Ephrata rips Pioneers, clinches Section Two title

By on May 1, 2019
Ephrata’s Kyle Raudenbush splits the Lampeter-Strasburg defenders during an offensive rush Tuesday night. The Mounts were victorious 14-2 to clinch the Section Two title. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Ephrata’s Kyle Raudenbush splits the Lampeter-Strasburg defenders during an offensive rush Tuesday night. The Mounts were victorious 14-2 to clinch the Section Two title. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Before the 2019 season began, the Ephrata boys lacrosse team set some lofty goals, the first of which was capturing the regular season Section Two title and berth in the upcoming Lancaster-Lebanon League tournament.

Tuesday evening at Lampeter-Strasburg the Mountaineers accomplished just that.

Buoyed by its quick-strike offense, Ephrata dominated in all phases of the contest, running off nine-straight goals in a convincing 14-2 victory.

“This was definitely near the top of the list,” Mountaineers coach Mike O’Donnell said of the championship. “We just tried to emphasize to the kids to take it one game at a time, but even one shot at a time, one pass at a time, one save at a time.

“They really did that tonight. They played a great game and I am proud of them.”

The Mountaineers improved to 9-1 in the league and 13-4 overall and junior Kyle Raudenbush noted his team’s improvement in his three years.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “My freshman year two years ago we didn’t have a great year, but it was an improvement with five wins. Last year we had another improvement, I think it was 10 wins. This year, another huge jump, a section title for us.

“Everyone has got a lot of fight in them. Everyone wants to win and no one is selfish.”

After falling behind 1:27 into the contest, Ephrata scored three times in a 52-second span of the first period and added another less than two minutes later for a 4-1 lead.

Caden Keefer started the barrage and Raudenbush split a pair of Pioneers defenders en route to the second goal, a mere nine seconds after Keefer’s marker.

Hunter Mortimer put home a great pass from Bryson Rhee and with 4:25 left in the quarter, Raudenbush notched his second goal of the game.

“We knew coming into the season that our offense was going to carry us for most of the year and they did that tonight,” O’Donnell said. “We were down 1-0 and we answered back quickly, kind of reset the tone and never gave L-S a chance to get back into it. It wasn’t just our offense. It was our defense, our goalie.”

Raudenbush completed his hat trick a little more than two minutes into the second quarter and nearly six minutes later, Mortimer scored his second of the day. Exactly 58 seconds elapsed before Rhee found the back of the net, helping the Mounts take a 7-1 lead at the half.

Pioneers keeper Dominic Reed made a terrific save in the opening 35 seconds and Conner Nolt opened the scoring for Lampeter-Strasburg 57 seconds later. However, the Pioneers’ advantage lasted only a little more than three minutes.

Reed’s counterpart Ethan Moyer wasn’t tested as often but made a big stop near the midway point of the third quarter, keeping Ephrata’s lead, which was extended to 8-1 on Brock Boyer’s man-up goal.

Boyer and Raudenbush finished with four goals apiece. Keefer notched a pair of goals and two assists. Rhee scored twice

O’Donnell called it a “coming out party” for the sophomore Boyer, who in addition to his scoring was dominating in the draw circle.

“That was such an advantage tonight for Brock to be competing, having success in the face-off dot, and putting the ball in back of the net a few times,” the coach said. “I am really proud of him for the way he played.”

“Our ball movement was amazing, the best we have had all year in my opinion,” said Boyer. “We just executed when we had to. Confidence is everything. We know we are good, but we don’t want to get too high. We’ve got to stay level and play how we play.”

Ephrata has now qualified for the L-L League playoffs, which get underway next Tuesday night. the Mounts will face Section One runner-up Hempfield at 5 p.m. at Penn Manor’s Comet Field.

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This past Saturday at Elizabethtown, the Mounts blanked the Bears for three quarters as they jumped out to a 9-0 advantage before cruising in for an eventual 10-3 victory.

Rhee led the Ephrata offense with four goals and two assists while Keefer had a hat trick and Boyer contributed a pair of goals.

Moyer made 10 saves to get the win in net for the Mounts.

Cocalico, meanwhile, was scheduled to be in action Tuesday night at home vs. Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic.

In addition to that match, the Eagles hosted Conrad Weiser this past Saturday where the visiting Scouts scored a 15-5 victory over the Eagles.

Trailing just 6-4 at the half, Weiser out-scored the Eagles 9-1 over the final 24 minutes to capture the victory.

Noah Palm was a bright spot for Cocalico, registering four of the Eagles’ five goals. Alex Mellinger scored the other Cocalico goal while Brennan Mahar added an assist in the loss.

Ben Musselman made 11 saves in the Cocalico net.

Cocalico (1-7, 1-14) also was in action last Thursday at Conestoga Valley where the host Buckskins jumped out to a 14-3 half-time lead and cruised to an eventual 17-6 victory.

Brayden Johnson scored three goals to pace Cocalico, while Palm added two goals and Sam Stewart also found the net.

Cocalico will close out the season Thursday night (7 p.m.) on the road at Garden Spot.

 

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