October 2016 Penn State Beaver Roar
Men’s soccer off to hot start EVAN M. PINCHOT Staff Writer
Penn State Beaver’s men’s soccer team, looking to defend its 2015 championship, is having a strong season so far and currently sits tied for first place in the Penn State University Athletic Conference. With just two weeks left in the season, the team has an 8-5 overall record, 6-1 in conference play. The team is tied with Penn State Hazelton atop the conference standings with two conference games left against Worthington Scranton Oct. 15 and Greater Allegheny Oct. 19. In its most recent three-game winning streak, Westmoreland County Community College went scoreless over Beaver in a 6-0 victory Oct. 6, Beaver resoundingly defeated Penn State Wilkes Barre 17-0 on Oct. 9, followed by a tight 3-2 win over New Kensington Oct. 10. The team faced a lot of potential challenges including the loss of key
players from last season including leading scorer Marcus Smith and Lamont Wright, both seniors who ran out of eligibility. “It definitely hurt us at the beginning of the year,” says senior Jonathan Pogozelec, who is considered by many of his teammates as a leader both on and off of the field. He said he believes that the team has thrived even with a lot of new additions. Pogozelec said the team has brought in many “skilled players,” and because of this the players have really started to mesh after their first two games, both of which were losses to out-of-conference opponents. “We certainly are a family,” says freshman Zach Petey. Petey has played 10 out of 12 games and started eight, with two goals and two assists. “It feels good to be a part of this team,” Petey said, adding that he was welcomed from the beginning and thinks this has contributed to the younger players’ success.
The Roar/Alexa Di Pietrantonio
Anthony Voss dribbles against a defender in Beaver’s loss to Washington Adventist Sept. 1.
Junior Logan Ridgley said the 10 new freshmen players have “created an entirely new team for us.” Many of these players have gotten their
share of minutes in the game, he said. Another challenge that the team has faced this season is the fact that their head coach, Jim Van Kirk, has
taken the head-coaching job for Beaver’s women’s soccer team as well as the men’s team. Despite his time now being split between two teams, players say it hasn’t had a negative effect. “It doesn’t affect us much at all. He is still very dedicated to us,” Ridgley said. “The only time I see it affecting us is when we warm up before games and he isn’t there to get us prepared because he is coaching the women,” says Pogozelec. Van Kirk is optimistic about his dual role. “It has taken away some of the time, but it hasn’t affected my coaching.” The team has looked very impressive and has met the high expectations players have set for themselves. “Once you go (to the championship), that’s your expectation every year,” Van Kirk said. “Expectations are high.” Ecchoing his coach, Pogozelec said, “We gotta go back.”
Lady Lions look for strong second half of season SAVANA C. GRIGGS Senior Staff Writer
After finishing the last season with a glorious Penn State University Athletic Conference championship, the Penn State Beaver women’s soccer team has faced some trials and tribulations this year. The Lady Lions started the season off struggling with the adjustments of having a new coach, Jim Van Kirk, who also coaches the men’s soccer team, and having fresh faces on the roster. However, things may be changing as Beaver’s record improves to 4-8 overall, 2-4 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference. The team celebrated two recent wins against Westmoreland County Community College on Oct. 6 and Penn State
Worthington-Scranton on Oct 9, with a loss to Penn State Brandywine tucked between them on Oct. 8. Beaver easily defeated Westmoreland CCC 6-1 in the second matchup for the teams this season. Senior Jessica Spina scored two goals in the first 10 minutes to start things off right for Beaver, and also scored the team’s final goal of the game. During the 14-4 win against Worthington-Scranton, Beaver scored 10 out of its 14 goals within the first half alone. It was clear from the first few minutes that Worthington-Scranton was struggling. In the head-to-head game with Brandywine, Brandywine dominated Beaver during the first half with great ball control. The stand-out performance for Beaver came from freshman Lauren Banks, who scored a
The Roar/Alexa Di Pietrantonio
Courtney Harden passes against rival Penn State Brandywine Sept. 24.
goal with no assist during the first half-hour in the 3-2 loss Van Kirk has a great outlook for upcoming games. “I think we’re at that point now at mid-season, and I think everything’s kind of flowing,” Van Kirk said. “There were some bumps in the road.
We played a couple tough teams and had a couple hard losses so we should pick up steam here over the next couple of weeks. We should get some wins, so that’ll boost morale also.” Sophomore Courtney Harden says that the return of sophomore Morgan Stillwagon is a big morale
booster for the players. Stillwagon played for the first time Oct. 1 in a loss against Penn State Schuykill since being injured with a tear in her ACL and another injury in her meniscus from last season. “I’m very excited to have her back. I almost cried the first game [she played post recovery],” Harden said. “I think she’s going to come out almost as strong as she has been in the last few years she’s been playing.” Van Kirk said he has adjusted to the dual roles of coaching both the men’s and women’s teams. “It’s hard. Just trying to juggle everything is tough, but I’m so passionate about the sport that it’s something I enjoy doing. My thing is that as long as the effort is being put in by the players, the effort is being put in by me,” said Van Kirk.
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