The Penn State women’s soccer team is back in the College Cup – women’s soccer’s version of the Final Four – for the first time since 2005, and one reason for the Nittany Lions’ resurgence is having Taylor Schram healthy and back in the lineup.
Schram, a junior forward/midfielder from Canonsburg, has helped Penn State to NCAA tournament wins over Long Island-Brooklyn (4-0), Boston College (5-2), Michigan (2-1, penalty kicks) and Duke (1-0), the latter in the quarterfinals last Friday. The Nittany Lions (20-3-2) will play top-seeded Florida State (20-3) in the semifinals Friday in San Diego.
The 2010 Observer-Reporter Girls Athlete of the Year while at Canon-McMillan, Schram has four goals and one assist in 14 games for the Nittany Lions. In the win over Boston College, Schram assisted on a goal by Maya Hayes only 47 seconds into the game. It was the fastest goal in Penn State history.
Schram and Hayes were teammates this summer on the gold-medal winning United States Under-20 World Cup team that played in Japan. That caused Schram to miss the Nittany Lions’ first seven games. Then, during her first practice with Penn State, Schram suffered a concussion that sidelined her until Sept. 30.
Since Schram’s return, Penn State has lost only once, a 1-0 setback to Illinois in the Big Ten tournament.
In cross country
Slippery Rock junior Travis Arrigoni made the All-NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional team for the second consecutive year by finishing in 22nd place at the regional championships at Lock Haven.
A Canonsburg native and Canon-McMillan graduate, Arrigoni ran the 10,000-meter course in 32:03 to help Slippery Rock to a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
Grove City senior sprinter Angela Palumbo, a Trinity graduate, was named the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Women’s Swimmer of the Week for Nov. 12-18.
At the Kenyon Quad, Palumbo led Grove City to a 2-1 record by winning the 50 freestyle in 24.74 and the 200 freestyle in 1:57.24. Palumbo also finished second in the 100 freestyle (53.84) and helped the Wolverines’ 400 freestyle relay to a second-place finish in 3:39.07.
Palumbo is a 15-time NCAA Division III All-American and holds three Grove City and two Presidents’ Athletic Conference records in freestyle events.
Chartiers-Houston graduate Brad Banas has completed an outstanding career at Robert Morris. An outside linebacker, Banas played in 39 career games with the Colonials and started 31.
Banas had career-highs of 63 tackles, including eight for losses, and three sacks as a senior. He also provided Robert Morris with one of its two defensive touchdowns this year when he intercepted a pass at Bryant and returned it 55 yards for his first-career score. He become the 15th player in Colonials history to return an interception for a touchdown. One of Banas’ best games was Sept. 29 against Lafyatte when he made 10 tackles and helped the Colonials to an upset victory.
Banas also is a standout in the classroom and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District First team for the third consecutive year. He has a 3.95 grade-point average as an electrical engineering major with a minor in alternative energy and sustainability.
Ohio Wesleyan senior linebacker Tyler Sheetz was named second team All-North Coast Athletic Conference. Sheetz, an Eighty Four native and Peters Township graduate, led the Battling Bishops in tackles and was tied for 15th nationally with 7.9 stops per game. He intercepted two passes and had three sacks and six tackles for losses. Sheetz helped Ohio Wesleyan to a 9-1 record under first-year head coach Tom Watts, a former assistant at Waynebsurg University.
Bryan Thomas, a sophomore from Washington and a Wash High graduate, has developed into a key contributor for Bowling Green’s defense. A redshirt sophomore outside linebacker, Thomas is the ninth-leading tackler for the Falcons with 31 stops, including 7 1/2 behind the line of scrimmage. Thomas has 3 1/2 sacks, which ranks third on the team. The Falcons have an 8-4 record and are expected to be playing in a bowl game next month.
Wittenberg’s Justin Bartlett, a senior defensive lineman from Washington and a McGuffey graduate, was named honorable mention All-North Coast Athletic Conference. Bartlett made 27 tackles, including 4 1/2 for losses and 2 1/2 sacks for the Tigers, who had a 10-2 season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. Wittenberg defeated Heidelberg in the first round before being eliminated by Hobart last weekend. Bartlett started each playoff game at defensive end.
Former PIAA champion Colin Johnston has a 3-3 record for West Virginia. A Canon-McMillan graduate, Johnston is wrestling at 133 pounds for the Mountaineers. Of Johnstown’s three wins, one was by fall and another via technical fall.
Johnston is back in action for the first time since the 2009-10 season. He was redshirted in 2010-11 and then received a medical redshirt last season.