Bensing named EHS boys lax coach

By on December 23, 2014
Former assistant Eric Bensing (center) is shown on the sidelines during an Ephrata lacrosse game this past spring. Bensing was recently named to succeed Kevin Pletz as the Mounts’ new head coach.

Former assistant Eric Bensing (center) is shown on the sidelines during
an Ephrata lacrosse game this past spring. Bensing was recently named to succeed Kevin Pletz as the Mounts’ new head coach.

Ephrata has found a coaching replacement for its highly-successful boys lacrosse program. And, as it turns out, the Mounts didn’t have very far to look.

Eric Bensing will become the third head coach in Ephrata boys lacrosse history, EHS Athletic Director Steve Sweigart confirmed Monday morning.

A 12-year assistant at EHS, Bensing will replace Kevin Pletz, who resigned earlier this year after five very successful seasons as head coach.

Reached Monday evening, Bensing said his reasons for applying was to help make the transition to a new coach as smooth as possible for the players.

“I’m very happy, obviously, that the board approved me,” he said. “I’ve been there for awhile and I was very happy that it went the way it did. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but obviously I felt I could keep some continuity and consistency there for the team. That was my biggest consideration when I was contemplating applying for the position. Kevin spoke to the rest of the staff well in advance of his intentions to step down, so we kind of knew it for some time. I just didn’t want to stick the kids in a spot where, not that they’d have to start all the way over, but we’ve put a lot of stuff in place over the last few years to get the program to where we are currently and I just want to continue building on that.”

Under Pletz, who took over following the sudden death of former Coach Mike Ream in the spring of 2010, the Mounts rose to elite status in both the L-L League and District Three.

Ephrata went 79-29 in Pletz’s five years at the helm and was routinely a post-season participant. The pinnacle for the program came in 2012 when the Mounts became the only team other than Manheim Township or Hempfield to ever claim an L-L League crown. That squad went on to win the District Three championship as well and made its first-ever State appearance while compiling a stellar 22-3 record.

Bensing, an EHS grad who began coaching at the junior high level before becoming a top assistant under Ream and then Pletz, certainly knows what it takes to be successful. He was asked what he believes his best assets are as a coach?

“The first thing I’m going to really lean on, at least for this year, is my ability to teach the sport itself,” he said. “I think I have a really good knack of breaking down the offense and defense or other aspects of the game…breaking each part down and teaching it individually. It can be really confusing at times when you are out there trying to run an offensive set and you are going through the whole thing without breaking down each player’s responsibility in the offensive set because it really is more than just one play. Every player has a role they play within the offense to make it work. I feel that’s one of my biggest assets, to teach all those little things.”

Asked of his visions for the program, Bensing said his energies will be focused on continuing what Ream and Pletz started and grow from there.

“Initially, I’m going to try and continue with what we were doing,” he said. “We’ve already had conversations in the off-season about things for next year’s team, as far as what we were looking at doing, as far as the personnel we have coming back and the formations that we want to try and utilize to take advantage of the kids’ abilities. That’s going to be my initial focus. I’m going to be really looking at the personnel that we have and try to see where we can fill the needs.”

Ephrata returns most of its offense from a year ago, with one big exception. The Mounts need to find a way to replace the L-L League’s leading scorer Koty Keefer, who scored the most points in EHS program history.

Bensing does believe the Mounts will be OK offensively, but they must replace several key defenders from a year ago, as well as two-year starting goalie Justin Mease.

“That’s probably going to be our biggest challenge this year,” he said. “We are going to have to be a ball-possession team and rely on our offense to kind of cover up some of our youth at the defensive end.”

With the talent that’s there and in the pipeline, Bensing does believe the program can remain one of the top in both the league and District. He added that he hopes they can one day become a mainstay as a State power as well.

“Having been to States a few years ago, I saw really the next level that we need to get to,” he said. “Downingtown West was really a much more physical team than what we were expecting. Not that the L-L doesn’t have teams like that but when you get to the state level of play, the athletes are on a whole different level.

“I’m hoping to return to the State Tournament again. Every year that is one of our goals. We always want to be in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs and make the District Tournament. My personal goal has always been to get back to States. I think we are going to have the kids to do it. It’s just that we are going to have to work pretty hard. Physically, again, we are not going to be one of the bigger, stronger teams, but we will be pretty fast. We do have real good skill position players. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Ephrata opens the 2015 campaign March 24 at home vs. Governor Mifflin.

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *