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LMH erupts against EphrataDowns Mounts 5-0 in first round
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
The Ephrata boys soccer team did all it could Tuesday night vs. Lancaster Mennonite in the first round of the L-L League playoffs at Warwick.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly enough to slow down the Blazers.
Mennonite scored two early goals to set the tone, then buried three more shots the rest of the way en route to a convincing 5-0 shutout win over the Mounts.
Keegan Rosenberry led the impressive LMH attack with a pair of goals while CJ Sturges, Caleb Cole and Sam Stoner also added tallies for the Blazers (15-2), who will advance to Thursday’s semifinals at Manheim Central where they’ll face Hempfield (17-1-1)– a 2-0 victor over Manheim Central Tuesday.
As impressive as LMH was for long stretches Tuesday, Ephrata actually played better than they score indicated. The Mounts had several chances on the night but unfortunately came up empty every time.
"They came at us quick in the beginning," Ephrata Coach Rob Deininger said. "We made two mistakes and they capitalized. I actually thought we played a pretty good game. It’s just that they had their opportunities and converted. We had some opportunities and we didn’t convert. They were the better team tonight."
Mennonite, which out shot Ephrata 15-7, drew first blood 7:43 into the game as Sturges controlled an Ephrata turnover at midfield and went in all alone on Ephrata goalie Kole DeHaven (3 saves). Sturges finished off the play by tucking it inside the left post for the 1-0 lead.
A little more than two minutes later, Cole upped the lead to 2-0 when he ripped a shot that bounced off DeHaven and went in under the cross bar.
But Ephrata (9-8-2) responded and forced several chances. Eventually, the Mounts were rewarded when Kyle Phillips was taken down in the box and the Mounts were given a penalty kick. Kyle Smith took the kick for Ephrata, but his blast low to the right corner was gobbled up by Blazer keeper Cole Hoover (5 saves) and the Mounts were held off the board.
"It was 2-0, we worked hard and got ourselves in position for a penalty kick, and that’s the first one he’s missed all year," Deininger said. "That hurt us a little bit. I mean we had an opportunity. I thought we were moving the ball OK but when we didn’t convert (the PK) it did change the game a little bit. Tonight they were the better team. Hats off to them."
Rosenberry then put all doubts to rest with a pair of goals late in the half to make it 4-0. First, he pounced on a rebound and drilled it into a wide-open net with 8:25 to go. Then with just over two minutes remaining in the half, Rosenberry dribbled through defenders into open space and drilled a shot into the back of the net.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst news for the Mounts in the first half. In the final minute, Ephrata junior Brandon Straley was battling for possession with Mennonite’s Caleb Gish when he went down in a heap.
The game was delayed for 20 minutes as Straley was tended to on the field. Initial word on the injury was a possible broken leg.
When play resumed, Mennonite came up with the lone goal of the second half in the game’s 48th minute as Stoner capped things off with his tally.
Ephrata will now await word of a possible berth into the District Three playoffs, which begin with play-in games on Monday, Oct. 24. The top 20 teams will qualify for the AAA playoffs, and as of presstime, Ephrata was 20th overall while Cocalico sits right behind in the 21st position. Those brackets are scheduled to be released later this week. More SOCCER, page B-7