Ex­cel­lence at the next level

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Bill Arse­nault Bill Arse­nault is a free­lance writer for The Morn­ing Call.

The Pitt-Greens­burg soc­cer play­ers, coaches and fans know all about Ash­ley Lu­cas and the play­ers, coaches and fans in the Al­legheny Moun­tain Col­le­giate Con­fer­ence are find­ing out fast about the fresh­man for­ward.

Lu­cas, an Eas­ton grad, has scored 13 goals with six as­sists for 36 points with five game-win­ners to help the Bob­cats open with a 9-0 over­all record and a 2-0 league mark. The goals, points and game-win­ners lead the AMCC. She was named the league’s of­fen­sive player of the week on Sept. 23 giv­ing her back-to-back hon­ors. And, she’s quickly mov­ing up in all those cat­e­gories on the NCAA Divi­sion III level.

“Ash­ley has been spec­tac­u­lar,” coach Chuck Wigle said. “She has the best shot of any player I’ve ever coached and be­cause of that, she’s danger­ous ev­ery time she has the ball, es­pe­cially from 30 yards and in.”

The coach feels that Lu­cas’ abil­ity to hit free kicks has added a new di­men­sion to the team.

“She’s scored three of them, two from 35 to 40 plus yards,” Wigle said. “Her ex­pe­ri­ence has made her a very smart player and her work rate and ef­fort has helped her ex­cel.”

Michael Ruisch – Susque­hanna (Parkland): The 6foot-2, 177-pound sopho­more tossed five touch­down passes to lead the 3-1 foot­ball team to a 42-13 Cen­ten­nial Con­fer­ence vic­tory over Franklin & Mar­shall last Satur­day in Selins­grove. His TD passes were for 66, 47, 24, 15 and 3 yards. He was 19-for-27 for 271 yards and no in­ter­cep­tions. He also car­ried the ball six times for 26 yards. On the sea­son, Ruisch has con­nected on 85 passes on 135 at­tempts for 1,094 yards with 10 touch­downs and four in­ter­cep­tions.

Madi­son Orobono – North Carolina (Em­maus): The sopho­more has started all nine games on de­fense for the No. 1-ranked field hockey team. The Tar Heels are 9-0 over­all and 2-0 in the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence af­ter blank­ing Vir­ginia 5-0 in a league game last Fri­day in Char­lottesvill­e, Va., and top­ping James Madi­son 9-0 in a non­league game last Sun­day in Har­rison­burg, Va.

Orobono has a de­fen­sive save and she leads the team in min­utes played with 508 and has played five com­plete games.

De’vante Cross – Vir­ginia (Parkland): The 6-foot-2, 210pound ju­nior is start­ing at free safety for the Cava­liers, who are 4-1 af­ter a 35-20 loss at Notre Dame last Satur­day. Cross had five tack­les against the Fight­ing Ir­ish and had a sea­son-high nine tack­les in a 31-24 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence vic­tory over vis­it­ing Florida State on Sept. 14. Cross has nine solo tack­les and 14 as­sists for a to­tal of 23 on the sea­son. He en­tered this sea­son hav­ing played 26 games with one start.

Olivia Sa­hay­dak – Duke (Lib­erty): The 5-foot-7 sopho­more for­ward scored in the se­cond quar­ter and it was the only goal in the game as No. 2-ranked Duke (8-1) top­pled No. 15 Stan­ford 1-0 last Sun­day in Durham, N.C. It was her fourth goal of the sea­son. She opened the year by scor­ing two goals in a 4-1 tri­umph over then No. 9-ranked Penn State on Aug. 30 in Durham. Sa­hay­dak scored 10 goals for 20 points in 22 games for the Blue Devils as a fresh­man.

Grace Royer – Cor­nell (Parkland): The 5-foot-7 ju­nior for­ward is on a roll with the field hockey team. She leads the Big Red with four goals and two as­sists and is the team’s top scorer with 10 points. She had two goals, in­clud­ing the game win­ner, in a 4-1 non­league vic­tory over Lafayette on Sept. 23 in Ithaca, N.Y., and the team’s only two goals in a 5-2 Ivy League loss to Penn last Satur­day in Philadel­phia, drop­ping Cor­nell to 3-2 on the sea­son. Royer had six goals and two as­sists in 17 starts last sea­son.

Claire Niel­son – West Ch­ester (Em­maus): The 5foot-6 fresh­man goal­keeper was named PSAC de­fen­sive player of the week (Sept. 24) and Na­tional Field Hockey Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion Divi­sion II Ath­lete of the Week (Sept. 25) for post­ing a pair of shutouts for the field hockey team the pre­vi­ous week – 1-0 over Ship­pens­burg and 5-0 over In­di­ana. She’s 5-0 and has given up three goals with 10 saves. Sopho­more Emily In­galls (Em­maus) has started all six games on de­fense for the Golden Rams.

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