CV snaps girls’ 18-game win streak, heads to finals with 1-0 victory

By on October 18, 2017

Ephrata’s Maddie Root (left) makes a move on Conestoga Valley’s Emily Clapper during Tuesday’s L-L semifinal game in Manheim. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Wes Deininger sighed as he walked across the turf Tuesday night at Manheim Central High School.
In the first 40 minutes of Ephrata’s Lancaster-Lebanon League girls’ soccer semifinal match against CV, his Lady Mounts (18-2) had the Buckskins on the ropes. Unfortunately, his team could not deliver the knock out blow.
Ephrata went toe-to-toe with the Section One champions, yielding the game’s only goal with 9:48 remaining in the contest for a 1-0 Conestoga Valley (17-1-1) win that propels the Buckskins into the league finals Thursday against Manheim Township.
“Hah, I thought we had them early,” said Deininger, as he walked toward the Ephrata cheering section after the game, his team’s first loss in 19 tries.
“I think it was a really competitive match the whole game through,” he said. “The first half we had some chances and they (CV) found a way to get one through.”
The one that got through was chipped from about 12 yards out on a header by Gabi Barone off a beautifully placed cross on the right side from Madison Delgado.
The ball fluttered over the out-stretched arm of Lady Mounts’ goalie Jocelyn Umana as she back-peddled in front of the net. The cross and header happened so fast that the defense had no time to shift, Deininger said.
The goal appeared to catch everyone by surprise, including the goal scorer.
“I don’t know how exactly it happened,” said Barone, who lives in Akron. “Maddie and I have played together a long time. I saw she was getting ready to play the ball and I knew I had to get a touch on it. I did and it went in.”
“I was surprised,” she said. “I just tried to put it on the frame and it went in. I was shocked, but happy that I helped our team win.”
The sophomore is on a bit of a hot streak, notching the winning goal in CV’s previous game, also a 1-0 victory, against Pequea Valley in the first round of leagues. Last year in the playoffs against Hempfield she netted the winning goal in double overtime.
The big stage agrees with her.
“Ever since I was young I performed well under pressure,” she said. “If I can, I want to be the person to get the job done. Being part of the reason that we are in the finals is very satisfying.”
Tuesday’s matchup was bittersweet for Barone, who along with at least three of her CV teammates play for Penn United Force, a club team, that consists of at least three Ephrata girls.
One of Barone’s teammates on the club team is Umana, the Lady Mount’s goalie who besides the one goal, had a fantastic day in net, collecting four saves, including two difference-making stops in the first half.
The first impressive save came about 11 minutes into the game when Umana punched a ball over the goal post on a blast from CV’s Adalee Broadbent.
Umana added a diving save to her right to keep the game scoreless in the first half.
Barone said it was an advantage and a disadvantage knowing Umana, a fellow sophomore, so well.
“We knew how she performs and we knew we had to keep pressure on her,” Barone said. “She can be hard on herself, so we thought if we could get one by her it might give us an edge. The disadvantage is she is a good keeper and is not going to give up an easy goal. She is going to come after you and is not going to back down. I knew we had to keep the pressure on her.
“If she’d back down it could have been a two or three goal game. I am so happy for how she performed. Even though we are competitors on the field we are still friends and I am so proud of how she performed and I told her that.”
Deininger was not surprised by Umana’s performance, saying she has not given up a bad goal all season.
CV coach Keith Nagley said he knew Ephrata’s “Big Three” (Madison Root, Annie Slovak and Abbie Wiest) were good. He also knew Slovak was quick and could turn on a dime.
He saw in the first half how explosive the Lady Mounts’ offense can be, as Root fired a shot high to the right side of the goal two minutes into the game and Slovak turned and fired with 17:20 left in the opening half only to have her shot blocked.
CV tightened up its defense in the second half, putting a defender on Slovak’s hip, making it difficult for the sophomore to turn and get a shot off.
“We got a little loose in the midfield,” Nagley said. “I didn’t want them (Ephrata) to be able to run with their speed. Both teams had quality chances. Both keepers had two quality saves. Ephrata is solid in the back. They are a good team. “
The Lady Mounts lost their first game this year to Wilson and then went on a run of 18-straight wins. The loss Tuesday was only the team’s second setback on the year, but it was the kind of performance Deininger believes can propel the Lady Mounts further in the postseason.
“I am really proud of how played,” said Deininger, whose team faces either Dallastown or Central York at home in the first round of the District Three Tournament Oct. 24. “The district tournament is there for the taking. We can play with anyone. I think most of the team already believes that. They realize they can play with anyone.”
Ephrata advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals after claiming an exciting victory over Donegal Saturday in the first round in Manheim.
This one was tied 1-1 through regulation and two overtime periods and had to be decided on penalty kicks.
There, Umana was the difference as she stopped a pair of PKs, and then kicked the game-clinching PK to give the Lady Mounts the 1-1 (4-2) victory.
Wiest gave Ephrata a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute off a feed from Abigail White. That lead stood until the 69th minute when Donegal knotted it at 1-1 on a goal by Maya Willing.

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