CHS girls fall in PKs, drop L-L title game
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Many times, games do not live up to the hype. However, Saturday’s L-L Girls Soccer Final between Cedar Crest and Cocalico at Manheim Central certainly was not one of those.
The Lady Eagles and Cedar Crest battled for the ultimate prize, and 110 minutes of exhausting, yet scintillating soccer wasn’t enough as this one went to penalty kicks.
Unfortunately for Cocalico, the Lady Falcons out-lasted the Lady Eagles, 5-4 in the PK round to emerge as the champion.
Cedar Crest sophomore Delaney Cole completed a perfect round of kicks for her squad, burying her shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net to seal the Lady Falcon victory and set off their wild celebration.
It was a great feeling to win for Crest, but a horrible way to lose if you are Cocalico.
"There are a lot of people who don’t like it, and I might agree with them right now," Cocalico Coach Dan Hogan said following the painful loss. "But you have to decide the game some way. The game itself was a great effort on both sides, and they just got one more penalty kick than us."
Kat Lawver, Shannon Hoeveler and Jen Newman all were good on Cocalico’s first three attempts in the PK round, but Becca Robins, Haleigh Echard and Gabby Boehmer matched them to set the stage for the finish.
The match turned in Cedar Crest’s advantage when Cocalico senior Taylor Esterly, who replaced freshman starter Emily White in goal for the PKs, took the Lady Eagles’ fourth attempt but unfortunately ripped it square off the right post.
Crest’s Amanda Harmuth then delivered her team’s fourth tally before Cocalico’s Taylor Garman kept her team momentarily alive with a pressure goal.
That set the stage for Cole’s final shot, which Esterly didn’t have a chance to stop.
"I think all of their shots looked pretty good," Hogan said. "I don’t think it would have mattered who we put in there, those were going in."
Prior to the PKs, this was a game filled with equal opportunities on both sides, but the defenses shined to hold this contest scoreless. Crest had the better of the play in the first half but solid Cocalico defense and several strong saves from White (she made eight for the game), and a little help from the crossbar on a shot by Kara Cooper kept them off the board.
"Our defense really has stepped up," Hogan said. "If you look at the last couple games, they’ve really held solid and Emily has been excellent in goal. For a ninth grade kid to do what she’s doing back there in goal…she’s not always the most orthodox goalkeeper but she is effective."
Cocalico came back strong in the second half, and created several potential scoring chances. Unfortunately, Crest goalie Nikki Harner (10 saves) was equal to the task each time.
Echard had the best chance in the first overtime, ripping a shot off the left post just two minutes into the extra time. Neither team threatened in the second OT, although Cocalico’s Lawver got off the lone shot of the period, which was easily saved with four minutes to go.
That set the stage for the wild finish and CC victory, which not only snapped Cocalico’s 10-game winning streak but ended the Lady Eagles’ amazing playoff run that began with wins over defending champion CV and then Hempfield in the semifinals.
"It was an awesome run," Hogan said. "It’s been great to be here with these girls the whole time. A lot of them I’ve been coaching since they were five years old, and I always knew this was going to be a good year. It’s cool to see the program get here now. It just sets an example for the players in the future."
Last Wednesday at Manheim Central, the Lady Eagles earned a 1-0 victory over Hempfield to punch their ticket into Saturday’s final.
In the 54th minute, Shannon Hoeveler took a pass from Lawver and scored the game’s only goal.
White made five saves as the Lady Eagles advanced. More TITLE GAME, page B-4