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Cocalico blanks Ephrata girls
By: BRUCE MORGAN Review Staff, Staff Writer
What was billed as a potential first-place field hockey showdown turned into a one-sided affair Tuesday in Denver.
Behind a suffocating defense and an opportunistic offensive attack, Cocalico frustrated upstart Ephrata in an eventual 3-0 decision.
The Lady Eagles (5-0 Section Two) got a pair of goals from Liza Morgan while their defense held an Ephrata offense that had been averaging four goals per game to just four shots in the entire contest.
"My defense is very seasoned," Cocalico Coach Krista Page said following the win. "This is their third year together…Our defense was tough and they followed the gameplan just perfectly."
Their offense wasn’t bad either, led by Morgan, who scored both of her goals off deflections. In the first half, she re-directed a Carrie Sensenig shot past Ephrata freshman keeper Katie Hammaker (12 saves) for the 1-0 lead. Her final tally came midway through the second half on another re-direction this time from Janelle High. Sensenig added the other Lady Eagle score (from Morgan) as they pumped 16 shots on Hammaker for the game.
"I think they are moving better," Page said of her offense. "Within themselves, I think we are building numbers and we are trying to attack down numbers. We are building numbers inside the 25 which is good. I think we are still spending too much time from that 35 and in and not coming away with enough. We spent way too much time and get off way too many shots to get what we get. We still need to work on finishing."
Cocalico’s play certainly left an impression on Ephrata Coach Rhoda Mountz, who saw her squad drop to 3-2 in Section Two play with the loss.
"They outplayed us from endline to endline," she said. "They beat us to the ball. I’m not making any excuses. I just think we were flat-out, out-played today. They have tremendous stick skills and just shut us down. They shut down our right side and we tried adjusting to that but we weren’t able to get anything going."
Cocalico’s freshman keeper Kayla Mellinger, playing for the injured Jenna Weachter, turned away four shots en route to what turned out to be a fairly easy afternoon in goal.
With the win, the Lady Eagles are now following a similar path they took a year ago on their way to a State finals berth. After going 0-4 to start the season facing some of the top teams in the state, Cocalico has settled in and now appears once again to be rolling.
"This year I was a little concerned because this year plain and simply we got beat," Page said of her team’s early losses to Penn Manor, Hempfield and Palmyra. "We didn’t lose, and I wasn’t quite sure how they would respond. But I got to tell you we went to face Lower Dauphin (Sept. 6) in the cold rain, and my kids played hard. They played well. We were in that game. That game could have gone either way. It was a very well-played game. I think they’ve responded well. They never dropped their heads. They just kept working."
Which is what Mountz hopes her team will do in six days when they face Cocalico again, this time on the at Mountaineer Field.
"I think they were a little intimidated by the name Cocalico," Mountz said of her team. "Hopefully when we get them on our turf, and now that they’ve played them, we handle that a little better. I do think we are capable of beating (Cocalico) but we have to play well. They are a good team, no doubt."
In addition to Tuesday, both squads were very busy this past week.
Monday afternoon in Quarryville, Cocalico led 2-1 at the half before scoring three more in the second to earn a 5-1 victory over host Solanco.
Amber Pinkerton led the way with three goals for the Lady Eagles. Carissa Witmer and Morgan also scored for Cocalico. Morgan added a pair of assists while Sensenig also chipped in with a helper.
Hollinger made four saves in goal for Cocalico, which outshot the Mares, 20-4.
Friday afternoon in Denver, Cocalico routed Cedar Crest by a 5-0 score.
Sensenig and Morgan each scored a pair of goals while Witmer added the fifth Lady Eagle tally. Taylor Kidwell and High both registered assists for Cocalico, which held 17-1 shot and 14-1 corner advantages.
And finally, last Wednesday at L-S, the Lady Eagles struck for three first half goals en route to a 4-0 victory over the Pioneers. Morgan and Pinkerton each scored a pair of goals to pace Cocalico.
High, Haley Irvine, Pinkerton and Witmer all picked up assists on the afternoon.
Ephrata, meanwhile, was in action Monday night under the lights at Cedar Crest where the Lady Mounts scored late in the second half to hand the host Falcons a 2-1 defeat.
With 6:30 remaining, Brooke Overly tallied off a feed from Mackenzie Ruth (two assists) to break a 1-1 tie and give Ephrata the win.
Moriah Pfautz gave Ephrata a 1-0 lead midway through the first half before the Falcons tied it early in the second.
Hammaker was strong in goal for Ephrata, saving 14 to earn the victory. Cedar Crest held a slight 15-11 advantage in shots while both teams registered seven corners.
Last Friday at home, Ephrata suffered its first loss of the season in heart-breaking fashion. Leading 4-2 with less than two minutes to go against Lampeter-Strasburg, the Pioneers struck for two goals to tie the game and then won it in overtime.
Pfautz scored a hat trick to lead Ephrata while Rachel Stauffer chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Hammaker made 11 saves in the loss.
Last Wednesday at Garden Spot, Ruth scored a pair of goals to pace the Lady Mounts in a 4-1 win over the Spartans. Pfautz and Stauffer added goals while Brooke Overly and Stauffer earned assists.
Hammaker made six saves in the win. More FIELD HOCKEY, page B-3