Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY —
GROVE CITY — Senior Becky McManus recorded her first career hat trick and classmate Sam Weber added a pair of goals as the 4th-seeded Grove City College women’s soccer team cruised to a 6-0 victory over 5th-seed Juniata in the ECAC South Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday at College Field.
Junior Nikki Youngs added a goal for the Wolverines (12-9-1) while seniors Chelsea Tarolli and Sarah Cessar (Slippery Rock High) and sophomore Kristin Thomas each recorded an assist.
Grove City dominated Juniata (14-6) from the onset, scoring 3 goals on 3 shots in the first 8:06 of action.
McManus scored her 1st goal by beating a defender and then drawing the goalkeeper out of net to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead at the 2 minute mark. The goal would hold to be McManus’ team-leading 3rd game-winning goal of the year.
GCC doubled its lead less than 3 minutes later when Tarolli dribbled down the endline to the right of the goal and crossed the ball to McManus for a goal just inside the left post. The assist was Tarolli’s team-leading 6th of the season and the 14th of her career, moving her into a tie for 10th all-time at Grove City.
Weber quickly took the score to 3-0 in the 9th minute when her shot from just outside the box took a hop just over the diving reach of the Juniata goalkeeper.
McManus completed the hat trick in just the 35th minute, finishing a pass from Kristin Thomas to give the Wolverines a 4-0 advantage into the halftime break.
Weber netted her 2nd goal of the match in the 59th minute, finishing a feed from Cessar to make it a 5-0 game. For Weber, it was her 6th goal of the season and the 30th of her career, giving her a share of 9th place in Wolverine women’s soccer history in that category.
Youngs closed the scoring for Grove City in the 76th minute when she ripped a shot from 40 yards out into the upper left-hand corner of the net for her 1st goal of the season.
Senior Tiffany Yost started and made 3 saves in the 1st half to earn the win in goal while junior Kristi Lathrop also made 3 saves in the 2nd half.
The Wolverines advance to the ECAC South semifinals, to be held this weekend at a site and time to be determined. Grove City will face the winner of Wednesday’s late match between top-seeded Stevenson and 8th seed Alvernia.
In the other quarterfinals Wednesday, No. 7 Arcadia upset 2nd-seeded McDaniel, 3-1, while 6th-seeded Swarthmore edged No. 3 seed Lebanon Valley, 3-2.
If Stevenson won Wednesday night, it will host this weekend’s semifinals and finals while an Alvernia victory would give GCC the right to host as the highest remaining seed.
ä Volleyball — Three Grove City College volleyball players earned All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference recognition from the conference’s head coaches Tuesday afternoon.
Senior middle hitter Ashley Branch earned 1st Team All-PAC distinction while senior Tierza Rangel captured 2nd Team All-PAC honors. Senior libero Tara Skinner received All-PAC Honorable Mention.
Branch led Grove City in kills, hitting percentage and blocks this season. She averaged 2.67 kills per set this year while posting a .314 hitting percentage. Her 70 total blocks led the team. She ranked 3rd in the conference in hitting percentage and 4th in kill average while playing in all 110 sets.
Branch is a 4-year letterwinner and ranks 10th all-time at Grove City with 952 career kills. She earned the team’s Most Valuable Player award.
Rangel ranked 2nd on the team in kills and hitting percentage this year. She averaged 2.31 kills per set and had a .260 hitting percentage. Rangel also ranked 3rd on the team with 43 total blocks in 2013. She is a 2-year letterwinner for Grove City.
Skinner averaged a team-leading 5.14 digs per set this season. She accumulated 555 digs while appearing in all 30 matches this year for Grove City. For her career, Skinner owns the 4th highest dig total in program history with 1,614. Skinner is a 2-year team co-captain and 4-year letterwinner.
Thomas More libero Kelsey Castiglioni earned the conference’s Player of the Year award. Thomas More coach John Spinney received Coach of the Year.
Grove City (15-15) will conclude its season Saturday in the ECAC South Championship Tourney at Bethany. GCC faces Marymount in the semifinals at 12:30 p.m. Grove City will then play Bethany or McDaniel in the championship or third-place match later Saturday.
ä Football — The Westminster College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee selected football senior Dak Britt on Wednesday as its SAAC Titan Athlete of the Week for the week of Nov. 11.
Britt rushed for a career-high 245 yards and 4 touchdowns and threw for 169 yards and another score in the Titans’ 45-37 quadruple-overtime loss at Thiel last Saturday. His 245 rushing yards established new Westminster and PAC records for yards gained on the ground by a quarterback.