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Cocalico falls one win short of States
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
The cliché, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” didn’t apply to Cocalico Saturday morning in the District Three fifth-place game vs. Central Dauphin at Hershey High School.
For the Lady Eagles, it was indeed all about the start, and that wasn’t a good thing.
Cocalico allowed two quick goals to the Rams, and fought an uphill battle the rest of the way. The Lady Eagles did get one back, and dominated most of the second half. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the equalizer and Central Dauphin held on for the 2-1 win, which ended Cocalico’s season one win short of another trip to States.
“All the things we talked about at practice to prepare for this game we didn’t do,” Cocalico Coach Krista Page said. “We just couldn’t possess the ball. We just played panicky…We had a brain (lapse) in those first two minutes, and then it took us 10 to 12 minutes to get in the flow. I thought after that we kind of controlled the game for the remainder of the first. And the second half was really unfortunate that we spent 90 percent of the 30 minutes inside our offensive 40 and couldn’t finish.”
Cocalico certainly came out flat, and the Rams (19-4-1) capitalized. With 4:02 gone in the first, CD’s Molly Mariano ripped a shot in the direction of the Cocalico cage. Katie Foran got a stick on the ball, which deflected into the top right corner of the cage to give the Rams the quick 1-0 lead.
But the Mid-Penn champions were not done. Four minutes later, Taylor Dietrick collected the ball in the slot and put one past Cocalico keeper Kayla Mellinger for the 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Eagles finally got it going offensively in the latter stages of the half. And with five minutes to go, cut the deficit in half when Liza Morgan shot to the right corner where Amber Pinkerton deflected it past Ram keeper Hallie Frisco.
From that point on, Cocalico controlled most of the play but couldn’t connect on the equalizer despite their efforts. The Lady Eagles, who out-cornered CD 7-2 over the final 30 minutes (9-4 for the game), got off just one shot in the span, which Frisco easily handled.
” We did some different things to prepare for (Central Dauphin) and they executed that part well. We just didn’t finish,” Page said. “We’ve been talking throughout the post-season that you got to make the most of your opportunities because they are going to come few and far between…We just did not do that today.”
Central Dauphin will now advance to the State playoffs while Cocalico misses a chance to make another run to the State finals.
Despite that fact, Coach Page said she was still pleased with her Lady Eagles, who closed out the season at 17-7 and won another section title in the process.
“My initial thought is, the last 15 minutes of our last pre-season practice heading into the season my starting keeper hurt her hamstring and was out for the remainder of the season. And we just played a very nice team for the opportunity to play in the state tournament… I think it was a pretty good season. We have absolutely nothing to hang our heads about. We have 16 teams that started this thing and we were one of six playing today so that’s not too bad.”
Cocalico advanced to Saturday after upending Hershey, 2-1, last Thursday at Penn Manor.
Like the Central Dauphin game, Cocalico got off to a sluggish start. Unlike Saturday, the Lady Eagles overcame the rough beginning with a pair of clutch goals to earn the victory and end Hershey’s season.
Cheyenne Rodriguez got the Trojans on the board just 2:53 into the contest off a corner as her shot deflected off a Cocalico stick and into the cage.
Hershey continued the pressure and forced four more corners over the next 15 minutes before and Cocalico rushed changed the whole complexion of the game.
Senior Liza Morgan got behind the Hershey defense and broke toward the Trojan goal. As she entered the circle, a Hershey defender dove in front of her and took her down, resulting in a penalty stroke.
Carissa Witmer took the stroke and beat Hershey keeper Sonya Torres stick side to knot the game at 1-1 with less than four minutes remaining in the half.
Cocalico then took the lead for good 17:48 into the second. Off a free hit at the 25, Janelle High sent a ball into the circle where Carrie Sensenig gathered it and fired a shot between the legs of Torres for the game winner.
For the game, Hershey led in corners 10-3 while both teams collected five shots. Cocalico keeper Kayla Mellinger made four saves in the victory. More COCALICO, page B5