Penn College men’s volleyball season opens Saturday

Williamsport – Boiled down, attitude and teamwork are the essentials for a successful season, according to Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s volleyball coach Wes Strayer. How it plays out this year for the Wildcats remains to be seen. Penn College opens its season at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bardo Gymnasium on West Third Street hosting Susquehanna University and Juniata College.”The potential is there, without a doubt. The thing is, like always, coming together as a team,” Strayer said. “They need to jell. They need to trust each other, on the court and off the court. If they’re buddies off the court and they’re buddies on the court they’re going to play much better.

“The thing is they have to realize they’ve got to have fun while they are doing it. And I don’t care what anybody says, the easiest way to have fun is to win. If you win, you’re going to have fun. They have to make up their minds what they want to do. It could be an outstanding year or it could be a mediocre year.”

Starters for the Wildcats will be Brad Bell (sophomore/Harrisburg) and Andy Epley (freshman/New Oxford) as middle hitters, Jordan Myers (freshman/New Oxford) and Brady West (sophomore/Wyomissing) as outside hitters, Atlee Eshleman (freshman/Conestoga), weak-side hitter, Cody Goss (junior/State College) at setter and Phil Reist (sophomore/Washington Borough) at Libero. Jared Palko (sophomore/Waymart) and Shawn Wesche (junior/Angelica, N.Y.) will come in as defensive specialists, while others on the squad are sophomore Ryan Levesque (Unionville) and freshmen Ryan Steer (South Williamsport), Dylan Lackey (Mountville) and Kurt Linhart (Zionsville). Steer, at 6-foot-5, is the tallest player on the team, but Strayer calls Epley his greatest leaper.

“Andy goes over top everybody. He’s Cody’s go-to guy. Wherever he is on the court, he can just go pound the ball,” the coach said.

Penn College is coming off a 6-10 campaign and failed to reach the playoffs for the first time after four consecutive postseason appearances. In five seasons under Strayer, Wildcat teams have won 84 matches and dropped 22. They compete in the Middle Atlantic Volleyball Club League.

PENN COLLEGE SCHEDULE
January
31 – host Susquehanna and Juniata (2 p.m. Penn College vs. Susquehanna, 3 p.m. Juniata vs. Susquehanna, 4 p.m. Penn College vs. Juniata).

February
7 – host Rider University, 2 p.m.; 8 – at Harrisburg Area Community College with Penn State Altoona; 12 – at Lock Haven, 7 p.m.; 15 – host Dickenson College, 2 p.m.

March
3 – at Messiah College, 2 p.m.; 7 – at Messiah Tournament, TBA; 22 – host Shippensburg University and Gettysburg College (2 p.m. Penn College vs. Shippensburg, 3 p.m. Shippensburg vs. Gettysburg, 4 p.m. Penn College vs. Gettysburg).

April
4 – Middle Atlantic Volleyball Club League Championships at DeSales University, TBA.

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