Northeast Times

Rising to the top

While play­ing for Man­or Col­lege last year, Brit­tany Palmer and her team did not win one game. Now she’s en­joy­ing that win­ning feel­ing at Penn State Abing­ton.

Penn State Abing­ton vs Keuka Col­lege, Wo­men’s Soc­cer. Pho­tos by Mike Lev­in. mklphoto@sprynet.com. (215) 740-1747.

She’s gone from first to the worst and is now work­ing her way back to the top. 

Yes, soc­cer has be­come quite a roller-coast­er ride for Brit­tany Palmer. A North­east nat­ive and lifelong com­pet­it­or on the pitch, Palmer gradu­ated from Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School three years ago — her team claimed con­sec­ut­ive Cath­ol­ic League titles — and moved on to a win­less col­legi­ate pro­gram. 

Palmer soon headed for an­oth­er col­lege. And now she’s rising in the soc­cer ranks once again. 

Cur­rently a ju­ni­or mid­field­er and for­ward at Penn State Abing­ton, Palmer has helped the Nit­tany Lions go 7-1 thus far this sea­son. 

“She’s phe­nom­en­al. I think she’s been a big part of our suc­cess,” said Abing­ton head coach Dav­id Cas­tel­lanos. “Her en­ergy, her per­son­al­ity, all that comes out and really gives us a spark that we need on our team.

“This is the best start we’ve had in the three years I’ve been here,” he con­tin­ued. “We’re ec­stat­ic and ex­tremely happy with the dir­ec­tion that we’re go­ing. We have a spe­cial group and we need to con­tin­ue to work hard throughout the rest of the sea­son.” 

Penn State Abing­ton has won its last three games, de­feat­ing SUNY (State Uni­versity of New York) Cobleskill, 4-3, on Sept. 24, then SUNY-IT, 2-1, the fol­low­ing af­ter­noon. The Nit­tany Lions traveled to Cham­ber­s­burg, Pa., on Sat­urday and dom­in­ated Wilson Col­lege, 6-2. 

“I think it’s go­ing very well. I didn’t think it was go­ing to be as great as it is,” ad­mit­ted Palmer. “My last school was hor­rible. I was hop­ing for more of a jump in com­pet­i­tion with this team. I came here and we had great chem­istry off the bat. We were all on the same page. We all wanted to win.”

Palmer is en­joy­ing life in the win­ner’s circle once again after strug­gling through con­sec­ut­ive win­less sea­sons with Man­or Col­lege dur­ing the past two years. In June, she earned an as­so­ci­ate’s de­gree in al­lied health from the ju­ni­or col­lege and de­cided to en­roll at Penn State Abing­ton to fin­ish her school­ing.

“I loved Man­or, and I’m really happy at Abing­ton too,” said Palmer. “Both schools are very per­son­al. Man­or had small classes, like Abing­ton.” 

FOES TURNED FRIENDS

Al­though she is team­ing up with a new squad this sea­son, Palmer is work­ing along­side some fa­mil­i­ar faces from her days with Arch­bish­op Ry­an and the Phil­adelphia Cath­ol­ic League. 

Ju­ni­or de­fend­er Lauren Corcor­an and for­ward Kaitlin Ko­zole played for St. Hubert High School; sopho­more mid­field­er Alie Laz­ar is a gradu­ate of Car­din­al Dougherty. 

“I re­cog­nized a few of them from the Cath­ol­ic League,” said Palmer. “It was pretty cool to get to know them and share the com­pet­it­ive­ness that we all ac­quired from the Cath­ol­ic League. 

“I’ve been in great shape ever since high school. That really pre­pared me,” she ad­ded. “I had a great coach. After hav­ing my coach in high school (Ry­an Haney), I was pre­pared for any­thing.”

Haney con­tin­ues to coach the Ry­an Rag­dolls, and Palmer — who com­mutes to Penn State Abing­ton from her Park­wood home — still at­tends as many Arch­bish­op Ry­an soc­cer games as pos­sible. 

Dur­ing her reign with the Rag­dolls, Palmer was a four-year varsity starter and helped her squad claim con­sec­ut­ive Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on­ships in 2007 and ’08. She was an All-Cath­ol­ic se­lec­tion dur­ing her ju­ni­or and seni­or sea­sons. 

After high school, Palmer was in for a rude awaken­ing on the soc­cer field. She battled through two win­less sea­sons at Man­or Col­lege. 

“After high school, my main fo­cus wasn’t soc­cer. I chose Man­or be­cause it was what I wanted school-wise and it was close to home,” Palmer ex­plained. “They have great aca­dem­ics.

“Go­ing from win­ning two cham­pi­on­ships in high school to nev­er win­ning one game was tough,” she ad­ded, “but I loved the game. If I lose, I lose, but I’m go­ing out there one-hun­dred per­cent.” 

CHANGES IN THE CLASSROOM

Palmer is study­ing for a de­gree in crim­in­al justice, quite a switch from her ori­gin­al em­phas­is on sci­ence. She plans to join the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment.

“I’ll def­in­itely want to go right in­to the po­lice force after gradu­ation,” she ex­plained. “If be­com­ing a cop doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll be­come a pa­role of­ficer or work in the jail sys­tem. 

“I love Phil­adelphia, so I want to be work­ing in the city and mak­ing it a bet­ter place,” she ad­ded. “That’s what I want for my fu­ture.” ••

Ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­erkov@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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