High School Sports

HS roundup: State College girls’ volleyball stays unbeaten, while Penns Valley’s Jadyn Butler makes history

State College girls’ volleyball continued to roll last week, extending its unbeaten match record to 9-0 with sweeps of Mifflin County (25-3, 25-13, 25-17) and Red Land (25-9, 25-16, 25-11).

Kate Lachendro led the Little Lions in Thursday’s match, serving seven aces and tallying nine kills. Kacy Sekunda also had a strong showing, with six digs, 14 assists and 11 kills. Sarah Neely added seven assists.

The Little Lions hosted the State College Invitational on Saturday, which featured some of the top teams in the state. State College had a competitive showing, ultimately losing in the semifinals to runner-up Hempfield, which fell to North Allegheny in the finals.

Sekunda finished the day with nine aces and 36 kills, along with 49 assists and 17 digs. Vanessa McGhee totaled 27 kills and 10 blocks, while Lachendro had 34 kills and 14 digs. On defense, Ariana Angus led the team in digs with 24, and Neely added 41 assists.

State College’s Kacy Sekunda sets the ball to Vanessa McGhee during the match against Red Land on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

The reigning PIAA Class 2 champs Bald Eagle Area also participated in the State College Invitational. The Bald Eagles finished second in the AM pool, defeating Shaler and Central Dauphin, while falling to Allentown Central Catholic.

The Eagles topped Clarion in the Gold Bracket pool, but recorded losses against Hempfield and North Allegheny.

Madison Eckley paced BEA at the service line with seven aces, while Grace Hugar led the team offensively with 22 kills. Madison Rockey led the team in assists with 63, while Lexi Skripek led the way defensively with 82 digs.

History was made Tuesday night when Penns Valley’s Jadyn Butler recorded her 602nd career dig to become the the school’s all-time leader in that category, during the Rams’ victory over Bellefonte.

With 18 digs in the game against Bellefonte, Butler led her team to victory in four sets, winning the last three matches with identical scores of 25-21, after falling 29-27 at the start. As a junior, Butler still has a season and half to add to her new record.

Penns Valley also recorded a win Wednesday when it defeated Central in three sets. With that win, the Rams end the first half of their Mountain League schedule with a 5-2 conference record.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy recorded its first loss of the season, in three sets against Central Mountain at home (17-25, 11-25, 17-25). The loss takes St. Joe’s record to 4-1. Philipsburg-Osceola picked up a win against Central in three sets on Tuesday, but then got swept by BEA in a packed gym on Thursday. BEA also beat Clearfield to extend its unbeaten match record. Bellefonte used five sets to defeat Central Mountain on Tuesday.

State College’s Vanessa McGhee knocks the ball over the net during the match against Red Land on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

State College girls’ cross-country wins Carlisle Invite for 1st time since 1994

State College girls’ cross-country made a big statement by winning the Carlisle Invitational for the first time since 1994, in a field that included seven of the states top-10 teams.

The Little Lions won the Challenge (large school) race with a score of 158. West Virginia state champs, University High, placed second with 202 points. State College was led by freshman Marlee Kwasnica, who placed 18th with a time of 19:11. Junior Jordan Reed was close behind in 20th with a time of 19:11, senior Lizzie Gilpatrick was 25th with a time of 19:22, senior Elly Haushalter was 28th with a time of 19:26. Junior Karsyn Kane rounded out State College’s top five in 72nd place with a time of 20:21.

St. Joe’s also competed in the Carlisle Invite, claiming the Class A team title with a score of 87 points. Kathleen Simander (11th), Kate Youngmark (17th), and Myah Chappell (18th) earned medals for their top-20 performances. Brandi Carmack (29th) and Camryn Eby (39th) closed out the scoring for the Wolf Pack.

State College boys’ placed sixth in the Challenge race with a score of 282, led by Brady Bigger who finished in 11th place with a time of 16:03.3. St. Joe’s boys’ finished seventh in the Class A race with 240 points. Josh Hershbine turned in a medal-winning performance, crossing the finish line in 16th place with a time of 17:13.5.

Meanwhile the Lady Rams put two more tallies in the win column by defeating both Bellefonte and Clearfield at Governor’s Park in Bellefonte on Tuesday. Penns Valley defeated Clearfield by a score of 21-38 and narrowly edged out Bellefonte 27-28 to move to 4-0 in the Mountain League.

“The girls knew what they had to do to bring home the win and they executed the plan perfectly,” coach Lynda Federinko said after the race. “It was a very exciting race with Bellefonte and the girls are ecstatic that it ended in our favor.”

The Penns Valley boys’ also beat both Bellefonte and Clearfield.

The P-O boys’ and girls’ teams both lost to Tyrone but beat BEA in a Tuesday meet, and Mountie Josh Rea broke the P-O course record. Both P-O teams also narrowly knocked off Bellwood-Antis last week.

P-O boys’ golf crowned Mountain League champs, wins sectionals

In boys’ golf, Bald Eagle and Philipsburg-Osceola had great weeks with a mix of personal and team accomplishments.

P-O became Mountain League champions with an incredible record of 27-1 as Brandon Singer earned the Mountain League MVP title. Adding to their accolades, the team also became sectional champions on Thursday, beating 14 teams by 22 strokes. P-O will advance to the District 6 2A Championships on Tuesday in Hollidaysburg.

Individually, Ky Bender, Singer, Chad Frank, Keegan Soltis and Jake Vaux placed in the top 30 to advance.

BEA had its final Mountain League match at Iron Masters Country Club in Roaring Spring last week.

The team shot a 395 and beat Penns Valley. The Eagles ended the season with five victories, which is a program record. For BEA, Luke Barnhart qualified for this coming Tuesday’s District 6 2A Golf Championship. He becomes the fourth BEA golfer to qualify for the District 6 Championships, following in the footsteps of Dane Young, Mike Braniff and Hunter Bravis.

State College placed second, one stroke behind Hollidaysburg, in the District 6 3A sectional to advance to the district championship. John Olsen, Kyle Snyder, Cole Friberg, Luke Janac also advance from that tournament.

BEA girls’ soccer completes season sweep of Bellefonte

On Wednesday, the Bald Eagle Area girls’ soccer team completed their season sweep of their rivals from Bellefonte as they defeated the Red Raiders by a score of 4-1.

That win came on the heels of a 1-1 double-overtime tie with Penns Valley on Monday, in which the Bald Eagles’ lone goal was scored on an own goal by Penns Valley.

“After 100 minutes against Penns Valley on Monday, it took us a little bit to get going,” BEA head coach Jared Moore said after Wednesday’s game. “But the girls came out in the second half and played fantastic. When they are on, they are hard to beat.”

Penns Valley was able to bounce back from the tie with a 3-1 win over Central on Wednesday. Staying in the Mountain League, Bellefonte steamrolled Philipsburg-Osceola 11-0 on Sept. 23. Meanwhile, State College picked up a 2-1 win over Hollidaysburg, and St. Joe’s fell 2-1 to West Branch.

In boys’ soccer action, Penns Valley earned a hard-fought win against Central with Zack Heckman scoring in double overtime to gift the Rams a 3-2 victory. With this result, Penns Valley pushed their record to 4-5 ahead of their game against Bellefonte on Monday.

P-O also won an overtime thriller, 2-0 over Bellefonte on Tuesday. Dawson Snyder scored the winning goal for the Mounties. BEA topped Penns Valley 2-0 on Tuesday, and St. Joe’s fell 3-0 to Harrisburg Academy.

State College’s Emily Zhang returns the ball during her match against Central Dauphin East on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

State College girls’ tennis wraps up regular season with just 1 loss

State College girls’ tennis wrapped up its regular season with a strong 14-1 record. The Little Lions put together a string of three consecutive wins against Chambersburg, Mercersburg Academy and Carlisle.

As the No. 1 seed in the postseason, State College will have high expectations heading into its first District 6 singles match on at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Altoona’s Mansion Park. Caitlin Janac and Quiana Guo will represent the Little Lions in singles play, with double pairings to be selected after singles competition.

State College field hockey drops a close one

State College fell 1-0 to Cedar Cliff in a neck-and-neck Monday night game. Anna Smith scored the goal for Cedar Cliff, but Little Lion goalkeeper Bayla Furmanek had a good night nonetheless with seven saves.