solanco couldn't upend hosting Garden Spot last Tuesday, dropping a 68-50 final result.
Derek Kreider hit double figures for the third straight game, leading the Mules with 17 points including three triples.
But it was the Spartans that took control of the lead. Up 22-18 in the first quarter, the hosts held a 14-8 advantage in the second frame, and a 17-11 edge in the third for a 55-37 lead with eight minutes left.
The fourth quarter was the tightest but again, Spot finished on top 15-13.
Jalen Henry, who was 4-for-6 from the free throw line, backed Kreider with 7 points, Zach Wiker added 6 on a pair of treys, Carson Kilgore netted 5 and Zed Baker and Jordan Rush added 4 points each. Colesen Sheaffer (3), Joseph Gote (2) and Ethan Clary (2) also contributed.
Two nights later the Mules hosted the top team in Section Three and again turned in an outstanding effort from three point range, dropping in nine to six for the Pioneers. Unfortunately, the visitors made up ground from two-point range and went 10-for-18 from the free throw line while the Mules were 1-for-3.
Solanco outscored the Pioneers 15-14 in the first quarter and 13-9 in the fourth but it wasn't enough. L-S regrouped in the second frame, doubling Solanco's nine points with 18 and never relinquishing the lead. They extended the advantage with a 17-11 third quarter effort before the Mules mounted their comeback, which ran out of time.
"They did a nice job against us," said Pioneer boss Ed Berryman. "With the way they played us, I am surprised by their record (3-15 overall). We went box-and-one on Kreider to try and slow him down in the fourth."
Kreider put up a game-high 16 points, including five three pointers and Henry added 10. Also adding to the point total was Baker, Wiker and Ryan Smith, all with 6 points, and Rush with 4.
Kreider Nets 19 in Loss To Manheim Central January 21, 2019
Down 19-10 in the first quarter, Solanco turned in an impressive 20 point second frame, held visiting Manheim Central to just two field goals, and grabbed a 30-23 advantage at the break. Unfortunately, the momentum did not last and the Barons pulled out a 58-53 thriller last Tuesday.
Dawson Kreider, who led all scorers with 19 points, canned two of his three triples in that second quarter, and dished out four assists on the day to lead the Mules.
"Dawson had another outstanding effort," said head coach Scott Long. "He has been a great leader for us all season and has been our most consistent player."
Zach Wiker hit back-to-back three pointers in the second quarter, giving Solanco a 27-23 advantage while Kreider hit from behind the arc with 4.2 seconds left for a seven point cushion at the break.
The third quarter was back-and-forth. Manheim cut the lead to two on two different occasions, but Solanco countered. Ryan Smith's triple with 1:16 left and a traditional three-point play from Jalen Henry put the hosts in front 46-36 before the Barons' five-point run before the buzzer cut the lead in half.
Manheim opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run, taking the lead for good, 50-48. Henry's bucket in the paint with 1:38 showing cut it to 52-51 but the Mules could get no closer. Solanco missed two open threes down the stretch and Manheim hit 6-of-8 free throws to stay in front.
"They went to a spread offense and we struggled with that," said Long. "They have a little more depth in terms of quick guard play so once they had a lead, they spread the floor and we struggled. We did have numerous opportunities in that quarter to extend or take the lead and could not knock down shots," he continued. "We had some great looks for some of our best shooters. We just didn't make them.
"The takeaway from this game is that we need to be more consistent with our pressure defense and be able to do so without fouling," added Long. "We had some sloppy fouls in key spots but our guys are motivated to fix this."
Solanco actually put up more points in Thursday's crossover game with Section Four's Octorara (5-4, 9-6 overall) but it wasn't enough as the Braves outscored the Mules in three of four quarters, finishing with a 72-60 victory.
The Mules increased their scoring as the game moved along but so did the hosts. Octorara extended a 12-9 first quarter edge with their biggest output of the game, a 24-point second quarter, and held the Mules to 14. Wiker's three triples fueled that second quarter run.
Down 36-23 at the half, the third quarter was similar to the second and Octorara extended its lead with a 23-15 advantage. Solanco finished strong, pouring in 22 points down the stretch and limiting the Braves to 13 but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit after three frames, 59-38.
The Mules were solid from behind the arc, outscoring Octorara 21-6 but struggled from 2-point range, hitting 18 shots to the Braves' 27. Solanco was went to the free throw line just five times, making three, while Octorara connected on 12 of 16 attempts.
Zed Baker led the Mules in this one, putting up 14 points, 12 in the second half. Wiker, with four triples and Kreider with two, each scored a dozen points. Jordan Rush (5), Carson Kilgore (5), Ryan Smith (4), and Ethan Clary, Henry, Colesen Sheaffer and Dan Herr, each with two points, rounded out the scoring.
The Mules are currently 2-7 in Section Three and 3-13 overall.
Despite giving up a pair forfeits, and a double forfeit, the Solanco wrestling team led from start to finish and recorded its third league win of the season, a 42-29 final against Manheim Township in Neffsville last Wednesday night.
"Considering the forfeits, the team had a good performance," said head coach Tony Mendez. "Our key wins came late in the match from Rashawn Carter and Shaneef Carter."
Nathanael Newhauser's 1:15 fall over Township's William Jones at 185 put the first points on the scoreboard for the Mules. The hosts, however, knotted the score when Micah Sams pinned Dominic Flatt in 1:46.
"Dominic had one of the toughest matchups of the night," noted Mendez. "He was head locked in a scramble in that first period. That was a surprise because we expected this to be a close match. Dominic is a hard worker and will learn from this experience," he continued. "That's how wrestling goes, sometimes you're on the good end of a fall and sometimes you're on the bad side of a fall."
Solanco took charge after that, using four straight falls to push out to a 30-6 advantage. Jackson Houghton (113) opened the pin parade with the fastest fall of the night, putting Hayden Brennan to his back in just 30 seconds.
After both teams forfeited the 120-pound match, Chase Charles (126) and Joey Vandegriff (132) recorded first period falls over Michael Caceres and Alex Emerich, respectively. Ronnie Fulton's fall over Vishal Win at 138 extended the lead to 30-6.
But the Streaks were up to the challenge, working a pair of first period falls at 145 and 152 and then picking up six more points with a forfeit at 160.
With a six point lead, Rashan Carter worked a 7-1 decision over Oscar Villada at 170 and Nick Yannutz added a 7-0 result against Trenton Jones, extending the advantage to 36-24.
Solanco forfeited at 195, setting the stage for Shaneff Carter's 5:14 fall over Josh Williams as the final match of the night.
In keeping pace with Section Three leader Lampeter-Strasburg (7-1), the Mares picked up two wins last week, pushing their winning streak to four straight, and maintaining second place in the standings at 7-2 (12-4 overall).
They opened the week with a 64-38 road win over Manheim Central (1-6, 2-13) and then hosted the last place team in Section Four, winless Octorara, winning easily, 87-8, Thursday night.
Jess Cabrera's 15 points, all on three-pointers, led a trio of double digit scorers against the Barons while Mackenzie Gladfelter's 11 rebounds anchored the defense.
Clinging to a 14-12 first quarter advantage, Solanco amped up its offense and buckled down the defense over the next two frames, scoring 35 points while holding the Barons to 11 to take control.
"Central's gym is tough to play in and it took us several possessions to get used to the depth perception with the baskets and the illusion of the court," said head coach Chad McDowell of Solanco's slow start. "Once we were able to find our rhythm we were fine.
"The middle two quarters we really focused on defense," he added. "We created turnovers and at the other end the shots were falling and we were able to take control."
Aleksa Burger (13) and Paige Phillips (10) were also double digit scorers with Kara McClune chipping in a season-high eight points. She, along with Jade Eshleman (4 points, 4 assists), hauled in seven rebounds.
Grace Kreider was tops with four steals and scored five points. Ilynd Rapant (4), Jenna Dombach (3 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) and Gladfelter (2 points, 2 steals) also contributed.
"This was a complete team effort victory," McDowell said. "Some players scored, some players rebounded, some players got steals, some had assists and other played defense. In the end, we had more points on our side of the scoreboard.
"For us to continue to be successful, we need to continue to play as a team," he added. "Unselfish basketball will be our key moving down the stretch."
Thursday's game with Octorara was almost over before it really got going. Solanco outscored the Braves 32-2 in the first quarter, and held a 21-0 advantage in the second frame to cruise to the lopsided victory.
Cabrera put up 30 points, 17 in the second half and eight of the team's 18 fourth quarter points, to inch closer to the 1,000 career points plateau. She currently sits at 985. Phillips also hit double figures, coming off the bench with a season-high 11 points.
Eshleman and Gladfelter combined for 16 points and 10 rebounds while McClune and Burger combined for 11 points, 6 rebounds, 7 steals and 8 assists. Dombach (5 points, 3 assists), Rapant (4), Sammi Jackson (4), Kreider (2 points, 3 steals, 5 assists), Nikki Trout (2) and Angela Cylc (2) also contributed.
"Again, everyone contributed," stated McDowell. "And we were able to get many of our younger girls some varsity minutes.
"Overall, we shot 60% from the floor on 38-of-63 attempts," he added.
Mares Top Defending Section Three Champ L-S January 14, 2019
Solanco's 40-31 victory over Lampeter-Strasburg last Tuesday, January 8, was a classic example of how defense wins basketball games and changes momentum. Tied at 25-25 after three quarters, the Mares came up with a number of big plays and outscored the defending Section Three champs 15-6 to stay in the race for the section crown.
After a stick back by Jade Eshleman, and a missed free throw by the Pioneers, Grace Kreider picked up her third steal of the game, was fouled on the layup, and converted for a 30-26 lead. After a Jess Cabrera jumper, Lampeter's Nora Holmes canned her fourth trey of the game, cutting the lead to one. Both players led with 13 points for each squad.
Kara McClune followed with two straight defensive stops in the paint, L-S turned the ball over, and Eshleman again scored on a miss, giving the Mares a 34-31 lead with 1:38 left.
The Pioneers turned the ball over three more times and Solanco converted six straight free throws, four by Jenna Dombach (7 points, 7 rebounds) to pull away for good.
"Unforced turnovers in the fourth and lack of box outs for put backs at the wrong time hurt," said Pioneer head coach Tony Fink. "They've been chasing us for two years. They want what we don't want to give up, the section title. We can't take anyone lightly."
Both teams came out cautiously, and the first quarter ended in an 8-8 tie. They traded points back-and-forth through the second with neither squad leading by more than two. A pair of free throws (Solanco was 12-for-21 for the game) by Cabrera put Solanco in front, 14-13 at the break.
L-S got going a bit in the third. Holmes hit a pair of threes, the second giving them a 21-16 lead, the biggest of the night. But the last four minutes belonged to Solanco. Dombach drilled a trey that cut the lead to two and Emma Gochnauer, who finished with nine points, followed with a bucket in the paint. But a pair of free throws by Kreider and a steal and a layup by Cabrera tied the game once again, setting the stage for Solanco's fourth quarter takeover.
"Definitely a big win for our program," said head coach Chad McDowell. "And I didn't realize they had a 25 game league winning streak going either. Makes the win a little more special.
"I thought our defense stepped up in the fourth quarter and we were able to contest the majority of their three point shots," he added. "And limiting Gochnauer to nine points was huge. She has had some big games against us in the past."
Rebounding also proved to be key as the Mares hauled in 35 for the game, 13 on the offensive end. They finished with eight second chance points and six came in the second half, all by Eshleman, who netted ten for the game. She and Aleksa Burger (4 points) hauled in ten rebounds each.
"This was a complete team effort," McDowell added. "We have some really big games coming up so we need to use this momentum and we need to be ready to play night in and night out. Section Three is going to be a race until the end.
"An added shout out to the SLC Blackhole and the pep band for their positive support," he said.
The JV team did not fare quite as well, dropping a 43-37 result against L-S. Sammi Jackson led the home team with 8 points. Ilynd Rapant added 6.
The girls' improved to 5-2 in Section Three with a solid 47-34 home win over Cocalico on Jan. 11. With eight players reaching the scoring column, Solanco led from start to finish and outscored the visitors in all but three quarters. Their 12-5 opening quarter provided momentum. After a 7-7 third frame, the Mares finished with a 13-10 run to wrap up the victory.
"It's great when you can get a lot of girls involved within the flow of the offense," stated McDowell. "Grace and Kara had several steals in the second quarter that led to easy transition buckets."
Holding a 34-24 lead after three quarters, Cocalico cut it to 41-34 midway through the fourth. The Mares responded with tighter defense and focus and held the visitors scoreless through the remainder of the game.
"Jess, Paige and Aleksa all hit big three's at key times in that fourth quarter run," added McDowell.
"In addition to balanced scoring, we also measure our team success through the intangibles that do not show up in the scorebook," he continued. "We have players working hard on the boards, playing defense and deflecting passes. They do the work in the trenches that has led to our success."
Kreider, who, like Phillips, finished with 7 points, led with 9 steals. Eshleman was tops with 6 rebounds and, like McClune (2 rebounds, 2 steals) and Kenzie Gladfelter, scored two points. Burger led with 10 points and dished out 4 assists and grabbed 3 rebounds, as did Dombach, who netted 9. Cabrera added 8 points and 4 rebounds.
In JV action, a midcourt steal and layup by Nikki Trout with 30 seconds remaining sparked a 25-24 victory. Trout finished with 5 points and Rapant added 6.
Turnovers reared their head and an experienced Lampeter-Strasburg squad took advantage last Tuesday in a 53-36 home win over visiting Solanco.
"We turned the ball over on three of our first five possessions," said assistant coach Caleb Graves. "And we didn't communicate enough on defensive end during the first half."
The Pioneers converted those turnovers and jumped out to a 19-5 lead after eight minutes and never looked back. L-S held a commanding 31-9 lead at the break which proved pivotal as the Mules tightened things up in the second half and outscored the visitors 27-22.
"We played with better pace and attacked the rim better in the second half," said Graves. "The bright spot was Colesen Shaeffer who started his first varsity game, contributed 11 points and played excellent on ball defense during the second half. Ryan Smith also played good minutes during the second half and scored his first varsity points on a corner 3. They are both sophomores."
Shaeffer scored all of his points in the third quarter and Jalen Henry added six points in the fourth frame. Zach Wiker finished with five, Zed Baker and Dawson Kreider each scored four and Carson Kilgore, along with Smith, added three each.
On the road again Friday, another slow start proved to be Solanco's Achilles heel. Cocalico held the Mules to a combined 20 points over the first three quarters while dropping in 39 points at the other end and settling for a 47-30 victory. The Mules outscored the Eagles 10-8 in the fourth quarter but it was too little, too late.
"We weathered their first quarter lead (24-15) and closed the gap to 56-54 with five minutes left, when Jalen fouled out," recalled Graves. "They went on an 11-0 run, partially due to fouling down the stretch, but losing Jalen, who was a major reason we closed the deficit to two, took away our ability to guard the ball aggressively and attack the paint," he added. "Ryan came in with excellent minutes off the bench."
Kreider led the visitors with 8 points while Kilgore and Baker finished with 4 points each. Sheaffer and Wiker and Dan Herr each hit once from three point range.
In their third straight road game, the Mules battled Palmyra Saturday afternoon as part of the L-L vs Mid Penn Showcase at Manheim Central. Palmyra dropped in four of their nine treys on the day in the first quarter and jumped out to a 24-15 lead. The next two frames were dead even with both teams tallying 30 points each. Palmyra, however, extended their lead with a 15-9 fourth quarter advantage.
Baker, with a consistent day, scored in every frame and finished with 18 points but it wasn't enough to catch Palmyra's Jake Wagner who recorded 24 points, 19 in the first half.
Kreider also reached double figures with 15, Kilgore netted 6 and Henry and Wiker combined for 10.
The Mules, on the road last Wednesday, Jan. 9, secured its second Section One victory with a convincing 49-21 effort against Warwick. Five falls and a pair of forfeits added to the cushion.
"I was thinking the match could go either way, but one we could win if we had everyone wrestle tough," stated head coach Tony Mendez. "We needed a total team effort and for the most part got one. As a coach, you always find aspects we still need to improve on."
After a double forfeit opened the match at 113, two straight falls gave Solanco a lead they would never relinquish. Jackson Houghton pinned Marshall Adams (120) in 2:41 and Chase Charles (126) followed, putting Logan Bortner to his back in 2:21.
Joey Vandegriff's 3-1 decision over Mateo Chacon at 132 provided more momentum. Tied going into the third, the junior scored a takedown to go in front. "That was a big match for Joey and the team," said Mendez. "Once he got the lead, he did a nice job at keeping Chacon on the mat and worked to keep him on bottom."
Warwick forfeited to Ronnie Fulton at 138 and Donavan Myers secured Solanco's third fall of the night, decking Christopher Connor in 2:28, extending the lead to 27-0.
The hosts quickly countered, earning forfeit points at 152 and securing falls at 160 and 170 to cut the lead to 27-18. But Solanco finished strong, winning four of the last five bouts to earn the victory.
Robert Castagna's 9-1 major over Kyle Baker (182) halted Warwick's momentum while a 1:23 fall by Nick Yannutz (195) over Charles Lumene provided momentum and clinched the team win.
The Warriors earned a 7-1 decision at 220 but then forfeited the 285 bout. Dominic Flatt 4:47 fall at 106 capped the scoring.
"The falls helped the team score but also the momentum going into the next match," Mendez stated.
Those pins kept coming on Saturday at the Dutchmen Duals in Annville. The Mules averaged six falls in each match and finished the day with a perfect 5-0 record. They defeated Northeastern 26-9, Middletown 42-31, Annville-Cleona 57-24 and CD East 57-24 to run the table in their pool.
The Comets matched their effort and both were slated to face off in the finals but since the two squads recently met, Solanco took on West York and the Comets tackled A-C. Both squads won with the Mules pushing out to a 27-0 advantage before winning 51-27.
"Our goal, if we all wrestled hard, was to go 5-0," stated Mendez. "I was happy with their performance, but more excited to get most of our guys competitive matchups."
Almost every wrestler in the lineup secured at least one fall on the day. Yannutz, with 4 falls and a forfeit, went 5-0. Flatt also went undefeated with 3 falls and 2 forfeits. Kyle Morrison, Vandegriff (with 4 falls), Fulton, Myers, Castagna and Neuhauser all went 4-1 with a combined 15 falls. Houghton and Charles both recorded 3 pins and finished 3-2.
Young Mules Battle Section-Leading Bucks January 7, 2019
With just four returning starters (Dominic Flatt, Joey Vandegriff, Nick Yannutz, Chase Charles), and enough wrestlers to all but fill the lineup, first year head coach Tony Mendez is putting a lot of emphasis on improvement this year, and not necessarily wins and losses.
"We barely fill a lineup," Mendez, an assistant to former head coach John Little for 18 seasons. "Injuries and illnesses have hurt, especially since we don't have others to fill in. We lost 70% of last year's squad to graduation so we are putting a lot of emphasis on effort and commitment," he continued. "We have a dedicated staff (Matt Jansen, Ed Spiller, Joe Welk) working on improving each wrestler, experienced and inexperienced, as the season progresses."
The Mules, without two starters (one to injury, another to illness) opened the 2019 season with a 51-26 home loss to Conestoga Valley on January 2. Despite the lopsided final, there were bright spots along the way.
Chase Charles opened the night with a 5:04 fall over Cameron Kistler (126). Unfortunately, CV responded with two forfeit wins and five falls. Two of those falls came in the third period.
At 195, Nick Yannutz halted CV's run with a 1:14 fall over Eddie Lopez, cutting the lead to 42-12. The Bucks countered with a 7-2 decision by Leo Marente over Connor Charles before picking up a fall at 285 over Nate Neuhauser.
"Nate hasn't wrestled since seventh grade," noted Mendez. "He is a hard worker and a positive kid. He will continue to improve simply because of his work ethic."
Solanco closed the night with three straight wins. Dominic Flatt (106), down 3-2 in the first period, pinned Trent Ruble 49 ticks into the second period while Jackson Houghton (113) and Kyle Morrison (120) scored back-to-back majors, 10-2 and 16-7 respectively.
"Jackson beat a kid (Keaton Fischer) who is 11-4 on the season," stated Mendez. "He went 1-1 with that same kid last year in junior high. And Kyle, back wrestling after two years out, also beat a tough kid in Rafael Rodriguez."
Solanco closed the 2018 portion of their season at the Trojan Wars Tournament in Chambersburg on December 29. Yannutz finished in 5th place and Flatt was sixth.
"Dominic and Nick both advanced to the semifinals before falling into the wrestle backs and placing," Mendez noted. "Jackson and Ronnie Fulton both battled but lost one round before placing. Chase Charles and Nate Neuhauser also wrestled tough but fell short of placing."
With five returning starters stepping onto the court this season, it should come as no surprise that Solanco has sprinted to an early 8-4 record overall. They wrapped up the 2018 portion of their schedule by winning their own Holiday Tournament December 28-29.
The Mares, after dispatching Penn Manor 67-41, survived Red Lion 39-37 on Grace Kreider's jumper from the elbow with three seconds remaining.
"Grace hit a big shot," said head coach Chad McDowell. "It's a shot she makes all the time at practice and as soon as it left her hand I knew it was in."
The Mares fell behind early in this one. Red Lion jumped out to a 20-13 lead at the half before Solanco engineered their come-back, outscoring the 6A school from York County 13-8 in the third quarter and 13-9 in the fourth.
With 2:30 left on the clock, and the score tied at 37-37, Red Lion ran the clock down to 15 seconds before calling timeout. When both teams returned to the floor, Solanco called time out. "I wanted to set up our defense to defend their offensive set," stated McDowell.
After the timeout, and stingy defense by the hosts, Red Lion failed to inbound the ball and was whistled for five seconds, leaving Solanco with possession and setting the stage for Kreider's game-winning bucket.
"This is a great win for our program," said McDowell. "We needed a complete team effort and got it. We had some foul trouble in the third quarter but the bench stepped up big during key stretches."
Kreider, who poured in a game-high 22 in the win over Penn Manor, netted 11 points and hauled in five rebounds. She was voted as the tournament MVP. Jade Eshleman followed with 7 points and led with 7 rebounds while Jenna Dombach and Aleksa Burger each tallied six points and Jess Cabrera added 5.
After a slim 13-11 first quarter lead against Penn Manor, Solanco turned up the defense, turned numerous Comet turnovers into easy layups and pushed the lead to 42-21 at the half.
Cabrera backed Kreider with 21 points and Dombach hit an even dozen. All three players dropped in a pair of triples. Burger netted six points and hauled in a team high 8 rebounds with Dombach and Ilynd Rapant grabbing seven each.
Rapant, a junior, and sophomores Jade Eshleman and Paige Phillips have played key minutes and are making an impact on the floor, coach McDowell noted.
"We're off to a good start," McDowell stated. "Our expectations are high this season. We need to continue to work to get better in different phases of the game and we need to take care of the things that we can control."
Friday on the road, the Mares pushed their winning streak to four straight with a 62-52 nod over Garden Spot. Solanco sprinted to an 18-9 first quarter lead but couldn't really pull away. The Spartans cut it to 31-26 at the break and both teams netted 10 third quarter points before a strong fourth quarter, 21-16 by the Mares, wrapped up the action.
"We used a quick start to get out to an early lead," said McDowell. "We led the whole game."
The hosts netted three more field goals (22-19) than Solanco but a strong 18-for-27 showing at the free throw line by the visitors proved crucial. Jenna Dombach led that charged with a 7-for-10 effort.
"We converted 11-of-16 free throws down the stretch," noted McDowell. "That has been an emphasis this year."
Kreider led all scorers with 18 points, Burger tossed in 14 and P. Phillips hit a season-high 9. Cabrera added 8 as the Mares improved to 3-2 in Section Three.
"Paige had a solid game and gave us our spark early," McDowell said. "Grace picked up two fouls early and Paige stepped in and did a great job."
The Mares got off to another strong start Saturday afternoon at the West York Basketball Showcase against Spring Grove but a 20-26 effort at the free throw line by the hosts was enough to spark them to a 60-51 victory.
Despite a 20-12 first quarter lead, the Mares were outscored 31-17 in the middle two frames to fall behind for good.
"We just could not buy a basket," recalled McDowell, "and we had too many turnovers. And it didn't help that they got to the free throw line three times more than we did (26-9). When you make more field goal than your opponent (20-17), you expect to win the game."
Cabrera led the double-digit scorers with 17 points, including three treys. Burger added 16 and Kreider netted 11.
"This was a great experience, playing on a neutral court against a quality district qualifying team," said McDowell. "We will use this game to build for future games that have bigger rewards."
After finishing last year with a 4-17 overall record, the boys' basketball will look to senior Derek Kreider for leadership. Kreider, one of four seniors on the squad, logged the most starting minutes last year. But the Mules are small, with just one player, Tyler Whisman, over 6-feet.
In the newly aligned L-L League, now with five sections, the Mules entered 2019 with a 2-2 Section Three mark, already one win better than last year's 1-13 league record. But in the opening game of the new year, Solanco struggled against visiting Garden Spot, suffering an 81-58 loss.
Despite falling behind early, 23-12 in the first quarter, the rest of the frames were more than competitive, with the Spartans never finishing with more than a six point edge. Solanco exploded for 20 fourth quarter points but couldn't hold off the visitors. Spot got 16 from Keontae Nunn, who finished with a season-high 34, and netted 22 for the frame to close out the win.
Kreider poured in a season-high 23, including nine in the fourth quarter, and Carson Kilgore, who netted nine in the first half, settled for 13. Zed Baker and Zach Wiker combined for 14 as the Mules fell to 2-3 in Section Three (3-8 overall).
Solanco, without head coach Scott Long, capped the 2018 season with a 68-64 consolation overtime victory over Conestoga Valley in their own Holiday Tournament on December 29.
"We jumped out to a quick 66-58 lead in the overtime period," recalled assistant coach Caleb Graves who is filling in for Long who is out due to his wife giving birth to their daughter, Brynlee Joy, five weeks early. "Then we missed several easy layups and CV closed the gap. We missed some free throws late as well but managed to hand on for the win."
Early on, it was the Bucks, who did not hit a single three-pointer in the game, that took an early lead, sprinting to a 22-16 first quarter advantage. "We were giving up too many points in the paint," stated Graves. "We talked about that at halftime and in the second half we used our full court pressure to close the deficit."
Kreider, whose 3-ball gave Solanco the lead late in the game, finished with 15 points, including four triples. Zed Baker, however, netting a team-high 18 and Zach Wiker added a dozen.
Solanco dropped in 25 field goals on the day and held the visitors to 20. CV, however, drained 18-of-30 free throws to keep the game close.
"I was proud of the team's effort to continue playing hard when the shots weren't falling," said Graves. "It was an all-out team with from start to finish with contributions from underclassmen as well as upperclassmen who have not played as much this season."
The Mules fell into the consolation game after suffering a 56-37 opening round loss to Penn Manor. The Comets outscored the hosts in all four quarters, including a 12-4 second frame run that pushed the lead to 25-14 at the break.
Kreider, with 10 points, was Solanco's only double-digit scorer. Jalen Henry followed with seven and Baker and Whisman added six each.
Mules Blank Waynesboro in District Opener November 5, 2018
With a less than ideal forecast looming and Solanco set to open district play, head coach Tony Cox kept his eye on the radar all week. So they would be prepared for the monsoon like conditions that presented themselves at game time this past Friday night, Solanco practiced with a wet ball all last week.
"We used a wet ball all week and the kids were frustrated that we kept fumbling in practice," said Cox. "But we didn't have a single fumble against Waynesboro and sometimes it was raining so hard I couldn't see across the field."
The Mules shook off a 2.5 hour bus ride, handled the weather conditions and rushed their way to a lopsided 49-0 shutout over their hosts in the District Three Class 5A first-round game.
Waynesboro (6-5) won their last three games to jump to No. 7 in the district bracket. It was the first time in school history that they earned a home playoff game. The Mules, for the second time in program history, and the first since 2015, advanced to the quarterfinals where a rematch against No. 2 seed Cocalico (8-2) awaits this Friday.
"The kids were focused," stated Cox. "They were ready to play. And we're certainly excited to have another shot at Cocalico."
Nick Yannutz spearheaded Solanco's 403-rushing yards with 209 yards on 20 rushes and Joel McGuire added 120 yards on 14 rain-soaked carries. The pair also scored three touchdowns each.
With the rains limiting the passing game, Waynesboro finished with 204 yards on the ground and were led by Quentin Gaskill's 98-yards on nine carries.
The Mules kick started their offense with an early defensive stand. Waynesboro moved the ball to the Solanco 7. After two short gains, the drive stalled and a six yard loss made it fourth-and-goal from the 11. Solanco stopped quarterback Jay Alverez at the one with 8:09 left in the quarter and responded with a 99-yard drive that culminated with a 13-yard touchdown run by Yannutz. Logan Yaletchko's 2-point conversion put the Mules on the board, 8-0.
Solanco's second touchdown of the night was a six-yard keeper by McGuire with a Hayden Fox PAT pushing the lead to 15-0.
The Mules got the ball back on downs at the midfield and needed just one play to add to the score. Yannutz broke up the middle with a 49-yard run and another Fox PAT extended the lead, 22-0.
The defense, led by Hunter Shaw's six tackles, came up big again when Sam Buckwalter picked off a pass at the 44. Solanco needed just four plays this time to hit pay dirt. Yannutz scored from the 11 with 7:24 left in the half.
Waynesboro, on the ensuing possession, fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. Yaletchko, who also recorded one sack, recovered on the 28 and McGuire, on third down, took it 25-yards to the house for a commanding 35 point advantage.
The Indians fumbled again, this time on their own 35. After Rashawn Carter's recovery, Solanco, again, capitalized when McGuire plunged in from the one. Fox booted another PAT and the Mules were up 42-0 with 2:32 left in the half.
The only score of the second half was a one-yard keeper by McGuire in the third quarter.
"This was a good program win," said Cox. "Everyone got playoff experience. The kids played with a purpose. They wanted to get a playoff win and they did.
"We win, we keep on going," he added. "We lose, we're done. We're looking forward to this week's challenge."
Mules Fall to Barons But Qualify For Districts October 29, 2018
After a disappointing effort against Cocalico on October 19th, the football team was looking to get back on track last week. Unfortunately they were facing their toughest opponent of the season, the undefeated Barons of Manheim Central. And that challenge was just too tall a task to overcome.
While this game featured the league's top two rushers in Solanco's Joel McGuire and Manheim's Tyler Flick, it was the Barons, with their league best defense, that shined in a lopsided 57-14 final.
Manheim needed just three plays to score two touchdowns and after five plays from scrimmage, they led 21-0 behind 173 yards of offense. The undefeated Barons racked up 367 yards en route to a commanding 42-14 first half lead.
Solanco looked poised to counter Manheim's opening strike, a 75-yard TD run by Flick, putting together four straight first downs in driving inside the Barons' 10-yard line. A fumble ended that threat and set the tone for the rest of the game. The Mules fumbled a season-high three times and tossed one interception, which led to Manheim's second score of the game.
Solanco opened the second quarter with a 54-yard rumble by Nafis Moore and Hayden Fox kicked the extra point, cutting the lead to 21-7. The Barons countered with their fourth score of the game, a 15-yard run by Evan Simon, extending the advantage back to 21 points.
The Mules scored its second and final TD of the night when Moore, who finished with 142 yards on 13 carries, rushed in from three yards out, making it 28-14 midway through the second quarter. The hosts scored again before the half expired and pulled away with 15 second half points, securing its 25th section championship.
Despite the loss, McGuire finished as the league's top rusher with 1,531 yards through 10 games and is believed to be the first quarterback to win the rushing title. He finished with 102 yards against the Barons. Flick settled in with 1, 447 yards, Donegal's Zion Gibbs was third (1,082) and Nafis Moore went over the 1,000 yards mark by four yards.
The Mules finish the regular season at 2-4 but their 6-4 overall mark punches their ticket to the District Three 5A championships which get underway this weekend. No. 10 seed Solanco will take on No. 7 Waynesboro. Both teams are 6-4.
FIELD HOCKEY, VOLLEYBALL and CROSS COUNTRY
Nobody goes out for a sport, or becomes an athlete, because they enjoy losing. The goal is always to win. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the ball just doesn't bounce your way. Does that mean the season was a waste of time? Never. The great thing about sports is that there are always lessons to be learned, win or lose, that will stay with you long after the season is over. The little victories along the way might not be wins in the traditional sense, but smaller goals that were achieved. Individuals learning the game and showing progress or learning lessons about being a part of something bigger and being responsible. It's much harder to go through a losing season than one that cruises along, racking up the wins but there are rewards in those losses.
Many of the fall sports teams have struggled in the win department this year but other successes have popped up along the way. The field hockey team was awarded the Lancaster-Lebanon League Varsity Team Academic Award with a GPA average of 3.704. In addition to that, five players received league all-star recognition. Junior Keirra Laird was a second team all-star while seniors Casey Weder and Dana Landis, along with sophomore midfielders Emma Curtis were honorable mention all-stars. Landis, along with Alta Brandenberger, also received L-L League Senior Academic Awards.
Laird was the team's top scorer with four goals and one assist and played in every varsity game. "Keirra worked very hard and took off this season in her intensity as a forward," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "She is the first player in my coaching career at Solanco to receive second team all-star recognition. She is also the first player as a junior to be awarded as the last two years we have had seniors.
"Emma is also the youngest player in my career to be selected as an all-star," Hawkins continued. "We moved her from defense to midfield where she has shined. She is a versatile player that can switch from defense to midfield and back without skipping a beat."
Curtis finished with one goal, one assist and collected three defensive saves.
The volleyball team also took their lumps this year as a group of underclassmen battled to learn the game and compete at the varsity level. They were led by their three senior captains.
Four-year starter Kara McClune was the anchor for this squad. From her power/outside hitter position, McClune led the team with 86 aces and 113 kills. She also put up 16 blocks and was solid in the back with 223 digs. For her efforts, McClune was selected as a Lancaster-Lebanon League Second Team All-Star.
"Kara's drive and competitiveness were major contribution to Solanco Volleyball," praised head coach Meghan Cross. "She led by example with a positive attitude and was always looking for ways to better her individual and team play. Kara's experience and knowledge of the game were key attributes in her leadership and level of play."
Georgia Ewing, a two-year starter, shared captain responsibilities with McClune. She was tops on the team with 43 blocks and also contributed 71 kills and 26 aces.
"Determination and perseverance are two qualities that Georgia contributed to the team," Cross stated. "She was determined to be a team player and constantly looking to improve her play. She was respected by her teammates and took charge of defending the net and was always helping the younger players."
Solanco's final captain and last senior on the team this year was first year starter and Libero, Bri Langley. A Defensive Specialist last year, Langley led this year's squad with 305 digs and served up 32 aces.
"Bri's enthusiasm and energy on and off the court are two qualities that stand out to me," Cross said. "Bri took charge on defense. She got along with everyone and made sure everyone felt included."
The team finished the season with four wins and 14 losses.
The Cross Country team also struggled this season, coming up with a combined record of one win against 19 losses. As individuals, however, five members of the team competed in the District Three Championships at Big Spring High School this past Saturday. Ben Stickler, Avery Jacobsen, Dan Keller, Colin Althoff and Aubree Roop traversed the muddy course on a chilly afternoon but failed to place high enough to advance to the state championships this weekend.
Stickler, in a field of 270 runners, was off last year's pace of 17:12. The senior led the team but was disappointed with his time of 18:54 and 158th place finish.
Avery Jacobsen, in his biggest race of the season, fell in at 179th place with a 19:05. He was the 20th freshman to cross the line. Senior Dan Keller followed with a 19:49 (238th) and Colin Althoff, a junior, settled in at 257th with a 20:27.
As the only member of the girls' squad to qualify, Aubree Roop ran alone and finished 50 seconds and 21 places behind last year's effort. Roop clocked a 23:03 for 157th place.
Stickler Earns L-L League Medal October 22, 2018
While the cross country team opened the post-season last week, the volleyball team was wrapping up the regular season and the football team continued its trek through section play.
The harrier teams traveled to Ephrata Middle School last Tuesday to compete in the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships. And while the final team scores are not what they wanted, the squads put forth their best efforts.
The boys' opened the action at 4 pm and were led by Ben Stickler's 24th place, medal finishing time of 17:13.
"Ben has grown stronger as the season moved forward," said head coach Craig Ausel. "He has been determined to overcome some early season struggles which knocked him out of the L-L all-star contention. We believe he still has his best race ahead of him at the District Three meet (Oct. 27)," he added. "His time was the sixth fastest Solanco time of the LL Championship course," Ausel noted. "Only John Ausel, Liam Hodgson, Noah Brady and Ben himself have run faster times on the course since 2010."
Freshman Avery Jacobsen clocked the next best time with an 18:41 that was good for 80th place. He was the 10th freshman to cross the finish line in a field of 170 runners. "Avery is a fierce competitor and did not back down to many stronger runners," Ausel said. "His time is the seventh fastest Solanco freshman time on the Championship Course."
Tate Fisher ran third for the Mules, clocking a season best 19:00 flat for 103rd place, missing the district qualifying time by one second.
Nathan Eller, also a junior, ran as Solanco's fourth runner for the first time this season. He finished in 113th place with a 19:15 and was closely followed by senior Aidan McBride (118th, 19:22).
"Tate, Nathan and Aidan all ran their best races," noted Ausel.
Rounding out the Solanco lineup was Colin Althoff (19:42), Dan Keller (19:43) and senior Jose Serrano (20:18).
"Dan mounted a strong comeback after a late season injury," Ausel said. "Both he and Colin qualified for districts. We did not beat any of the Section One teams that beat us during the season but we did pick up five wins over Section Two teams," he added. "It was our hope to knock off a couple more."
The Mules finished 18 points ahead of Lampeter-Strasburg, the Section Two co-champs.
The girls' ran the second race of the day and got a strong showing from Aubree Roop. The senior clocked a 22:10 for the 57th fastest time of the day and the 10th fastest time by a Solanco senior on the Championship Course.
"We are looking forward to Aubree running her strongest race of the season at districts," said Ausel.
Chesley Ledesma, attempting to meet the qualifying standard of sub 23 minutes, fell a bit short. She finished in 91st place with a 23:26.
"Chesley ran a strong race and gave a good effort," Ausel stated. "She just fell a bit short. We look forward to Chesley being a huge part of our leadership team next season."
Freshman Halle Brown ran third for the Mares and finished in 98th place with a 23:42, just one second off her career best.
"Halle learned a great deal about training and preparation this season. She will be a crucial link in building our program," Ausel noted.
Sarah Snyder (118th, 24:51) and Hannah Wheeler (127th, 25:25) rounded out the top five.
"Our sixth runner, Evelyn Billings, had an outstanding day, running a career best 25:43 and finishing 131st," Ausel pointed out. "She knocked 4:30 off her first 5K of the season.
Kirsten O'Connell ran 27:26 to round out the Solanco roster.
The volleyball team saved their best for last, winning two of their last three matches of the season last week, improving their overall record to 4-14.
Last Monday, the team defeated Berks Christian 3-2. This one was back-and-forth with the Mares taking a 25-20 first set win. They dropped the second set 22-25, came back to win 25-18 before bowing out 20-25 in the fourth set. With the match on the line, Solanco pulled out the win with a 15-10 final set.
Senior Kara McClune was a huge factor on offense, serving up 11 aces and collecting 11 kills. Bri Langley and Madi Davis combined for 7 aces and 16 digs with Nathaly Molinarez and Jada Dow adding to McClune's presence with a combined 11 kills. Davis also dished out 18 assists with Emma Canale adding 10. Emma Urbine and Georgia Ewing added two blocks each and Alondra Quinonez recorded 7 digs in a total team effort.
Tuesday saw the Mares travel to playoff bound Lampeter-Strasburg for the regular season finale. Though they came away with a 3-1 loss, the Mares pushed the Pioneers. And if it wasn't for some miscues in the serving department, the scores could have been closer.
L-S led from start to finish in their 25-19 first set win. Solanco countered in the second set, tying the score at 17-17, and 19 all before pulling out a 25-21 win as the Pioneers missed a serve and hit into the net on the final two points of the set.
The Mares held that momentum through the first part of the third set, tying things up at 9-9 before the Pioneers, with more error-free play, finished on top 25-16. The hosts controlled the final set, leading from start to finish in a 25-13 result.
McClune continued her strong play at the net with 5 kills but it wasn't enough to offset Lampeter's Betsy Brenneman who recorded 12. McClune also served up 3 aces with Ewing and Urbine (1 blocks) adding 4 each. Davis recorded 13 assists, Langley hustled for 13 digs and Dow added one block in the loss.
Solanco ended the season on a strong note, holding off Lititz Christian with a 3-2 thriller on a night that celebrated senior captains McClune, Ewing and Langley.
This one was exciting from the start as the Mares pulled out a 31-29 first set victory. Unfortunately, Lititz battled back to take the second set (25-18) and pulled out a tight 25-23 fourth set after Solanco forged ahead with a 25-21 third set win. Coming down to the final set, again, Solanco prevailed 15-11.
"That first set went point-for-point and lasted over an hour," recalled head coach Meghan Cross. "The girls persevered through several long volleys and executed crucial points, including Kara's final point kill that gave us the set victory.
"We actually fell behind 0-3 in that final set," Cross continued. "Kara's serves and a few crucial kills, along with Georgia's blocks were what led us to the win. The girls were really solid on defense as well, digging and diving for balls everywhere."
McClune was stellar on defense in this one, collecting 45 digs with Langley (38) and Canale (16) also working hard to deny Lititz. McClune and Ewing led the attack at the net with 13 and 11 kills respectively with Davis (18) and Canale (14) putting up the sets. McClune, Langley and Davis also combined for 7 aces on the night.
"It was a great win for senior night and a great way to end the season," Cross said.
Two fairly evenly matched teams met on the gridiron this past Friday night in Denver but only one went home with a win. In an unexpected turn of events, Cocalico dismantled Solanco 42-7 and improved to 4-1 in Section Two (7-2 overall). Solanco fell to 2-3, 6-3.
"We came out flat," said head coach Tony Cox. "Cocalico definitely wanted it more. They played a lot more physical than we did. A different team showed up for Solanco Friday night, one the seniors hope to turn around as we face Manheim Central this week."
The Eagles held the Mules' typically potent rushing game to just 197 yards and scored the first six touchdowns of the game. They led 28-0 at the half, a lead too large for the visitors to overcome.
Solanco came in as the top rushing team in the league with 3,332 yards and a 458 total yards per game average but couldn't get going.
"We couldn't get into a rhythm and we certainly couldn't stop them," Cox stated. "It was just one of those games. The team agreed they weren't ready to play and that they need to go harder this week."
The Mules finally got on the board in the fourth quarter when Nafis Moore, who rushed for 114 yards on 18 carries, scored on a four-yard burst. Cole Lewis chipped in with 39 yards and Nick Yannutz added 26 while one of the league's best rushers, Joel McGuire, was held to 18 yards. McGuire completed 2-of-7 passes with one interception. Michael Grech was on the receiving end of one of those passes for 34 yards and Lewis snagging the other for 18. Seth Harnish led the defensive effort with eight tackles.
"When you lose a game, you can chose to fix the mistakes and get better or not fix the mistakes and get worse," said Cox. "When we lost to E-town and CV, the kids wanted to fix the mistakes and responded with wins over McCaskey and L-S. We have to fix things this week and get rolling again."
Solanco competed in the L-L League exhibition tournament at Conestoga Valley Oct. 13 and finished in second place in their respective pool. Kelsey Sheets and Faith Rineer each placed second in their singles pools while the doubles team of Maddie Mosley and Perla Bentiez finished second in doubles.
"There were three pools of singles tournaments with eight players in each and one doubles pool with eight teams," noted head coach Todd Brown. "We have a great young group of returning players who have already begun off-season workouts. There will be several large shoes to fill as the seniors graduate, but the underclassmen are rising to the challenge and look forward to their opportunity."
Faith Redcay, Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy all recorded six singles wins this season while Zaborskiy and Griffonetti teamed for eight doubles wins. Also in doubles play, newcomer Sophia Baker recorded seven wins, partnering with either Kelsey Sheets or Faith Rineer.
Girls' Soccer Tops Donegal in Season Finale October 15, 2018
Last week the lady booters ended the season with two games against Donegal. Tuesday they were on the road and settled for a 1-1 double overtime tie. Gracie Unger, assisted by Grace Kreider, gave the Mares an early lead. Unfortunately, the hosts matched that effort later in the first half.
"We played scoreless the remainder of the game," said head coach Ken Yoder. "Each team had equal play with good chances."
Due to rainouts, the Mares hosted Donegal on Thursday for the last game of the season. After a scoreless first half, Kayden Bedwell, on a nice cross from Alana Yoder, scored the game winner.
"We had the better of the play throughout the match," noted Yoder. "We had numerous chances to score in the first half.
"It was a great season," he added, "unfortunately we fell short of our goals of reaching the post season and having a winning record. We did, however, have one of the better seasons ever for Solanco girls' soccer and increased our win total from six games to seven with a final record of 7-10-1."
In their first, and last, dual meet of the season, the harrier teams traveled to Lititz to take on a pair of Warrior squads that were battling for the section title. Both Solanco teams fell short in the upset, 18-47.
"Warwick boys are the strongest team we've seen in the L-L this season," said head coach Craig Ausel. "Their ladies top five are solid as well. We caught them at a good time. They had another meet this week and took it easy on us.
"This was a fast course and some responded to the opportunity of running faster through the first two miles to put themselves in position for season best times," he added.
Ben Stickler ran a smart race and continued to lead the Mules. He followed four Warwick runners through the first 2.5 miles and then used a strong kick to pass those four runners over the last 400 meters. He was third overall and just 13 seconds out of first place with an 18:05. Avery Jacobson followed four Warwick runners to the finish line and settled for 8th place with an 18:34, his second fastest time of the season.
First year runner Nathan Eller ran third for the Mules, knocking 40 seconds off his best time, running a 19:15 and narrowly missing a qualifying time for Districts. He was 13th overall.
Founding out the top five was senior Aiden McBride (15th) and Colin Althoff (18th) with sophomore Sean Keller a close 19th.
"Aiden continues to improve and we hope he can qualify for districts at the league meet," said Ausel. "Sean ran a season best 20:17 to crack into our top six.
"As frustrating as our 0-10 record is, we have a great deal to be thankful for," Ausel continued. "The underclassmen, on both teams, have learned the importance of summer training. The big challenge will be to see who remembers this lesson next June and July when the 2019 season begins."
Senior Aubree Roop finished her last regular season with a 6th place finish in 22:56. Chesley Ledsma was two places back with a 23:47 with Hannah Wheeler cracking 10th (24:59).
"Aubree has come a long way in four years and has provided great leadership to our small squad," noted Ausel. "Chesley was working toward a district qualifying time but fell short in the last mile. She will give it another try at leagues.
"Hannah, our senior co-captain, is a warrior who races despite many different physical and health related struggles in her life," he continued. "She leads by example."
Halle Brown clocked a 25:05 and finished 12th overall with Sarah Snyder (18th, 26:32) rounding out the top five. Evelyn Billings also chipped in with a 20th place finish.
"Halle continued to learn how to race and will be a giant help to our squad next year with a stronger summer of training," said Ausel.
"The girls finished 1-9 this year but we need to find more than eight ladies for next year's squad.
"As for the post-season, Coach Harrington and every Solanco coach after him has said...Our responsibility is to represent our proud SLCXC tradition by competing with 'Intensity, Courage, and Love.' We want to walk away from the day knowing that we did everything we could do to get the most from our abilities and the work we put into this season," he concluded.
Aubree Roop was the top place winner for the girls, clocking a 22:57 for 6th place overall. Chesley Ledsma was two places back with a 23:47 and Hanna Wheeler finished 10th overall in 24:59.
The boys' soccer team wrapped up the 2018 season last week with back-to-back losses early in the week and another on Friday. The team hosted Octorara on Monday. The Braves took a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick in the 21st minute and made it 2-zip 13 minutes later which is where the score remained as the Mules denied the Braves in the second half.
"It was an evenly played match," said head coach Jamie Snyder. "We lost 5-0 to them the first time around so improvement is being made."
Tuesday night they took an early lead against visiting Donegal but couldn't quite hold on. The Indians pulled away with a 4-2 final.
Solanco jumped in front 2-1 with first half goals by Sean Salisbury and Oliver Diaz, who knocked in his first of the season, but the Indians tied the game before the half and pulled away with a pair of second half tallies.
"Jake Smolik (11 saves) stopped a penalty kick in the second half and we built on that momentum," said Snyder. "I thought we outplayed them but fell to some bad bounces," he added. "Everyone played well but Jake's brilliance in goal stood out. The first time we played them we lost 7-0, so again, progress is being made and the program is getting stronger."
The Mules hosted Penn Manor, a Section One squad with just five total wins, on Friday and dropped a 2-0 result.
In the much anticipated battle for the Milk Jug Trophy, Lampeter-Strasburg scored the first touchdown of the night and the last, but in between it was all Solanco as the Mules used a 27 point second quarter to regain the Milk Jug with a 48-27 senior night home victory this past Friday.
Joel McGuire rushed for 225 yards on 16 carries and scored four times to highlight the scoring.
"It was a pretty exciting game," said head coach Tony Cox. "The kids were focused. After last year's embarrassing loss, the kids really wanted this and the senior did a great job leading."
Solanco tied the score at 7-7 with 4:13 left in the first quarter on McGuire's 17-yard strike to Sam Buckwalter and then gained momentum when Logan Yaletchko sacked Lampeter's Sean McTaggart, forcing the visitors to punt with 1:49 left in the frame. The Mules took off from there, scoring four unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, three by McGuire, two at 60-yards or better.
"Joel really had an outstanding game," said Cox. "He was the playmaker, but the offensive line did a great job too."
Nafis Moore added two scores, one in the second quarter, and one of just two that the Mules scored after halftime. He finished with 62 yards on 9 carries. Cody Lewis and Nick Yannutz both added 67 yards rushing, adding to Solanco's 393-yards total for the game.
McGuire also completed 4-of-5 passes for another 64 yards. Michael Grech hauled in two of those.
"Defensively, Seth Harnish had a big game," noted Cox. "And he's only a sophomore."
Harnish, along with Buckwalter, had seven solo tackles. He also had three assists and one sack.
"We travel to Cocalico this week," stated Cox. "They're a tough nosed team and run the same type of offense we run. It's going to come down to fundamentals and not giving up penalties."
The hockey team wrapped up Lancaster-Lebanon League play last week with three losses. The team traveled to Elizabethtown on Monday looking to move up in the standings against the team sitting just above them in the standings. The Bears, however, were not to be denied, pulling out a 2-1 thriller.
After a scoreless first half, the hosts jumped in front just 2:44 into the second half. Solanco, despite being outshot 23-1, was determined and knotted the score on a goal by Emma Curtis, assisted by Keirra Laird at the 13:25 mark. The Bears, holding a 7-1 edge in corners, knocked in the game-winner with 7:15 left.
In their second home game of the week, Solanco took on second place Manheim Central and came away with a hard-fought 2-0 loss.
"The first time we played them we lost 8-0 so this was definitely an improvement," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "And it might have helped that we played on our grass field!
"My forward line (Keirra Laird, Mariah Stoltzfus and Maggie Hirst) has really begun to excel the past couple of games and luckily they are underclassmen so that is looking great for next year," she added.
The Barons (12-2), with an 8-3 advantage in corners, scored one goal in each half to secure the win. The Mares had a couple of breakaway efforts by Keirra Laird up the left side of the field and into the circle but Solanco just couldn't finish.
And in their last home game of the season, the Mares wrapped up league play with a 4-1 loss to Cocalico. The Eagles scored in the seventh minute and added a second goal with just over one minute left to play in the first half.
They kept up the pace in the second half, tallying two more goals before the determined Mares broke up the shutout with an unassisted goal by Laird in the 21st minute.
The volleyball team took on league foes Ephrata and Garden Spot last week but came up empty in the wins category. Tuesday the team traveled to Ephrata where the Mounts posted a second 3-0 verdict over the Mares, winning 25-13, 25-17, 25-19.
"We could not get into a rhythm against Ephrata," said head coach Meghan Cross. "Georgia played well and protected the net and Kara continues to power through with her serves."
Kara McClune sparked the offense with 4 aces while Georgia Ewing put down 3 kills and Maddie Davis added 5 assists. Defensively, Ewing also recorded 3 blocks while Bri Langley dug up 14 hits.
Two nights later, the Mares hosted the section undefeated Spartans and battled tough in a 3-1 loss. Solanco opened with a 25-23 first set but couldn't keep the momentum as the stronger Spartans responded with a 25-10 win in the second set and finished on top, 25-11, 25-10. In the end, it was too much Shawna Zeiset. The Spartan hitter collected 26 kills leaving her with 200 on the season.
"The girls executed on offense, defended the net and covered on defense," stated Cross. "Their confidence and skills all came together and they played a competitive set against a very good team."
Ewing recorded 2 blocks and 3 kills for the Mares while McClune chipped in the 3 aces and 15 digs and Davis put up 6 assists.
Solanco also competed against Kennard-Dale on Monday and came away with their sixth 3-1 loss of the season, (25-17, 24-26, 25-12, 25-17).
McClune led the way with 8 aces, 7 kills and 6 digs. Langley and Canale, who finished with 12 assists, also collected 6 digs while Molinarez led that category with 7.
"Many of our matches have gone four and five sets," Cross noted. "That is a huge improvement and great accomplishment for this young team. Things are starting to click for the younger players and that is encouraging."
Golden Mule Gridders Thump McCaskey October 8, 2018
After heartbreaking losses to both CV and Elizabethtown, the Mules righted the ship this past Friday night, getting everyone involved in a 64-10 thumping over a 1-6 McCaskey squad. This was only the second time the two teams met. McCaskey won the first meeting 33-12 in a District 3 AAAA semifinal in 1991.
"The defense executed the things they didn't the last two weeks," said head coach Tony Cox. "They did what they were coached and not their own thing. They knocked receivers off the pass and picked up three interceptions (Cole Lewis, Zed Baker, and Sam Buckwalter).
"Football is like life," he added. "You're going to face adversity, and we did these two previous weeks, but the kids stayed positive and worked hard. They were focused this week."
Nafis Moore piled up 210 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 140 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown and returned a kickoff 70 yards to set up another score. Joel McGuire rushed 87 yards on 8 carries, scored two touchdowns and connected on 2-of-4 passes for another 51 yards. Shaneef Carter also scored a pair of TD's, rushing 94 yards on 13 carries.
A Lewis 7-yard scamper pushed the first quarter lead to 21-0, while an 11-yard strike from McGuire to Michael Grech kick started a 24-7 second quarter run and extended the lead to 42-7 at the half.
Moore scored in the third quarter and freshman Zach Turpen and sophomore Ronnie Fulton chipped in with fourth quarter TD's to pad the lead.
"We only had one turnover," noted Cox. "But it led to their only TD of the night."
The Mules rushed for 360 yards with 186 of them coming in the first quarter.
The field hockey team keeps working hard to pad their win column but the going hasn't been easy. Last Monday they hosted the third place team in Section Two and were dealt a 6-0 setback by Garden Spot. The Spartans improved to 9-4-1 overall and are working on their first winning record in three years. Wednesday they faced the undefeated Indians of Donegal and settled for a 14-1 defeat. The Indians have only given up 15 goals to date and two of them have been to Solanco. They capped the week with a disappointing 12-0 loss on the turf at Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday. The Mares dropped a 7-0 result to the Pioneers on their grass field on Sept. 17.
Despite falling behind 5-0 to Garden Spot in the first half, the Mares regrouped after the break, giving up just one goal while pressing to their offensive end with two corners and three shots on goal.
Wednesday's outing was no easier as Solanco faced a Donegal team that has rolled over its opponents, scoring 134 total goals through 14 games. The Indians' lopsided win over Solanco featured a pair of milestones as Lily Saunders scored her 100th career goal while Mackenzie Allessie hit the 300 mark.
Keirra Laird, assisted by Mariah Stoltzfus, broke up Donegal's shutout bid with a first half goal. Alta Brandenberger was busy in goal, collecting 15 saves while Kaley Wilson added two.
In Lampeter, the Mares struggled to slow the speedy Pioneers and were dealt their second shutout of the week. Against an offense that put out 24 shots on goal, Kimmy Beacham recorded 10 saves with Brandenberger grabbing two. The two combined for nine saves against Garden Spot.
The harrier teams competed on the tough Lancaster County course last Tuesday, McCaskey's home course, and failed to pick up a win. Despite a team best fifth place effort from Ben Stickler (18:03), the Mules fell to two of the top three teams in the section, 18-47 against both McCaskey and Hempfield. Aubree Roop was the top finisher for the girls, grabbing 12th place in 24:13. But the Mares also fell short, 18-40 to McCaskey and 15-55 against Hempfield.
"It's not always about the scoreboard," said head coach Craig Ausel. "It's a tough course but all the teams responded well. The team works hard and we get the most from our talent and the work we put in.
"Ben ran well with the leaders," he continued. "And Avery is not afraid to compete and did a fantastic job. We did have four runners sitting out today."
Avery Jacobsen scored a 14th place finish in 19:15, right on the tails of Hempfield's fifth and sixth runners. Colin Althoff (25th, 20:54), Tate Fisher (27th, 20:57) and Nathan Eller (28th, 21:04) rounded out the top five with Jose Serrano (29th), Aidan McBride (30th), Ryan Vanover (32nd) and Angel Daniel (34th) following in a pack.
Chesley Ledesma (16th, 24:52) and Halle Brown (19th, 25:14) cracked the top 20 with Sarah Snyder (25th, 26:12), Hannah Wheeler (29th, 26:31) and Evelyn Billings (32nd, 27:47) rounding out the Solanco lineup.
"Aubree, Chesley and Hallle fought hard early in the race but were separated in the last mile," Ausel said.
While the boys' soccer team is not preparing for the playoffs, they are in fact working hard to move Solanco's program in the right direction.
The Mules opened the week with a 3-0 loss to Cocalico, the fourth ranked team in 3A who secured its fifth straight shutout, on Monday.
"The boys played a solid game, holding them to just three goals for the second time this season," said head coach James Snyder. "Better passing and tighter defense helped in the effort."
Wednesday afternoon the boys dropped a 5-0 result against Lancaster Mennonite (7-1), the second place team in Section Three.
"We lost our game at times and LMH capitalized," said Snyder. "The team is working the ball better than they have in years past and have put a great deal of effort into helping rebuild the program from the junior high up.
"The boys are playing better soccer than they have in the past two or three seasons," he added. "The final scores are not indicative of how they perform on the field. We are working toward strengthening the program, getting better skilled and becoming more competitive."
Friday the Mules gave up a second half, own goal to Elco and dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker.
The volleyball team went 1-2 last week, suffering a hard-fought 3-2 loss to Oxford on Monday before coming back with a 3-0 loss to second place Elizabethtown (7-1) on Tuesday. The Mares capped the week with their first league win of the season, 3-2 over Lebanon on Friday.
Despite a strong presence at the net that featured 19 kills, Oxford rallied to beat the Mares. Solanco, behind Kara McClune's 7 aces, took the first two sets 25-18, 25-23 before the Hornets stung back, taking the next three 25-20, 25-14, 15-12.
McClune also led the way with 9 kills with Georgia Ewing and Nathaly Molinarz putting down 5 each thanks to the setting of Madi Davis (18 assists). McClune was busy in the back row as well, recording 11 digs along with Alondra Quinonez but it was Bri Langley that topped that stat with 16. Ewing and Urbine added 3 blocks each.
"Unforced errors prevented us from taking the lead in the fourth set," recalled head coach Meghan Cross, "and it's always a challenge to come back from two games down."
The Bears, with their sights on playoffs, served up six aces on the night and used a 10 kill attack from Sydney Stewart to spark a 25-14, 25-13, 25-8 win on the road.
Solanco got a strong game from both McClune and Molinarez who both recorded three kills and one ace in the loss. Emma Canale dished out 7 aces, Ewing put up a pair of blocks and Langley hustled for 10 digs.
On the road Thursday, the Mares avenged a 3-2 loss to Lebanon, back on Sept. 11, with a 3-2 thriller and their first section win! Solanco pulled out a 26-24 first set win, but dropped the next two, 19-25, 23-25 before regrouping with a 25-20 fourth set and securing the win with a 15-9 final set.
"This was our best match of the season yet!" exclaimed Cross. "Despite the unforced errors, we regained focus and pulled out the win.
"Emma had a phenomenal game at the net, finishing with 7 kills and giving her hitters some beautiful sets (9 assists) to send back over the net," continued Cross. "Kara was on fire with her serve and recorded 9 aces and Emma Urbine was a machine on the court, moving and covering and making saves everywhere."
Langley led the way with 20 digs with McClune adding a dozen, Davis chipped in with 7 assists and Ewing put up a pair of blocks to add to the total team victory.
Facing the top three teams in Section Three last week no easy task but the Mares buckled down and got to work. Monday's 3-0 loss to Cocalico (6-6-2 overall) was closer than the score might appear. The Eagles held a slim 10-9 edge in shots on goal and led 4-1 in corners.
"We played hard but struggled to finish despite some really good chances," said head coach Ken Yoder. "The difference was that Cocalico finished just about all of their chances.
"We lost to them 1-0 in overtime the first time around but I felt we played a much more even game this time," he added.
Wednesday the Mares hosted second place Lancaster Mennonite (6-2) for Senior Night and were dealt a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss in overtime.
After pretty much controlling the first half and settling for a 0-0 tie at the break, Solanco jumped in front when Grace Kreider delivered a perfect corner kick to Alana Yoder whose header found the back of the net. Unfortunately, the Blazers matched that effort five minutes later. Both teams challenged through regulation and one overtime period before the visitors finished a shot in the box with just two minutes gone in the second OT period to pull out the win.
"I really thought we won in the first overtime," said Yoder. "Alana headed another shot that looked like it was going in but was just wide. Our girls outplayed them and played great," he added. "We lost to them by one earlier in the season as well.
"Again, not capitalizing on our chances proves to be a deciding factor in these close games against the better opponents," Yoder explained. "We have been connecting passes and building on our attack in the second half of the season but the final piece of finishing in front of the net, against good teams, has proven tricky."
Seniors honored before the game included Reece Curry-Saner, Grace Kreider, Rachel McLaren and Diana Quintino.
The undefeated Elco Raiders swept the series against the Mares, posting a 3-0 final in Quarryville on Friday. After a scoreless first half, the visitors, with a 20 shot advantage, needed 15 minutes in the second half to go in front. They scored all of their goals in a span of 14 minutes.
Gabi Dolan recorded 21 saves on the day, five more than in the Cocalico and LMH games combined.
The tennis team competed in the L-L League Flight Tournament last week but failed to move into second round action. Kerith Paine faced 5th seed Scotland Reynolds, of Manheim Township, and lost 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1. Playing No. 2, Faith Redcay bowed out with a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Cocalico's Kassie Nichols while Elsie Zaborskiy put up the best numbers of the day in a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Warwick's Selena Orta at No. 4
In doubles action, Paine and Redcay took on 4th seed Reynolds and Nichole Honrade, of Township, and were shut out. At No. 2, Gabby Griffonetti and Zaborskiy put up a good fight before falling short 8-5 to McCaskey's Rachel Graham and Sarah Barnes. Griffonetti had defeated Barnes in Solanco's 4-3 thriller over the Red Tornados back on August 29.
Last but not least, Sophia Baker and Erin Dobinson teamed for an 8-2 loss at No. 3 doubles against Erin Fleurant and Chloe Long.
Mules Challenged By E-town for Homecoming October 1, 2018
For the second week in a row, turnovers (2 fumbles) and penalties (one roughing the passer) proved to be the difference in being dealt a loss or coming out on top. Elizabethtown put a damper on Solanco's homecoming activities this past Friday night as they put together a come-from-behind win over the Golden Mules, a 45-44 thriller.
Solanco pretty much led from start to finish. Joel McGuire (182 yards) scored the first of four rushing TD's on a one yard plunge and Nafis Moore (88 yards on 13 carries) added 4-yarder before Cole Lewis blocked a punt with 3:40 left in the first quarter, leaving the hosts in front 14-12.
The Mules looked to take control in the second frame, outscoring the visitors 30-13 for a 37-19 lead at the break. McGuire opened with a 17 yard TD, and E-town countered before Solanco ran off 16 straight points. McGuire scored on a two-yard plunge, Moore ran it in from 18-yards and Josiah Petersheim tackled Cole Patrick in the end zone for a safety.
The Bears, who did the bulk of their damage in the air (343 yards) denied the Mules in the third quarter while picking up a pair of scores. They started their comeback with a fumble recovery in the end zone and followed with a 70-yard TD reception to Luke Pierson. A second fumble gave the ball back to Etown and, after a roughing the passer call, the Bears converted with another passing TD, cutting the lead to 37-33.
McGuire's 60-yard run opened the fourth quarter and put the Mules in front 44-33. E-town, however, cut the lead to five with a 3-yard run and then denied the hosts. Cole Livingston returned the ensuing kickoff to the Solanco 30 with 1:19 remaining. One play later they were sitting at first-and-goal from the 4. The Mules held, but on fourth down a half-back pass to Livingston in the end zone was all E-town needed to forge ahead.
Shaneef Carter's 91-yards on 12 attempts contributed to Solanco's 427 rushing yards. Seth Harnish paced the defense with 9 tackles, Petersheim added 5 with Lewis, Seth Buckwalter and Daniel Sampson adding 4 each.
The boys' soccer team traveled to Donegal last Tuesday to take on the third place team in Section Three. The Indians maintained their ranking with a 7-0 victory. They scored three times in the first 14 minutes, keeping Solanco goalie Jake Smolik (8 saves) busy.
Saturday's non-league outing pitted the Mules against the top team in Section Four, Lancaster Catholic. The Crusaders held a slim 1-0 lead at the half before erupting for three second half goals and improving to 9-1-1 overall.
Head coach Craig Ausel was anticipating two wins for his squads last week but came away with just one. The girls' picked up a win over Lebanon (15-55) as the Cedars did not have a full squad. They suffered a 15-44 result against CV (6-2).
The boys' managed a tighter score but still fell short, falling 23-33 to both Lebanon and CV.
"The season has provided some challenges and we are working very hard to focus on the factors in our "circle of control," Ausel stated. "I believe both squads showed up to compete. We just got beat by two competitive teams who did all the right things to beat us."
Chesley Ledesma followed CV's top five runner to the finish line and placed 6th overall with a 23:02. Teammate Aubree Roop was 10 seconds behind for 7th while Halle Brown (9th, 24:10) and Hannah Wheeler (10th, 24:13) navigated the soggy course as Solanco's third and fourth runners. Sarah Snyder rounded out the top five in 12th place with Evelyn Billings one place back.
"Chesley ran a strong race, challenging a strong CV squad through the first two miles," noted Ausel. "Aubree ran a strong last mile and Halle, a freshman, continues to improve. Our senior captain, Hannah Wheeler, had one of her best races this year. She has overcome some health issues to continue her improvement and help our squad compete," he added. "Sarah also continues to improve and Evelyn knocked 30 seconds off her season best time."
Ben Stickler continues to lead the boys' and turned in a second place effort with a strong finish over Lebanon's Evan Blymier. Avery Jacobsen finished ahead of three Lebanon runners and placed 7th with an 18:24. Colin Althoff (12th) and Tate Fisher (13th) crossed the line together with a 19:06 while Nathan Eller rounded out the counters with a 17th place time of 19:57. Jose Serrano, Kyle Stively, Brandon Daniel, Sean Keller and Liam Fidley packed it in after that, securing the 19th through 23rd places.
"Ben continues his gradual return to some strong finishes. He turned in a strong kick to hold off Lebanon's No. 1 runner at the finish line," Ausel pointed out.
"Avery continues to impress and ran a gutsy race, challenging the No. 2 runners from both CV and Lebanon," he added. "And first year runner Nathan Eller broke into the 19 minute range for the first time this season."
A handful of golfers competed in the League Championships last Monday on a soggy Conestoga Country Club course. Needing an 88 or better to qualify for districts, Andy Teaman led the Mules with a 102. Greta Plechner (114) and Olivia Lasko (125) needed a 104 score to qualify for the girls portion of the tournament and also saw their season come to a close.
In a tightly contested match last Wednesday, the Mares put up a good fight against Garden Spot, the fourth place team in Section Two but fell short, 4-3.
"What a crazy, close match on senior night," said head coach Todd Brown. "Two of our matches went to tie breakers, which we split. Elsie Zaborskiy and Gabby Griffonetti continue to play great tennis which carries over to their singles matches. They are two of our three captains and are great leaders."
Zaborskiy and Griffonetti put Solanco on the board with an 8-3 win at No. 2 doubles and both played tiebreaker matches in singles competition. Zaborskiy won 6-4, 5-7 (8-6) at No. 4 while Griffonetti came up short 7-5, 4-6 (10-3) at No. 3.
Kerith Paine, at No. 1, lost 6-1, 6-4 and Faith Redcay bowed out 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2.
The Mares capped their season in exciting fashion Friday afternoon. Not only did they pull out a 4-3 win over Elizabethtown for their second Section Two victory but did it playing indoors at the Hempfield Rec Center.
"Due to the weather we were forced inside," said Brown. "The ladies responded well to the sudden change, came out strong, and rode the momentum to a victory."
Zaborskiy teamed with Griffonetti for an 8-4 doubles win and posted a 6-4, 6-4 singles victory.
"Elsie continued to lead the team in number of wins," noted Brown. "Sophia Baker and Kelsey Sheets put together a great No. 3 double shutout and Kerith Paine played well. She and Faith won a comeback match 9-7 and in singles play, Kerith pushed her opponent to a tie-breaker set."
The lady booters picked up the scoring last week and tallied back-to-back shutouts, crushing McCaskey 6-0 on Wednesday and coming back with a dominating effort over Octorara one day later, 8-0.
"Everyone played hard and a lot of the reserves were able to get time and contribute," said head coach Ken Yoder.
Angie Cylc led the way against McCaskey with two goals and one assist. Grace Kreider also scored twice, both in the first half as Solanco pushed out to a 5-0 lead at the half. Reece Curry-Saner assisted on three of the six goals scored and Alana Yoder added two assists. Kayden Bedwell and Sammi Jackson, who tallied the last goal, added to the total.
One day later, Grace Unger's hat trick sparked the 8-0 victory over Octorara. The Mares held a 3-0 first half lead with Ryleigh Ferrari, Unger and Kreider all finding the back of the net. A balanced second half effort put the game out of reach. Unger scored twice with Kreider, Hanna Sweda and Yoder contributing. Solanco tallied three of those goals in the final three minutes.
Yoder, Curry-Saner, and Nikki Trout all dished out two assists with Kreider and Jackson adding one.
Facing Octorara again on Saturday, Unger led a 4-1 victory with a pair of first half tallies. Ferrari opened the scoring in the eighth minute and Jackson scored the only goal of the second half with three minutes left. Gracie Jackson chipped in with a pair of assists.
The wins push Solanco's overall record to 6-7.
Trying to move ahead of Cocalico in the standings last Wednesday, the Mares were instead dealt a 6-0 loss. The Eagles, led by Caroline Baum's two goal effort, scored just 46 seconds into the contest but held just a slim 2-0 lead at the break. With four different players scoring, they took control in the second half.
One day later, Solanco grabbed a victory over McCaskey on Maggie Hirst's second half game-winner.
"I think after tying them the first time, the girls wanted to beat them," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "We had many corners we could have capitalized on but with the field conditions, it wasn't that easy."
The Mares took the early lead in this one with Emma Curtis assisting Mylee Smith for her first goal of the season just 6:15 in. The hosts, still searching for their first league win, knotted the score just over two minutes later. Hirst, however, taking the pass from Mariah Stoltzfus, notched the game-winner just 2:01 after the break. Alta Brandenberger earned the win with four saves on the day.
In non-league action Saturday, Solanco improved to 3-7-1 with a 1-0 victory over Spring Grove. Keirra Laird's unassisted goal in the first half proved to be the game winner. Brandenberger earned the shutout with seven saves.
It was another three match week for the volleyball team and while they took both CV and L-S to four sets, they still suffered three losses.
Monday they hosted CV, the second to last team in Section One, and opened with a solid 25-20 win. Unfortunately CV's Savannah Byers and her 20 kills provided enough offense for the Bucks to pull away with three wins, 25-16, 25-16, 25-19.
Kara McClune was solid on the night with five aces and teamed with Nathaly Molinarez for five kills each. In addition to putting up 12 assists, Emma Canale also led with a game-high 4 blocks and Bri Langley picked up 16 digs.
One day later, the team hosted Lampeter-Strasburg. This time they fought from behind, forcing a fourth set with a 25-18 third set win. The visitors pulled out a slim 25-22 win to start the night and dominated the second set 25-13 before capping the victory with a 29-19 final set.
Molinarez led with 7 kills and McClune chipped in with 4 aces to lead the offense. Langley and McClune combined for 15 digs and Canale put up a pair of blocks and 15 assists.
Thursday the team traveled to Manheim Central where they dropped three straight, 25-21, 25-11, 25-12.
McClune and Molinarez each served 2 aces and McClune added 5 kills due in part to Canale's 4 assists. Langley recorded a dozen more digs while Georgia Ewing, Jada Dow and Canale each added one block.
On Sept. 22 the Mares hosted a tri-match with Columbia and William Penn and came away with two 3-0 shutouts. McClune, with a solid performance, finished the weekend with 6 aces, 15 kills and 8 digs. Ewing recorded 14 kills, 1 block and 3 digs and Canale dished out 22 assists and put down 6 kills. Other top contributors included Langley (14 digs) and freshmen Madi Davis (8 assists, 4 digs, 2 aces) and Trinity Erisman (6 kills).
Volleyball, Field Hockey Earn First Wins September 24, 2018
Despite putting forth their best efforts and challenging their opponents, the volleyball and field hockey teams were winless going into last week. That all changed when the spikers worked a 3-0 non-league win over McCaskey on Thursday and the hockey team defeated Elizabethtown 2-0 in Wednesday's battle to stay out of the basement of the Section Two standings.
After suffering a competitive 3-1 loss to Hershey at home on Monday and then turning around and dropping a 3-0 result to Garden Spot, the top team in Section Two one night later, the volleyball team finally worked a win. Thursday in Quarryville the Mares blanked the winless Red Tornado 25-19, 25-15, 25-22 for their first victory of the season.
"Serving was the key in this match," said head coach Meghan Cross. "All around, we had excellent serving."
Emma Canale led the attack with 6 aces. Kara McClune (5) and Bri Langley (4) also contributed.
"We also defended the net well with Georgia Ewing and Cheyanne Cutler combining for seven blocks," she added. "I'm hoping this confidence builder leads to a few more wins."
Other contributors include Nathaly Molinarez with 3 kills and Canale with 9 assists.
The going was a bit tougher against the Spartans who got 11 kills from Shawna Zeiset and 6 aces from Sarah Shirk. Solanco came away with 3 kills from Molinarez and didn't serve a single ace. Langley was busy in the back row with 11 digs, Ewing put up 3 blocks and Canale dished out those 3 assists.
"They were definitely the toughest team we've faced," noted Cross. "The girls went into the game down and had a tough time getting things started."
Against Hershey, the Mares were in the hunt for a win but unforced errors denied that effort. Despite falling behind 7-1 in the first set, they tied the game at 17-17 but fell short 25-21. The visitors led from start to finish in the second set, winning 25-14.
"We tried a new lineup in the first two sets two give us a different option," recalled Cross. "Then we went back to our regular lineup and got into a better rhythm. We've been so close in every game we play."
The third set was tied nine times before Langley served the last five points of the night for a 25-17 win. Unfortunately they couldn't pull out another win. Tied at 9-9 early, Solanco fought from behind after that but managed to knot the score at 21-21 before bowing out 25-21.
"Nathaly was strong at the net with five kills and Georgia defended well with three blocks," Cross noted. "We need to cut down on the unforced errors. When we make our opponent make their own mistakes we play very well."
Langley also scrambled for five digs and Canale put up 11 assists.
The field hockey team sandwiched their first win, a 2-0 shutout over Elizabethtown, around a pair of losses. They opened the week with a 7-0 result against Lampeter-Strasburg and ended it with an 8-0 final against Manheim Central.
Against the Bears on Wednesday, Mariah Stoltzfus intercepted an attempted clear by the defense, gained possession and send a shot past the goalie for a 1-0 first half lead. Keirra Laird made it 2-zip at the 17:39 mark of the second half when she collected a rebound off the pads of ET keeper Alaina Telenko and sent the ball to the back of the cage.
"It was the first goal of the year for both Mariah and Keirra," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "We have put a heavy emphasis on 'what is your role' in different situations and it's starting to reflect in games."
In a game that literally see-sawed back-and-forth from start to finish, it was no real surprise that the end result would come down to the last play. Solanco fought from behind and took a 27-24 lead over hosting CV Friday night with a little more than two minutes to play. The Bucks responded with a 10-play drive and a two-yard run by Keegan Martin to go back in front, 31-27.
The Mules again looked to go in front, moving the ball all the way to the CV 44. But a last second heave in the end zone was broken up as time expired, leaving CV with a wildly entertaining victory.
"I always say the team with the least amount of mistakes wins," said head coach Tony Cox. "We had 16 penalty calls that cost us 135 yards. They had six penalties. I just don't think we were focused enough."
CV went in front on a 10-yard strike from Bradley Stoltzfus to Joe Cardina. Solanco answered with Joel McGuire's 4-yard scamper, tying the score at 7-7 in the first.
The Bucks managed the only points of the second quarter, a 25-yard field goal by Cardina, and led 10-7 at the break.
The Mules went back in front on a 9-yard run by Nafis Moore but the PAT was no good, leaving Solanco in front 13-10. CV returned the favor when Stoltzfus sent a pass over the top to a wide open Cardina with 8:20 on the clock. Cardina's PAT pushed the lead to 17-13.
Both teams continued trading TD's in the fourth quarter. McGuire scored on another 4-yard run and then added a two point conversion. CV went the other way and found the end zone with Martin's 13-yard burst up the middle with 4:58 on the clock.
Down 24-21, Solanco countered and took their last lead on McGuire's one-yard keeper. The two-point conversion failed and set the stage for Martin's 2-point TD and Solanco's last second attempt.
"I probably should have killed more clock," said Cox, "but I didn't want to stop our momentum. This was a tough loss but the kids never gave up. Our frustration leaked over a bit with the penalties and that killed our momentum. We finished with 435 yards of offense but lost over 100 yards in penalties. We need to take care of that."
McGuire finished with 184 rushing yards. Moore added 143 on 8 attempts and Cole Lewis chipped in with 70 yards on 6 carries and hauled in one pass for 12 yards.
Seth Harnish led the defense with seven tackles, Nathan Neuhauser added five and Seth Buckwalter intercepted one pass.
Due to the weather, again, Solanco competed in its second 9-hole match of the season last Monday afternoon at Media Heights and for the fifth time this season, the Mules finished in fifth place, carding a 228 team score.
Andy Teaman (54), Greta Plechner (58), Jesse Spangler (59) and Olivia Lasko (66) accounted for the scoring.
The team was hoping for a home course advantage at Tanglewood on Friday but that wasn't the case as they suffered four more losses. Their 426 team total fell behind Warwick (328), Ephrata (376), Elizabethtown (379) and Garden Spot (391).
Isaac Nadu was low man for the day, carding a 102 while Spangler (107), Teaman (108) and Plechner (109) finished out the day.
In the meat of their schedule, the Mares suffered their third straight loss last Tuesday against a Pioneer squad that worked their seventh shutout of the season.
"Though the score may not show it, we played very well," said head coach Todd Brown. "L-S is a great team and have several returning players who play throughout the year and we were able to play with them through most of the points."
Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy put up the best challenge of the day, dropping a hard-fought 8-5 No. 2 doubles loss. Zaborskiy also battled at No. 4 singles but came up short against Ryan Gerhardt, 6-3, 6-1.
"Gabby and Elsie continue to impress on the courts and are very smart players," stated Brown.
Looking for their second Section Two win, the Mares faced Donegal on Friday but fell to 1-4 with a 5-2 loss. The hosts improved to 2-4.
Griffonetti and Zaborskiy put Solanco on the board with an 8-0 shutout at No. 1 and Faith Redcay earned the second team point with a solid 6-, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles.
At home last Monday, the Mules were dealt their second straight 3-0 loss, this time at the hands of Lancaster Mennonite who sits tied at the top of Section Three at 3-0. The Blazers held a slim 6-4 edge in corners but outshot the hosts 10-3 en route to the win.
Jake Smolik recorded seven saves in goal.
"The varsity team put in a great performance against the most formidable team in Section Three over the past years," said head coach James Snyder. "The boys executed their game and held the Blazers to just three goals.
"Even in the loss, the boys are playing better soccer and are putting the skills we work on in practice to into use," he continued. "I'm pleased with their play and the effort they are putting in to make the program stronger, and eventually, more successful."
Friday's 1-0 loss to Elco was their tightest outing to date. After a scoreless first half, Elco snuck in the game-winner after the break.
24-hours later, the Mules notched their first win of the season over Section Four opponent, Lebanon (2-7). Evan Boule and Sean Salisbury found the back of the net and provided the punch Solanco needed up front while keeper Jake Smolik anchored the defense with seven saves.
The lady booters faced the top two teams in Section Three last week and came up empty both in the wins department and goals scored. Monday they battled the second place Blazers of Lancaster Mennonite and for 54 minutes it was a scoreless. The hosts, however, snuck in the game winner at the 54:22 mark and the lone goal stood.
Gabi Dolan recorded seven saves in goal while her counterpart, Kaeleigh King, needed just one to preserve the shutout.
In a night game at Elco on Thursday, the Mares were looking for an upset of the undefeated Raiders (7-0-1 overall) and were encouraged after giving up just one goal in the first half. The hosts, who have given up just three goals on the year, broke the game open with two goals scored in a five minute span midway through the second half.
Dolan again recorded seven saves while the Mares challenged Elco's Maddy Bailey who needed three saves to preserve the Raider's third straight shutout.
The Mares went out of section play on Friday night to take on Penn Manor (1-8) and came home with a 1-0 loss. The Comets scored the game-winner midway through the second half.
Less than 24-hours later, they capped their four games in six day week with a 3-2 non-league thriller over Kennett Saturday morning, pushing their overall record to 3-7.
With all five goals scored in the first half, this one was entertaining early. The visitors went in front ten minutes into the game. Solanco knotted the score seven minutes later when Alana Yoder found the back of the net. Five minutes later, it was Sammi Jackson working her way into the scoring column and pushing the lead to 2-1 Solanco. Kayden Bedwell added an insurance goal in the 35th minute which proved to be the deal breaker for Kennett. The visitors cut the lead to 3-2 two minutes before halftime. Neither team scored after that.
Dolan recorded nine saves on the day while Yoder and Jackson both dished out assists.
Harrier Teams Host PM, ET and Ephrata September 17, 2018
On a damp and soggy field, and through some light rain, Solanco's harrier teams hosted Penn Manor, Elizabethtown and Ephrata last Tuesday in their only home meet of the season. And while the results did not include a single win across the board, the teams are moving in the right direction.
"Both teams ran better than they did a week ago," said head coach Craig Ausel. "The E-town girls (who beat the Mares 15-45) earned the second, third and fourth fastest times on our course and the top two boys (Ephrata's Andrew Foster and Penn Manor's Graham Thomas) registered two of the top five fastest times," he added. "I was surprised the leaders ran as fast as they did on the very muddy lower portion of our course."
Ben Stickler (19:10) earned Solanco's highest finish of the day, 14th, with freshman Avery Jacobsen close behind (16th, 19:20). Colin Althoff (18th, 19:54), Tate Fisher (20th, 20:05) and Dan Keller (21st, 20:14) rounded out the home team's top five.
"We're just struggling to run fast enough at the top to win," stated Ausel. "Our 3rd, 4th and 5th runners beat Ephrata's No. 5 but they put three runners in front of our No. 1. That was the team I felt we had the best chance to beat and we lost 25-30."
Leading the way for the girls was Chesley Ledsma (15th, 23:55) and Aubree Roop (18th, 24:22) with freshman Halle Brown (25th, 25:36), Hanna Wheeler (26th, 25:53), Sarah Snyder (31st, 27:08) and Kirsten O'Connell (37th, 30:27) rounding out the lineup.
"Our last four runners worked hard over the last mile," said Ausel.
Despite going up against a team with zero wins to date, head coach Tony Cox did not want his team to take Garden Spot lightly. So the focused Mules came out with a fast and furious start against the Spartans this past Friday night and before you knew it, they led 28-0 in the first quarter en route to a 48-21 final result.
"You can't take anyone in the section lightly," stated Cox. "We had a good game plan and came in very focused."
The Mules, who scored three times on first plays from scrimmage and ran a kick-back back for another, were led by Joel McGuire and Nafis Moore. McGuire, the leading rusher in Section Two, scored four touchdowns, three in the first half, and piled up 234 yards on six rushes. Moore also added three first half scores and racked up 129 total yards.
"Our offensive line did a great job blocking," said Cox. "And we were able to get the younger guys in early. This was a great program win because everyone had an opportunity to play."
Defensively, Sam Buckwalter led the way with seven tackles while Cole Lewis and sophomore Mason St. Clair added five solo tackles and one assist each. Hunter Shaw and Daniel Sampson were both credited with sacks.
"Sam did a great job on defense," lauded Cox.
McGuire's 38-yard TD run early in the third quarter started the mercy rule running clock and led to Cox substituting freely. The Mules finished with 445 rushing yards on the night.
Mother Nature conspired to delay the start of Solanco's field hockey season to last week! Playing in their first game of the season, the Mares dropped a closer-than-the-score might indicate, 5-1 result at Garden Spot on Tuesday. The Spartans held a slim 9-8 edge in corners but managed to outshoot the visitors 15-4.
Spot took a 2-0 lead after ten minutes of play and made it 3-0 before Solanco got on the board. Maggie Hirst turned a Lauryn McNutt assist into Solanco's only goal of the game just 3:06 before the half.
"Since this was our first game we definitely had some jitters to get out," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "But I think we picked it up in the second half and settled into our game."
Alta Brandenberger recorded 10 saves goal.
Not only did they just play their season-opener but Solanco faced one of the top two teams in the L-L League on Thursday in Donegal. In what was supposed to be a home game, the Mares traveled to Mt. Joy due to soggy field conditions. It was there that the Indians, who were second in the state last year, secured its fifth win of the season with a 10-1 result.
"They are just a well-oiled machine," said Hawkins. "But we were pumped that we scored against them. Maggie, a sophomore, scored her second goal of the season. I would say she's off to a good start."
At home on Friday the Mares, searching for their first section win, went toe-to-toe with visiting McCaskey but settled for a scoreless tie. Solanco worked eight corners to the visitors ten and held a 5-4 edge in shots on goal but neither team could find the back of the net. Brandenberger was credited with four saves on the day.
Solanco's opening game last week against McCaskey was actually a shortened game. Having been rescheduled from August 31, the game started 11 minutes in. The Red Tornado was probably wishing the game was even shorter as the Mares, with a balanced attack, unleashed an 11-0 victory.
Reese Curry-Saner (1 assist) scored her first two goals of the season, including the first goal of the game a quick 60 seconds in. Grace Kreider also netted a pair and dished out three assists while Sammi Jackson (1 a) added two second half goals. Alana Yoder (1a), Kayden Bedwell and Kaylin Fowler (1a) also found the back of the net while Grace Unger and Angie Cylic dished out one assist each.
Returning First Team all-star Gabi Dolan did not need to make a single save in goal to earn the shutout.
On Friday the Mares were wishing they had one of Tuesday's goals to spare as they came up short, 1-0 in a double overtime contest at Cocalico. The visitors were held to two corners and two shots on goal but defended the Eagles 13 shot, 5 corner effort before the second OT game-winner was scored.
Back at it less than 24 hours later, Solanco secured its second win of the week with a 5-2 victory at Oxford. Tied 1-1 at the half, Bedwell score twice and Kreider and Jackson each scored in a span of five minutes to pick up the win. Yoder's first half goal knotted the score.
Whoever said 'all good things must come to an end' probably wasn't thinking about winning streaks. But, as the saying goes, Solanco, after extending its winning streak to six straight on Tuesday, suffered its first loss of the season, 6-1 to Cocalico Thursday afternoon.
"They were probably the toughest team we've faced," said head coach Todd Brown, "a solid, well coached team similar to McCaskey."
The doubles teams put up the toughest challenges of the day and prevented the shutout when Sophia Baker and Kelsey Sheets outlasted Ally Hieneisen and Allie Dickson 8-6 at No. 3 doubles.
Kerith Paine and Faith Redcay came out on the short end of the same score at No. 1 while Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy fell short 8-5.
"We led, at times, in all of the doubles matches and in a few of the singles as well," said Brown. "Unfortunately, we couldn't keep hold of the momentum."
Griffonetti, at No. 3 and Zaborskiy, playing 4, also mounted the toughest singles performances despite losing 6-2, 6-4 and 6-3, 6-3 respectively. Paine dropped a 6-0, 6-0 challenge at No. 1 and Redcay lost 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2.
On Tuesday the Mares had little trouble in blanking Lebanon for their second shutout of the year. Giving up just ten games on the day, Solanco cruised to victory. Griffonetti posted two shutouts in the win, teaming with Zaborskiy for an 8-0 result in doubles and winning 6-0, 6-0 in singles.
Paine and Redcay won 8-2 in doubles and 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-0 respectively in singles play while Baker and Sheets put up an 8-3 win.
Playing their third match of the week on Friday, the Mares suffered another 6-1 defeat, this one at the hands of Manheim Central. Baker and Sheets cruised to an 8-0 win to prevent the shutout.
The volleyball team played three times last week and while they came up empty, they were on the verge of at least two wins. At Catholic High on Monday, Solanco lost 25-14, 27-25 and 25-22. One night later, at home, they battled Lebanon in five sets before dropping a heartbreaker (25-13, 25-20, 24-26, 23-25, 8-15).
"That loss to Lebanon was a tough one," said head coach Meghan Cross. "Our passing was key in the first two wins. It allowed the setters to give the hitters good balls to attack the net. We were also setting up blocks and shutting down their hitters.
"We relaxed a bit and let Lebanon come back with a few too many points in the third and fourth sets," she continued. "Unforced errors prevented us from pulling ahead and finishing out that fifth set," Cross added.
With five aces, five kills and two blocks, Georgia Ewing had a great game, the coach noted. And Kara McClune anchored the defense with a match-high 21 digs and also contributed 4 kills. Also with a strong presence at the net was Nathaly Molinarez with 6 kills and Madi Davis dished out 8 assists.
The Mares opened the week with a tough effort against the Crusaders. Despite dropping the first set 25-14, Solanco challenged. An ace by Molinarez put Solanco in front 24-21 in the second set but unforced errors reared their ugly heads. Tied again at 25-25, the Crusaders prevailed.
The third set was almost as close. Tied at 22, the hosts used strong serving to pull away.
McClune led with a dozen digs and 3 kills. Bri Langley (2 aces) and Alondra Quinonez each hustled for 11 digs and Ewing and Emma Canale (2 aces, 5 assists) put up two blocks each.
At home again Thursday against Ephrata, the Mares got 5 kills and 5 blocks from Ewing but it wasn't enough to offset Brielle Brock's 11 kills and 2 blocks. The Mounts prevailed 25-16, 25-10, 25-14.
Additional stats included Langley with 14 digs, Canale putting up 7 assists and McClune serving a pair of aces.
The boys' soccer team, on the road Tuesday night, directed eight shots on goal, three of which were good scoring opportunities, but came up empty, 5-0 against Octorara.
"We came out a little flat in the first half but played much stronger in the second half," noted first year head coach James Snyder. "And we didn't get much help. There was a blown call that resulted in one goal and another foul against us that I did not agree with that resulted in a second goal," he explained. "Not to place blame on the officiating, we beat ourselves, but those two incidents did not help our cause."
The Braves led 3-0 in the first half and picked up two more after the break.
In Denver on Friday, the Mules dropped a 3-0 result against Cocalico after giving up two second half tallies.
Tennis Team Currently Undefeated at 5-0 September 9, 2018
What a difference a year makes. The tennis team concluded the 2017 season with just four wins. They did not have a single senior on the team. Fast-forward to 2018. With last Wednesday's 5-2 win over Section One's Penn Manor, tby he Mares stand undefeated at 5-0.
In a match that started on Aug. 31, Solanco capped the away victory, winning two of three doubles and three of four singles matches.
Kerith Paine and Faith Redcay opened with an 8-5 win at No. 1 and Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy followed with an 8-6 win. Solanco almost came away with a clean sweep as Sophia Baker and Kelsey Sheets battled before bowing out 8-8 (7-5).
The Comets knotted the scoring at 2-2 with a win at No. 1 doubles but Solanco responded with strong singles play to remain undefeated. Redcay posted a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 2 and Griffonetti won 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3. Zaborskiy capped the scoring with a 7-5, 2-1 (retired) No. 3 result.
"Gabby and Elsie are having a phenomenal year," said head coach Todd Brown. "Both are undefeated in singles matches and are a fierce doubles team. They both play a very strategic match."
The Mares opened the 2018 season with a pair of 6-1 wins over Octorara and Oxford. They added a 7-0 non-league win over Columbia before holding off McCaskey 4-3 on Aug. 29.
"McCaskey was undefeated in Section One coming into the match," noted Brown. "In 95 degree heat, Gabby, Kerith and Elsie all won tie-breaker matches to secure the 3 hour and 17 minute match."
The harrier teams opened the 2018 league season with a tri-meet at Manheim Township last Tuesday. The Mules battled the heat in addition to Cedar Crest (17-48) and the hosting Streaks (15-54) but when all was said and done, fell short of a team win.
"We got beat by two very good teams," said head coach Craig Ausel. "Township should win the league this season and Crest should be in the top three. Our No. 1, Ben Stickler (16th, 19:28), struggled a bit but will bounce back," he continued. "Freshman Avery Jacobsen picked up the slack, finishing as our No. 1. He amazes us with his determination to race.
"The heat was a factor but everyone faced the same conditions," noted Ausel of the start time being moved back to 6:15. "Some responded to the challenge. Some did not."
Jacobson, with an 18:49, was the only Solanco runner to place in the top 15. He was 11th.
Tate Fisher (26th), Colin Althoff (27th), and Dan Keller rounded out the top five.
The girls' team faced similar fate, suffering losses to two teams (MT 15-55, CC 19-37) with more depth.
"We have just eight runners but our ladies gave everything they had," said Ausel. "They responded well to the tough conditions."
Junior Chesley Ledesma was the top finisher for the Mares, placing 15th with a 24:17.
"Chesley and senior captain Aubree Roop (18th, 24:22) continue to improve," noted Ausel. "IF freshman Halle Brown (26th, 26:05) can start to run with them, we will be much improved. We're also glad to have Hannah Wheeler back this season and we hope to get Anna Stickler and Sarah Snyder healthy soon."
Also placing: Wheeler (30th), Evelyn Billings (36) and Kirsten O'Connell (37th).
The Mules were looking to cap the non-league season at 3-0 with a victory this past Friday night. Visiting New Oxford, fresh off a 25-24 thriller over CV, was looking for their second straight win and seemed to be on track after chewing up five minutes of the clock on their first possession and taking the lead with a passing TD. The Mules were held scoreless in that first quarter but finally got into gear, scoring 36 points over the middle two frames, and finishing with a solid 43-28 win.
"Anytime you get scored on, it's a concern," stated head coach Tony Cox. "They caught us a couple of times on third and long but then we made some defensive adjustments and we stopped the run better. Offensively we just kept doing what we do. We kept moving the ball and chunking time off the clock."
After turning the ball over inside the ten late in the first quarter, the defense held and Solanco knotted the score early in the second frame on a five yard run by Nafis Moore (61 yards). The Colonials responded with a 35 yard passing TD with 4:10 left in the half. It was their last lead of the night as Solanco buckled down with four straight scores to take control.
Joel McGuire led the charge, rushing for 191 yards and scoring five touchdowns. "He also had to come in on defense to fill some spots a couple of times," noted Cox. "He's been doing a great job and is a leader by example."
With Nick Yannutz adding 171 yards on 24 rushes, the Mules finished with 434 rushing yards on the night and lead Section Two opponents with most points scored (127).
"I think the whole defense did a nice job and made the adjustments they needed to make," stated Cox. "Seth Harnish and Hunter Shaw, in particular, combined for 25 tackles. They stepped up.
"We're happy to be 3-0 but this week we start Section Two play with Garden Spot," he continued. "Everyone in the section is good so we need to stay focused."
At Foxchase Golf Course last Wednesday the linksmen competed in their fourth Section Two match this season and due to the heat, played just nine holes instead of 18.
"Our goal was 195 and we finished with a 204," said head coach Greg Minnich. "Freshman Andy Teaman led the way with a 46 but he had a tough day putting. Jessie Spangler was able to shoot 50 even with hitting two balls out of bounds. Greta Plechner played well and was our No. 3 with a 53," he continued. "And Isaac Nadu carded a 55.
"We are improving," stated Minnich of his young squad. "We shot a 400 at Honeybrook and our team goal was 405. Jesse (98), Greta (109) and freshman Olivia Lasko (111) all carded personal bests in competition."
Sophomore Tyler Sellers also competed.
"We're a young squad with just one senior so this has been a season of setting individual goals and looking to improve each week as we build for the future," he added.
The Mules are 4-16 to date.
With the move to Section Three, the thinking is that the girls should be in the hunt in every game this year. "In terms of opponents, Section Three doesn't get any easier, but we are excited to make our mark and feel we are ready to compete with them," said head coach Ken Yoder.
The Mares return three all-stars in Grace Kreider, Reece Curry-Saner and Alana Yoder and add cross country standout Hannah Sweda to anchor the defense.
Solanco opened its season with a 6-3 non-league loss to Kennard-Dale on Sept 1 and last week battled L-S and Garden Spot.
The opening 33 minutes against the Pioneers looked good as Solanco denied a team that went deep into the post-season last year. Unfortunately, L-S broke things open with four goals in a ten minute span and held that lead to halftime.
"At that point, our goal was to win the second half and we did," said Yoder. "Yoder scored on a beautiful free kick from about 30 yards out and freshman Maya Dolan made a great finish on a nice cross from Nikki Trout. If we can avoid mistakes in the back and start doing a little better in finishing in front of the net, we will at least give some teams more than they are bargaining for," he added.
The going was similar against K-D as Solanco gave up four early goals and never recovered. Yoder recorded two goals and one assist and "freshman Grace Unger chipped in the third goal to score her first of hopefully many high school goals," said Yoder.
After a scoreless first half against Garden Spot on Saturday, Solanco gave up two goals within a minute and another with five left on the clock and suffered a 3-1 defeat. Yoder's goal in the 76th minute prevented the shutout.
With just one starter back, head coach Meghan Cross will look to rebuild this season. "We have seven sophomores and 12 freshman," noted Cross, "but we have a lot of potential."
The Mares opened the season last Tuesday against Manheim Central and took one set from a traditionally strong Barons' squad. After pulling out a 25-22 first set thriller, Manheim regrouped and regained control, winning 25-17, 25-10, 25-11.
"We got into a rhythm that first set, were moving and communicating," said Cross. "But our passing dipped after that, Manheim made a couple of runs and we lost our confidence.
"Kara McClune (6 kills, 1 ace) was a leader on the court with a brand new lineup," she added. "Not one of these girls have played in a rotation all together before so we are working hard to make it work. Brianna Langley, our libero, also played a great defensive game with 32 digs (1ace)."
Cheyanne Cutler chipped in with 3 blocks, and Emma Canale added 6 assists.
On the road Thursday, Solanco fought off a 25-13 first set loss and almost pulled out a second set win, falling short 25-22. E-town prevailed in the third set as well, 25-11.
"The scores don't indicate the many long rallies that could have gone either way," said Cross. "This was a great game and showed the potential of this young team."
Langley scrambled for 20 digs and Canale (5 assists) and McClune (4 aces, 16 digs) each put up three blocks to spark the defense. Nathaly Molinarez added two kills.
With the hopes of building success, the Mules find themselves in Section Three this season but opened the year with a handful of non-league losses, 4-1 against Kennard-Dale and 8-0 against Lampeter-Strasburg last Tuesday. The Mules return eight starters from a 1-14 record last year and look to move up in the standings.
"We are attempting to build the program from the junior high up," said first year head coach Jamie Snyder. "We have no freshman at the high school level this season."
Snyder coached the junior high boys at L-S for 12 years and was the JV coach at Solanco the past eight seasons.
"We started out playing our game against L-S but a few goals went in and took the steam out of us," he added. "The heat was also a factor and they had a little more depth.
"We have struggled with scoring for years," Snyder continued, "so I'm trying to incorporate more shooting drills to improve our accuracy. We are also working within a different system that we have not used before, so it will take some time."