The Elizabethtown College men’s basketball team has seen a tough season so far. Currently the Blue Jays have an overall record of 1-5 and they are 0-2 in the Commonwealth Conference, a subdivision of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Championship. So far the Blue Jays’ only win this season comes from a game played on Nov. 22 against Stevenson University. The Blue Jays won 78-76 and were led by sophomores Joe Schwalm and Steve Ennis.
The Blue Jays took on Arcadia University and Messiah College this past week. The Blue Jays lost 67-75 against Arcadia. Despite the loss, the Jays were led by senior point guard Kyle McConnell, who had 15 points and six rebounds.
In the game against Messiah, the Blue Jays lost 56-63, but the game was closer than the score is able to represent. Once again, Etown was led by sophomore Joe Schwalm and senior Kyle McConnell. Schwalm led the team with 18 points while McConnell added 12 points and six assists.
The Blue Jays are now sitting at the bottom of the conference with a record of 1-5, so the question at hand is can the team turn around the season and make a run for the conference? The Blue Jays have a lot of talent across the board, but the team is very young. The team has only two active seniors, Kyle McConnell and Dan Silver (Brian Allport is missing the season due to a torn ACL) and there are four juniors on the roster. On a team of 15 players, only six players have varsity experience.
Etown has many talented first-year players and Head Coach Bob Schlosser sees a bright future for them. “Phil Wenger, who is backing up Kyle McConnell, at this point is pretty versatile, and I think he might be able to play well for us,” Schlosser said. “Lee Eckert is a big guy as a freshman. He is still learning the system, but I think he is going to be a real contributor for us here before it [the season] is all over,” Schlosser added.
The team isn’t letting their record interfere with their goals for the season. “Our record isn’t what we want, nobody wants to be 1-5, but we have a great group of guys who work hard day in and day out,” junior point guard Joe Renzi said.
The Blue Jays have had a tough schedule so far this season; the combined record of the teams they’ve played so far is 19-17. Two of those teams have losing records; the others like Penn State Harrisburg and York, have records of 5-2.
This season is by no means over for the team. “In years past, especially recently, we have started strong and not finished necessarily the way we have wanted to,” Schlosser said. “I am of the belief that this year we are going to go in the other direction. We are going to struggle here early, but I like to think that as we get into January and February we are going to be a much better team.”
The team hopes that as the young players gain more experience, they will be able to make even greater contributions to the team.
Schlosser added an interesting statistic when he was asked about being picked to finish last in the Commonwealth Conference this year. “Two times recently we have been picked to finish seventh and both times we played for the championship when we were picked to finish seventh,” Schlosser said. It is still early in the season though, and the Blue Jays have a group of guys who are determined to turn the season around.