The University of North Carolina field hockey team got past a big challenge last Saturday, but the Tar Heels face an even bigger challenge this weekend.
North Carolina is ranked second in the nation and solidified that position with a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 3 Virginia. Now the Tar Heels will face No. 1 Maryland this Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Junior Elizabeth Drazdowski (Crestwood) had the first goal and assisted on the winning goal for the Tar Heels. Sophomore Paige Selenski (Dallas) had the Virginia goal.
“It was a great team effort for us,” Tar Heel coach Karen Shelton said. “I thought we played a very smart game.”
The Tar Heels came back to defeat James Madison 2-0 Sunday and will take 15-0 overall and a 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference records into the Maryland game. They have given up four goals on the season, and haven’t given up more than one in any game. Maryland is also 15-0 overall and 3-0 in league play.
Drazdowski has four goals and six assists for 14 points. Freshman Kelsey Kolojejchick of Larksville (Wyoming Seminary) has 13 goals and six assists for 32 points for the Tar Heels.
The Cavaliers fell to 14-2 overall and 1-2 in ACC play with the setback. Selenski leads the team in scoring with 20 goals and six assists for 46 points. Senior Traci Ragukas (Lake-Lehman) has seven goals and five assists for 19 points and freshman Tara Puffenberger (Dallas) has eight goals and three assists for 19 points.
PLISKO IS AN ACE – Temple senior Eric Plisko (Hanover Area) finished tied for fourth in last week’s Big 5 Golf Tournament in Flourtown. He had rounds of 70 and 75 for a 145 total and his 70 included a hole-in-one on the eighth hole.
Plisko, a 6-foot-4, 170-pound right-hander, has been the low scorer in all five events that the Owls competed in this fall. The 70 at the Big 5 Tournament was his low round of the fall, but in 10 rounds he didn’t shoot over 77.
“Eric is a wonderful young man with a promising future in golf and in life,” coach Brian Quinn said. “He is an outstanding representative of what a student-athlete should be.”
Temple closes its fall season at Old Dominion’s Seascape Invitational in Kitty Hawk, N.C.
HANNIGAN MAKES ’EM COUNT – Sophomore Erin Hannigan of West Pittston (Wyoming Seminary) has scored just three goals for the Bard University women’s soccer team this season, but all three of the goals were game-winners.
Hannigan also has five assists for 11 points for the Raptors, who are 7-3-3 overall and 4-0-3 in the Skyline Conference. Last season, she was a Skyline second-team selection after scoring 16 goals with nine assists for 41 points.
“Erin is having a terrific year despite battling an injury all season long that has limited her training,” coach Bill Kelly said. “It’s been necessary to rest her so she can be ready for games. So, while she’s not 100 percent – or even 85 or 90 – she is superb and remains a key player for Bard soccer.”
After last season, opposing defenses have to adjust to her talent as a one-on-one player.
“She often draws two defenders, which opens up opportunities for her fellow teammates,” Kelly said.
Despite being just a sophomore, Hannigan is a team captain.
“Erin leads by example,” Kelly said. “She has shown an exceptional level of commitment, discipline and dedication that has inspired her teammates.”
KEARNEY MATURING – Junior J.P. Kearney (Coughlin) has settled in as quarterback for the St. Lawrence University football team.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder almost led the Saints to a big upset last Saturday, the team dropping a 20-17 overtime decision to Liberty League power Union College in Canton, N.Y.
Kearney didn’t have a big game – 12-for-27 for 106 yards – but guided the St. Lawrence to 371 yards in total offenses against one of the toughest defenses in the league.
On the season, Kearney has hit 68 of 138 passes for 673 yards and three touchdowns. His best effort came in a 41-22 victory over Merchant Marine Academy when he his 13-of-20 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
“J.P. is really starting to mature as a college quarterback,” coach Chris Phelps said. “He has learned to handle the emotional aspect of the game when running our no-huddle offense. As a young quarterback, he always felt he had to make the big play on every throw. He has learned to play within himself.”
The Saints are 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the strong Liberty League. Phelps feels that Kearney can lead his team to bigger and better things.
“J.P. can be a fun quarterback to watch,” Phelps said. “He has a good arm and a fiery approach to playing the game. I expect him to continue in his development and his productivity to increase.”
KEMMERER TOUGH IN GOAL – Cold and snow proved to be the biggest foe for Susquehanna’s Alyssa Kemmerer. The senior goalkeeper from Berwick (Berwick Area) had four straight shutouts before losing 3-0 last Saturday to PSU-Altoona in terrible weather in Selinsgrove.
Entering the game, the Crusaders were 3-0-1 in their last four games with a 0-0 tie with Wilkes marring the record. On the season, Kemmerer (5-6-3) has six shutouts. She’s given up 29 goals and has 109 saves.
“Alyssa has done an outstanding job this season,” coach Kathryn Kroupa said. “Goalkeeping is extremely tough both mentally and physically and she has risen to the challenges and has led our team from the back. She has kept us in many games and has given our team the confidence it needs to compete and win those tough games.”
Kemmerer needs just one more shutout to set a school record.
“Her consistent efforts and communication with our back line has gotten us to where we are right now,” Kroupa said.
EDWARDS A WINNER – Mansfield junior Brenae Edwards (Hazleton Area) picked up her first victory of the cross country season when she finished first in a field of 115 at last Saturday’s Yellowjacket Invitational in Rochester, N.Y. Her 5K time of 18:16 was more than 10 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Edwards has had a strong season. She finished third behind two All-American runners in the season-opening Flatland Invitational in Mansfield, was second in the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh and seventh in the Parkside Rosa Invitational in Kenosha, Wis.
“Brenae is running very, very well right now,” coach Michael Rohl said. “She’s one of the top six or seven runners in the region. She might make it to the NCAA meet if she’s on that day (in the Regionals), but the top five or six women are so darn good and so close it could be anybody’s race.”
Edwards does get one break. The Regionals will be held on the Mansfield course Saturday, Nov. 7.
Junior Joe Stanek (Hanover Area) is on the Mansfield men’s team and finished 23rd at the Rochester meet with a 6K time of 26:20. He also had a 43rd place finish in the Parkside Rosa, covering the 8K course in 27:20.1.
“Joe is still struggling with a knee injury from this summer, but is regaining fitness gradually,” Rohl said.
O’DAY LEADS THE WAY – Senior Sean O’Day (Bishop O’Reilly) is captain of the Marywood men’s soccer team and a key performer at center back for the Pacers, who are 6-6-1 overall and 4-1-0 in the Colonial State Athletic Conference.
O’Day is in the middle of things on the defense, which has given up just 13 goals in 13 games and just three goals while winning five of the last six. The only blemish was a 1-0 overtime loss to Centenary.
“Last season Sean proved to be a solid player and this year he has even stepped up his role” coach Dawson Driscoll said. “He is very good in the air, a good one-on-one defender, has decent speed and has become the vocal leader for us in back.”
Junior Todd Switzer (Northwest) is also a member of the defensive unit and has played in six games off the bench.
“What Todd may lack technically, he makes up through hard work and effort,” Driscoll said. “He didn’t play much last year, but always worked hard in practice.”
Switzer tore his ACL prior to the season, but chose not to have surgery according to Driscoll. He has to wear a brace to play.
“Even with this deficiency, Todd still works hard in every aspect of practice” Driscoll said. “He’s a tribute to not giving up.”
MOVE HELPS WILLIAMS – PSU-Harrisburg women’s volleyball coach Bob Creason moved Elise Williams (Crestwood) from outside hitter into the middle and the move has paid off for both her and the team.
Williams, a senior, is second on the team in blocks (43) and kills (124). She also has 59 digs and 14 service aces to help the Nittany Lions post a 15-9 record to date.
“Since the move, Elise has blossomed into a real solid contributor to our team,” Creason said. “She already has three times as many blocks this year as compared to all of last year.”
Williams has become one of the team’s go-to players.
“We rely on her to control the net on blocking and spiking,” Creason said. “She works hard in practice every day and is very focused.”
STEIN’S WORK PAYS OFF – Freshman Derek Stein (Crestwood) wasn’t on the travel squad with the Robert Morris men’s soccer team early in the season, but he’s seen action of late, playing in eight games and starting two for the Colonials.
“Derek has made a number of appearances lately because he works very hard in practice every day,” coach Bill Denniston said. “He is doing a good job for a freshman.”
Robert Morris is 2-11-2 overall but is 2-2-1 in the Northeast Conference.