Volleyball edges Hershey

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photos by Curt Werner, For The Sentinel

For the full article and photos of the game, click here.

MECHANICSBURG — The Mechanicsburg Wildcats volleyball team upset previously unbeaten Hershey by winning the final three games at Mechanicsburg Monday night by scores of 17-25, 25-15, 25-21 and 25-22.

The win moves Mechanicsburg into a second place tie with the Trojans, with both teams sitting at 6-1 in the Keystone Division race, a half-game behind unbeaten Lower Dauphin. The Trojans play Lower Dauphin tonight.

“This was a great team win for us,” said Wildcat coach Chris Fabian. “We have been trying to get the girls to play through every point to the end and try to take advantage of the momentum and their opponent’s mistakes. You just don’t know what to expect — you have to make plays and carry the momentum.”

Mechanicsburg (7-1, 6-1 Keystone) struggled throughout game one trying to string points together and keeping the ball in play. They gave away six points on wide, long, or net serves plus a few double hits and poor bumps, and the Trojans took advantage in game one.

Hershey led 7-4 and 9-6 behind the hitting of Allie Gemerek and Julieann Stanley, a 2013 Mid Penn All-Star. The ‘Cats rallied as Mikaela Calcara and Cassidy Krnjaic got several points and the ‘Cats went ahead 12-11. From that point, the Trojans outscored the home team 14-5 to take the first game. The majority of the points were Wildcat mistakes.

Mechanicsburg jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never trailed in the second game. Hershey got within two points twice at 4-2 and 6-4 as the ‘Cats found Allyson Fea in the middle and she took the game from there. Fea had five kills and four blocks, The key for the ‘Cats was their ability to keep balls in play and get a hit on the ball and let someone else make a play. They gained momentum early and never let up.

Brooke Serina, the senior libero, was instrumental at keeping balls in play and keeping the play alive. Kendall Bortner and Lindsay Brock were also key factors in the win as the ‘Cats kept their lead in the 7-10 point range.

The two teams went back and forth in game three until Heston Cowoski stepped to the service line. The ‘Cats were trailing 3-1 and when she stepped off the line the ‘Cats were ahead 8-3. Hershey rallied behind the service of Kathryn Conklin and Hannah Ferrara to take a 12-11 lead.

Mechanicsburg’s Brock downed one and then stepped to the service line for two points and the ‘Cats led 16-13.

Krnjaic had two aces late in the game and Calcara came up with a big block on the final point. The Wildcats had a 2-1 lead and had the momentum. Hershey helped out with five serves in the net or long in the final ten points.

Hershey again fell behind in game four as the home team scored the first three points. They extended the lead to 9-5 behind Fea and Brock, forcing Hershey coach John Zitka to take a time out. Hershey responded to his words and rallied to tie the game at 10, 11, and 12. The ‘Cats took a two-point lead but turned around and gave it right back, leading to a 14-14 tie.

Each team scored a few points but the Trojans were making the mistakes and allowed the ‘Cats to keep the lead. Mechanicsburg got a kill from Brock at 23-20 and a block from Krnjaic to lead 24-22. Serina took a set and fired a shot at the floor from the back line that found space to set off a celebration for the Wildcats.

“Allyson has really been playing well for us when we can get the set where she is comfortable,” said Fabian. “She is still learning how to adjust on a bad set or not in her wheelhouse. She does well at blocking around the net and it will be nice to have her for another year. Brooke Serina, our libero, has done a wonderful job at that position and we have had some positive senior leadership. We are looking for a big battle royale until the end with the three teams at the top. We still have each of them again.”

2012 – 2013 Athletic Physical Information

Seniors Make College Choices Official

Front Row: Katelyn Bohn, Holly Burgard, Shelby Koch, Josh Thomson, Hannah Jones, Hayley Cowoski & Jaimie Wharton Back Row: Bryton Barr, Rustin Barrick & Nick Neverman

Congratulations to the following seniors who made their college choices official on Wednesday, February 1:

2012 National Letter of Intent Signees

NameSchool AttendingSport
Bryton BarrTowson UniversityFootball
Rustin BarrickBucknell UniversityWrestling
Katelyn BohnUniversity of Pittsburgh - JohnstownSoccer
Holly BurgardMessiah CollegeSoccer
Hayley CowoskiMessiah CollegeVolleyball
Hannah JonesLiberty UniversityField Hockey
Shelby KochBloomsburg UniversitySoccer
Nick NevermanLycoming CollegeSoccer
Josh ThomsonMessiah CollegeWrestling
Jaimie WhartonMillersville UniversityGolf

Girls Volleyball: Trinity edges Mechanicsburg for Colonial title

Article by Sam Butler, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

You could sense the tension. The gym bristled with excitement. If you forgot it was October you might have thought basketball season was in full swing at Trinity High School Monday night. While the gym was packed, the fans were there to watch a critical Mid-Penn Colonial Division tilt between the Shamrocks and the Mechanicsburg Wildcats.

Since the season began back in September the Trinity Shamrocks and the Mechanicsburg Wildcats have seemingly been on a collison course for the Mid-Penn Colonial Divison title. Both squads handled their respective opponents and stood at No. 1 and No. 2 in the Colonial Division heading into Monday’s contest. So to say this match was important is a bit of an understatement.

“This match was our banner match,” Shamrock junior Hannah Fry said. “No disrespect to Stell High and Milton Hershey, but we knew winning this match would decide a lot.”

Trinity pulled out a 3-2 (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 24-26 and 15-10) win over the Wildcats assuring the Shamrocks of 14 regualr season wins and a very good chance at finishing with the Colonial Division title.

“We still have two more games left so that division title isn’t ours just yet,” first-year Trinity (14-0) head coach John Barrick said. “This win should lock up the Mid-Penn No. 1 seed for Districts and that’s a big step. We’re trying to be the best team in Trinity history.”

According to Barrick no Shamrock team has advanced past the first round of the District 3 Tournament, scheduled to start Tuesday November 2 at Lower Dauphin High School, so locking up the No. 1 seed should help blaze the trial.

“We were just really focused,” Fry said of how her teammates played in the deciding fifth game. “I think that’s the big difference between this team and the teams before us. All the teams before this season were really good, we’re building off the foundation they established. But I think this team just really wants it more and we’re focused on that, focused on winning.”

After jumping to a two games to none lead with two 25-20 wins it was the Wildcats (12-2) who found that steely resolve and pulled out wins in the third and fourth games, 25-23 and 26-24, to send the match to a fith game.

“It was just one heck of a match,” said Mechanicsburg head coach Chris Fabian. “It was just two good, high caliber teams playing against each other. Those first four games were all about being the team who made less mistakes and put it together when it mattered.”

That really was the difference between the first four games as the teams committed over 40 errors in those games combined.

“It came down to discipline,” Fabian said of the difference in the fifth game. “You need to make sure that you’re playing the position and not trying to make plays where you have to move outside of your zone. It was all about staying disciplined in your zone.”

“I thought we played with more poise,” Barrick said. “It comes from experience and these girls have it. I thought they showed what type of team they are and displayed that mental toughness I’ve been talking about all year.”

When Barrick took over the reigns of the Shamrock volleyball program he thought the girls lacked a little confidence and mental toughness. So he structered his workouts and practices to get the girls to know who they were as a team and just how tough they needed to be if they wanted to not only win their division but move beyond the first round of the District 3 Tournament.

Fry and Morgan Whiteman were in the center of that Trinity huddle between the fourth and fifth games. Fry bouncing around pumping her teammates up with Whiteman had a quiet resolve and just kept repeating, “We’ve got this.”

With the teams trading points it was Whiteman and Fry who led a 4-0 run to open a 12-8 lead that the Wildcats couldn’t recover from.

“We have a really strong bond as a team,” Fry said. “We have played so hard all year long, and played so hard in the early games. We had that confidence that we could pull this one out.”

Fry lead all hitters with a match-high 20 kills, Whiteman logged 14 in the win. Melissa Leandir served up 36 assists for Trinity.

Leading the Wildcats was Desiree Miller with 12 kills and 13 assists. Hayley Cowoski and Melissa Kohler combined for 21 kills while Veronica Bishop logged 17 assists.

The Shamrocks wrap up the regular season with matches against Steel-High Tuesday and Milton Hershey Thursday.

“I just want the girls to keep their heads up,” Fabian said. “These girls need to understand that this is just another step in the journey. We can’t let this match bother us because we’ve got to be ready to play again. We can’t worry about where we stand with the playoffs because that’s out of our control. We can only control the way we play in our next match.”

Mechanicsburg visits Middletown Wednesday and plays host to Hershey Thursday.

Girls Volleyball: Seniors lead the way for Mechanicsburg

Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photographs by Jason Malmont, The Sentinel

For the full article, click here.

For photographs of the game, click here.

It was only fitting on Senior Night that the nine seniors on the Mechanicsburg Wildcat girls volleyball team dominated the match.

The seniors led the Wildcats to a 3-0 sweep of Milton Hershey at Mechanicsburg High School Thursday night. The final game scores were 25-11, 25-10 and 25-10.

“These girls have really come together this year and have played well all season,” Wildcat head coach Chris Fabian said.

The team improved its record to 12-1 in the Mid-Penn Colonial Division to remain one game behind unbeaten Trinity. The two teams square off Monday night at Trinity in a big match toward a championship or a co-championship for one or both teams.

Milton Hershey jumped out early in the first game as the Wildcats struggled to return the ball over the net. They trailed, 3-0, behind two kills by Spartan Julissa Alvarez. By the time Hayley Cowoski, Saige Hilsinger and Melissa Kohler were done serving, the Wildcats led 16-6 and coasted from that point to the 25-11 win. Desiree Miller led with five kills, while Kohler and Cowoski each added three kills and solid net play.

The Wildcats ran out to a 6-0 lead behind Cowoski’s unreturnable serves. The ‘Cats had eight serves that were not returned, but gave away five points by sending their own serves into the net. Megan Kemmer added a couple of big serves for points.

Veronica Bishop, another senior, spent the evening setting each of her senior teammates at the net. She added the first point of the game with a hit at the net for a point.

Senior defenders Heather Cudnohufsky and Andraya Healey stepped in to play flawless defense on the backline in the final two games as they scrambled to get the bumps up on serves and spikes.

Liz Felker, another senior setter, also helped to make sure Kohler, Cowoski, Hilsinger and Miller had sets to hit.

Juniors Amy Walker and Claire Bailets also contributed to the Wildcat cause.

The Spartans (4-10 Colonial) got good efforts from Erica Carter at the net and Aracelis Tepez Perez all over the court.

The third game led with a quick 8-0 Wildcat lead behind Miller at the service box. The only question in game three was whether the Spartans were going to score more points than the Wildcats would give them at the service line. They scored six while the Wildcats hit four serves in the net or wide of the court.

“Desiree really hit the ball well tonight,” Fabian said. “Saige Hilsinger is coming around despite missing last year with an injury. We just have to come out and play our game on Monday and not worry about who is on the other side of the net. This is a special group of seniors and they are truly going to be missed next year.”

Hannah Fry is a Shamrock junior hitter who came through the Mechanicsburg middle school program, but chose to attend Trinity as a freshman.

As Coach Fabian wrote to his seniors in the game program, “Most of you have committed six years of your life to a sport you have grown to love. As a coach it has been rewarding watching you grow and develop into the volleyball players you are today. The single most touching was how each of you responded to the passing of my mother. It was awesome to see the pink shoelaces and the pink shirts. It put me at a loss for words.”

It was a big night for seniors, but the season is far from over as the league hasn’t been decided yet and the districts beckon in the near future.

Volleyball: Wildcats fall to Shamrocks

Article by Jeremy Elliott, The Patriot-News/Photograph by Chris Knight, The Patriot-News

For the full article, click here.

For photos from the game, click here.

Coaches would consider themselves lucky to have one star on the volleyball court.

It’s hard to find a player that can put the ball away at all the critical times in a match. Someone who can take over even when they are the focal point of the opposition.

The Trinity girls’ volleyball team has two.

Everyone knows about Hannah Fry, a 6-1 tree that can deliver from anywhere on the court. After Wednesday night’s 3-1 Shamrocks victory over host Mechanicsburg, the volleyball community knows of another standout in Morgan Whiteman.

The Shamrocks 5-10 senior outside was the best player in the gym. Her 18 kills and four aces led all players but the manner in which she acquired those tallies is what stood out.

With the Shamrocks holding a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Colonial match and the Wildcats ahead 20-19 in Game 4, Whiteman took control. She ripped thunderous smashes down the line and through blocks to spark a six-point run that saw her polish off five kills.

“It was a little bit of a surprise,” Wildcats head coach Chris Fabian said. “What can you say, you have a 6-0 girl hitting through a double block. She was on fire tonight.”

Said Whiteman, “I’ve definitely improved from last year. JB’s had me practice my serves, and I’ve worked really hard on my game.”

Early on, it was the Wildcats that looked like workaholics.

Despite five kills apiece from the Fry-Whiteman combination, the Wildcats let nothing hit the floor in a 25-20 victory. Melissa Kohler led the assault with three of her seven kills, and the Wildcats took advantage of seven Shamrock hitting errors and 13 overall.

“We are notorious slow starters,” Shamrocks head coach John Barrick said. “I hate to see them in school first period. It must be a mess.

“I told [the girls] that their banner was on the line. The Mid-Penn No. 1 seed was on the line. We want to do well at districts, but we have to take care of our league first.”

No problem, coach.

It was ugly in Games 2 and 3. The Wildcats struggled with serve-receive and committed 26 errors to just nine by the Shamrocks. Fry blasted nine of her 16 kills, and Whiteman chipped in six more in wins of 25-13 and 25-8.

“When you’re struggling with your serve-receive, it’s hard to build that confidence back up,” Fabian said. “The stress of missed opportunities created difficulty in our offense. But the girls fought through it to the end.”

It just wasn’t enough.

Not with Whiteman on the court.

The Wildcats cut down on their errors and got five kills from Desiree Miller, who finished with eight kills, in Game 4. They had two five-point runs and took a one-point advantage until the Whiteman show took centerstage in crunch time.

“We have great hitters,” said Shamrocks setter Melissa Leandri (34 assists). “She really stepped up to the plate, and so did the rest of our hitters.”

Said Whiteman, “I’ve definitely gotten my mojo back as the season has gone on.”

Lift for Life Set for March 5

Lift for Life is the signature event of “Uplifting Athletes,” a nonprofit organization created by Penn State Football student-athletes.  Their mission is to align college football with rare diseases and recognize them as a national priority.  MASH students have joined the effort of the Penn State chapter to raise money and promote awareness for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney cancer. This rare disease has directly affected several staff members at MASH in recent years.  Don Shirley, the inspiration behind the Lift for Life initiative, lost his decade long battle with kidney cancer in October, 2006.  His death has strengthened our resolve to continue his work. All proceeds raised by the Lift for Life event benefit the Kidney Cancer Association.  Since 2003, over $300,000 has been raised for this cause, and as a result, a number of new breakthroughs have been developed in the fight against this deady disease.  The Lift for Life competition consists of an eleven-event competition, wherefour-member male or female teams compete.  The exercises vary from traditional fitness and lifting activities such as the bench press, to more extreme challenges, such as the giant tire flip.  We are inviting you to join us in the fight against kidney cancer.

For more information, please contact Clay McAllister or Tony Lougee.