Mounts clinch section with win over Cocalico
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Ephrata put a damper on Senior Night at Cocalico.
Monday evening in Denver, the Mounts wrapped up their first Section Two championship since 2007, and severely damaged Cocalico’s L-L playoff chances with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Eagles.
Andy Moore and Matt Faller both found the back of the net for the Mounts (11-2 section, 13-3-1 overall), who now own a two-game lead over second-place Manheim Central (9-4) with just one game to play.
Ephrata got what turned out to be the game winner in the 10th minute when Moore collected a rebound off a Trevor Boyer shot and put it past Eagle keeper Lucas DiCiano for the all important 1-0 lead.
"We came out and had constant pressure on them," Ephrata Coach Rob Deininger said following the win. "When the game started, I thought with it being their Senior Night that they would try to come out quickly. We got that first goal and that kind of put them on their heels. And from that point on, I thought we kind of dictated the play and were able to take them out of their game."
The Mounts kept the pressure on and cashed in early in the second half for a big insurance goal.
Boyer set that one up as well nine minutes into the second half when his corner kick was re-directed by Faller and into the left side of the goal.
Both teams had eight shots as Ephrata keeper Kole DeHaven pitched the shutout by stopping all eight.
"It was very similar to the first time we played them," Deininger said, referring to Ephrata’s 3-1 win back on Sept. 19. "I think we were just a little too quick for them, and we were fortunate enough to come away with another victory."
"This group of seniors has been together for quite a while," he continued. "There are 11 of them and the majority of them have been playing together since grade school. The goal was to win the section title, and hopefully a little more. But they accomplished that and worked hard to do it. They get along together and tonight was a fun night for them. They reap the rewards and that’s something they’ll always remember."
After Wednesday’s season finale vs. Garden Spot, the Mounts will shift their attention to the L-L playoffs, which are scheduled to begin next Tuesday.
As the top seed from Section Two, Ephrata will face the second-seeded team from Section Three in Tuesday’s first round which is set for either Penn Manor or Pequea Valley, beginning at either 5 or 7:30 p.m. Lancaster Mennonite can wrap up the final Section Three spot Wednesday with a home victory over winless Lebanon Catholic. Donegal is also in the mix.
Deininger said he expects the Mounts to challenge for a league title.
"We’ll be fine…we’ll be in every game," he said. "We lost two games in overtime and one 1-0…nobody is going to blow us out. We are going to be in every contest. The make-up of our group is we are not going to give up till the bitter end. We are a very competitive team no matter who we are playing. There is not a team out there that is superior, so we’ll be in it."
While Ephrata’s L-L berth is secure, Cocalico’s hopes for a league playoff spot are still alive but the Eagles will need some help. The Eagles (7-5-1) would need to defeat Lebanon Wednesday and have Garden Spot (8-5) lose to Ephrata and L-S (8-5) to fall to E-town to clinch the third seed out of Section Two.
Last Friday, Ephrata defeated Solanco, 6-0 while the Eagles suffered a critical 2-0 loss at Garden Spot.
In the Mounts’ win, Moore scored a hat trick to lead the way while Kyle Phillips, Nate Eberly and Zach Schaller also found the net for the winners.
In New Holland, the Spartans scored single goals in each half to put away Cocalico.
Both squads also were in action last Wednesday. Ephrata suffered just its second section loss of the year in losing a 1-0 game at L-S.
Cocalico, meanwhile, forged a 2-2 tie with E-town as both Alec Sensenig and Austin Krick scored on PKs for the Eagles.
This past Saturday, Ephrata earned a 2-0 victory over Oley Valley in a non-league contest hosted by the Lynx.
Moore and Boyer both scored goals for the Mounts, who got a pair of assists from Phillips.