Ephrata girls tie unbeaten E-town

By on September 26, 2012

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor truth.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Ephrata's Aspen Brennan (left) and Jenna Yarger (back) double team Cocalico's Alexia Palm (10) during last Wednesday's contest. (Photo by Stan Hall)

Confidence is a powerful thing.

Ephrata Coach Wes Deininger said he has seen his team gain it as the season has gone on, and the Lady Mounts carried that feeling into Tuesday’s road game at undefeated Elizabethtown.

And in a game in which Ephrata carried the play, only the Elizabethtown goalie kept the Lady Mounts from handing the Bears their first loss of the season.

Ephrata out-shot E-town 13-7 but neither team could find the back of the net in this one as they played to a 0-0 tie.

Ephrata goalie Brittany Contres made six big stops to lead the Lady Mounts to their fourth-straight game without a loss, upping their mark to 5-2-1 in Section Two play.

With the loss, the Bears dropped out of a first-place tie with L-S, which was victorious Tuesday. The Pioneers own a 7-0-0 mark and now lead E-town by a half game (6-0-1). Ephrata is in third place ahead of Cocalico (5-3-0), which upended Manheim Central by a 4-2 score Tuesday.

Last Wednesday at home, Ephrata gained the edge on Cocalico in the standings by virtue of a very exciting 3-2 victory over the Lady Eagles.

With Ephrata leading 2-1, Cocalico tied it up with 8:44 to play when Nicole Zwiercan collected a perfect through pass from Taylor Esterly.

But Ephrata responded for the game winner with just 5:04 to play as sophomore Debby Saenz took it down the middle before feeding fellow 10th grader Brittany Lutz on the left wing. Lutz ripped a shot past Lady Eagle keeper Emily White for the winning tally.

"It was a great game all around and it was great to see we could bounce back from something that late in the game," Deininger said following the win. "Obviously, a lot of teams would crumble in that situation, but for us to withstand it and get the win with (five) minutes left is awesome. It was great to see the girls with that attitude."

Especially since the younger members of the team played key roles in the outcome. In addition to Saenz and Lutz, sophomore Jenna Yarger pumped in two key goals in the win.

"I think one thing those younger girls have brought us is kind of that fearless attitude," Deininger said. "They are not scared of anyone, digging into tackles when they have to…. And I think that has really carried over to the older girls."

Both Lutz and senior Aspen Brennan added assists for the Lady Mounts.

"I think we had some early chances that we didn’t finish," Cocalico Coach Dan Hogan said following the loss. "Ephrata kept building momentum. They have some girls that can score goals and they worked extremely hard tonight and that’s why they are on top."

Cocalico drew first blood in this one when Kat Lawver tallied in the 19th minute to give her team the 1-0 lead. But Ephrata hung in and eventually got the equalizer with just two minutes to play when Yarger scored her first goal going in alone on White.

"The girls know we can play good soccer and they know we can play with any of these teams," Deininger said. "Once we kind of settled down, when the play wasn’t quite as hectic, we finally started to play and the momentum started to shift. We got the goal at the end of the half and then it’s anyone’s game."

Five minutes into the second, Lutz ran a ball down and crossed it to Yarger, who buried it from inside the box to give Ephrata it’s first lead at 2-1 and set the stage for the exciting finish.

"When we scored I really thought we’d have the advantage going forward," Hogan said of his team’s game tying goal late in regulation. "I have a lot of confidence in these girls. I really thought we would not only get the equalizer but possibly win the game. To Ephrata’s credit, they found a way to do it."

With the loss, Cocalico now has more losses already this year than it did the entire regular season this past spring.

According to Hogan, his team needs to get it in gear quickly.

"We got to go the other way now and win these games, and we need a lot of help. The second half of the season has to be a lot different for us."

Cocalico did get back on the winning track Saturday in a 7-0 victory over Lebanon.

In that one, Hoeveler scored a pair of goals to lead the way. Emily Zwiercan, Shelby Umbenhauer, Jen Newman, Esterly and Taylor Garman also added goals in the victory.

In Tuesday’s win at Manheim Central, Nicole Zwiercan notched a pair of goals while Emily Zwiercan and Hoeveler also found the back of the net. More GIRLS SOCCER, page B-4

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