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Cedar Cliff bumps Ephrata from Districts
By: Staff Report, Staff Writer
Ephrata’s first trip to Districts since 2007 proved to be a short, yet controversial one as the Lady Mounts field hockey team was ousted by Cedar Cliff, 3-2 in a preliminary game held Saturday at Lower Dauphin High School.
Despite Ephrata holding a 12-4 advantage in corners and a 9-6 edge in shots, the Colts prevailed in a physically-played game that had CC whistled for one green card, two yellow and a red.
With the game tied 2-2 and Cedar Cliff down three players (11-on-8) due to the two yellows and one red card which occurred during a three-minute span of the second half, the Colts’ Pam Brinley rushed down the right sideline before sending it into the circle. Nicole Rupnik secured it and shot. Ephrata keeper Katie Hammaker made the initial save, but Rupnik gathered her rebound and sent it into the left corner of the cage for what turned out to be the gamewinner with 11:04 to go.
Ephrata did threaten to tie the game, forcing six corners over the last five minutes of the contest. Unfortunately for the Lady Mounts, they couldn’t get the equalizer past Cedar Cliff keeper Maura Jacobs.
"We should have taken advantage of (the player advantage)," Ephrata Coach Rhoda Mounts said. "We made some mistakes but how many times did we miss the tip or just miss the cage? We had our chances. The statistics say we should have won, but that’s just the way it is some times. That’s why they call it a game."
The Colts drew first blood in the first half when Ashton Whalen scored at the 15:11 mark to give her team a 1-0 lead. But Ephrata responded just 44 seconds later when Brooke Overly drilled home a pass from teammate Rachel Stauffer to knot the game at 1-1.
The Lady Mounts then grabbed their lone lead of the game with 3:21 remaining in the first half when Moriah Pfautz fielded a loose ball in the crease and sent it past Jacobs for the go-ahead goal.
Unfortunately for Ephrata, that lead was short-lived. Just 14 seconds later, Whalen drilled a shot that was tipped in by teammate Olivia Evans to tie the game at 2-2 heading to the half.
The game took on its physical tone in the second half when several Colts seemingly lost their cool. Two players took yellow cards in a span of a minute, then a few minutes later Whalen got hit with a red card and was ejected when she took down Pfautz in the Ephrata zone.
On the rough play, Mountz said she was proud of her team for keeping its composure when things turned ugly.
"I was very proud to be a part of Ephrata field hockey," she said. "I thought the girls did play with a lot of heart, and with respect and dignity against a team that had none of the above. In my opinion, we won on the field but we didn’t win on the scoreboard, and unfortunately you got to win on the scoreboard to be declared the winner."
Hammaker collected three saves on the afternoon while Jacobs turned away six Ephrata shots.
Cedar Cliff (12-6) advanced to Tuesday’s first round where the Colts were scheduled to face Penn Manor at Hempfield High School.
Ephrata, which advanced to the L-L playoffs this season in addition to its District appearance, closed out the year at 11-9 overall.
"We had a really good season," Mountz said, reflecting on the year. "We had to overcome a lot of adversity with losing key players to injury. We had to adjust and I thought we did. In the long run I think it brought us much closer as a team and a hockey family. And for that I’m very grateful and thankful. I don’t think the county has seen the last of Ephrata field hockey. We’ll be back next year."
DISTRICT 3 AAA
Preliminary Round Scores: Red Land 2, Dallastown 1 (OT); Cedar Cliff 3, Ephrata 2; Gov. Mifflin 6, Lampeter-Strasburg 3; Central York 1, Gettysburg 0 (OT). More EPHRATA GIRLS, page B-6