Solanco Claims Five Basketball All-Stars March 18, 2018
Solanco's venture into the PIAA playoffs and their 17-11 overall record did not go without some individual accolades as well. Jess Cabrera, with a 13.1 scoring average, was named as a Section Two First Team all-star while Grace Kreider (11.2 ppg average), who led the team in both steals (103) and assists (82) received Second Team recognition. Team rebound leader (238) Aleksa Burger (10.3 ppg) and sophomore Jenna Dombach (8.6 ppg) were Section Two honorable mention all-stars.
"All four of these young ladies had spectacular seasons and are all deserving of their all-star selections," said head coach Chad McDowell. "However, if you ask any one of them, they would tell you that they could not have been as successful as they were without their teammates. The support and togetherness this team had all season long was a huge factor in our success," he added. "No one player cared who got the credit, as long as we got the outcome we desired each night."
The Mares, who went 9-5 in Section Two and finished second behind Lampeter-Strasburg's 14-0 mark, averaged 52.2 points per game and gave up 47.2. Four of those losses were by six points or less.
"Every game in Section Two was a fight and to finish second was a testament to this team's determination and heart," said McDowell.
Solanco secured that second place spot on the last night of league play with a win over Garden Spot. "Winning so many "must win games" down the stretch gave us confidence heading into playoffs," noted McDowell.
Those playoff games, five in all, started with a home win over West York in the district opener.
"Playing on our home court was electric," said McDowell. "The fans were our sixth man. Last year we missed districts by percentage points so to get a home game this year was awesome. Getting to play multiple district games was a great opportunity for our program to gain valuable experience against quality teams.
"And to qualify for the PIAA tournament provided our young team an opportunity to play at the next level for the first time," he continued. "It was a learning experience and a gauge of how far our program has come and how far we still need to go.
"Overall, it was an outstanding season. This team demonstrated growth as the season progressed," the coach added. "They played as one on the court. They worked together and never quit on themselves, their teammates or their coaches. They played with tremendous heart, passion and dedication every night. I am beyond proud of this team and their commitment in "changing the culture" of the program."
In other all-star action, senior Aaron Constein, named as a Section Two second team all-star, was the boys' only representative. Constein led team with a 12 ppg average and 34 made three pointers. He tallied a season-high 32 points in Solanco's win over Gettysburg where he was named to the all-tournament team. The senior finished with 485 career points and 55 made threes. He will attend St. Joseph's University in the fall.
Grayson Charles (138), AJ Wilson (160) and Ben Root, via a fall at 170, all contributed wins as the Lancaster-Lebanon League all-stars defeated the Berks All-Stars 34-18 last Tuesday night at Tulpehocken High School.
Wilson, Root Earn PIAA Wrestling Medals March 12, 2018
While every athlete dreams of playing in the state playoffs, not many actually get that chance. This past weekend, however, two matmen and the girls' basketball team represented Solanco on the biggest stage of high school sports.
AJ Wilson and Ben Root made the trek to the Giant Center in Hershey to compete in the PIAA Class 3A Individual Wrestling Championships which got underway Thursday, March 8. They battled through and came home with 6th and 7th place, respectively, state medals.
Wilson, wrestling at 160, earned a bye into the Round of 16 and faced Luke Stout of Mt. Lebanon who happened to defeat the Solanco senior 6-1 in the first round of consolations last year at 152. This year Stout topped Wilson again. An escape with 1:52 left was all the scoring needed to drop Wilson into the consolation bracket.
Root drew sophomore Maximus Hale (47-6) in the Round of 16 and also came up short, 3-2. Using a second period escape to take the lead, Root gave up an escape and a takedown to fall behind 3-1 in the third. Root managed a late escape but couldn't grab the lead.
"After those first round bouts I thought maybe we'd be coming home," said head coach John Little. "I felt both had a chance to win those first bouts. Now it's one more loss and they're out. For both of them to come back and place is incredible. It was a grueling task but they accomplished it.
"I reminded them, after that first loss, that they were ready and rested," said Little. "That they shouldn't just hang around and keep things close. They needed to go after it and take some chances. You have to force the pace and hope it works out. It doesn't always, but that's the goal."
Wilson rebounded against Selinsgrove's Coy Bastian. After a scoreless first period against the freshman, Wilson used an escape and a takedown for a pivotal 3-0 lead as neither wrestler scored in the final period.
"That was AJ's 100th career win," noted Little. "He finished with a 102-20 record."
The third consolation round pitted Wilson against Kiski Area sophomore Nick Delp (37-8). Tied at 4-4 in the second period, Wilson gave up an escape but then rallied with a takedown and three nearfall points in the final 30 seconds to advance.
Waiting in the fourth round was another sophomore, Ethan Baney of Southwestern. Wilson got out to a 7-0 lead and earned a 4:49 fall. With a chance for third place, Wilson met up with Stout, again. Failing to avenge his first round loss, Wilson suffered a 9-0 loss. Then, in a battle for fifth place, Wilson came up short, 10-3 against Scranton senior Jacob Burgette (36-7).
He finishes his season with a 40-4 record that includes 14 falls and a sixth place PIAA medal. Erie Cathedral Prep junior Carter Starocci won the 160 pound bracket with a 42-0 record.
Root rebounded in his first consi bout as well, posting a solid 5-2 decision over Hershey's Nyiem Flucas. He used a second period escape and two third period takedowns to advance to consi round two where he went up against Pottsville's Cole Painter. Holding a 4-3 lead after two periods, Root took control in the final seconds, scoring a takedown and two nearfall points to win 11-3.
Root notched his third straight win with a 13-7 result over Kyle Homet (39-6) of Waynesburg. Root used a seven point second period to push out to a 9-3 lead and added a late takedown and nearfall to advance to the fourth consi round opposite Greensburg Salem's Jesse Quatse. Despite a 2-0 first period lead, Root suffered an 11-2 loss just one match away from a chance for third.
He came back to finish seventh overall with a hard-fought 9-6 decision over sophomore Tyler Mousaw of Unionville (35-9). Tied at 5-5 in the second, Root sandwiched Mousaw's escape with a reversal and takedown to earn a PIAA medal. He finishes the season with a 32-4 record and posts a 117-41 career mark.
"After those opening losses I thought AJ and Ben wrestled more up to their potential," said Little. "They both wanted to place higher, of course, but last year they didn't place at all. This is a huge achievement and I'm very pleased and proud of their accomplishments."
In other wrestling news, Wilson, Root and Grayson Charles will compete in the Berks vs. L-L League all-star meet at Tulpehocken this Tuesday.
While seniors represented the wrestling team, a team of underclassmen, with just one senior, gained valuable experience with their trip to Marywood University Saturday night. The Mares had a tall task in their PIAA first round game against three time District Two champ Abington Heights. The Comets were playing in their third straight PIAA opener at Insalaco Center and, after losing for two straight seasons, were looking to advance. They did, posting a 53-34 win over the Mares.
The Comets (19-7) scored the first 16 points of the game as they took control early, nailing back-to-back threes for a quick 6-0 lead.
"This was quite a challenge. They have a ton of experience and two college bound athletes," noted head coach Chad McDowell. "Their point guard, Hannah Kowalski (14 points) is heading to the University of Scranton and forward Cassie Ksiazek is heading to East Stroudsburg University.
"When you reach the state playoffs, 31 of 32 teams lose their last game of the season," he continued. "When you get placed in the brackets it is all luck of the draw. We ran into a very good team."
Koisalski and Ksiazek (career high 9 blocks) combined for 13 of the Comets' 23 first quarter points. The Mares managed six points in a valiant effort and four came from reserve Liz Mowrer who finished with a team-high 11 points.
"Liz had a nice game," McDowell praised. "She took advantage of some holes within the zone and got some good looks.
"But overall, we got off to a slow start," the coach continued. "There was some nervous energy and we committed multiple turnovers and had many empty possessions. And we did not shoot very well against their 2-3 matchup zone," he added. "We got good looks, but nothing seemed to fall. We tried to weather the storm, but once Abington Heights took the lead, they never let up," he added. "We needed better execution and more stops on defense. When we are able to run, we are more efficient but we couldn't get into our transition game."
Things settled down after that first quarter with Solanco holding the Comets to 30 points over the next three frames while scoring 28 but the 32-12 first have deficit was too big a hole to dig out of. The Mares were held to 3-of-24 shooting in that first half with Mower hitting all three.
"Our biggest strength was our heart and never quit attitude," McDowell said. "Even though we were down, we never quit playing. This team plays with heart every possession. Our second half execution was much better and we started making shots."
Jess Cabrera followed with 10 points, including 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Grace Kreider scored all five of her points in the fourth quarter, which Solanco won 15-10, dished out three assists and grabbed four steals. Jenna Dombach netted four points and Aleksa Burger, who hauled in seven rebounds, and Jade Eshleman chipped in with two points.
"We met and exceeded many of our expectations and goals this year," McDowell remarked. "We qualified for and played in the league, district and state playoffs and I am proud of these girls for their efforts and accomplishments. They love basketball and continually work on their own to get better. It has been a great season."
Solanco Advances to PIAA Playoffs March 6, 2018
Solanco heads to the PIAA Class 5A girls' basketball playoffs as the sixth seed from District Three. The Mares won their consolation semifinal game over Spring Grove last Tuesday at Central Dauphin East High School before dropping the fifth place game to Lancaster-Lebanon League foe Lampeter-Strasburg Thursday at Penn Manor.
For the third time this season, Solanco's bid to upend Lampeter-Strasburg fell short, this time in a closer than it appears 68-59 defeat.
"They are obviously very talented offensively," stated Fink of Solanco's eight made three pointers. "But our offense was on against their zone and they had trouble defending our man offense."
Tied at 8-8 midway through the first quarter, Solanco went on an 8-0 run with four straight free throws by Jess Cabrera (17 points, three triples) and buckets by Jenna Dombach (12 points) and Aleska Burger (8 points) for the largest lead of the night, 16-8. L-S responded with a 5-0 run and cut the lead to three, 16-13.
Solanco opened the second frame with a three ball by Grace Kreider (18 points, 4 threes, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) but Brittney Zameroski and Emma Gochnauer, with a game-high 22 points, hit back-to-back bombs to tie the score at 19. A Nora Holmes' three ball gave L-S its first lead since 2-0. A Cabrera triple tied the game at 26-26 but Gochnauer, who had 14 points in the half, gave the Pioneers a push with a three just before the buzzer.
The first six minutes of the third quarter featured an exciting display of three point shooting. Laura Horner and Cabrera took turns and combined for four straight. That run was interrupted by a Cabrera free throw that tied the game at 35-35. But four straight free throws by Hanna Garber put the Pioneers in front for good.
"We shot 40% from the three point line," said head coach Chad McDowell, "and tied our season-high total with eight. L-S made 10 threes."
A trey by Dombach cut the lead to one, 39-38 with 3:54 left but Holmes came off the bench and drilled back-to-back threes giving L-S its biggest lead of the night, 45-38.
"We had several unproductive possessions and then they hit those back-to-back threes," said Solanco boss Chad McDowell. "You can't give a team like L-S those opportunities as they will take advantage of them. This is our first experience in playoffs at this level," he added. "It's a learning experience every time we step on the court."
Holding a 51-44 lead to start the final eight minutes, Garber hit for eight points to extend the advantage to 60-47. Grace Kreider netted eight points including a pair of threes to keep the Mares close and Solanco opted to send the Pioneers (24-4) to the free throw line in hopes of catching up. That worked, to an extent, as L-S hit just 6-of-14 in the final 2:06. Solanco, however, failed to convert at the other end.
"We got the misses we wanted but there were at least three free throw attempts where we were unable to secure the defensive rebound," noted McDowell. "At that junction of the game, we needed those rebounds. I think, for the most of the game, we had the rebounding edge. For the size of our team, we do a good job on the boards."
Burger finished with eight points and led with 10 rebounds and six assists. Kara McClune chipped in with six rebounds, two steals and two points while Liz Mowrer came off the bench with one bucket.
On Tuesday against Spring Grove, the Mares bolted to an 18-5 first quarter lead over the No. 6 seed (16-8) and never looked back in a dominating 53-34 victory.
Cabrera, who led all scorers with 17 points, paced a balanced first quarter with six points while Mowrer, Burger and Kreider each added four.
Solanco held Spring Grove to five second quarter points as well while netting 11 in the second frame. Alana Yoder led the way with four points and Cabrera dropped a triple to maintain the momentum.
Despite holding a 29-10 lead at the break, the Mares struggled out of the break and were outscored 17-9, allowing Spring Grove to cut the lead to 29-27. Unfazed, Solanco got back on track in the fourth quarter, winning the frame 15-7.
The Mares were 13-for-16 from the stripe in this one while Spring Grove was a dismal 6-for-22.
"We gambled on defense when we were trying to trap and speed up the game and put pressure on their guards," said McDowell. "When we forced them to play faster, we committed fouls. We have to have more self-discipline not to foul. It's part of the learning process. It was a plus for us that they missed their shots. They never got closer than 11 points in the second half."
Kreider backed Cabrera with 13 points and was tops with six steals. Burger recorded a double-double with ten in both points and rebounds. She also had four steals. Yoder and Mower each settled for four points, McClune added three, and Dombach, who recorded three assists, added two points.
"Our bench play has been a key to our success this year," noted McDowell. "Liz made an impact inside and Yoder gave us a defensive spark. Her quickness made Spring Grove play faster than they wanted to. Mackenzie Gladfelter also gave us a spark on the boards," he added. "She pulled in six. Hanna Phillips and Paige Phillips also gave us quality minutes. I know I can count on the bench to contribute and in bigger games, this will be crucial to our success."
The Mares opened PIAA action this Saturday against Abington Heights (18-7) at 5:30 pm at Marywood University in Scranton. Solanco last competed in the state playoffs back in 2012. They entered as the No. 4 seed and opened with a 46-39 win over Philadelphia Central. They faced Cheltenham in the second round and bowed out with a 65-36 loss.
Solanco qualified five wrestlers for the District Three Class 3A Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey on February 22-24. Two of them, AJ Wilson and Ben Root, placed high enough to qualify for this weekend's PIAA Championships, again in Hershey.
"I thought the guys wrestled very well," said head coach John Little. "You always want to get more guys through but I was pleased with the way we wrestled."
Wilson (35-1), the top seed at 160, advanced with a pair of technical falls, blanking Conrad Weiser's Conner McFadden 15-0 and then topping Dallastown's Jarrett Feeney 16-zip.
His 5-2 decision over Ethan Baney, of South Western pushed him to the finals. Wilson needed a first period takedown and a second period escape to top Spring Grove's Anthony Hinson for the gold.
"AJ had a superb tournament," praised Little. "He kept the pressure on his opponents."
The No. 2 seed at 170, Root (27-1) also opened with a shutout, blanking Central York's Antonio Rivera 10-0, and then pinned Cocalico's Owen Zimmerman in just 34 seconds.
In the semifinals, Root used a third period escape to get past Harrisburg's Neamiah Diggs 4-3. Root led 3-2 in the first period before Diggs tied the bout at 3-3 with a second period escape.
"That was an excellent bout, beating a kid who came in with a 29-1 record," noted Little. "Unfortunately, in the finals Ben got caught at the end, going from 4-2 to 10-3 rather quickly against Chambersburg's Luke Nichter, the top seed.
"Both Ben and AJ have been to states before," noted Little. "To place this weekend would be a great achievement. This is a tough tournament and anything can happen, and does."
Solanco's last state medal winner was Bo Spiller who finished second in 2015.
Also competing in the tournament was Sheldon Peiffer (120), Grayson Charles (138) and Nick Yannutz (195).
Peiffer (25-17), a senior, lost his opening bout via fall to top seed Josiah Gehr of Cocalico. In the consolations, Peiffer's season ended with a 9-6 loss to Spring Grove's Chase Bricker.
Charles, also a senior, opened the tournament with a 10-2 major over Spring Grove's Jacob Meyer, leading 5-1 in the second period but then ran into top seed Brandon Connor of Wilson. A first period takedown was all Connor needed to advance.
In the consolations, Charles broke open a scoreless first period with a five point second period en route to a 9-0 major over Chambersburg's Spencer Runshaw. An 8-0 loss to Palmyra's Josh Myers left Charles shooting for a fifth place medal. Unfortunately, Charles faced Connor again where a second period takedown was all the scoring Connor needed.
"I was disappointed for Grayson," said Little. "That was a super tough weight class. He didn't wrestle bad, he was just a couple points short. It was frustrating."
Yannutz was Solanco's final chance for another gold medal. Unfortunately, he fell short. A 6-0 first period lead over Susquehannock's Alex Smith ended with a 4:50 fall for Smith before Charles faced eventual champ and top seed Jake Koser (28-3) in the quarterfinals. Koser pinned Yannutz in 1:34.
Yannutz' season came to a close with a 3-1 loss to West Perry's Jake Quaker. After a scoreless first, Quaker went in front with two nearfall points in the second quarter. Yannutz escaped in the second period but failed to score after that, finishing with a 3-1 loss.
"Nick all but won that last match, against the top seed," noted Little. "He was right there."
The Mules finished the tournament in eighth place.
Solanco's Randi Rambo competed in the Eastern PA Regional Championships on Friday, March 2 at Dutch Lanes in Ephrata where she rolled a five game, 831 total and finished in 82nd place out of 150.
Rambo, bowling independently, also finished in 13th place finish at the District Three championships held at Berks Lanes in Sinking Spring on February 24 where she rolled a 1223 six game qualifying round total, just 44 pins shy of advancing to the finals.
Mares Top West York in District Opener March 1, 2018
Six years ago Solanco's girls' basketball team qualified for the District Three playoffs as the 17th seed. They lost their opening round game to Governor Mifflin, 47-43. Fast-forward to last Tuesday night where the No. 7 Mares hosted West York (13-9), seeded tenth, and came away with a 51-47 victory.
Fighting from behind early, Jess Cabrera's triple tied the game at 6-6. Aleksa Burger followed with a bucket in the paint and Jenna Dombach chipped in with a free throw for a 9-6 Solanco lead. They never trailed after that. In fact, Dombach drilled a pair of treys, the second leading to the home team's biggest lead of the quarter, 17-8 with two minutes left on the clock.
They finished on top 18-11 but West York, with three sophomore starters, was determined to make a comeback. With both teams trading baskets early in the second quarter, the Mares used back-to-back buckets by Dombach and another by Grace Kreider to take the largest lead of the night, 29-16 with 3:46 left in the half. The visitors, however, with some strong post play, erased the deficit with a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to 29-23. With 43 seconds left in the half, Cabrera caused a turnover and Solanco converted with a three ball by Kreider. Burger followed that with a put back at the buzzer for a 34-23 Solanco advantage.
"Their size was a concern going in," said head coach Chad McDowell, "but I thought we did a pretty good job. They did outrebound us (40-34), but we got some key boards on key possessions late in the game. Burger (12 boards) and Dombach (10) did an outstanding job rebounding," he added. "For their size, they get a ton of boards for us."
With a pair of transition buckets and a putback, West York started the third quarter with determination and cut the lead to 34-29. Cabrera and Burger traded three-pointers with the Bulldogs who again closed the gap to 38-35 with 2:43 left in the frame. The Mares, however, finished strong. Cabrara scored off a steal by Liz Mowrer, Dombach popped a jumper and Mowrer scored in the paint to extend the lead to 44-35.
"West York seemed to gain a little momentum when they cut the lead to three but we responded with a run that switched the momentum back in our favor," McDowell said.
Struggling to score in the fourth quarter, the Mares connected on just one field goal, a jumper by Kreider and went 6-for-11 from the free throw line to stay in front. The Bulldogs cut the lead to four, 50-46, with 1:25 left to play and Solanco put their four corner, use the clock offense into action. West York, needing to foul, put the Mares on the line three different times down the stretch. The hosts converted just two of five free throws over the last 1:18, and were 8-for-20 for the game, but held on for the win. The Bulldogs outscored the Mares 24-18 in the second half to keep the game close.
"Grace Kreider and Jess Cabrera took control of the game," said McDowell. "They were leaders both offensively and defensively. And Liz Mowrer was a spark off the bench. She was a good matchup with their post players and did a nice job defending them as did Kara McClune and Mackenzie Gladfelter.
"I thought in the first half we were able to get out and run in transition," the coach continued. "When we run, we get easy looks or kick outs for shots. In the second half we got a little conservative on offense and we were not getting back on defense."
Solanco got a 13 point effort from both Dombach (3 assists) and Cabrera while Burger (2 steals) chipped in with 12. Kreider added seven points, grabbed six boards and was tops with five assists. Mowrer (3 rebounds) and McClune, who battled foul trouble, combined for seven points.
West York sophomore Makennah Hoffman, with 13 points in the first half, finished with a game-high 23.
"I thought we played a complete team game," lauded McDowell. "We needed everyone to contribute and they did. The atmosphere in the gym was electric, from the Black Hole being filled, to the Pep Band, and all the fans and supporters that filled the gym. They were our sixth man!"
Due to early deadlines, district wrestling results and the girls' district quarterfinal game against Harrisburg will be reported in the March 7 edition.
Solanco Advances Five to District Wrestling February 19, 2018
On an action-packed Saturday, with fewer breaks due to the weather, Solanco's wrestling team finished in fifth place out of 15 teams, and came home with seven medal winners at the District Three Class 3A Section II tournament at Hempfield High School. Five of those medal winners extended their season by qualifying for the District Three Championships which get underway this Thursday at the Giant Center.
"As a team, we wrestled very well and exceeded our expectations," said head coach John Little. "We were hoping to get three guys through to districts and we have five. It was a good weekend."
Central Dauphin claimed the team title with 208 points and three champions. Manheim Central (181.5), Lower Dauphin (157), Penn Manor (143.5) and Solanco (119.5) rounded out the top five.
Both AJ Wilson (160) and Ben Root (170) were crowned champions while Grayson Charles (138) finished second for the fourth straight year. Nick Yannutz grabbed the bronze at 195 and Sheldon Peiffer was the fourth Mule to qualify for districts with a fourth place finish. Zach Spade and Chase Charles both earned fifth place medals.
Wilson won his third career title with a 4-0 decision over Penn Manor's Nick Baker. The senior opened quarterfinals action with a 1:23 fall over E-town's Javen Thomas and then posted a 10-2 major over Central Dauphin's Timmy Smith to get to the finals.
Root, also a senior, defended his title with a solid 8-2 decision over Hershey's Nyiem Flucas. He also opened the tournament with a first period fall, decking Lampeter-Strasburg's Connor Penry in 1:27. Root dominated Darius Briggs, of Milton Hershey, 11-1 in the semis.
Though Charles settled for silver for his fourth straight season, he did join the 100 match win club with his 19-2 semifinals result against Palmyra's Josh Myers before bowing out with a 4-0 loss to Tt Elhajj of Lower Dauphin. Charles earned a 2:54 fall over Township's David Ober in the quarterfinals.
Charles is the third member of his family to hit the century mark, joining his father, Wink, and older brother David (Wink). They are believed to be the first father/son trio in Lancaster-Lebanon League history to be 100 match winners.
"I coached Grayson's brother and his father during his senior year," noted Little.
Yannutz, just a sophomore, will make his district debut with his bronze medal finish. He got off to a rough start, getting pinned by E-town's Blake Andrews in the quarterfinals but battled back with three straight wins, working a 7-1 decision over Lampeter's Johnny Franklin, handing Warwick's Steven Seepaul a 10-4 loss and then pinning Penn Manor's TJ Keener in 2:48.
"Nick did a great job coming back to place," said Little. "He lost to the Warwick kid at the leagues so it was nice to get that one."
Also qualifying was Peiffer with that fourth place finish. Like Wilson, Root and Charles, Peiffer opened with a fall, this one in the round of 16 against Milton Hershey's Derrick Nihn. Unfortunately, in the quarterfinals he met up with eventual champ Cade Zeamer, of Manheim Central, and was knocked to the consolations with a 4:48 fall.
The senior rallied with wins over Township's Cade Clancy (9-7) and Palmyra's Matt Carroll (3:45 fall) before settling for fourth with a 13-3 loss to McCaskey's Nevin Estevez.
Adding to the point total with fifth place efforts was Spade, who went 2-2 on the day at 126. He blanked Hempfield's Caleb Shultz 11-0 in the consolations after suffering a 4:51 fall to eventual second place winner Nick Fafel, of Penn Manor. Spade was also pinned by Central's Conner Zeamer, the third place finisher, before capping the day with a 4:22 fall over Alec Merry of Lower Dauphin.
Chase Charles, a junior, pinned Donegal's Matt Ober in 2:39 before losing a 16-1 tech fall to eventual second place finisher Zach Zeamer, of Manheim Central. Charles rebounded with a 3:51 fall over McCaskey's J Holland but came up short, 4-1, in the consi-semis opposite Penn Manor's Cade Rogers. He wrapped up the action with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Lampeter's Michael Hazboun.
"Chase had a great day and was in every match," said Little. "We strive to wrestle like that all season."
Also picking up a win was Joey Vandegriff who opened with an 8-7 thriller over Penn Manor's Ian Young.
"That kid beat Joey during the regular season so this was a good start," note Little.
Also competing for the Mules was Dominic Flatt (106), Tucker Pierson (152) and Shaneef Carter (182).
As for districts, "everyone except Nick has been there before," noted Little, "but it's a tough road."
Mules Secure First Section Two Win, Beat Central February 5, 2018
While the wins haven't been coming as much as the boys' basketball team would like, their work ethic hasn't dwindled. The young Mules continue to put forth the effort but struggle to put together a full game. Last week's schedule included three games and Solanco's first league victory.
The Mules opened against second place Ephrata (9-4, 16-5 overall) Tuesday night, fell behind 10-0 and never recovered in a 53-24 home loss.
"Ephrata is a very good team," said head coach Scott Long. "They will be in league and district playoffs and possibly states."
The Mounts opened their 10-0 run with a trey and closed it with another. Solanco finally got on the board with a bucket by Aaron Constein at the 3:12 mark but Ephrata answered with back-to-back threes and led 18-4 by the end of the frame.
The second quarter was much closer but the Mounts continued to hold the advantage, 14-11, and led 32-15 at the half.
The Mules struggled at the offensive end through the second half, scoring just nine points but held the Mounts to 21.
"Our team is shooting 35.7% from the field on the season," noted Long. "And we are averaging 15 turnovers a game. Ideally, we want to be under 12 turnovers, and shoot in the low 40's. Obviously these numbers explain some of our offensive issues this year," added. "We are also shooting 59% from the foul line and need to be up near 70% in order to compete."
Constein knocked down a team-high 12 points and was the only double figure scorer for the Mules.
One night later, the Mules were back at it, this time hosting Manheim Central and avenging a ten point first round loss with their first Section Two win of the season, 41-38.
"We played some zone defense this time and it seemed to bother them," recalled Long. "Carson Kilgore was phenomenal on the defensive end. He played key spots in our 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones."
With three triples in the first quarter, two by Dawson Kreider, the Mules jumped out to an 11-4 first quarter lead. In the second frame however, Solanco managed just seven points, four by Braden Redcay, and fell behind 19-18 at the break.
In a back-and-forth third quarter, the Mules got six points from Constein and edged the Barons 10-8 for a 28-27 lead.
Constein and Zed Baker drilled key threes and Redcay added four points but it was Kreider's two free throws with nine seconds left that put the Mules in front, 41-38, for good.
"It's not easy to give enough effort to win a game like this when it's late in the year and you haven't won much," said Long, "but we did. It says a lot about our kids' toughness and perseverance to keep fighting when they aren't getting the results they want. That skill will help them in life.
"The bottom line is that we hit just enough big shots to beat them," he added.
Kreider led all scorers with 12 points while Constein and Redcay, who was 6-for-7 from the foul line, each added 10.
Friday night the Mules traveled to Donegal where a 28-16 second half effort by the Indians spelled doom for the visitors in a 55-40 result.
The Indians, just above the Mules in the section standings, opened with a 14-10 lead only to see the visitors win the second frame 14-13. Single digit scoring for Solanco in the second half quarters was the difference.
"At the end of the third quarter we turned the ball over and gave up an and-one," noted Long. "We finished down seven and couldn't recover.
"We were short-handed in this one with Jon Rush and Zed Baker out sick," he added. "This opened the door for Dom Messano to play some quality varsity minutes, and forced Kilgore (6 points) to be more aggressive offensively. Both played well and we are excited about them."
Redcay, with 12 points, was the top scorer for Solanco with Constein netting double figures as well with 11. Jay Boyle and Jack Boomsma chipped in with four points each and Kreider added three.
With two wins and a single loss last week, the Mares are still battling for playoff position. A win this week against Garden Spot will lock up sole possession of second place.
With each game crucial to their post-season positioning, last week's games were mini playoffs in themselves. Solanco opened the week at Ephrata and, after suffering a 44-42 loss back on January 11, came away with a convincing 56-42 victory that was fueled by a 22-5 run that started in the first quarter and ended with a 24-12 halftime lead.
"Two big shots triggered that run," recalled head coach Chad McDowell. "Alana Yoder's put back at the first quarter buzzer tied the game at 9-9. Then, on Ephrata's first possession of the second half, they hit a three to go up 12-9. Jess Cabrera answered, tying the game at 12. We never looked back."
That Ephrata three ball accounted for their entire second quarter scoring while the Mares, behind Cabrera (6 points on 2 threes) and Kara McClune (4 points) fueled a 13 point quarter.
The second half was much closer with the Mounts winning 32-30 but it wasn't enough.
"We maintained the lead and executed," said McDowell. "We did what we needed to do to secure the win. The first time we played them, we out played them for about three and a half quarters but they hit a tough shot to win the game," he added. "This time we made sure we did not put ourselves in that situation. We took care of business."
Aleksa Burger led the stat sheet in both points (16) and rebounds (6). Cabrera followed with 12 points, and McClune hit for ten and was tops with four steals. Jenna Dombach led with four assists and added eight points and five rebounds. Settling in with six points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists was Grace Kreider while Yoder added four points.
The JV team, behind Jade Eshleman's five points, dropped a 35-20 result.
On the road again one night later, the Mares got off to a sluggish start and never recovered as Manheim Central avenged their 58-47 first half loss with a 54-50 win.
"We came out slow and I believe were feeling the effects of back-to-back nights," McDowell stated. "We made too many mistakes at crucial times and it cost us. But even with those mistakes, we still had opportunities to tie or win the game in the last minute."
The Mares worked on a come-back in the second quarter, outscoring the hosts 13-6 to take a 24-22 lead at the break. With Solanco holding a 13-12 edge in the third quarter, neither team gained much ground. The visitors held a 37-34 advantage with eight minutes left but couldn't hold on. The Barons, sparked by Laura Good's nine point quarter (game-high 26) rallied for the win, outscoring the Mares 20-13 to stay in the mix for an L-L playoff berth.
"Their big kid (Serena Conde) was a concern coming in but she never got going," said McDowell. "Liz Mowrer, Kara McClune and Mackenzie Gladfelter did a great job defending her in the post.
"We did get into a bit of foul trouble (the Barons were 11-for-20)," he added. "We allowed too much dribble penetration. And Manheim missed some key free throws which left the door open for us to tie or win the game."
But, with ten seconds remaining, Solanco turned the ball over and had to foul to regain possession. The Barons made those two free throws to ice the win.
Cabrera hit three treys on the night and finished with 15 points and Mowrer added a season-high 12. Kreider, who led with four steals and four assists, and Burger, with a team high 12 rebounds, finished with eight points each. Dombach (5 points, 5 rebounds) and Gladfelter (2 points, 3 rebounds) also contributed.
The JV team picked up a 39-16 win behind Eshleman (10 points), Paige Phillips (9 points) and Angela Cylc (8 points).
The team capped a busy week with their biggest win, a dominating 72-58 result against visiting Donegal.
"We played a complete game from start to finish," said McDowell. "We wanted to get out to a quick start and we did just that. And we used the energy from the crowd to jump start us."
With a run and gun game plan set up by utilizing steals and controlling the rebounds, the Mares netted 17 points in the first, third and fourth quarters and knocked down 21 in the second frame.
"We have prided ourselves all season long on conditioning," said McDowell. "We knew we could wear Donegal down so we ran and ran and then ran some more. Grace, Jess and Alana did a great job getting into the passing lanes, disturbing Donegal's game flow and getting steals while Jenna, Aleksa, Kara and Mackenzie controlled the boards which led to great outlet passes and the ability to get up the floor quickly," he added. "We made the right passes at the right time. Unselfish basketball will win you a lot of games."
Up 17-12 in the first quarter, Cabrera kick started the second quarter with ten of her team-high 21 points and propelled the Mares to a 38-22 lead at the break.
Kreider netted a pair of third quarter triples and Solanco outscored the visitors 17-13 to extend the advantage.
Donegal, led by 1000 point scorer Carly Diffenderfer and teammate Kiera Baughman, combined for 50 of Donegal's 58 points and led a 23-17 fourth quarter rally that featured 6-of-7 free throws but wasn't enough to take over the lead.
"They have two outstanding players who find a way to get open and get shots," said McDowell. "Obviously we wanted to limit their production.
"I think the home court atmosphere was a big advantage," he added. "The gym was packed. It had to be one of the biggest crowds for a girl's game in my tenure. We thank the Pep Band, the Black Hole, the girls' Youth Basketball Program and all our loyal fans for their support. They were our sixth man!"
Backing Cabrera with double digit points was Burger and Kreider with 16 and 14 respectively. Dombach (7), Yoder, McClune and Hanna Phillips (4 each) and Gladfelter (2) also contributed.
The JV team got nine points each from Jade Eshleman, Angela Cylc and Sammi Jackson in a 29-26 win over the Indians.
Mares in the Middle of Section Two Log Jam January 30, 2018
In the log jam that has become the Section Two standings, all four of Solanco's games last week were critical to their obtaining a playoff berth. On Monday the Mares defeated Manheim Central 58-47. One night later they suffered a ten point loss to section undefeated L-S and then wrapped up the week by taking care of Lebanon on Friday, 53-23. With four games left, they sit at 6-4 in the standings with Donegal, Ephrata, and Garden Spot at 6-5 and Manheim Central and 5-5. Solanco faces all four of these teams over the next two weeks. They control their own destiny.
Baron sharpshooter Lily Doerschuk swished five straight triples, including three in the first half, and finished with a team-high 15 against Solanco. But the hosts got another impressive performance from Grace Kreider, who dropped in 22 for the second time in three games, and Jess Cabrera chipped in with 20.
"It was a scrappy, physical game," stated McDowell. "Our goal is to outwork and out hustle teams. I thought we did a good job of working hard."
Doerschuk opened the scoring with a trey for Manheim's only lead of the night. Kreider matched that effort and sparked the Mares who opened with a 13-3 run. Kreider capped the quarter with back-to-back steals converted into layups for a 19-11 lead in the first quarter.
Solanco opened the second frame with a 6-0 run and held their biggest lead of the night, 31-15, on a bucket by Cabrera, who netted 11 in the quarter.
The Barons hit three triples in the third quarter with the third one cutting Solanco's led to 44-37 with 1:26 left. They converted a Solanco turnover 26 seconds later for a 7-0 run and were gaining momentum before Kara McClune, who finished with seven points, squashed their hopes with a buzzer beating three pointer.
Solanco's 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter pushed the lead back to 12 as the final outcome was never really in doubt.
"Basketball is a game of runs," said head coach Chad McDowell. "We had to withstand their run and finish the game in fourth quarter. Our fourth quarters have been very positive for us recently."
Coming off a 27 point outing in a win over Donegal, Manheim's Brooke Breinich, a Messiah College recruit, was held to five points.
The Mares, who lost to the Pioneers by 15 the first time around, were gunning for an upset Tuesday night. Both teams combined for seven first quarter threes with Solanco's Jenna Dombach dropping in one with 2.5 left to knot the score at 18-18.
The second quarter, however, proved to be the difference as the Mares managed just one point, and L-S pushed ahead by nine with a triple at the buzzer.
"They're not a big team but they're a scrappy, hard-nosed team," said Pioneer boss Tony Fink of the Mares. "And they had 12 offensive boards to our five. I thought we did a better job defensively in that second quarter when we turned it around."
"We had one bad quarter," said McDowell. "Take away the second quarter and it's a completely different game. If they would not have hit that buzzer beating three, we would have only been down six at the half instead of nine. Three points is huge in a close game."
Both teams refused to budge through the second half. Solanco got to within seven, 31-24, on a free throw by Hanna Phillips while a free throw by Emma Gochenaur with 43 seconds left in the third quarter gave L-S its biggest lead, 41-29.
The scrappy, physical play continued through the final eight minutes. L-S hit both ends of a one-and-one for the largest lead of the night, 47-33. Again the visitors whittled away but never got closer than 10.
"We only had nine turnovers, a season-low, but they were at crucial times and swung the momentum of the game," McDowell remarked. "Good teams take advantage of miscues."
Solanco's Grace Kreider and Gochnauer shared game-high honors with 14 each. Cabrera added 13 points.
In Lebanon on Friday, the Mares held the Cedars to single digit scoring in all four quarters and took care of business with a 53-23 victory.
Burger paced the attack, bucketing a career-high 19 points, including nine in the second quarter, with Cabrera adding 12 and Kreider chipping in with 10.
"Aleksa played very well in the paint," noted McDowell. "She got most of her points around the rim. She works hard and prides herself on getting rebounds and put backs."
Holding a 10-8 lead in the first quarter, Solanco outscored the hosts 33-6 over the middle two frames to easily pull away.
"At this point in the season, we can't take any team for granted," said McDowell. "We got the result we expected and the girls did what they needed to do. Our unselfish play continued to be a huge key to why we continue to win games."
After a disappointing loss to Hempfield Wednesday night, the Mules competed in the League Championships at Garden Spot this past weekend, coming home with five medal winners. Manheim Central upended two time defending League Champ Lebanon to take top billing. The Mules 7th out of 22 teams.
"It was a good weekend and the team wrestled to their potential," said head coach John Little. "If we had Caleb Tucker (injury) and Joey Vandegriff (flu) we probably could have placed higher."
Ben Root, AJ Wilson and Grayson Charles all earned gold in their respective weights. Root defended his title at 170 with a 14-2 major decision over Lebanon's Ethan Herb. He pinned his way to the finals, decking Catholic's Dylan Joachim (:50), Penn Manor's Marquis Sweigart (1:09) and Manheim's Andrew Seigrist (:26) to get to the finals.
Wilson, wrestling at 160, earned his first L-L League title with a solid 9-0 major over Northern Lebanon's returning champ Blaise Bressler. After missing the tournament as a freshman and sophomore, due to injuries, Wilson was pinned by Bressler in last year's semis and this year suffered a 7-3 decision to the Cedar's senior in the finals of the Mule Classic.
Charles earned his second title with a first period fall over Garden Spot's Gunner Gehr, pushing his career total to 98 wins.
Like Root, Charles also secured three falls to get to the finals. He pinned Warwick's Preston Johnson in 2:22, Township's David Over in 2:24 and Penn Manor's Chad Mowbray in 3:08. For his efforts, he received the Shorty Hitchcock Award for most pins in the least amount of time.
Solanco also benefitted from a pair of fifth place medal winners. Senior Sheldon Peiffer (120) and sophomore Nick Yannutz (195) contributed to the Mules' seventh place team finish. Yannutz got past TJ Keener with a 7-0 decision while Peiffer defeated Comet freshman Dylan Coleman via forfeit.
Earlier in the week and in their last Section One dual meet of the season, the Mules, tied at 24-24 with five bouts left, dropped a 40-36 result against Hempfield after winning just two of those last bouts, both were by forfeit.
Yannutz opened the scoring with a 1:05 fall over Luke Dreyer (220) but then Solanco forfeited at 285 and 113 and Dominic Flatt went out via injury in between as Hempfield built an 18-6 advantage.
Peiffer (120), Zach Spade (126) and Chase Charles (132) rallied with three straight major decisions to knot the score at 18-18 while G. Charles, with a 49 second fall, gave Solanco its second lead of the night. That was short-lived, however, as Christian Carr pinned Joey Vandergriff (145) to tie the score at 24 all and set the stage for a Hempfield finish that included a major decision at 160 and the match clinching fall at 195.
With a grueling four games in five days schedule, the Mules came away with just one win but two of their losses were by a combined 18 points, showing remarkable improvement.
Solanco opened with a Monday night 55-45 loss at Manheim Central. Unfortunately two inconsistent scoring quarters were the difference. A 16-7 second quarter deficit turned a one point Baron advantage into a 25-15 lead at the break.
The Mules, behind Brandon Redcay's six points, rallied in the third, outscoring the hosts 18-11 to cut the lead to 36-33. The Barons, however, pulled away down the stretch, canning 13-of-17 free throws in the quarter and outscoring the Mules 19-1.
Aaron Constein, with 11, was the only double digit scorer for the Mules. Redcay finished with eight points and Carson Kilgore was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe where the Mules were 14-of-26 for the game.
After losing to the section leading Pioneers (10-1) by 32 points and giving up 17 to Ryan Smith, who has scored 30 points five times this season, the Mules decided to double team Lampeter's center. Their effort did result in a second loss but this time it was 53-34 and Smith managed a season-low five.
"I give them credit because they did something no other team has done this year in doubling Ryan," said Pioneer boss Ed Berryman. "Because of that, we really couldn't get into a flow. But others stepped up. Our depth was the difference."
The Mules, despite canning nine treys on the night, two each by Dawson Kreider, Jack Boomsma and Zach Wiker, were held to single digit scoring in each of the first three quarters and fell behind 42-22. Wiker nailed both his triples in the fourth quarter to spark a 12-11 Solanco advantage but it wasn't enough.
Boomsma's nine points were high for the home team with Kreider and Wiker each adding six.
Sometimes it's more than just winning and losing. Sometimes it's about giving. Such was the case Thursday night as the Mules battled Lancaster Country Christian in a fund-raising event at Lancaster Bible College. The proceeds went to Wonder Club Early Learning Center, an outreach of the Water Street Rescue Mission.
While Boomsma led all scorers with a career-high 19 points, and the Mules secured its third win of the season, 53-40, it was a game that was about more than basketball.
"We were able to raise just over $1000," said head coach Scott Long. "It was great to be able to serve others through a game that we all love. There are so many great reasons to play sports; one of them being opportunities to serve others. Our kids have been awesome with that. They have been to the elementary schools to ready to students, they've raised money for hurricane relief in Houston, they've connected with struggling students in difficult situations, and now this even for the Wonder Club," he continued. "My hope is that they leave our program and never stop looking for ways that they can help those around them."
The Mules jumped out to a 27-14 first half lead and outscored the Lions 13-8 in the third quarter to extend the advantage, 40-22. Jon Rush finished with seven points and both Constein and Joey Gote added five each.
Though Friday's 59-51 result against E-town was a loss, it was a better performance than their 26 point deficit the first time around. Tied at 31 all at the half, the Bears rallied down the stretch, outscoring Solanco 28-20 to steal the win.
"Joey Gote (8 points/6 rebounds) played very well this game and senior Jay Boyle (4 points) defended well," noted Long. "We gave up some costly offensive rebounds and had a couple of unforced turnovers in the last four minutes and if you want to win a close game, you have to execute."
Rush paced the offense with 14 points and Kreider chipped in with 11.
Solanco Matmen Fall Short Against Penn Manor January 22, 2018
With a chance to move into second place in the Section One standings, Solanco, despite the school cancellations, traveled to Millersville Wednesday night for the anticipated matchup with the Comets. Unfortunately the Mules came away with just six wins on the night, two by forfeit, and fell to 4-2 with a 41-30 result. The Comets improved to 5-1 (8-3 overall), falling in behind Cocalico (5-0).
"I thought we had a good chance to win," said head coach John Little, "but I thought we looked a bit flat again. Even if we had won, I'd still say we didn't look our sharpest.
"A couple toss up bouts, 145 and 152, didn't go our way and we were expecting a no contest at 220 but they took the forfeit," he added. "Penn Manor just seemed a bit more after it than we were."
Both teams traded forfeits to start the night and the Comets jumped ahead 18-6 when Tanner Stefanick (106) pinned Dominick Flatt and the Mules forfeited at 113.
Sheldon Peiffer's major decision at 120 cut the lead to 18-10 but that was as close as the Mules would get. Peiffer turned a 6-2 first quarter lead over Owen Rohrer into a 16-7 final score.
But the Comets forged ahead. Nick Fafel (126) pinned Zach Spade in 2:58 and freshman Caden Rogers turned a 3-2 first period lead into an 11-3 major decision with a takedown at the buzzer.
Grayson Charles earned a key fall at 138, turning Chad Mowbray with 39 seconds left in the second period to keep the Mules within striking distance, 28-16.
Again the Comets countered. Ian Young (145) used a pair of takedowns and an escape to top Joey Vandegriff 5-1 and in the most exciting bout of the night, Kole Marley pinned Tucker Pierson in overtime. Up 5-4 in the second, Pierson fell behind 9-7 before a takedown with 14 seconds left in the bout knotted the score at 9-9. Marley, however, turned a quick takedown into a fall.
"I thought 145 and 152 were key bouts," said Little. "I really felt we had the chance to win both."
AJ Wilson quieted the home crowd with a dominating 13-0 result against Nick Baker and Ben Root accepted forfeit points at 170, closing the lead to 37-26 with two bouts remaining.
Needing two falls to win, Solanco gave up a major decision at 182 before Nick Yannutz worked a 10-2 major over AJ Cox in the final bout of the night, 195.
"We've changed up our practices to try to rejuvenate the team," said Little, "but sometimes it comes down to them. And sometimes it's just tough to be on all the time. We're young and we're still lacking depth and experience and then you throw a couple forfeits in there..."
Over the weekend the Mules competed in the Cocalico Duals where they finished in fifth place out of ten teams. The Mules defeated Westtown, 58-18 and Allentown Central Catholic, 54-21 before suffering back-to-back losses to Garden Spot, 45-33 and Downingtown East, 54-29. They wrapped up the day with a 40-33 win over Wilson.
"We definitely wrestled better than we did against Penn Manor," said Little. "Unfortunately, the day started with senior Caleb Tucker suffering a knee injury that will probably keep him out for the season.
"But the highlight of the day was Ben Root earning his 100th career bout with a 1:20 fall in the Garden Spot match."
The senior becomes the 18th Solanco grappler to reach the milestone. He is currently 100-34 after going 5-0 on the day along with Nick Yannutz (5 pins), Sheldon Peiffer (4 pins) and AJ Wilson. Grayson Charles went 4-1.
"Tucker Pierson also had a nice day with three wins," said Little. "This is really his first year on varsity."
With the weather throwing a wrench into the schedule, the boys' basketball team had just one game last week and is currently in the midst of four games in a five day stretch.
Last Friday, after suffering a hard-fought 48-41 loss to Cocalico on December 18, the Mules were looking to split the series and grab their first Section Two win. The Eagles, however, were looking to move up in the standings. Despite holding an 18-16 first half advantage, the Mules were dealt another seven point loss, this time 41-35.
"Another tough loss for the Mules," said head coach Scott Long. "Things just haven't gone our way recently. We felt like this was a game we could have/should have won."
Aaron Constein's nine point first quarter sparked Solanco's 11-9 edge at the end of eight minutes. He and Jon Rush tied for game-high honors with 12 points each with Rush scoring all of his points in the second half.
"Aaron started off hot, hitting four of five shots in that first quarter," noted Long.
The Eagles, with a 10-7 advantage in the third quarter, took a slim 26-25 lead after three.
Free throws were the deal breaker in this one. Cocalico (4-5, 6-10 overall) knocked down 11-of-15 attempts, including 8-of-10 in the fourth quarter while the Mules converted just 8-of-17 attempts in the game.
"Cocalico played man the whole game," said Long. "But the lack of scoring was our inability to be consistent with ball and player movement. And part of the issue was the lack of practice time due to the recent weather, but there really is no excuse. We settled for too many jumpers and did not look to attack the front of the rim," he added. "Also, at one point we missed six straight free throws. It's hard to win close games when you miss so many free throws."
Joey Gote and Dawson Kreider combined for 10 points as the Mules fell to 2-10 overall.
"On the plus side, Carson Kilgore held their leading scorer, Aiden Trynosky (15 ppg avg), to three points," Long pointed out. "He did a great job. And Joey Gote had 13 rebounds. He's a big kid (6'5") who is getting better every week. I'm exciting to see how he keeps improving."
Playing back-to-back games last week, Grace Kreider exploded for a game and season-high 22 points as the Mares swept the series against Cocalico with a 17 point win on Friday, 57-40. Playing again one day later, Solanco fought from behind and, with four players in double figures, topped visiting Kennard-Dale 59-56.
With seven of her 22 in the first quarter, Kreider did the bulk of her heavy lifting in the fourth frame, bucketing 15 points and sparking the visitors' 24-point effort down the stretch. Kreider sank three triples on the night (two in the fourth) as five Mares hit from beyond the arc as the team nailed a season-high eight, hitting at least one long range shot in each quarter.
"Grace had a good start but due to foul trouble, sat the entire second quarter," noted head coach Chad McDowell. "She was a large part of the game-changing fourth quarter."
Aleksa Burger, who finished with 16 points and a team-high four steals, added to the fourth quarter barrage with seven.
While Solanco was dropping in threes, the Eagles were trying to remain within striking distance at the free throw line but managed just 13-of-22 attempts.
Cocalico cut the lead to 33-30 early in the fourth but Solanco's increased defensive pressure kept them from getting closer.
"At one point we had three consecutive possessions where we got steals and converted with layups," said McDowell. "This was a momentum changer. We focused on conditioning in the pre-season and it is definitely showing in the fourth quarter of many games. We have worn teams down and used solid fourth quarters to win games."
Jenna Dombach, who led with five rebounds, and Jess Cabrera combined for 14 points. Kara McClune (2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals) and Paige Phillips (3 points) also contributed.
One night later, despite trailing for all but two minutes, the Mares placed four players in double figures and pulled out a 59-56 thriller over visiting Kennard-Dale.
Dombach, with eight in the second quarter, led all scorers with 19 points. Cabrera bucketed 15 points, Kreider added 13 and Burger chipped in with 10 as a balanced attack contributed to the win.
Down 16-10 in the first and 26-21 at the half, Solanco began its comeback in the third quarter, outscoring the Rams 16-14, but didn't take their first lead until two minutes remaining.
"I believe a key to much of our fourth quarter successes has been due to our focus on conditioning," said McDowell. "When you still have energy left in the tank, and the other team is winded, good things happen.
"Jenna hit two big shots in the third quarter to keep the game close and Jess tied the score at 51-51 with her second three of the game," he recalled. "That switched the momentum and was a great boost to propel us to the win."
Cabrera netted nine points in that fourth quarter and Dombach went 5-for-6 from the free throw line as the Mares snagged the victory with a 22-16 quarter advantage.
Prior to the game, the team honored Liz Mowrer as part of the senior night celebration.
"I am appreciative and thankful for all that Liz has brought to our team over the past three seasons," said McDowell. "She is a complete team player and will do anything needed for the betterment of the team. She will continue her education at St. John Fisher University in New York and will continue to be involved in sports playing softball."
Kreider Scores Game-Winner Against Donegal January 15, 2018
Three games decided by seven total points. One win and two losses. That was the saga of Solanco's girls' basketball team last week as the first half of Section Two all but came to a close. The results leave the girls log jammed in a section where four teams are battling for third place. Lampeter-Strasburg sits on top at 7-0. Ephrata falls into second place at 5-2 with Donegal at 4-3. Solanco and Manheim Central are knotted at 3-3. They battle it out in Quarryville this week.
The Mares traveled to Donegal Tuesday night and pulled out a 72-70 come-from-behind win on a perfectly executed give-and-go by Grace Kreider and Aleksa Burger. The hosts knotted the score at 70-70 with 15 seconds left to play. Kreider penetrated at the top of the circle, kicked the ball out to Burger on the wing and then cut backdoor, getting the ball back from Burger and laying in the game-winner with two seconds remaining.
"It was a physical game and tightly contested throughout," said head coach Chad McDowell. "Free throws became a key part of the game."
Key indeed. The Mares nailed 14-of-16 attempt, canning 7-of-8 in the first quarter which Donegal won 18-17. The Indians made their way to the charity stripe as well but connected on only 19-of-27 attempts.
The Indians, behind Carly Diffenderfer's 14 point second quarter, took a 39-35 lead at the half. Jenna Dombach's five points paced Solanco.
The pace continued in the third quarter and the Indians gained another two points, outscoring the Mares 14-12 for a 53-47 lead with eight minutes remaining.
"In the second half we really focused on taking away Donegal's dribble penetration and getting stops on the defensive end," said McDowell.
That focus paid off as the Mares, behind Jess Cabrera's 11 point quarter, outscored the hosts 25-17 to pick up the victory.
Cabrera netted a team high 21 points and dished out six assists. Dombach followed with 19 points and five rebounds while Kreider also hit for double figures with 12 and was tops with six steals. Burger, with a team-high seven rebounds, added nine points. Liz Mowrer (6), Kara McClune (3) and Alana Yoder (2) also contributed.
The JV team, behind a nine point effort by Paige Phillips, beat Donegal 27-16. Jade Eshleman added six points.
Thursday's home game with Ephrata did not feature as many free throws but was highlighted by eight made three pointers, four in the first half by the Mounts leading scorer Gabi Herola-Hill who bucketed a game-high 15 points.
"They hit six of their first seven shots and three were deep three pointers," recalled McDowell.
The visitors jumped in front early, taking an 18-13 first quarter lead that pushed to 28-21 at the half.
Solanco held the Mounts to a single field goal in the third quarter. Burger ignited the offense with eight of her team's 13 points and Hanna Phillips canned a buzzer beater to put the Mares in front, 34-32, with one quarter left.
"We increased our defensive pressure in the third and they got tired," McDowell said. "We took advantage of their missed shots and were able to get score in transition."
That momentum, however, was short-lived. Solanco extended their lead to six early in the fourth but Ephrata countered with a run that resulted in a 42-38 lead. After consecutive steals and scores by Cabrera and Burger the score was tied at 42.
"We played good defense on that last possession but Kandice Liebl hit an off balanced runner that banked in," McDowell explained. "We were on the lucky side Tuesday. Tonight was their turn."
Burger notched a team-high 14 points and matched Mowrer with seven rebounds. Kreider chipped in with 11 points, 5 steals and 3 assists. Cabrera (8), Dombach (5 points, 4 steals), Hanna Phillips (3 points, 2 assists) and Mowrer (1) also scored.
In JV action, Ilyand Rapant hit the game-winner as Solanco nipped Ephrata 34-33. Jade Eshleman led with 13 points.
At home again Friday, Garden Spot survived a furious 21-point fourth quarter rally by the Mares to escape with a 55-52 victory.
Trailing by 16, Solanco went to a full court man defense, forced Garden Spot into a faster paced game and forced several turnovers which they transitioned into easy buckets. With the opportunity to tie the game on a last second three, the Mares missed the mark.
"It was a good shot," said McDowell. "We gave ourselves the opportunity to tie the game and that's all we can as for in that situation."
Burger netted eight of her team-high 16 points in that fourth quarter rally. McClune followed with 13 and Cabrera added a dozen. But the real story was Garden Spot's Megan Fisher who dropped in a game-high 30, including six threes.
"Fisher had a great night and a hot hand from the three point line," said McDowell. "She only had eight threes on the season coming in. And we had a hand in her face every time. She single handily took over and controlled the game.
"Two tough games on two consecutive nights," he added. "This team has a lot of resiliency. I know they will bounce back."
The JV team picked up a solid 51-30 win with Angela Cylc netting 11 points.
Last Wednesday's 39-28 win over Warwick (0-4, 2-8) moved the Mules into a two-way tie for second place in Section One with Penn Manor. Both teams stand at 4-1 behind Cocalico (5-0) and face off this Wednesday in Millersville.
"We felt, despite the forfeits, that we had a good chance to beat Warwick," said head coach John Little. "I thought we wrestled a little flat, but still to pull out the win is great."
The Mules jumped in front early and never relinquished the lead though the Warriors knotted the score once and later cut the lead to one, 29-28.
Up 29-26 after a 5:57 fall by Nick Yannutz over Steven Seepaul at 195, the Mules forfeited at 220 and gave up a fall at 285, closing the lead to 29-28 with two bouts left.
Freshman Dominic Flatt (102) rose to the occasion and decked Sebastian Oliveras in 1:23 and Sheldon Peiffer followed with a dominating 14-1 major over Connor Esbenshade to wrap up the win.
"I've been most impressed with Dominic," said Little. "He's 10 to 15 pounds under that weight and is 6-6 on the year. He's been a pleasant surprise and has a great attitude. Our other freshman, Shaneef Carter, though he lost 9-0 at 182 has come a long way.
"Overall, we pretty much won the bouts we expected to win."
Zach Spade opened the scoring with six easy points as the Warriors forfeited at 126.
The 132 bout eventually went to Mateo Chacon who outlasted Chase Charles for a 6-4 decision.
Solanco extended the lead to 12-3 with a Grayson Charles 53 second fall over Preston Johnson (138) but the Warriors rallied with a 13-9 decision at 145 and a fall at 152, knotting the score at 12-12.
"Joey Vandergriff almost got the fall at 145," noted Little. "He tied the bout at 9-9 in the third period but couldn't hold off Kline."
Veterans AJ Wilson (160) and Ben Root (170) quickly put Solanco back in front with a 15-0 tech fall and an 11 second fall, respectively.
Solanco's young squad continued to battle last week but came up empty in the quest for their first Section Two win.
"We played four games last week and really didn't have time to practice," said head coach Scott Long. "It was a difficult week but the kids played hard. We just weren't able to consistently defend well."
They opened their four game week at home on Monday where a pivotal third quarter proved to be the difference in a 66-53 setback against Donegal. Down 31-29 at the half, the Mules had no answer for Avery Walker (18.9 ppg average) who netted nine of his team's 22 points and finished with a game-high 27.
Solanco, behind Aaron Constein's five points, finished with 13 in the quarter.
"We just could not defend their flex cut and did not communicate well on screens," noted Long. "
That was truly the difference maker."
Jack Boomsma scored seven of his 11 in the fourth quarter but it wasn't enough as the Indians held a 13-11 advantage to finish on top.
"I can't express how much I appreciate Jack and how he's playing," said Long. "He defends guys much bigger than himself every game and offensively has turned into a weapon for us."
Braden Redcay netted a team-high 14 points for the Mules and went 6-for-8 from the free throw line. Dawson Kreider chipped in with 11, scoring eight in the first half, including a pair of threes while Jon Rush tossed in 8 points, all in the first half.
Thursday's makeup game at Ephrata saw the Mules fall behind early en route to a 63-47 loss.
Solanco managed just five points in the first quarter and fell behind 34-20 at the half. Despite some momentum in the third quarter, their 17-15 advantage wasn't enough. The hosts rallied for a 14-10 final quarter and pulled away.
"Ephrata did a great job of finding the open man," noted Long. "They hit 9-of-11 three point attempts. Ultimately, if you cannot win defensive battles on the perimeter, you cannot win games. I need to do a better job of putting my guys in position to work on this at practice."
Constein was the only double figure scorer for the Mules, dropping in 11. Carson Kilgore (9), Rush (7), Boomsma (6), Jalen Henry (5), Redcay (4), Austin Daniels (3) and Jay Boyle (2) also contributed.
Friday the Mules suffered their biggest loss of the week, a 75-41 result against Garden Spot. A 19-9 deficit in the first quarter and a 20-9 result in the fourth were key components to the final score.
On the plus side, Constein dropped in a team-high 18 points.
"Aaron has been our leader all season," said Long. "He was aggressive tonight. Carson Kilgore (3 points) also played well. He's getting to the rim and defending at a high level."
Solanco's closest result of the week was a hard-fought 60-57 loss at Elco on Saturday. Twice in the second half the Mules led by as many as five and both times the Raiders responded with a triple to cut the lead back to two.
"We just couldn't get ahead," recalled Long. "We were down three with nine seconds to go and needed to go the length of the court. We drew up the final play and executed well. We had a decent look at a three, missed, but Zed Baker rebounded and kicked the ball out for another attempt but the ball just rimmed out.
"I was proud of how much energy we had at the end of a long week," he added. "It says a lot about the character of our team.
"Another plus is that the JV team picked up two wins. Zed Baker, Jordan Rush, Austin Woods, Dom Messano, Zach Wiker, Jalen Henry and Dan Herr have all been doing great stuff," Long said.
Rush netted a game-high 17 points and Constein hit for 15 as the double figure scorers. Boomsma (9), Kilgore and Baker (6 each) and Redcay and Gote (2 each) also contributed.
Mules Earn Non-League Win Over York Suburban January 8, 2018
In their only action last week, the Mules, who are still searching for that first Section Two victory, improved to 2-5 overall with a 69-51 non-league win at York Suburban last Wednesday.
The Mules were averaging 38.8 points per game coming in but got a big boost with consistent scoring throughout. Solanco led 31-12 at the half.
YS gained some momentum in the third quarter, outscoring the Mules 18-12 but both teams picked up the pace over the final eight minutes with Solanco dropping in 25 points and giving up 21 in holding on for the win.
"We lost some size with Dylan Hastings and Robbie McHugh graduating," said head coach Scott Long. "So we are a bit undersized and we really only returned two players with significant varsity experience. Aaron Constein, our lone returning starter, is averaging just under 18 ppg, and Braden Redcay also returns with experience. He's our best defender and rebounds very well."
YS dropped in back-to-back treys with five minutes remaining and cut the lead to 44-41. But that was as close as they would get as Solanco rallied with ten straight points to seal the win.
Jack Boomsma ignited the run when he snagged a missed free throw for a put back and then splashed in a trey off a great dish from Dawson Kreider.
Both teams were deadly from 3-point range with YS drilling seven downtown shots and Solanco's Jon Rush swishing six of the team's nine. He led all scorers with a career and season-high 22 but got additional help from Aaron Constein, Boomsma and Carson Kilgore who also netted double figures. Constein was 6-for-10 from the free throw line and scored 12 points, Boomsma finished with ten points and led with seven rebounds while Kilgore dropped in four field goals and also netted ten.
"Jon and Jack are both seniors and have had a good start to the year," said Long. "Jon saw minutes last year before an ankle injury took him off the court for the second half of the season. We also have a few underclassmen, Kreider, Kilgore and freshman Zed Baker, who have been working hard and are logging heavy varsity minutes."
Joey Gote (6), Kreider (5) and Austin Daniels (3) also chipped in to the scoring column.
"Our lack of experience has shown throughout the season," said Long. "At times we look competitive, but our lack of consistent offense has haunted us but we are getting better. We have won two of our last three now and seem to be improving. This week, with four games, is make or break for us," Long continued. "If we do well, we'll be right in the thick of things. Section Two is crazy right now. Anyone can beat anyone. I'm excited to keep working with this group and see how things turn out."
Over the holidays the Mules advanced to the title game of the Gettysburg Holiday Tournament but fell short 67-37 to Chambersburg.
They advanced with a 55-54 thriller over the hosts.
"That was a fun game to be a part of," said Long. "We were down one with seven seconds left. Dawson made a great play, setting up Jack for the game-winning layup with three seconds to go. Aaron was dominant the entire night. He scored 32 points and was virtually unstoppable," he continued. "We will need Aaron to play this aggressive every single night if we want to win games. I believe defenses will key on shutting him down so he will have opportunities to set guys up for easy shots."
In the title game, Chambersburg placed 11 players in the scoring column and outscored the hosts 24 field goals to five.
Rush tied for game-high honors with 14 points, including four treys, and Constein added 13. Baker finished with four points while Redcay and Boomsma added three each.
Fresh off a respectable tenth place finish at the Trojan Wars in Chambersburg, Solanco's matmen returned to Section One action last Wednesday when they traveled to Witmer to face a young and upcoming Conestoga Valley team.
The Mules, with a full lineup, benefitted from five falls en route to a 39-31 victory that pushed their record to 3-1 and leaves them in second place in the section behind 4-0 Penn Manor and Cocalico.
"After we got beat up by them last year, we needed everyone to wrestle well," said head coach John Little. "And we got a couple key matches along the way."
Solanco opened the action with a 3:44 fall by Grayson Charles (18-3) over Legend White but the Bucks countered. Austin Rider held off Joey Vandergriff 9-4 at 145 and Taylor Sheaffer earned a 15-4 major over Tucker Pierson for a brief 7-6 advantage. Solanco won the next four bouts, three by fall, and never looked back as they extended the lead to 27-7 with seven bouts left.
AJ Wilson (16-1) decked Conrad Dillman (160) in 1:03 and Ben Root's return to the mat was even shorter as he put Matt Bandy on his back in 32 seconds. Root (9-1), who won the 170-pound title at the Mule Classic, had injured his knee at the Penn Manor Holiday Tournament.
"To have Ben back in the lineup was a big plus," stated Little.
At 182, Shaneef Carter held on for a 6-5 thriller over Isiah Gantt while a Nick Yannutz (195) fall over Eddi Lopez in 4:40 pushed the lead to 20 points.
"Carter's win was key," noted Little. "He's been in and out of the lineup but came up big here and Nick added a significant victory."
The Mules forfeited at 220 but came back with an 8-4 decision by Kaleb Tucker (285) over Tyler Oakley and another first period fall, this one by Dominic Flatt over Jeremiah Pha in 1:27 for a 36-13 advantage.
CV won three of the last four to close the gap, picking up a forfeit at 113 and earning back-to-back falls over Zach Spade at 126 and Chase Charles at 132 to cap the scoring.
"Dom turned in a spectacular performance," said Little. "He was giving up 17 pounds and did a tremendous job."
Sheldon Peiffer's 7-3 decision over Andrew Dariychuk at 120 accounted for Solanco's final team points.
This Wednesday the Mules host Warwick (2-7). "Having just 12 wrestlers makes it tough," said Little. "We can't afford to have anyone out at any time. But I feel if we can keep everyone in the lineup thence should be in the rest of these matches."
Prior to the CV match, the Mules took nine wrestlers to Chambersburg's Trojan Wars tournament and came away with five place-winners.
"It was an incredible tournament and a great accomplishment for us to finish in tenth place with just nine guys," said Little. "Everyone won at least one match so they all contributed to the team placing 10th."
Wilson was Solanco's top finisher, winning the 160-pound title. At 138, Charles grabbed a third place finish while Tucker, at 285, settled for fourth place finish, dropping a 4-3 result in his final bout.
Yannutz (195) chipped in with a sixth place finish, and Peiffer, wrestling at 120, was eighth.
The Mares hosted York Suburban last Wednesday but the home court advantage wasn't evident early on. Solanco fell behind 11-2 but rallied down the stretch and improved to 7-3 overall with a 52-42 come-from-behind win.
"We just could not buy a basket," said head coach Chad McDowell. "We had some good looks, but nothing seemed to fall. And we were settling for outside jump shots instead of attacking the basket in that first half."
Both teams netted 13 second quarter points but the Mares were still behind, 24-15. Jess Cabrera netted 11 of her team-high 13 points in that opening half.
"At halftime we talked about getting their lead down to what we called 'shouting distance,'" recalled McDowell. "I felt if we could do that, we would have a chance."
The Mares cut the deficit to 36-30 heading into the final quarter, switched in and out of zone defenses down the stretch and rallied for the win by outscoring the visitors 22-6 to steal the victory.
"The biggest change we made was matching up out of the zone, employing man to man principles when the ball was in certain players hands. We also did a better job rebounding, had better shot selection and attacked the basket. Good things happened!"
Solanco also hit 11-of-12 free throws in that second half and were 13-for-20 for the game.
Jenna Dombach hit double figures with 10. Aleksa Burger finished with nine points but was tops with 11 rebounds. Liz Mowrer and Grace Kreider combined for 15 points and seven rebounds. Alana Yoder chipped in with six rebounds and two points and Kara McClune added three points, and three rebounds.
"We have been focusing on the TEAM concepts this year and so we've been changing up our starters each game," McDowell noted. "As a team, we must play unselfishly to be successful. It does not matter who scores as long as we have more points than our opponent at the end of the game."
The JV team also finished on top against York Suburban, 38-32. Paige Phillips led the way with six points.
The Mares were coming off their own Holiday Tournament where their goal of capturing two straight titles was denied by a pesky Penn Manor squad.
The Comets, who lost to Solanco in the title game a year ago, denied the hosts with a 48-42 come-from-behind win. The Mares jumped out to a 24-15 first half but were outscored 15-4 in the third quarter and 18-14 in the fourth.
Manor's Alyssa Schriver led all scorers with 25 points. Dombach was tops for the home team with 11 while Kreider and Burger netted nine each. Cabrera added eight and Yoder finished with nine.
The Mares advanced to the title game when they doubled up Waynesboro 42-21. They held the visitors to single digits in all four quarters and got a game-high 17 points from Cabrera. Burger (8), Kreider (7), Dombach (6), Yoder (2) and Mackenzie Gladfelter (2) also contributed.
Mules Cap Season With Loss at Cocalico November 6, 2017
Solanco's football team capped its 2017 season on the road this past Friday night against the second place team in Section Two, Cocalico. Despite opening the scoring and holding a 14-7 advantage, the two teams found themselves tied at 21-21 early in the second quarter. That, however, did not last long as the Eagles ran off six straight touchdowns and finished 6-1 in section play with a 63-28 victory.
"It wasn't a disappointing season," said head coach Tony Cox. "We competed better than the previous year. We had opportunities but didn't finish. That's how it's been all season."
Down 28-21, and with the ball on the one-yard-line, the Mules failed to punch it in.
"We could have tied the game at 21-21 but we couldn't finish," said Cox. "We need to teach them how to finish."
The Eagles, on the other hand, finished plenty in the second half, pulling away with a 28-0 third quarter effort.
Joel McGuire opened the scoring with a three yard keeper and, after the Eagles knotted the score, raced 29 yards to paydirt for another Solanco lead. McGuire also hit Alex McDonald with an 11 yard strike to tie the game at 21-21 in the second quarter. But that was it for the Mules until McGuire found Zach Poole with a 13-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. Evan Salisbury successfully kicked all four PAT's.
"We threw the ball a lot more than we have in the past," said Cox. "That's something we'll work more on in the off-season. We need to spread the offense more and if we can complete passes and protect the quarterback that will help next year. We were more confident throwing against Cocalico. We also had some success moving the ball but just couldn't punch it in," continued Cox. "We're right there. We just need to learn to finish. The bulk of our offense is back, so that will help.
"And once again we had a 1,000 yard rusher, this year in Nick Yannutz," Cox added. "And we were first or second in total rushing in the league."
Yannutz finished second in the league individually with 1,135 yards and nine touchdowns. McDonald finished seventh overall with 666 yards and seven TD's while McGuire, who scored 13 times, picked up 608 yards for tenth place.
The Mules finished the season at 3-4 in Section Two and were 4-6 overall.
"Even though we didn't win many games, this team competed hard," said head coach Ron Miller at the boys' end-of-the-year soccer banquet. "Even though they were inexperienced to start the season, they gained experience by playing as a unit on the field and backing each other," he continued. "I am proud of these young men and would lead them into battle any day. I would not want to coach anyone else."
And so the Mules capped their season with coach Miller announcing the following award winners.
Jack Boomsma - Coaches Award. "He's a kid that just does everything," said Miller.
Evan Salisbury - Players Choice Award for Most Valuable Player.
Evan Salisbury and Thomas Broomell - Co-MVP's as voted on by coaches.
Evan Salisbury - Offensive MVP. Thomas Broomell - Defensive MVP.
Salisbury finished his career with 22 goals and 20 assists. "He's the best all-around player we've had in six years," stated Miller. "He's a four-year starter and he scored seven of our 13 goals. He played in nine games and was injured for nine games. We only scored three goals in the games he was out," added Miller. "Evan and Thomas were our only real returning varsity players as 15 of our 21 kids played varsity for the first time. Thomas is a three year starter and anchored our defense."
Boomsma, Salisbury and Broomell were the captains, as voted by the team, this year. Salisbury was also a First Team All-Star while Broomell, an Academic All-Star with a 3.8 GPA, was voted as a Second Team All-Star.
Caden Kilgore and Sean Salisbury - Top Newcomers of the Year. "They're both sophomores," noted Miller. "Caden took a lot of our free kicks and Sean is probably our best ball handler."
Jake Smolik - Leadership Award. "Jake got thrown into the goalie position when Dylan went out," said Miller. "And he pretty much kept it. He talks a lot back there and leads by example."
David Harvey and Tom Fetterman - Sportsmanship Award. "These guys are both defenders and were always positive," Miller said.
Tyson Kilgore - Comeback Player of the Year
Mike Aukamp - Most Improved. "Tyson was out last year with a broken leg and came back to score two goals and two assists and mostly played outside mid," noted Miller. "Mike was a JV player last year who also broke his leg and worked very hard in the offseason and at camps to earn his starting outside mid spot."
The field hockey team finished the season with three wins against 15 losses but received individual recognition for their efforts. Abby Stull and Olivia Fisher were both L-L League Section Two Honorable Mention All-Stars while Stull, Andra Beiler, Autumn Aukamp, Emily Hastings, Jada Brown and Xiao Moore were Academic All-Stars. Hannah Myer also received the L-L League FH Coaches Association Scholarship.
"And I want to congratulate our team for being recognized as Team GPA Academic All-Stars," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "I thank all of your for your hard work both on and off the field and in the classroom."
Stull and Fisher will participate in the All-Star game to be held at Donegal High School on November 12 at 2 pm when the Lancaster County All-Stars take on the Berks County All-Stars.
Mules Battle Barons on Senior Night October 30, 2017
It was senior night in Quarryville this past Friday night and the Mules were facing a tall task in hosting the undefeated Barons of Manheim Central. An upset would be a memory not soon forgotten and not just for the seniors.
The Mules came out energized, forced a fumble on Manheim's second snap of the game and quickly capitalized. Nafis Moore raced down the left sideline for 22 yards and Joel McGuire punched it in for a one-yard keeper. A sneaky two point conversion by Sam Buckwalter put the Mules in front, 8-0 with 8:04 left in the first quarter.
The undefeated Barons, however, countered with Colin Erb's three-yard burst and the two-point conversion pass to Tyler Simon knotted the score at 8-8. That lasted just over one minute. Solanco fumbled on its next possession and Manheim not only recovered but converted but took the lead for good with Erb's second TD of the game, a one-yard run. The two-point conversion pass was picked off by Avery Troop in the end zone.
The Barons, with six different players scoring, netted 14 points in each of the first three quarters and added one in the fourth. They out-rushed the Mules 225-139 and held a 16-8 advantage in first downs.
Despite the lopsided result, there were a few positives for the Mules. Alex McDonald rushed for 38 yards on five carries, finished with two interceptions and added six tackles. McGuire finished with 33 rushing yards, Nick Yannutz added 32 and Nafis Moore followed with 28.
Cole Lewis and Dylon Sturgill held down the defense with eight tackles each, with Set Harnish adding seven and McDonald chipping in with 6. Logan Yalechko, who recovered that first quarter fumble, and Cody Forren each recorded one sack.
The loss drops the Mules to 3-3 in Section Two and 4-5 overall. They travel to Cocalico this week for the regular season finale.
The harrier teams traveled to Big Spring High School on Saturday to compete in the District Three Class 3A Championships. Nine members of the squad met the qualifying standard to compete.
"You qualify with a .500 or better record or by running 23:00 minutes or better for the girls and 19:00 for the boys," noted head coach Craig Ausel. "Since we are in Section One, it is harder to make it on record with only five of our ten Section One teams qualifying."
Hannah Sweda and Aubree Roop crossed the finish line in 21:16 (84th) and 22:13 (136th) respectively and both lowered their times from their previous run at Big Spring, the Ben Bloser Invitational in September. Sweda improved 35 seconds while Roop lowered her time 32 ticks.
"Both of these ladies have grown greatly in their understanding of training and racing," said Ausel. "They will both return next season and will be great leaders for our squad."
The girls also improved on last year's District appearance where Sweda was 116th in 21:40 and Roop finished 177th in 22:46.
The boys' followed the girls' race and earned a 29th place team finish, up from last year's 32nd place effort. As he has done all season, junior co-captain Ben Stickler led the way, clocking a 17:12 for 47th place, an improvement over last year's 114th place finish in 17:36.
"Ben ran 17:54 on this course earlier this year," noted Ausel. "He was the 17th L-L League finisher and has gotten the most from his talent and training this season. We look forward to him running consistently in the 16's next year as he gains another year of physical and mental maturity."
Running second and third for the Mules was Ian Brown and Marty Grawe. Brown, a senior, finished 137th with an 18:12 while Grawe, a freshman, clocked an 18:35 for 171st place.
"Ian, our senior co-captain, knocked 41 seconds off his last performance on this course," Ausel said. "He has shown steady and consistent growth and his leadership has been giant in our team's success this year.
"Marty ran the race of his young career and demonstrated his willingness compete at a high level," Ausel praised.
Rounding out the scoring for the Mules was Colin Althoff (18:51), Tate Fisher (19:05), Dan Keller (19:17) and Patrick Workman (19:36).
"Our goal was for continued improvement for our 2-7 runners to run in the 18:00 to 18:30 range," said Ausel. "We had a few races where we achieved that goal but struggled to do it consistently. With a strong returning nucleus of runners who understand this goal, we should be more capable of having a pack of runners in the 17:40-18:20 range.
"This group has been a fantastic group to coach," he continued. "They have achieved a lot, both individually and as a team, and in and out of the classroom. Their greatest accomplishment has probably been the way they have come together as friends who support one another.
"They have lived up to the motto instilled in our program by Coach Harrington's run with intensity, courage, and love for one another."
The girls' soccer team officially capped its 2017 season with an end of the year banquet last week. Solanco finished the year with a 6-11-1 overall record. They were 3-10-1 in Section Two play and were led in scoring by Alana Yoder. The sophomore finished with nine goals and five assists and was voted as a First Team all-star. Freshman Sami Jackson finished with six goals and Grace Kreider added five goals and seven assists. Kreider was also a Second team all-star.
"Alana led the way despite playing a mostly defensive position all year," said head coach Ken Yoder. "Her speed and toughness provide a huge edge for her on the field.
"Sophomore keeper Gabi Dolan was amazing this year and grew into one of the best goalies in the league," he added. "She came up with countless stops and even scored two goals when she was playing the field. For her efforts she was named as a First Team all-star."
Tori Delp also received all-star recognition being named as an Academic all-star. She was honored as the senior with the highest GPA on the team.
"We set some goals this year of beating teams that beat us last year in an effort to continue building the program and ultimately competing in the post-season," said Yoder. "The past three seasons we have seen at least one more win than the previous season and this year we beat several teams that had beaten us the year before.
"It was also pretty cool that 13 different girls scored goals this year."
Other award winners this year included Yoder as the Most Valuable Player, Dolan as the Defensive Player of the Year, Kreider as the Offensive Player of the Year and Reece Curry-Saner and Rachel McLaren who received the Coaches Choice awards.
Head coach Ken Yoder also received Coach of the Year recognition at the L-L League all-star banquet held October 22 at the Eden Resort.
Strickler Earns L-L League Medal, Leads Harriers October 23, 2017
While the cross country teams did not bring home L-L League Championship trophies from last Tuesday's All-League Meet in Ephrata, they came back to Quarryville knowing they ran their best.
"It was about as perfect as we could run," praised head coach Craig Ausel. "We had some very good times on the very tough L-L League course competing against the leagues very best."
A handful of personal records and an individual top 25 medal were the highlight of the day.
The girls ran the first race of the day and were led by Hannah Sweda. The sophomore missed a top 25 medal but clocked a career best 20:47 to finish 31st.
"Despite a minor change in the course, that time is the 13th all-time Solanco best on the Ephrata course," pointed out Ausel.
Aubree Roop, a junior, finished 42nd in 21:29. "A top 50 finish in this strong field is impressive," stated Ausel. "The field had 21 sub 20 minute times with the top three breaking 19. Aubree has taken a big step in understanding what is necessary to become a competitive runner."
The second career best of the day went to Alyssa Slickers. The sophomore finished in 82nd place, knocking 30 seconds off her previous career best with a 22:58. "That's the first time she broke 23 minutes," Ausel said. "We can't say enough about her growth this season and determination. She is a fierce competitor."
Rounding out Solanco's top five was freshman Sarah Snyder (23:29) and senior co-captain Sarah Sweda (23:30).
"Sarah Snyder dropped 30 seconds off her career best 5K and Sarah Sweda dropped almost a minute off her previous races this season," Ausel said. "The ladies demonstrated a very strong will to get the very most from this opportunity and we could not have had a much better day."
Cocalico senior Jamie Zamrin ran the fastest time of the day with an 18:29.
Solanco finished in 12th place out of 18 teams, defeating Elco, Cocalico, Lancaster Mennonite, Garden Spot, Lancaster Catholic and Annville-Cleona.
The boy's team pretty much followed suit. Ben Stickler, as he has all season, led the way. The junior earned a top 25 medal, placing 19th in 16:59. Hempfield's Christian Groff, with a 16:05, was the overall winner.
"Ben's time is the third best Solanco time on this course, following only John Ausel and Liam Hodgson," noted Ausel. "The most exciting part of watching Ben this season has been watching the growth of his mental toughness and confidence toward racing.
"The rest of the team made a giant step toward a season goal of placing more runners in the 18:30 range," he continued.
Patrick Workman ran second for the Mules and placed 92 in 18:28. Colin Althoff, a sophomore, clocked an 18:39 with a strong final 800 meters. Ian Brown followed with an 18:41 while Tate Fisher, a sophomore, ran an 18:44 to round out the top five. Also competing was freshman Martin Grawe (18:45), Dan Keller (19:05) and Aidan McBride (19:24).
"Patrick ran a strong race and Colin lowered his previous season best time by 30 seconds to earn a district qualifying time," noted Ausel.
"We look forward to carrying this growth and mindset into the District Three Championships at Big Spring High School on October 28."
As a team, the Mules defeated Annville-Cleona, Northern Lebanon and Garden Spot.
Solanco sophomore Nick Yannutz, the league's leading rusher, raced for 91 yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns and sophomore defender Nate Neuhauser anchored the defense with nine tackles as the Golden Mules dominated Ephrata (0-8) 62-21 this past Friday night in Quarryville. The Mules ended a two game losing streak and improved to 3-2 in Section Two along with Cedar Crest and behind Cocalico (4-1) and the undefeated Barons who visit Quarryville this week.
"We knew going into the game that we needed to stay focused," said head coach Tony Cox. "You can't just look at a team's record. They have a decent quarterback and the last time they won was against us so I kept stressing that."
While the end result was a blowout, the early going was a bit closer than one might expect. Alex McDonald, who gained 93 yards on six carries, used a 17-yard run to put the Mules in front with 7:06 on the clock. Just over four minutes later, Yannutz ran 16 yards to pay dirt. Evan Salisbury's PAT's made it 14-0.
Not to be denied, Ephrata cut that lead in half with a one-yard score with 42 seconds left in the first quarter but a 28-7 second quarter advantage by the Mules was all the momentum they needed. Yannutz scored from 10-yards out to start the second frame but the extra point kick was blocked. The Mounts then used a 90-yard kickoff return by Adam Maser to cut the lead to 20-14 with 8:52 left in the half. But that was as close as it would get as the hosts ran off five straight TD's to put the game out of reach.
Yannutz collected his third TD of the night on a three-yard burst and converted the two-point conversion to start the rally. McGuire ran for 58 yards and completed two of three passes, hitting McDonald and Zach Poole for another 52 yards. He also followed a Nafis Moore 44-yard TD with a two-yard keeper, pushing the lead to 42-14 at the break.
"It's always good to win at home," said Cox. "This was a good win for the program. All the kids got to play and it's nice to see some of the younger kids score. It energizes the program."
Freshman Shaneef Carter opened the second half scoring with a five yard burst. A four-yard Grady Unger TD and Danny Bird's 35-yard scamper, along with Grace Kreider's PAT accounted for the fourth quarter scoring.
"Grady and Shaneef played well," noted Cox. "And Grace, our homecoming queen, picked up a PAT."
Contributing to a defense that held the Mounts to 190 rushing yards was Cole Lewis and Cody Forren, who combined for 11 tackles with seniors Avery Troop, Dylon Sturgill and Brandon Doubts recording for each.
"Now we prepare for Manheim Central," he continued. "The kids know how big this game is. We need to stay focused and play physical football."
The volleyball team wrapped up the 2017 season with 3-0 losses to Ephrata and Elizabethtown last week.
The Mounts exploded for a 25-5 first set win on Monday but were lucky to pull out the second set, escaping the pesky Mares 25-20. They went on to win 25-17.
"That first set loss was a bit of a wakeup call, and we turned the match around," said head coach Meghan Cross. "We struggled with our serve receive from the beginning but gained some confidence and trust in each other in the second set."
Ally McDowell dished out nine assists with Kara McClune converting with four kills. Liz Mowrer put up three blocks and McClune and Lydia Fetterman patrolled the back row with seven and six digs respectively. McDowell, Mowrer and Weaver each served up one ace.
Wednesday the team went up against the Section Two champs Elizabethtown and were dealt another loss, 25-10, 25-13, 25-11.
"E-town is a solid, competitive team," said Cross. "We did have some nice digs and some great defensive play off their offense. Molly Chew, Kara McClune and Ally McDowell were all over the floor putting up some digs and Kara, Liz and Georgia Ewing were getting some nice touches and blocks at the net," she continued. "We were reading their hitters and anticipating better, even though the scores don't necessarily reflect that."
McClune was solid all around finishing with four kills, four blocks and eight digs. Mowrer and Ewing combined for five blocks, Chew was tops with 10 digs, McDowell recorded nine assists and Libby Weaver served the only ace.
"This was a challenging season overall," stated Cross. "While our record doesn't show a winning season, we did show progress through growth and the younger players got a lot of court and play experience of a much faster paced game. Section Two has come a long way over the years and has some really competitive, good teams," she continued. "We learned that we have to make the other teams play the ball and cut back on our own unforced errors."
Lady Booters Show Improved Play Despite Losses October 16, 2017
The girls' soccer team capped their season against the playoff-bound Pioneers last Wednesday night in Quarryville. And while they came away with a 3-0 loss, they showed improved play from their 6-1 result on September 23.
The Pioneers, who finished second in Section Two, scored twice in the first half and added the third score after the break.
"L-S had a great season and should do well in the post-season," said head coach Ken Yoder. "To rebound after a disappointing loss to them the first time and play well for our senior's last game felt good. Tori Delp, Sydney Hassler and Jami Murtha have all played six years in this program and we honored them for their commitment. They were captains for the night."
Though the Pioneers finished on top, Solanco was not without opportunities. Kayden Bedwell had a just wide shot on a restart in the first half, Alana Yoder added a header off a corner in the second half and also took a feed from Reece Curry-Saner with 8:20 left for what was probably their best effort. But what stood out more was the play of Gabi Dolan in goal. The sophomore recorded 17 saves and most of them were not of the roll right into your hands variety.
"Gabi continues to dominate games and came up with some huge plays for us," lauded Yoder. "She is one of the best goalies in our section."
The Mares were coming off a 5-1 loss to Elizabethtown Monday night. Sami Jackson's goal in the 67th minute, set up by Yoder, prevented the shutout.
"Sami added some nice offensive production as a freshman," noted Yoder. "She is second on the team for goals scored with six."
The boys' soccer team faced two of the top three teams in Section Two last week and ended its 2017 campaign with a pair of losses.
In a wet game Wednesday afternoon, the Mules battled the third placed Pioneers (9-5) and came home with a 5-1 loss. The hosts scored three goals in a span of nine minutes early in the game to set the tone. Solanco never gave up and got on the board in the 36th minute. Caden Kilgore sent a free kick over the defense to the far post where Zach Roten saved the shot with a touch back to Thomas Broomell who beat Lampeter's Paul Keller for the score.
"The boys work hard," said head coach Ron Miller. "It was nice to see a senior captain get the goal."
Lampeter's team speed, however, was a bit too much and the hosts, despite a couple impressive saves by Dylan Sheaffer, found the back of the cage twice more. Sheaffer, and Jake Smolik, who guarded the goal in the opening half, combined for seven saves.
One night later Solanco hosted the section-leading Bears of Elizabethtown (11-2-1) where another cluster of goals propelled the visitors to a 7-0 win. E-town, just 12 minutes in, scored the opening goal of the game. Six minutes later it was 3-0 as David Shank, who finished with a hat trick, scored twice in a minute to give the visitors momentum.
The Bears, who stifled the Mules 11-1 in their first meeting, needed eight saves to preserve the shutout as Solanco managed four corners and eight shots on goal.
Solanco finishes the season with a 1-17 record and were led in scoring by Evan Salisbury who netted seven of the teams 12 tallies. Tyson Kilgore added three goals.
On the road Friday night the Mules fell into a 2-2 tie for third place with Lampeter-Strasburg when they suffered a 42-21 loss to a Cedar Crest squad that improved to 3-1.
Cedar Crest took the early lead with touchdown runs of 52 and 48 yards. The Mules, however, returned the favor and took a brief lead, 14-13. Alex McDonald (87 yards on 15 carries) scored on a one-yard plunge and Sam Buckwalter finished the two-point conversion to put the Mules on the board in the first quarter. They grabbed the lead with McDonald's two-yard score in the second frame but Crest came back with a 3-yard run and held a 20-14 lead at the break.
Solanco grabbed its second lead of the game, this one 21-20, with a six-yard scamper by Nick Yannutz (118 yards on 26 carries) and a PAT by Evan Salisbury in the third quarter. But the Falcons soared after that, putting together three straight TD's, including a 66-yarder, to pull away.
The Falcons out-rushed the Mules 359-280 yards.
Joel McGuire, who rushed for 46 yards, completed three-of-seven passes for 75 yards with McDonald, Zed Baker and Zach Poole each on the receiving end.
Defensively, Cole Lewis recorded nine tackles on the night, eight solo, with Avery Troop and Logan Yaletchko combining for 10. Dylon Sturgill was credited with the only sack of the night.
Facing L-S and Eastern York last week, the volleyball team suffered a pair of losses.
Solanco went point-for-point with LS in the first set but fell 25-23. They rebounded for a 25-18 win only to fall short 25-14, 25-13.
Kara McClune led the way with seven kills, due in part to Ally McDowell's 15 assists. Lydia Fetterman served four aces and added 10 digs while Georgia Ewing and Liz Mowrer combined for five blocks.
"That first set was back-and-forth and came down to a couple of missed serves and ball handling errors," said head coach Meghan Cross. "We made them play the ball and we were solid on defense.
"After that second set win, we just ran out of gas and made a few too many unforced errors."
On the road Thursday, the Mares didn't have an answer for Eastern York's Brooke LaCesa (14 kills) and fell 25-15, 25-12, 25-17. Molly Chew finished with two ace and five digs while McClune (5 blocks) and Fetterman each put down four kills. McDowell finished with nine assists.
"We struggled to make them play the ball," stated Cross, "and we made our own mistakes."
Hoping to finish the season on a strong note, the field hockey team had a tall task as they faced third place L-S and undefeated Donegal in their last two games of the season.
The Mares went head-to-head with the Pioneers in the first half and came away with a 1-1 tie as both teams were awarded penalty strokes. Solanco took the lead at 17:09 when Abby Stull connected on the Mares first penalty stroke of the season. The hosts, however, returned the favor when they converted a stroke with 6:31 left in the half.
"Our first half was awesome," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "We practice strokes but you so rarely get them. It was exciting to see Abby execute."
The Pioneers rallied for six second half tallies to pull away.
Head coach Whitney Hawkins went into Wednesday's game against Donegal knowing an upset was out of the question. "You go into a game like this just trying to do the best you can and you look for smaller victories within the game," said Hawkins. "And you sub a lot so everyone can get experience playing against a high caliber team.
"We finished with three shots and one corner which I was happy with. Looking back, the last three times we've played Donegal we finished with no shots and no corners so this was a mini victory."
So the Indians rolled to an 11-0 victory, tacking on three second half tallies to their 8-0 first half advantage. And they did so with many of their starters back on the field. Two of their top four scorers found the back of the cage in the second half, including team leader Mackenzie Allessie (68 goals to date). Their fourth leading scorer, Grace Miller, has scored 17. Solanco finished with 18 total goals this season and were led by Autumn Aukamp with seven. Stull, who was tops with eight assists, and Jada Brown chipped in with three goals each.
"We scored 12 goals last year so there is improvement," noted Hawkins. "And our junior keeper, Alta Brandenberger, ended with a 69.5% save rate. She just missed being in the top three in our section."
In tri-meet action last Tuesday, the harrier teams traveled to Lititz to battle Warwick and CV and came away with just one win on the day, a hard-fought 25-31 nod for the girls' over CV. They suffered a 22-40 loss to Warwick who placed six runners in the top nine.
Hannah Sweda (2nd, 21:18) and Aubree Roop (4th, 21:46) again led the girls. "They worked together through two miles to finish in front of CV's top girl," stated head coach Craig Ausel. "Hannah actually finished strong, catching Warwick's No. 2 girl in the final 400 to get that second spot."
Alyssa Slickers raced for 11th place in 23:22 and finished ahead of CV's third runner. "Alyssa continued her dynamic growth and picked up valuable scoring," Ausel said.
Clinching the win was Chesley Ledsma (19th, 24:53), Sarah Snyder (20th, 24:54) and Sarah Sweda (22nd, 25:03) who all finished ahead of CV's fifth runner, Lindsey Mousch in 24th place.
The boys' squad, despite a fourth place effort from Ben Sticker in 17:32, fell to Warwick 18-49 and dropped a disappointing 26-29 result against CV.
"Ben secured his final placement as a Section One, 2nd Team All-Star," noted Ausel. "We had the opportunity to beat CV but fell short," he continued. "Ian Brown did his part, finishing 11th (18:38) with one of his fastest times of the season and beating CV's No. 2 runner. We just couldn't break up their 2-3 and 4 runners who finished 12th through 14th. And we had three follow their fifth runner."
Patrick Workman ran third for the Mules, finishing 16th in 19:07 and Christian Stead, 18th in 19:20, rounded out the top five. Dan Keller (19th) Colin Althoff (22nd), Tate Fisher (23rd) and Marty Grawe (24th) rounded out the top 25.
On a side note, Warwick's Noah Martin, son of former Solanco cross country standout Kris Wagner Martin, was the overall winner in 16:52. His sister, Anna, finished third.
The tennis team wrapped up the season at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Flight Tournament held at various schools on October 5. Though they failed to advance, they put their best foot forward.
In terms of scores, Hannah Steinhauer and Kelsey Sheets put up the best numbers, battling McCaskey's Tiffany Tang and Jada Wheeler but falling short, 8-6 in the No. 3 doubles slot. They suffered an 8-4 loss to the McCaskey team in the regular season.
In singles play, Faith Redcay was solid in Flight 3 and put up a good effort against Penn Manor's Julie Ward who finished on top, 6-2, 7-5.
"Kelsey and Hannah were in the mix in most all of their matches," said head coach Todd Brown. "Their net play carried them."
Playing No. 2, Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy went up against E-town's Claire Hackenberg and Emily Oyler and dropped an 8-0 result.
"That was a heartbreaker," said Brown. "Gabby played the best tennis I have ever seen her play. Her feet were moving fast and she was all over the court returning great shots."
In singles play, Zaborskiy bowed out against Garden Spot's Ashley Risser 6-0, 6-1 and Griffonetti lost 6-1, 6-3 to Elco's Allie Header.
"We had a positive season overall," said Brown. "We returned just three players and only one, Kerith Paine, had varsity experience. We had no seniors so we gained lots of experience. At times we were greatly outmatched but each time our team would rise to the occasion and fight," he continued.
"We won four matches this season. Due to their work ethic and coachable attitudes, every player's tennis game made tremendous gains. Most of our players are getting plugged into offseason playing opportunities as well," Brown added. "And we can't go without saying that assistant coach Shira Kauffman is phenomenal and a large part of why this season was successful."
Field Hockey Team Earns Shutout Over Cocalico October 9, 2017
Behind ten saves by Alta Bradenberger and goals by Jada Brown and Keirra Laird, the field hockey team avenged a 3-2, September 13 loss with a 2-0 shutout over the visiting Eagles of Cocalico last Monday afternoon. It was Solanco's first Section Two win.
"We got off to a great start and played well in the first half with small passing, communicating and moving the ball up the field," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "The second half we played a little laid back."
Jada Brown, assisted by Keirra Laird, put the Mares on the board at the 5:25 mark.
"Keirra is only a sophomore and doesn't get a whole lot of varsity time," said Hawkins. "Before I subbed her, I told her I needed her speed and stick work and to be hungry for a goal. She did just that, assisting Jada's goal and scoring our second goal midway through the second half."
That momentum, however, did not carry into Wednesday's game. The Mares gave up three first half goals against the hosting Mounts of Ephrata. They did, however, play them to a 0-0 second half tie.
Bradenberger collected 13 saves in the loss.
Friday the Mares again fell behind 3-0 in the first half but this time broke through in the second half. Unfortunately it wasn't enough as Garden Spot prevailed 3-1 in Quarryville.
Solanco held an 8-6 advantage in shots on goal and, with seven corners, did have opportunities but struggled to finish.
Emily Hastings' goal, on a setup by Abby Stull, prevented the shutout midway through the second half.
It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get back up. - Vince Lombardi
Solanco's football team definitely took a hit this past Friday night, suffering an unexpected 45-0 loss to the visiting Pioneers of Lampeter-Strasburg and surrendering the Milk Jug Trophy.
"That was not Solanco football," said disappointed head coach Tony Cox. "We just did not execute and the turnovers (three fumbles lost) were costly.
"That's not the kind of program we're trying to build," he continued. "We need to focus more and we need to take this to heart. We cannot allow this to carry into this week. We have to move forward."
The Pioneers Joey Underwood scooped up a fumble with 8:12 left in the first quarter and raced 27-yards to pay dirt. Two minutes later Peyton Denlinger booted a 31-yard field goal and L-S owned a 10-0 first quarter advantage. From there, Cam Neimeyer took over, scoring four straight touchdowns, including an impressive 60-yarder, to put the game out of reach.
Led by Alex McDonald's 85 rushing yards, the top rushing team in the league was held to 213 yards on 57 carries. The Pioneers, who were denied the Milk Jug Trophy each of the last two years, rushed for 199 yards and passed for another 196 in a balanced effort. Nick Yannutz chipped in with 76 yards. He and McDonald accounted for 10 receiving yards.
Defensively, Dylon Sturgill recorded nine tackles. Avery Toop followed with five and both Cole Lewis and Cody Forren finished with four each. Khalif Haga was credited with one sack.
"We have been competing and that's all that I can ask," said head coach Ron Miller. "Even though our record doesn't indicate it, these young men continue to give everything they have."
Monday the boys battled Section Two leader Ephrata but couldn't overcome a 4-0 first half deficit, and despite playing an even second half, lost 6-2. The Mules were only the second team to date to score two goals against the Mounts.
"They scored four goals in a span of nine minutes in the first half," said Miller. "For 31 minutes it was an evenly played game."
Ephrata scored the first goal of the second half on a penalty kick but the Mules responded. Four year starter Evan Salisbury, taking a feed from Caden Kilgore, blasted a shot from 25 yards out. Five minutes later it was Salisbury again, this time on a setup from Luke Snyder.
"They kept their starters in the whole game," noted Miller. "We played them 2-2 in the second half."
Wednesday's game against Garden Spot had a similar theme. The Spartans recorded three goals over a period of eight minutes in the first half and went on to win 5-0.
"We missed our first chance this year on a penalty kick," Miller recalled. "Evan's shot was stopped on a great save by their goalie, keeping the score at 3-0. We just couldn't find the net in the second half."
Their busy week concluded with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss against visiting Cocalico.
"This was an incredible contest," said Miller. "Both teams played hard and both were impressive on the defensive end. My back line, led by Thomas Broomell, included solid play from David Harvey, Tim Fetterman and Caden Kilgore who kept Cocalico at bay."
Keeper Jake Smolik saved a PK in the first half to keep the score at 0-0 at the break.
"In the second half we made one mistake 11 minutes in on a free kick which got through to the six yard area and they capitalized for the only goal of the game," Miller stated. "The guys played all out for 80 minutes but just couldn't find the net to tie."
The girls' soccer team came up empty in the wins department last week but they did manage to score twice in a 3-2 heartbreaker against Garden Spot Wednesday.
Solanco opened the week against Section Two leader Ephrata (12-0 LL, 15-1 overall) and were dealt a 5-0 loss. The Mounts topped the Mares 6-1 in their first half meeting.
"They're a great team and lead the section for a reason," said head coach Ken Yoder. "They have a few girls that are very physical and tough. We just have a hard time trying to stop them all."
Wednesday the girls fell behind early, giving up two goals, but worked their way back to tie the game in the second half.
"Their first two goals were from incredibly difficult angles," said Yoder. "There really wasn't much we could do."
Solanco cut the lead in half when Ryleigh Ferrari collected a defensive clear and sent the ball back into the box where Alana Yoder gathered control and tucked the ball past the keeper.
Three minutes later, Yoder carried the ball down the sideline, played a cross to Grace Kreider who knocked the ball past the keeper for the tie.
"I moved Alana up from center back to give our offense some spark and it paid off," Yoder noted.
The Spartans, however, with two minutes left in regulation, scored the game-winner on a breakaway.
"Gabi Dolan played great and has played a huge part in all of our games, win or lose," said Yoder. "She is stepping up as a team leader and we need that out of our goalkeeper position."
After working a 1-1 tie against Cocalico in Quarryville just over two weeks ago, the Mares were looking to pull out a 'W' in Denver last Friday. After a scoreless first half, the Eagles, with a 14-1 edge in shots on goal, managed the game-winner with four minutes left on the clock.
On the road last Tuesday night, the volleyball team got off to a rough start, falling behind 25-8 and 25-9 against the hosting Barons and never recovered. Despite improved play in the third set, they fell 25-15.
Kara McClune continued to lead the team in kills, putting down four while Ally McDowell was solid all around, dishing out nine assists, serving up two aces and scrambling for 12 digs.
Thursday they battled a 10-2 Garden Spot squad and came away with more competitive numbers but didn't have an answer for Spot's Shawna Zeiset and her 12 kills. The Spartans won 25-14, 25-16, 25-17.
McDowell led with six assists and 11 digs, Molly Chew served up two aces and McClune recorded a pair of kills. Liz Mowrer and Georgia Ewing settled for one block each.
The harrier teams traveled to Elizabethtown last Tuesday and came home with some solid individual performances but without a team win.
The E-town girls swept both Penn Manor and Solanco as they earned each of the top four places. The Comets also topped the Mares 21-39.
Hannah Sweda and Aubree Roop pushed each other throughout the race and finished 7th (21:10) and 8th (21:11) overall.
"Hannah and Aubree were fantastic," said head coach Craig Ausel. "Hannah actually ran a career best. I kept telling her that she would get stronger and stronger as the season moved forward and she had the support of her captain and teammate, Aubree Roop, who pushed her throughout the whole race," he explained. "We are excited to see how these two can build on this breakthrough race."
Alyssa Slickers ran third for the Mares and finished 13th with a 22:29 while freshman Sarah Snyder followed in 17th place at 23:58. Rounding out the top five was Chesley Ledsma in 18th place with a 24:14.
"Alyssa ran a huge career personal record by knocking 50 seconds off her previous best at Lock Haven," noted Ausel, "and Sarah, back from an illness, knocked more than 30 seconds from her previous fastest time, also at Lock Haven."
Sarah Sweda rounded out the top five, clocking a 24:33 for 21st place.
Other place winners included Kirsten O'Connell (26:35), Evelyn Billings (27:04) and Danielle Drumm (29:12).
The boys' team suffered a similar fate, bowing out 20-35 to both the hosts and the Comets.
Ben Strickler was Solanco's top finisher, placing 7th in 17:37, but he followed four runners from E-town, who narrowly topped the Comets 28-30.
Ian Brown and Patrick Workman kept each other going and placed 10th (18:18) and 11th (18:20) overall while Christian Stead (13th, 18:32) and Dan Keller (14th, 18:33) also ran together and rounded out the Mule scoring.
Also placing was Marty Grawe (18:58), Colin Althoff (19:04), Tate Fisher (19:09), Aidan McBride (19:15), Jose Serrano-Silva and Damian Martinez (19:58 each), and Brandon Daniel (19:42).
"Ben, Ian and Patrick all ran fast times to pace the boys," said Ausel, "and Christian was back from an injury and also ran well. Dan rebounded with a very solid race as our fifth man," he continued. "His continued improvement will be a key to our future success."
Mule Gridders Pull Out OT Win Over E-town October 2, 2017
Last Friday night in Elizabethtown, Solanco's football team was faced with its second overtime situation to date. This time they executed down the stretch and pulled out a 28-27 thriller over the favored Bears.
Alex McDonald's successful two-point conversion in the second OT period put the Mules on top for good.
"When I went out for us to kick the field goal, I asked the seniors if they wanted to tie or go for the win," said head coach Tony Cox. "They wanted to go for the win. They didn't want to lose again in overtime."
McDonald, in the first extended period, scored from 10-yards out to put the Mules in front, 20-13, but the Bears responded with a 12-yard strike on fourth down and then took the lead in the second OT with another passing TD.
Solanco answered when Nick Yannutz, who raced 138-yards on 22 carries, scooted in from two-yards out to set the stage for McDonald (108-yards on 11 carries).
"We knew it was crunch time," said Cox of the extra period. "The kids weren't freaking out because they'd been here before."
After a scoreless first quarter, the visitors went in front on a 10-yard TD run by Nafis Moore early in the second frame. Moore (85-yards) also capped a 95-yard, 14-play drive with another 10-yard scamper that knotted the score at 13-13 with 2:25 left in regulation.
"Turnovers continue to be the most frustrating thing," Cox stated. "Twice we fumbled inside the red zone. We should have won it in regulation but we have a junior dominated squad and we're still learning how to finish. If we can do that, and remain focused, we'll be OK."
Dylon Sturgill, Khalif Haga, Logan Yaletchko and Nate Neuhauser all finished with seven tackles.
"The defense did a nice job," said Cox. "They caused some fumbles and stopped the run game. We just have to find a game where the offense and the defense are feeding off each other."
Struggling at the offensive end has plagued the boys' soccer team this season. They have scored nine goals to date with three coming in Saturday's 3-0 shutout over Lebanon. Last Tuesday they put up a second half goal against Manheim Central but it wasn't enough to offset the four goals the visitors unleashed in the opening half.
Evan Salisbury, on a setup from Tucker Pierson, put the Mules on the board in the 61st minute but the Barons got a three-score effort from Zach Reed.
Thursday the locals traveled to Cedar Crest. The Falcons scored seven of their 17 total goals this season in a 7-0 shutout over Solanco in the second game of the season. While the result this time around was another shutout, the Mules showed marked improvement, battling the hosts to a scoreless first half before bowing out 3-0. Jake Smolik, who split time in goal with Dylan Sheaffer on Tuesday, faced ten shots on the day and recorded seven saves.
Saturday the Mules came away with a much needed win, blanking Lebanon 3-0. Sean Salisbury sent a through ball to Tyler Williams who put Solanco on the board 17 minutes in.
Three minutes into the second half, Luis Solis fed Evan Salisbury who connected from 30 yards out for a 2-0 cushion. Finally, with eight minutes remaining, Sheaffer punted the ball 70 yards. After the bounce, Salisbury beat the keeper for the 3-0 finals.
"Jake and Dylan preserved the shutout with quality saves and on defense, Thomas Broomall and David Harvey frustrated Lebanon all day," said head coach Ron Miller. "It was a much needed win."
In balmy conditions last Monday, Solanco's golfers competed in the Lancaster-Lebanon League Tournament at Honeybrook Golf Course in hopes of extending their season. A total of 19 AAA boys shooting 81 or lower and 13 girls carding 104 or better advanced to the District Three Tournament which will be held October 6-7 at Briarwood Golf Course.
Jonathan Rush, playing in his fourth L-L League Tournament, carded a 77, tied for 10th place and will move on.
Junior Evan Wagoner (95), senior Tim Schmitt (99) and freshman Greta Plechner (131) also competed.
"Jonathan closed out with pars on four of the last five holes to qualify for districts," said head coach Greg Minnich. "He has improved his Tournament score every year going 95, 83, 78 and 77."
The lady booters opened the second half of Section Two play with a night game at Manheim Central. And while the result was a 2-0 loss, the improvement in Solanco's play was more than evident. The third place Barons saddled the Mares with a 5-1 loss in Quarryville on September 5. Tuesday night the Mares battled to a scoreless first half before yielding a pair of second half goals.
"Even in a loss, this was a good result," stated head coach Ken Yoder. "We played well. Alana Yoder turned in a gutsy performance. She took a hit to the nose early in the second half, but returned to the field. We found out later she suffered a broken nose."
With a balanced attack on Thursday, Solanco earned its third league win of the season, blanking a winless Lebanon squad 6-0.
"We had six different girls score and six different girls with assists," lauded Yoder. "It was a good win."
Kayden Bedwell and Diana Quintino each scored first half goals with Jami Murtha, Jenna Frey, Yoder, and Gabi Dolan providing the second half scoring. Bedwell, Sammi Jackson, Nikki Trout, Reece Curry-Saner, Grace Kreider and Jenna Bleacher assisted in the scoring.
The winning continued on Saturday where first half goals by Murtha and Jackson created a 2-0 shutout over McCaskey and improve Solanco's record to 4-5-1 overall.
After suffering 7-0 shutout losses earlier in the week against two of the top four teams in Section One, Warwick and Hempfield, the girls' tennis squad saved the best for last, capping the regular season with an exciting 4-3 thriller over visiting Penn Manor Thursday afternoon.
"It was a great, hard-fought match by all of the players," praised head coach Todd Brown.
The Mares pushed out to a 2-1 lead in doubles play with Keirth Paine and Faith Redcay topping Groff and Rohrer 8-6 at No. 1 and Hannah Steinhauer and Kelsey Sheets winning 8-4 at No. 3.
Singles play was even closer. Paine fought at No. 1 but fell short to Maddy Groff 5-7, 7-6, (13-11) but Griffonetti answered with a 6-3, 7-5 win at No. 2 and Redcay sealed the deal, rallying from a 2-6 first set deficit to win 6-2, (10-7).
"Faith and Gabby had thrilling victories to clinch the match," said Brown. "And Hannah and Kelsey have come on real strong here at the end."
With just one runner placing in the top ten, the girls' cross country team suffered a pair of losses at home last Tuesday. Hannah Sweda followed five Hempfield runners and four from Ephrata to finish in tenth place overall (22:30). The Knights handed Solanco a 15-52 loss while the Mounts, with four of the top five, won 17-39.
"We continue to struggle with youth and depth issues but show great improvement," said head coach Craig Ausel. "Sarah Sweda ran a season best 24:57 on our course, dropping 45 seconds off her time. Alyssa Slickers also improved, running a minute faster on our tough course."
Aubree Roop was 14th (23:20), Slickers ran third with a 24:17 and finished 22nd with S. Sweda one place back at 24:57. Chesley Ledsma (25th, 25:41) rounded out the top five.
"Chesley knocked 1:16 off her run," noted Ausel. "It's not fun to lose but when your student-athletes demonstrate such large margins of improvement, you do feel better about team progress."
The boys' squad improved to 2-4 with mixed results. Behind Ben Stickler's 5th place finish in 17:50, the Mules held off Ephrata 27-34 but, with only one in the top ten, dropped a 17-50 result to Hempfield.
"The boys came ready to race an Ephrata squad that was beatable," stated Ausel. "Ben ran a strong race for 2.5 miles with four of the league's best runners."
Ian Brown ran a Solanco best 19:12 and placed 12th overall. Freshman Marty Grawe ran third for the Mules, clocking a 19:30 for 14th place. Keying the win over Ephrata was Tate Fisher (16th, 19:36) and the pack of Aidan McBride (18th, 19:43), Patrick Workman (19th, 19:44), Colin Althoff (20th, 19:55), and Jose Serrano-Silva (21st, 20:06) all placing ahead of the Mounts fourth and fifth runners.
"Our pack made a giant difference," said Ausel. "Although we got beat by a strong Hempfield squad, we feel good about our progress toward competing in Section One."
Facing two of the top three teams in Section Two was a tall task for the girls' field hockey team last week. Despite posting a 7-1 loss against the 8-1 Barons of Manheim on Tuesday and falling 4-0 to the third place Bears of E-town Thursday, head coach Whitney Hawkins was not discouraged.
"The score honestly does not reflect how well they played together, as a unit and a team," Hawkins said. "Manheim actually had double the fouls we had.
"Defensivley both Andra Beiler and Lupe Serrano each had a save with Lupe diving toward the cage to prevent the goal," she continued. "It was awesome!"
The Barons pushed out to a 5-0 lead before the Mares scored with under a minute in the first half. Midfielder Katlyn Dobinson sent a diagonal pass to Autumn Aukamp who carried the ball down the left side before dishing a pass Dana Landis. Landis sent a cross to Jordyn Herman who beat the keeper and put Solanco on the board. Manheim scored twice after the break.
Thursday's outing was on the turf in Elizabethtown where the Bears swept the series with a 4-0 win.
"We played them to a 2-0 loss on our grass field the first time," noted Hawkins. "Turf just makes it a faster game."
The Bears led 3-0 midway through the first half and scored the final goal after the break.
Alta Brandenberger, who recorded 10 saves on Tuesday, finished with 18.
Friday the Mares dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to Octorara. Abby Stull's first half goal wasn't enough as the visitors, in the second half, scored twice in a span of two minutes to pull out the win.
The volleyball team heads into the second half of the league season this week still searching for that first team win. Last week they battled the top team in Section Two, Elizabethtown (5-0), but unforced errors proved costly in a 25-13, 25-16, 25-17 loss.
"We had the least amount of unforced errors in that third set," said head coach Meghan Cross. "Our serve receive struggled a little and when we fell behind we struggled to get back."
Lydia Fetterman (8 digs) and Kara McClune combined for 11 kills, and Ally McDowell dished out 18 assists in sparking the offense.
"Nathaly Molinarez came off the bench and helped with serving and passing on defense," added Cross.
In non-league play Wednesday the Mares, rallying from two sets down, were poised to grab their first win of the season but struggled through the deciding fifth set and suffered their second 3-2 defeat of the season 25-15, 25-13, 19-25, 20-25, 7-15.
Georgia Ewing (5 blocks) and McClune (13 digs) each put down six kills with Fetterman (3 digs, 3 aces) adding five. Molly Chew chipped in with three aces and McDowell put up 16 assists.
"We need to improve our serving and cut down on the unforced errors," said Cross. "Confidence is the key and we will continue to work on building that."
Lady Booters Hold Off Cocalico With 1-1 Tie September 25, 2017
Against two squads with very similar records, the girls' soccer team posted mixed results at home last week.
Monday they took an early 1-0 lead on a beautiful free kick by Reece Curry-Saner that sailed over the defense and took a high bounce over the keeper just ten minutes into the game. The Mares, however, settled for a 1-1 tie as the Eagles knotted the score on a breakaway goal with ten minutes left to play.
Both teams had opportunities but the defensive line of Curry-Saner, Alana Yoder and Ryleigh Ferrari along with keeper Gabi Dolan were standout on the day. Curry-Saner denied the sideline time and time again while both Yoder and Ferrari denied the middle. Dolan also came up with a big save in the second overtime just after Cocalico sailed a corner attempt over the crossbar.
"Everyone played well and both teams had chances down the stretch," said head coach Ken Yoder. "Gabi has been excellent in net and has brought stability back there. As a sophomore, that is amazing," he added. "Overall it was a great team effort against a tough Cocalico team that has beaten us handily the past few seasons."
At home again Wednesday, the Mares, down just 1-0 in the first half against Elizabethtown, did not have an answer for Kaeleigh Smedley. The senior exploded for three second half goals, two in a period of four minutes, and pushed the final to 4-0.
Dolan and the defense faced 23 shots and 13 corners. The sophomore finished with 13 saves.
Solanco fell to 4-4-1 overall while the Bears earned just their second win.
In Lampeter Saturday the Mares fell behind 5-0 in the first half against the hosting Pioneers, and despite playing to a 1-1 second half tie, suffered a 6-1 defeat to the third place team. Jamie Murtha, assisted by Rachel McLaren, prevented the shutout.
Nick Yannutz almost single handedly carried Solanco to a 64-42 victory over visiting Garden Spot this past Saturday night. The sophomore fullback scrambled 321 yards on 22 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Mules opened Section Two play with their highest point total of the season.
Back-to-back rushing TD's by Joel McGuire, who finished with 104 yards on 16 carries, erased a 7-0 deficit and put the Mules in front 15-7. Garden Spot countered with a passing strike, closing the gap to 15-14 by the quarter's end.
Both teams traded TD's early in the second frame with Yannutz scooting 23-yards and the Spartans going 67-yards on a pass play. But the Mules took over after that. Alex McDonald returned a kick-off 80 yards and then snagged a 27-yard scoring strike from McGuire to put the hosts in front for good, 35-21 at the break.
Yannutz scored three of his TD's in the second half on runs of 66, 32 and 37 yards. McDonald added a 15-yard scamper and Nafis Moore followed that score with a two-point conversion pass from McGuire.
Though the offense was the highlight of the game, Dylon Sturgill led the defense with 10 tackles and one sack. Cody Forren, along with juniors Cole Lewis and Logan Yaletcko (1 sack) contributed eight each as Solanco improved to 2-2 overall.
In a tune-up for the L-L League Tournament, the golfers competed in their last Section Two tournament last Monday at Honeybrook Golf Course where they finished second behind Cocalico (323).
"For the first time this season we finished second and shot our best team score (320)," noted head coach Greg Minnich. "I knew we were capable of shooting these scores. It just took longer than we wanted."
Jonathan Rush, carding a 3 over par 73, not only shot the lowest score of the day but won the Section Two scoring title for the second year in a row.
"Jonathan averaged 76.6 which was 2.7 strokes better than Cocalico's Nolan Hesko," said Minnich. "Tim, with an 86, broke 90 for the second time, and Evan Wagoner, with an 89, and Sheldon Peiffer, at 92, both carded their best-ever scores in competition."
The Mules finished fourth overall with a 26-16 record, just two games behind Manheim Central's second place effort.
Rush, Schmitt and Wagoner, along with Greta Plechner, will compete in the League Tournament back at Honeybrook this week.
With no league meet last week, the harrier teams last competed in the Ben Blouser Invitational at Big Springs High School on Saturday, September 23.
"The teams competed in both varsity and JV races," said head coach Craig Ausel, "and despite racing in the heat of the day, with temps in the mid 80's, I was pleased with our results despite the less than perfect conditions."
Ben Stickler (17:45) ran the fastest for the Mules, placing 45th overall with Tate Fisher (18:52) and Ian Brown (18:53) both running sub 19 minutes. Dan Keller (19:18.5) and Patrick Workman (20:31) also competed.
"This was a good test in the heat," said Ausel. "Hannah Sweda (50th, 21:51) and Aubree Roop (22:45) ran the varsity race and Hanna improved 39 seconds from her previous race at Manheim Township. Aubree continues to be very consistent.
"We had 15 runners with improved 5K times on a similarly tough course at Township," he added.
Taking on two of the top three teams in Section Two proved to be a tall task for the boys' soccer team. Third place Cocalico (5-3-0) used a hat trick from Nick Stauffer to push past the Mules 5-0 in Denver last Monday.
Wednesday's task was even taller as the Mules hit the road to Elizabethtown to take on the No. 2 Bears. Perhaps taking Solanco for granted, the Mules took the lead a quick six minutes in on a goal by Tyson Kilgore, set up by Oliver Diaz. Now awake, the Bears, last year's state finalist, quickly responded as Adan Cabrera-Perez took charge, netting three goals in a span of five minutes. The hosts led 6-1 at the half and piled up five more goals after the breaks, improving to 5-1.
"Three of our starters were out and our stud defensive sweeper, Thomas Broomell, sat the second half with a twisted ankle," noted head coach Ron Miller.
Jake Smolik recorded ten saves against the Eagles and seven more against the Bears, pushing his total to 56 saves in seven games.
Saturday morning the Mules were without Evan Salisbury and Jack Boomsma in a home game with rival L-S.
"Ten minutes in, Tyson's shot bounces off the crossbar to the post but doesn't go in," Miller recalled. "We just can't catch a break. Then, 28 minutes in, they score on a scramble in front of the goal. It was a good match for 80 minutes," he added. "We just couldn't put one in and they scored again in the second half."
After a 7-0 loss to McCaskey and a 6-1 loss to Ephrata, the tennis team went up against Section Two's Annville-Cleona Thursday and came away with their third win of the season, 6-1.
"We moved Hannah Steinhauer to the varsity in the last second to step in for a player who had to withdraw due to illness," said head coach Todd Brown. "She came up in a large way, winning the clinching match for the team. Faith Redcay and Elsie Zaborskiy had thrilling wins in tiebreaker sets."
The doubles teams got things rolling when Keirth Paine and Redcay, who pulled out a 6-1, 2-6, 10-8 win at No. 2 singles, topped Sasha Bretous and Aryana Bellach 8-2 at No. 1.
Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy turned in an 8-3 final against Alyssa Rivera and Rachael Campbell while at No. 3, Steinhauer teamed with Kelsey Sheet and won soundly, 8-1.
Griffonetti, who moved into the No. 1 slot, put up a good showing but bowed out 6-2, 6-3.
Zaborskiy rebounded from a 2-6 first set loss to beat Molly Beidler with a 7-7, 10-6 tiebreaker result at No. 2 while Steinhauer dominated Emily Speck 6-3, 6-0 at No. 4.
The loss to Ephrata (3-4 in Section One) Tuesday night was closer than the score would indicate. Paine posted her second singles win at No. 1, topping Kachel in a 10-8 tiebreaker after dropping the second set 1-6. Griffonetti was short of pulling off a second set win, 7-5, at No. 2 and Zaborskiy took six games from Ephrata's Wenger in a two set loss. The two also played tough in doubles but bowed out 8-4.
Two teams searching for their first league wins took the field in New Holland last Monday and only one moved up in the standings. The host Spartans broke open a close 1-0 first half advantage with two second half goals to earn a 3-0 shutout.
Wednesday brought a 7-3 (overall) Pioneer squad to Quarryville. Typically a tight contest, the visitors controlled possession for the bulk of the game, got a hat trick from Laura Horner, and secured a 4-0 shutout.
"I was expecting a tighter score," said Pioneer boss Katrina Swarr. "We were just quicker to the ball and maintained possession."
The Mares were held to just two shots and two corners on the day.
In goal, Alta Brandenberger combined for 12 saves.
Friday the Mares faced their toughest opponent to date, undefeated Donegal, and were dealt their most lopsided loss of the season, a 14-0 result. The Indians have a league-best 85 goals for and have yielded just three.
While the volleyball team sits at the bottom of the Section Two standings, their play looks a little better than a winless record.
In back-to-back home games last week, Solanco dropped identical 3-1 results, first a non-leaguer to Octorara on Monday and then to Ephrata.
"We're just to up and down right now," said head coach Meghan Cross. "We look really good at times and other times, not so much. We need more consistency. Learning to stay positive is part of the learning process."
Tied at 19-all against Octorara, the Mares slowly pulled away, taking advantage of five balls hit out-of-bounds to pull out a 25-20 set one victory.
The second set was even closer. Tied at 21-21, the Mares fell behind 24-21 but Kara McClune's serving rallied them to knot the score at 25-25. An ace and a serve receive error gave the Braves a 27-25 win.
The win gave the visitors momentum and frustrated the hosts. Octorara led from start to finish in both the third (25-9) and fourth sets (25-14).
"Our serve receive and hitting errors were a struggle for us and cost us a lot of points," said Cross.
Lydia Fetterman was tough at the net with 10 kills but it wasn't enough to offset 20 by Sarah Lazer and 14 more by Emily Maser. Molly Chew did her best to battle those kills and finished with 15 digs while Liz Mowrer put up six blocks. Ally McDowell chipped in with 23 assists and McClune finished with a pair of aces.
Tuesday night the Mares got off to a slow start, dropping the first set to Ephrata 25-14. They rallied for a 25-21 second set win but couldn't sustain the momentum through the rest of the match, falling 25-15, 25-17.
Chew, McDowell (15 assists) and Fetterman were busy in the back row, recording eight digs each while Georgia Ewing and Mowrer, who served three aces and put down three kills, each added four blocks.
The loss drops the Mares to 0-5 while Ephrata improves to 4-3 overall.
Tennis Team Grabs First League Win, Tops Cedars September 18, 2017
The tennis team moved out of the basement of the section standings and secured its first league win of the season, a 6-1 result against visiting Lebanon last Tuesday.
The doubles teams dominated play. Keirth Paine and Faith Redcay worked an 8-1 victory at No. 1 while Gabby Griffonetti and Elsie Zaborskiy, at No. 2, and Hannah Steinhauer and Kelsey Sheets, playing No. 3, both earned shutouts.
The winning continued through the singles matches. Paine defeated Alexis Papson 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 and Griffonetti stopped Everia Gonzalez 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2. Zaborskiy added a second shutout to her day, blanking Jenna Aviles.
"Gabby picked up her first league singles win," said head coach Todd Brown. "Her game is developing well. And Keirth continues to play solid at No. 1."
The Mares (2-8 overall) were coming off a 7-0 loss against an 8-0 Manheim Township squad. Friday they fell to CV 7-0.
Hoping for a home course advantage, the golf team instead finished middle of the road last Tuesday at Tanglewood, going 3-3 on the day with wins over Garden Spot (384), Elizabethtown (405) and Ephrata (409) pushing their Section Two record to 21-15.
Jonathan Rush anchored Solanco's 359 team total with a 78, which tied for the lowest score of the day. Tim Schmitt (85), Isaac Nadu (97) and Evan Wagoner (99) rounded out the top four with Reid Ballie (101) and Sheldon Peiffer (102) also competing.
"We had a couple bright spots with Tim shooting his best score ever in competition and Isaac breaking 100 and counting toward the team score for the first time," noted head coach Greg Minnich.
Cocalico (35-1) clinched the Section Two crown with a 336. Central (24-12) followed with a 350 and Lampeter-Strasburg (28-8) was four strokes back.
The harrier teams competed in Neffsville last Tuesday but fell short in the win department. Suffering losses to both Manheim Township and Cedar Crest, both squads fell to 1-3.
Ben Stickler came away as Solanco's highest place winner, finishing fourth overall in 17:34.
Cedar Crest placed five runners in the top 10 and defeated the Mules 19-48. Township had five in the top 11 and also beat Solanco, 19-48.
Ian Brown (15th, 19:12) ran second for the Mules. Patrick Workman was two places and six seconds behind to finish as Solanco's third counter. Tate Fisher clocked a 19:38 and was in 19th place while Aiden McBride (22nd, 19:28) rounded out the top five.
"Ben continues to grow stronger as he races at the front of the pack," noted head coach Craig Ausel. "He had a very solid finish. Township and Cedar Crest were just too deep. We must be in the mid 18's to compete with these two teams."
Claiming the top seven places and eight of the top 10, the hosting Streaks dominated the competition, handing Solanco a 15-55 loss while the Falcons placed each of their top five in the top 21 and also beat the Mares, 21-39.
Hannah Sweda was the top finisher for the Mares, placing 11th overall (22:30) with Aubree Roop taking 13th (22:48).
"Hannah and Aubree both ran solid races," said Ausel. "We were missing three of our 11 runners, making it more difficult to compete with these deep squads."
Alyssa Slickers (23rd, 24:52) and Sarah Sweda (24th, 25:09) earned back-to-back finishes while Chesley Ledsma rounded out the top five (32nd, 26:39).
The field hockey team suffered three losses last week but were oh so close to being 3-0.
They earned the first two corners in each half but failed to convert against visiting Elizabethtown last Monday. E-town took a 1-0 lead on a tough to defend flick that sailed up and over the Solanco defense with 1:30 left in the half and Mackenzie Hommaker tallied her second goal at the 9:15 mark in the second half.
"That first goal was a tough one," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "Overall I thought it was a hard-fought game. Individually, Dana Landis had great block tackles," she continued. "And Jenna Dombach took a reverse chip to the chin but it didn't stop her. After icing, she went back in and pressured the ball without shying around. It was awesome to see this sophomore fearless in the defensive circle despite being hit.
"Alta Bradenberger (10 saves) had a great game," lauded Hawkins. "She works extremely hard and defended well, especially with those reverse chips which can be tough to read. She is growing from game to game."
In Wednesday's game at Cocalico (3-3 overall) the Mares battled back from a 3-0 deficit, outscored the Eagles 2-1 in the second half but suffered a 3-2 defeat.
Seniors Autumn Aukamp and Abby Stull provided the one-two punch in both goals with Aukamp, the team's leading scorer, finishing Stull's assists.
"We closed the gap with 10 minutes left and had opportunities to tie it up but did not execute," said Hawkins.
In their closest game of the week, the Mares held a 2-1 first half lead over Ephrata, gave up the tying goal with no time on the clock and dropped a 3-2 verdict in overtime.
Aukamp notched her third goal 12 minutes into the game, tying the score at 1-1, and sophomore Keirra Laird tallied her first goal of the season with 3:44 left in the half, giving the Mares a halftime advantage.
"We held the lead all through the second quarter and then gave up a corner with no time left," recalled Hawkins. "They converted and sent the game into overtime. They got a good break to score the game winner.
"Last year we would have been losing these games by five and six goal shutouts," she added. "The girls are really coming together as a team and controlling play. They give it their all."
Sometimes in sports the results on the scoreboard don't reflect the hard work that takes place on the field. Such is the case with the boys' soccer team. They battle day in and day out but have yet to finish on top. And they can't seem to catch a break.
"We lost our starting goalie, Dylan Shaeffer, probably for the year," said head coach Ron Miller. "So Jake Smolik, a sophomore with tons of potential, was thrust into the job and got his first start against Cedar Crest, a game we lost 7-0.
"Last Tuesday night at Ephrata I tried to rally the troops with an emotional speech and the boys played 15 minutes toe to toe against an undefeated squad," he continued. "But a 30 yard strike into the upper left corner left us scratching our heads, wondering what more we could do."
The Mules fell behind 3-0 at the half and wound up on the short end of a 7-0 final.
"We got a good start in the second half, threatening to get on the board but Jack Boomsma's shot stayed on the line and didn't go in. That would have made it 3-1. We never recovered."
The Mules hosted Garden Spot (2-4) on Thursday and fully expected to pull out a win.
"We outplayed them in the first half but the score was 0-0 at the break," said Miller. "Then we gave up two late goals and lost 2-0.
"The offense is sputtering right now and we played without our best player, Evan Salisbury, who is the quarterback of this team. He's a four-year starter and with an inexperienced team, his absence is a dagger," Miller stated. "That being said, Jake, with ten saves, had a great game. And Thomas Broomell, a three year starter and my defensive stud, is a warrior. Our defense played well and I'm hoping we get some wins soon. This team has played hard and they deserve it."
It was a three game week for the volleyball team who struggled to get in the win column. Their closest effort was a hard-fought 3-2 (25-17, 29-31, 25-12, 23-25, 15-13) non-league loss against visiting Oxford Monday night.
"This was an exciting match and a momentum builder," said head coach Meghan Cross. "It came down to the fifth set, which went point-for-point until the end."
The longest set of the night was Solanco's 31-29 nipping of the Braves.
"Libby Weaver's serves were key throughout the entire match," noted Cross. "Lydia Fetterman and Kara McClune (9 kills each) came alive with some nice kills and the girls were digging and diving on defense."
McClune also led with five aces. Liz Mowrer finished with two blocks, Molly Chew was tops with 15 digs and Ally McDowell directed the offense with 25 assists.
One night later the girls hosted Manheim Central and fell in three, 25-13, 25-12, 25-15.
"Bri Langley continues to work hard coming off the bench as a defensive specialist and puts up some nice passes for our setter," stated Cross.
McClune put down four kills and led with 11 digs, Weaver served up two aces, Georgia Ewing added three blocks and McDowell settled for nine assists.
On the road Thursday, the Mares grabbed a 25-9 first set win over visiting Lampeter-Strasburg but were plagued by unforced errors and dropped three straight.
Poised to pull out the second set, Solanco ran off four straight points, including a pair of Mowrer aces, and cut the lead to 16-15 but couldn't match Lampeter's strength at the net and lost 25-15.
L-S used that momentum to control the third set (25-13) and broke an 11-11 fourth set tie to win 25-17.
Chew anchored the defense with a game-high 19 digs. Mowrer and Weaver (3 blocks) each served four aces.
After racking up 103 points in their combined first two games, the football team was all but denied Friday night in Manchester, suffering a 21-7 setback against Northeastern. The Mules, behind 134-yards by Nick Yannutz, outrushed the Bobcats (3-0) 297-194 but fumbled six times, losing two, and gave up a kick return for the second week in a row.
Northeastern's Frank Brown, who finished with 100 yards, opened the scoring with a 13-yard scamper. Solanco matched that effort later in the first quarter with Alex McDonald's (76 yards) 24-yard run. Jake Smolik's PAT knotted the score. But the hosts gained some momentum with an 85-yard kick return late in the first frame.
Late in the third quarter Solanco drove the length of the field and almost knotted the score on McDonald's 22-yard run. An illegal-motion penalty erased what could have been the tying touchdown. The Bobcats countered on its next possession and padded the lead with the final score of the game.
Brandon Doubts led the Mule defense with 11 tackles. Khalif Haga and Nick Lefever combined for 11 more as the Mules fell to 1-2.
The lady booters improved to 4-3 overall, winning two out of three last week.
Monday's 10-0 shutout over High Point Baptist was a confidence builder. Solanco, with two goals and three assists from Kayden Bedwell, led 6-0 in the first half and never looked back.
Alana Yoder finished with one goal and one assist and Sammi Jackson also scored twice. Other scorers included Gabi Dolan, Ryleigh Ferrari, Rachel McLaren and Grace Kreider, who also delivered three assists.
Wednesday the Mares battled section leader Ephrata but were dealt a 6-1 loss. Yoder, taking a pass from Mia McDonald, prevented the shutout in the 55th minutes.
With determination on Thursday, Solanco earned its second league win, a convincing 4-1 result against Garden Spot.
"This is the first time we've beaten a Section Two opponent other than Lebanon in quite some time," said head coach Ken Yoder. "That's a big win for the program."
Kreider, who dished out a pair of assists, scored two of Solanco's three first half goals with Jenna Bleacher's goal helping to provide a 3-0 first half cushion. Tori Delp matched the Spartans second half goal and rounded out the scoring.
Hockey Team Opens With a Pair of Shutouts September 15, 2017
Last season the field hockey team scored 11 total goals. This year they've netted eight in two games. They knocked off Pequea Valley 6-0 in their opener and then blanked Lancaster Mennonite 2-0 last Tuesday afternoon.
"We did a lot of off-season work, including winter and summer leagues as well as various tournaments, showcases and clinics," said head coach Whitney Hawkins. "This has helped tremendously."
With seven returning starters, including six seniors, the Mares got a two goal effort from Jenna Brown. The freshman scored midway through each half and boosted Solanco's momentum.
"Abby Stull and Dana Landis worked well together in the center of the field and Katlyn Dobinson had great drives through to Mennonites' 25," note Hawkins. "Autumn Aukamp, along with Stull, Landis and Dobinson had great give and go passes up the sidelines.
"Defensively, Olivia Fisher and Jenna Dombach were the backbones to block tackling LMH's offensive motion," she added. "They also cleared the ball out of our circle. Jenna has been solid this season and I forsee her being a 'brick wall' to the other team's offense. Jenna Brown is also solid on defense. Both Jenna's are quiet players but their stickwork speaks loudly on the defensive end."
The Mares dominated the first half, leading 7-0 in corners and 4-1 in shots on goal. The Blazers, however, regrouped a bit at halftime and maintained more possession in their offensive end.
The Mares opened Section Two play Thursday afternoon at Manheim Central and came home with a 7-0 loss. The Barons, leading 15-1 in shots on goal and 5-1 in corners, led 4-0 in the first half.
Alta Bradenberger, credited with nine saves, was busy in goal. She needed just four saves to earn the shutout over the Blazers.
"We have 11 seniors hungry to win," stated Hawkins, "and we have 10 freshman which is exciting for the future."
In non-league play Friday, the Mares forced 11 corners and got off 8 shots but came up empty in the goal department and dropped a 2-0 result against Kennard-Dale.
With four returning starters, the Mares hope to improve on last year's 2-12 record. But with just eight players on the bench, that might be a tall task.
"The team has great potential and continues to work through the new lineup and with new players," said second year head coach Meghan Cross. "With hard work and determination we can be a competitive team as we continue to grow as a program."
The Mares opened the season against perennial power Garden Spot and were dealt a 3-0 (25-10, 25-5, 25-10) loss.
"We had some good volleys and pieces of the sets that were point for point, but we had too many unforced errors," noted Cross. "Nerves and overthinking got the best of us.
"We did seem more competitive in the third set," she added. "Our younger players were more aggressive as they are getting more comfortable with the lineup. We were also touching hard driven balls at the net and getting some nice digs."
Returning starter Kara McClune was responsible for five of those nice digs. On the offensive end, senior captain Alli McDowell recorded four assists and senior Liz Mowrer added two aces and one block. Georgia Ewing, a junior, chipped in with two kills.
Jonathan Rush carded an 81 last Thursday at Fox Chase and settled for a four-way tie for second place overall, but the Mules finished in fourth place overall and were five strokes behind Manheim Central. As a result, the Barons improved to 19-11 and hold a one win edge over Solanco.
Cocalico continued its unbeaten streak with a match-low 323 and was well ahead of the rest of the field. L-S finished second (349).
Solanco's Tim Schmitt and Sheldon Peiffer matched Garden Spot's Sean Mercer with 94's and Evan Wagoner rounded out the starters with a 96.
First year head coach Todd Brown inherits a rebuilding squad as the Mares' roster is without a single senior. Junior Elsie Zaborskiy is this year's captain.
"Elsie continues to be a strong player for our team," said Brown. "She picked up a tiebreaker win against Garden Spot and at that time had won four of her six matches."
The Mares lost to Garden Spot 5-2 (Zaborskiy teamed with Gabby Griffonetti to secure Solanco's second team point) and have since suffered three straight shutouts, including last Thursday's outing against Elizabethtown.
Kerith Paine, a junior, put forth a strong effort at No. 1 but came out on the short end of a 6-4, 6-4 result. Griffonetti and Faith Redcay, also juniors, fell 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 and 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 respectively and Zaborskiy came up short 6-2, 6-0 at No. 4.
In doubles play, Hannah Steinhauer and Kelsey Sheets, with an 8-6 loss, came the closest to preventing a shutout. Griffonetti and Zaborskiy fell 8-4 at No. 2 and Paine and Redcay, as the top tandem, lost 8-2.
The Mares are currently 1-7 having topped Spring Grove in non-league play.
The harrier teams hosted McCaskey and Lebanon in their league opener last Thursday afternoon. Both teams went 1-1 on the day, bowing to strong McCaskey squads but collecting wins over the rebuilding Cedars.
The girls squad, led by sophomore Hanna Sweda's sixth place effort (22:34), ran the first race of the day. Aubree Roop was one place back, clocking a 22:48 while Sarah Snyder (10th, 25:15), Sarah Sweda (11th, 25:45), Alyssa Slickers (12th, 25:47) and Anna Stickler (12th, 26:29) rounded out the top six.
"Nine of our 11 ladies are either freshman or sophomores," noted head coach Craig Ausel. "They will grow each week and show great improvement as the season progresses."
While the girls gave up the top five places to McCaskey, Solanco's Ben Stickler interrupted the Red Tornado's shutout bid with a second place effort. He was 14 seconds behind Anthony Tirado (17:42). The visitors, unfortunately, earned the next four places.
"Ben is our junior co-captain and ran a strong race," said Ausel. "He fell a little short in the final 400 meters but his time (17:56) placed him in the top 20 all-time on our tough course. His time is the fourth fastest, finishing behind Liam Hodgson, John Ausel and Noah Brady."
Ian Brown and Tate Fisher ran second and third for the Mules, placing 7th (19:39) and 8th (19:45) overall.
"Ian and Tate ran strong last miles but couldn't close the gap on McCaskey's fifth runner," Ausel noted.
Patrick Workman (10th, 19:49) and Christian Stead (12th, 20:02) rounded out the top five scorers for the Mules.
"Patrick, a senior, ran strong to finish tenth," said Ausel. "Christian Stead, Colin Althoff, Damian Martinez, Aidan McBride, Dan Keller and Marty Grawe finished 13th through 17th respectively. Their improvement throughout the season will be a giant key to our late season success."
The teams opened the season at the Bear Creek Invitational, hosted by Lock Haven University, on September 2. Stickler finished 11th overall with a career best 16:20 and led the Mules to a fifth place finish.
"Our top 8 boys all ran career best 5K times on this flat and fast course," noted Ausel.
Roop, a junior, led the girls' squad with a personal record 20:21 and a 24th place finish.
After a 5-1 Section Two opening loss to Manheim Central Tuesday, the Mares rebounded with a solid 1-0 road win over Lebanon Thursday.
After a scoreless first half, the Mares, with a dominating 13-1 advantage in corners and 11-3 edge in shots, found the game-winner in the 62nd minute. Grace Kreider delivered the corner kick assist to Alana Yoder who pushed in the only goal of the game.
Gabi Dolan, who hauled in 14 saves against the Barons, needed just two to earn the shutout.
Solanco has defeated Lebanon four times over the last two years, scoring 19 total goals against the Cedars while yielding just five.
Earlier in the week, Solanco's 5-1 loss to the Barons came after a hard-fought 1-0 first half.
"They scored one minute after we had our best scoring chance of the day," recalled head coach Ken Yoder. "It would have felt good to score first and then to go down a goal right after that was a little discouraging."
Kreider, in the 70th minute, prevented the shutout, making good on Sammi Jackson's assist.
The Mares were coming off a heart-breaking 6-5 loss to Exeter on a rain-soaked Saturday. Down 3-1 in the first half, they scored four goals over the final 28 minutes to get back in the game.
Yoder led the charge with two goals and two assists. Reece Curry-Saner also scored twice while a goal by Jackson gave Solanco an early lead.
With only two returning starters, the Mules will look to rebuild this season. That being said, they dropped a pair of Section Two shutouts last week and are still searching for that first win.
Tuesday's rain-soaked affair on the road resulted in a 3-0 loss to Manheim Central that included a two hour delay.
"Considering the hour trip there, and the delay, we held them 0-0 for 28 minutes before giving up three goals in nine minutes," said head coach Ron Miller. "The game was called at halftime."
At home on Thursday, the going was even tougher as the inexperienced Mules gave up seven goals in a shutout against Cedar Crest.
"If we play as a unit and play hard for 80 minutes I believe we could surprise some teams," Miller said.
On Saturday, despite falling behind 4-0 at the half, the Mules regrouped and outscored Donegal 3-2 in the second half, finishing with a 6-3 final result. Evan Salisbury scored twice and Tyler Williams added one. Tim Fetterman, Jack Boomsma and Zach Roten provided assists.
Friday night's non-league action in Witmer pitted Conestoga Valley's ariel attack against Solanco's running attack with not much defense in between. Buck's quarterback Tanner Schwilk tied the school's single game record with six touchdown passes and finished with 359 yards on the day. Solanco's Joel McGuire matched that effort and then some, running for six TD's and passing for another. He finished with 202 rushing yards. But when all was said and done, it was a blocked punt in overtime that lifted CV to a 55-54 squeaker over the Mules.
The two teams literally traded touchdowns all night as each team punted just once. Tied at 6-6 in the first quarter, CV scored three times in the second frame, as did the Mules. McGuire ran for two and hit Michael Grech with a 24 yard toss in between. Unfortunately the two point conversion after the passing TD was denied and the visitors hit the locker rooms down 27-25.
Solanco scored first in the second half. Alex McDonald, who finished with 105-yards, raced 29 yards to paydirt and then secured the two point conversion. CV scored with 1:27 left in the third to hold a 34-33 lead.
The back-and-forth continued in the final frame. McGuire scored on a one yard plunge early and then raced 13 yards with 2:39 left to put the Mules in front 48-41. Schwilk hit Tyre Stead with a 14 yarder and then knotted the score with an 80-yard bomb to Stead that tied the game with 2:12 left and set the stage for overtime.
McGuire's fifth one yard plunge put the Mules in front but a blocked punt gave the hosts all the wiggle room they needed. Schwilk delivered a five yard scoring pass and Joe Cardina delivered the game-winning PAT.
Nick Yannutz, a sophomore, joined McGuire and McDonald with 100-yards rushing, netting 121 on the night.
Defensively, the Mules got nine tackles from Cole Lewis, six from Nick Lefever, including a sack and three hurries, and Brandon Doubts chipped in with four.
Six All-Stars Fuel Solanco's Success June 8, 2017
Solanco's softball team capped a 19-6 record this season with help from a handful of Lancaster-Lebanon League all-stars. First Team Section Two stars included the Mares' only senior starter, Abby Heidelbaugh, juniors Kayla May, Liz Mowrer and Randi Rambo and sophomores Kara McClune and Hanna Phillips.
"Abby absolutely had the highest league batting average (.533) ever at Solanco," said head coach Brett Miller. "When you have a leadoff hitter doing that, good things should happen."
And they did. After starting the season 3-3, Solanco won ten straight games and earned their third straight section title. They advanced to the championship round of the L-L League playoffs, bowing out to Penn Manor, 5-3. They went 2-2 in District Playoffs and settled for sixth place. The top five batters in their lineup received all-star recognition and played a key role in those good things happening.
McClune, who played left field, batted second and finished with a .429 league average. She followed Heidelbaugh's season high 28 hits with 26 and was second on the team with 28 RBI.
"Kara put together a good year for her first year as a starter," said Miller. "She had some timely hits, two game-winners, and made some big defensive plays as well."
Batting third and playing shortstop was Rambo who led the team with six triples. She followed McClune with 26 RBI and batted .378 for the season.
"She's developing as a shortstop," said Miller, "and keeps improving. She did not strike out once during league play and that's and accomplishment."
First baseman Mowrer batted cleanup and tied Heidelbaugh for the team lead with three home runs. Mowrer batted .357 on the year and finished with 17 hits and seven doubles. She led the team with 31 RBI.
"Liz has been very consistent at the plate," Miller stated. "She also catches but I was pleased with her performance at first base. She made the infield look good at times."
Fifth in the lineup this year was May, who settled in at third base. "Kayla was a pleasant surprise and got better as the season progressed. She made some pretty tough plays," said Miller.
May connected for 19 hits, 13 RBI and batted .338 on the season.
Solanco's final Section Two all-star was second-year starting pitcher Hanna Phillips. The sophomore tossed two perfect game no hitters against Ephrata and McCaskey. She finished with season with 216 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA for the season.
"Hanna struck out on the average, nine hitters a game," said Miller, "which was up from last year. And she gave up about five hits a game. Hanna is deceptively fast," he continued. "She is a little hard for batters to see."
Receiving All-League Section One and Two, by position played, was Heidelbaugh and May.
"All of our all-stars are deserving of the accolades," Miller stated. "It was a pleasure to have Abby in center field. She showed a high level of focus, particularly at the plate. We will miss her."
Heidelbaugh scored 37 of the team's 175 runs and tied for the team lead with three home runs. She struck out just four times throughout the season. She also led the team with eight doubles and eight walks
"I thought we had the potential to do as well as we did," said Miller. "It took us about seven games to find our way but we did. We beat some quality teams this year and I was pleased with and proud of how we matured and improved throughout the season."
The Mares batted .369 as a team in league play, and finished with 236 hits.
"When you bat what we did as a team and score 137 league runs, you should win a section title," stated Miller. "We gained a lot of experience this season and we were always finding ways to give ourselves the opportunity to win games. I never sensed that we were looking too far ahead," he added. "We always seemed to focus in when we needed to and always responded."
Other contributors this season included Ally McDowell who scored 15 runs and tied Heidelbaugh and Mowrer with three homers. She batted .357 overall and played right field.
Lindsey Lane handled Phillips behind the plate and finished with 12 hits and ten runs scored.
Alyssa Henretty worked six walks, connected for 10 hits and scored 12 runs and Kate Sheaffer, playing second base, scored 22 runs, finished with 20 hits and matched Heidelbaugh for a team-high eight walks. Senior Albrea Doss was largely a courtesy runner when extra speed was needed on the bases.
With all but two returning to the field next season, the Mares will strive to break the 20 wins in a season mark and will look to qualify for the PIAA playoffs, a goal they almost achieved this year.