Barons, Mounts battle to draw

By on October 7, 2015

 

 Ephrata’s Nick Auker (19) controls the ball in front of Manheim Central’s Ryan Kuster during Monday’s 0-0 draw. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Ephrata’s Nick Auker (19) controls the ball in front of Manheim Central’s Ryan Kuster during Monday’s 0-0 draw. (Photo by Stan Hall)

With only two teams from Section Two qualifying for this year’s Lancaster-Lebanon League boys soccer playoffs, Monday night’s game between host Manheim Central and Ephrata had “crucial” written all over it.

The Mounts’ two-point lead over the Barons for the second and final berth in the Section Two race could have been erased with a single goal.

After 80 minutes of play on Elden Rettew Field in Manheim, the two squads were still locked in a scoreless tie. That goal didn’t come in the two 10-minute “Golden Goal” periods either, as both teams settled for a point in the 0-0 draw.

The result, combined with Lampeter-Strasburg’s 1-0 win over Garden Spot on Monday, vaulted the Pioneers (7-3) past Manheim Central (6-2-2 L-L, 7-4-3 overall) into third place in the Section, one point behind Ephrata.

“It was a great high school soccer game,” said Mounts’ coach Rob Deininger, whose squad improved to 7-2-1 in league play (9-3-1 overall). “The kids played hard all day. We were able to pressure them in the second half, and after it’s all said and done, we still control our own destiny.”

If Ephrata wins its final four Section games, they will secure a spot in the playoffs. And L-S can also clinch a spot by winning out, as the Pioneers play both Ephrata and Manheim Central in the last week. However, both of those games are on the road.

“Any time you have both teams leave everything on the field, you have to be happy with the intensity,” Barons’ skipper Rod Brenize said. “We had a tough 1-0 loss to undefeated Tulpehocken (14-0) here Saturday, and I was a little concerned that we’d be flat tonight. I was very proud of our effort.”

By the numbers, Ephrata outshot Manheim 13-7, with six on goal to the Barons’ four. The Mounts also out-cornered Central 7-5. Baron freshman goalkeeper Mason Nissley was forced to handle the ball 12 times (6 saves) while Ephrata senior keeper Jimmy Hickey grabbed seven (4 saves).

Although the Mounts controlled much of the second half, each team had several opportunities on the pitch. Ephrata thought they had scored a goal with just over 14 minutes to go in regulation, as senior midfielder Nikita Patrushev directed a free kick from the far right corner into the goal mouth. Two headers later, Ephrata appeared to be on the scoreboard when the ball reached the right corner of the net, but the referees waved it off due to an offsides call.

With 2:40 remaining in the second overtime period, Baron senior midfielder John Hosler drilled a 25-yard shot off a free kick that curled toward the upper right corner but caught the crossbar, rebounding out of harm’s way.

Manheim Central has the tougher road forward, with two teams to pass in order to earn an L-L playoff berth. After playing Lebanon (0-9) on Wednesday, the Barons will face a test from first-place Elizabethtown (9-0) on Friday night. Central returns home next Monday night to host L-S (7-3) before traveling to Solanco (1-8) next Wednesday, Oct. 14 to wrap up the regular season.

Ephrata’s toughest match comes right out of the chute, as the Mounts host L-S tonight (Wednesday) at Mountaineer Field. They get Solanco Friday on the road before a Saturday non-league game hosting Oley Valley (7-5). Tuesday is the rivalry game at the new Talon Field at Cocalico before Wednesday’s Section finale at Garden Spot.

In addition to Monday, Ephrata also was in action last Thursday at home where the Mounts scored four, second-half goals in a 5-1 victory over Lebanon.

Nick Auker scored a pair of goals for the Mounts while Andy Moore, Alex Morales and Andrey Patrushev also found the net for Ephrata, which led in both shots (14-1) and corners (6-0).

Hickey made one save in the win.

Cocalico, meanwhile, got back in the win column Monday afternoon in Quarryville with a convincing 6-1 triumph over host Solanco.

The Eagles led 1-0 at the half before tallying five second-half goals to key the victory. Owen Fryberger, Ian Arcudi, Demetri Whitsett and Gavin Stark all scored goals for Cocalico (3-7 section, 4-10 overall). The other Eagle tally came on an own goal.

Val Reisig made 12 saves to earn the win in the Cocalico net.

In addition to Monday, the Eagles were shutout by L-S, 6-0 and dropped a 2-0 decision to Manheim Township in non-league action this past week.

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