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Fall sports previews

8/31/2012 —



Penn State New Kensington’s fall sports teams--men’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s golf--open their seasons in September and the overall outlook is promising.

Soccer, under the direction of first-year head coach Pat Cavanaugh, is going for its third consecutive playoff berth. Its roster is dominated by freshmen. Volleyball, with a blend of newcomers and veterans, is looking to continue its steady improvement under third-year head coach David McGeary. The Lady Lions have the talent and personnel to earn a postseason bid for the first time since 2008. Golf, under 11th-year coach Bill Woodard, will field an inexperienced but skilled team with an eye on contending for team and individual honors.

Campus intercollegiate teams compete in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. Post-season tournaments include PSUAC conference championships and USCAA national championships. For rosters and schedules, visit http://www.psnkathletics.com online.

Men’s Soccer
In its third season of intercollegiate competition, New Kensington has been a contender in Penn State University Athletic Conference championships, reaching the finals in 2010 and the semifinals a year ago. To continue the steak, first-year head coach Pat Cavanaugh will rely on the talents of eight first-year players to complement the seven veterans. “We need to shorten the learning curve for the team,” said Pat Cavanaugh, who replaces Jack Adams. “I’ll be counting on the veteran leadership.”

Heading the list of returnees is junior defender Adam Bombalski, a two-year starter and an All-Conference selection in 2010. Bombalski’s speed and agility is a formidable presence in front of the goal. He was a member of the inaugural team that went 7-4 and lost to top-ranked Penn College in the title game. Last year, he led the Lions to an 8-7 record and a berth in the PSUAC Final Four.

Joining Bombalski are veteran starters Michael Toney, a sophomore defender/midfielder, Colton Tomporoski, a sophomore defender, and Chris Capo, a sophomore defender/goalie. Rounding out the returnees are sophomore midfielders J.D. DeMarco and Michael Clear and junior forward Steve Warhola.

Pushing the veterans for starting positions is a solid nucleus of newcomers, including seven freshmen--goalie Jimmy Cook, defenders C.J. Drischler and Casey Cavanaugh, midfielders Cory Senn, Tyler Lloyd, Brandon Smail, and forward Ashutosh Pandey--and junior midfielder Perry Sciulli.
The 16-game schedule features eight PSUAC matches and six homes games. Due to renovations to the campus soccer field, this year’s home games will be played at Valley High School in New Kensington. The first home game is 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, versus Penn State Mont Alto.

Women’s Volleyball
With a blend of experienced veterans and talented newcomers, the Penn State New Kensington women’s volleyball team looks to build on the success of last season.
Third-year head coach Dave McGeary returns three starters from last year’s 4-8 squad that doubled its wins from the previous season. The Lady Lions will be led by a trio of sophomores-- libero Kara Shaley, outside hitter Melissa Daugherty and setter Thamy Ferreira.

They will be joined a strong freshman class that includes outside hitter Stormie Brice, outside hitter/middle hitter Kensey Knapp, middle hitter Melissa Anthony, and outside hitter Payton Wranich.

“The freshmen should contribute significantly this year,” said McGeary, a graduate of Dickinson College with a degree in economics. “Kensey provides an inside presence, and Stormie is strong from the outside. Melissa and Payton have excellent all-around skills.”

Battling the starters for court time will be three sophomores: defensive specialist Jessica George, setter Jordan Miller, and middle hitter Melissa Betush.

Men’s and Women’s Golf
New is the operative word for the Penn State New Kensington men’s and women’s golf team.  New practice facility. New courses. New players.

For the first time since golf returned as an intercollegiate sport in 2000, the campus will field a team of all first-year players.  Last year’s team, which finished fifth in the Penn State University Athletic Conference, lost three players, Matt Knapp, Nathan Vertosick and Bob Adams, to graduation.  Two others, Cody Dinger and Alex Baker, moved on to the University Park campus to complete their degree work. Coach Bill Woodard, in his 11th season at the helm, will rely on five newcomers to keep the team competitive in the eight-member league.

Junior Ben Hammel (Riverview) opens the season in the number one slot. The long-hitting math major is steady around the green and should post scores in the mid-70s. Freshman Corey Bobak (Hempfield) is slated for the number two position. Tall and powerful, Bobak can bomb it down the fairway as well as stroke it smoothly on the green. He should be in the 70s and in contention for medalist honors at all the matches. Bobak and Hammel will swap positions throughout the season. At number three is junior Chuck May. The engineering major is steady in all facets of the game and is capable of breaking 80 on a regular basis. The next three slots are still to be determined.

Augmenting the Lions’ off-campus home course, the Links at Spring Church in Apollo, is an expanded practice facility on campus. A 10’ x 10’ x 20’ driving and chipping net was installed recently to provide the players extra practice during the day. The cage is adjacent to the 10’ x 20’ artificial putting green that was installed last season. The practice facility was made possible through the generosity of the Honkus-Zollinger Charitable Foundation.

With New Kensington now the only Penn State campus in the western region offering intercollegiate golf, the schedule has been revised eastward. The Lions will play four new courses this season—Brookside Country Club in Allentown; Irem Temple Golf Club in Wilkes-Barre; Edgemont Country Club in Philadelphia; and Valley Country Club in Sugarloaf. Penn National Golf Club in Fayetteville, home of Penn State Mont Alto, is the only course that the team has played annually since 2003.

Due to a quirk in the scheduling process, New Kensington, along with Penn College and Penn State Schuylkill, will not have a home match this year. All three campuses will rotate back on the home schedule next season. The Lions travel to Fayetteville for a PSUAC tournament at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, against Penn State Mont Alto and six other conference teams at the Penn National Golf Club. 

Campus intercollegiate teams compete in the PSUAC and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. Post-season tournaments include PSUAC conference championships and USCAA national championships.


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