As defending PIAA champions, the Bald Eagle Area high school girls volleyball team had high expectations heading into the Bulldog Invitational at Wilson West-Lawn High School in Berks County on Sept. 7. The Eagles faced off against 19 other teams from across the state, 12 of which are ranked in the top 10 in the state in their respective divisions, including 7 of the top 10 in 4A.
To kickoff pool play, BEA started off the day playing Hempfield splitting two games with scores of 27-26 and 16-25. Next up was Pennsbury, who the Bald Eagles defeated 25-12 and 25-21.
Following Pennsbury, the Bald Eagles won two games against Liberty, outscoring their opponents 25-20 and 25-7. To close out pool play and finish first in their group, BEA defeated Pope John Paul II winning both sets with scores of 25-23 and 25-21.
Into the playoffs, the Eagles faced Cumberland Valley in a one set format to move onto the semi-finals. Bald Eagle Area was again victorious with a score of 25-19.
With four teams remaining, BEA met the No. 1 team in the state in AAA, Southern Lehigh.
In a best-of-three format, the Eagles were defeated 2-0, with scores of 18-25 in both sets. Southern Lehigh then went on to win the tournament by beating State College in the finals with scores of 25-21 and 25-17.
On the day, Bald Eagle Area was led by Grace Hugar’s team high 11 aces and 30 kills. Kristen Onder also finished with 5 aces and a team high 46 digs.
Further contributing was Lacee Barnhart with 4 aces and 27 kills adding to the team’s 102 kills during the tournament. Finally, Madison Rockey proved to be instrumental in team play handing out 97 assists.
Concluding the tournament, the Eagles earned a No. 5 ranking for the week across the Northeast Region of the United States (including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) by PrepVolleyball, a nationally recognized authority in the college, club, and high-school aged volleyball space.
In league play, BEA squared off against Penns Valley this past Tuesday and won in three consecutive sets with scores of 25-9, 25-8 and 25-18. Despite the loss, Penns Valley junior, Jadyn Butler became the second player in Penns Valley girls volleyball history to have over 500 digs.
In other volleyball news, State College boys’ coach Kim-Li Kimel stepped down after 20 years at the helm to pursue a new opportunity.
Bellefonte’s Mal Smith nets 100th goal, while BEA continues to roll
Bellefonte senior Mal Smith achieved an impressive milestone on Wednesday when she scored twice in the Red Raiders’ 4-3 sudden-death overtime win against Tyrone to hit 100 career goals. Kerri Shutika and Mack Hubbs also scored in that game.
That was Bellefonte’s second win of the week, as the Red Raiders defeated Central 5-1 on Sept. 9. Smith netted four goals in that game, while Mia Johnson added another. With the two wins, Bellefonte improved to 2-4.
Bald Eagle Area extended its undefeated season to 5-0 with two more wins, 5-0 over Clearfield and 2-0 over Central. Addison Proctor scored twice in the shutout, while Falen McHenry, Sierra Surovec and Grace Wagner also scored. Goalkeeper Rachel Veneziano had six saves.
Bellefonte was scoreless going into the second half against Central until the McHenry sisters connected 13 seconds in with an assist from Zoey to Falen. Wagner scored at the 34:21 mark off an assist from a Sarah Holler corner kick, before the game was called early due to lightning.
“Zoey sparks us again tonight,” coach Jared Moore said. “She has great vision and chips the line very well. Falen’s great finish sealed the win.”
Penns Valley went 1-1 on the week, Centre County Christian Academy got its first league win, State College shut out Red Land 3-0, following a strong second half from Erica Feese who assisted two and scored another, then topped Cedar Cliff 2-1, and St. Joe’s earned its program’s first home win.
In boys’ soccer action, P-O defeated Brookville 3-1, BEA fell 2-0 to Clearfield, Bellefonte lost 4-3 to Central and 2-1 to Tyrone, State College topped Red Land 1-0 and Cedar Cliff 3-1, and tied Mifflin County 2-2, and St. Joe’s beat Northumberland Christian 3-2.
State College field hockey goes 1-2
This past Monday, State High girls’ field hockey played its first Mid-Penn game against Cumberland Valley, and lost 1-2 despite leading going into the half. Libby Fortin scored for the Little Lions, assisted by Lizzie Paterno, and Bayla Furmanek netted 13 saves.
Two days later, the Little Lions suffered another hard-fought loss as they fell 0-1 to rival Mifflin County in Lewistown after a scoreless first half. Furmanek had 9 stops, and Madigan King added a defensive save.
The Little Lions bounced back on Friday with 3-1 win over Chambersburg.
State College girls’ tennis remains dominant
The State College girls’ tennis team had another impressive week, defeating Harrisburg and Redland 5-0. Against Harrisburg, the team won all 10 sets played, losing just a single game in the process, and nearly replicated the same results against Redland with just three total games lost on the week. State College improved to 9-1.
State College girls’ and boys’ XC win Spiked Shoe titles, while a new PV record is set
The State College boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams each ran away with another title this week, competing in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational at Penn State on Friday.
The girls scored 45 points in a field of 12, besting West Virginia’s University High School’s 61 points, Delaware’s Ursuline’s 83 points, James Robinson’s 100 and Carlisle’s 125 points to defend its Spiked Shoe title.
The boys also scored 45 points, in a field of 16, and were followed up by Hempfiled’s 96, University’s 112, Carlisle’s 129 and Williamsport’s 168.
While State College took the team titles, it was Penns Valley runners who placed the highest individually. Brendan Collwell set a new school record, finishing second overall in 15:29.2, beating the old mark of 15:48 that teammate Colton Sands set earlier this year. Sands placed third, with a time of 15:43.
State College was led by Ben St. Pierre on the boys’ side, who placed fifth with a time of 15:50. Bennett Norton and Sean Adams also placed in the top 10, at eighth with 16:01.6 and 10th with 16:17, respectively.
“It was truly outstanding to have our top seven runners finish under 17 minutes, with Ben St. Pierre breaking 16 minutes,” coach Dave Felice said. “It was a total team effort and some amazing times for this early in the season. “
On the girls’ side, State College top five runners remain incredibly tight, with just a 50 second spread between them. Each broke 20 minutes.
Marlee Kwasnica placed fourth with a time of 19:01.5. She was followed by Jordan Reed in fifth place with an overall time of 19:09, Lizzie Gilpatrick at eighth with 19:23, Elly Haushalter at 11th in 19:33, and Karsyn Kane taking 17th overall in 19:51.
The Penns Valley girls’ team also participated with 60 percent of the team setting personal records.
“The girls desire to improve their individual performance each meet to benefit their team,” coach Lynda Federinko said. “Six out of 10 girls earning lifetime personal records in one race is a testament to their work ethic.”
In other cross-country news, St. Joe’s boy’s and girls’ kicked off their seasons with wins over P-O in a tri-meet between the two schools and West Branch, while both P-O teams topped the Warriors. Bellefonte boys’ and girls’ came on top of a tri-meet with P-O and Central. P-O again came in second.