Mounts get offensive against Cocalico

By on April 3, 2019
Photo by Missi Mortimer Ephrata’s Caden Keefer (right) fends off Cocalico’s Sam Stewart during boys’ lacrosse action Monday night at Talon Field.

Photo by Missi Mortimer Ephrata’s Caden Keefer (right) fends off Cocalico’s Sam Stewart during boys’ lacrosse action Monday night at Talon Field.

 

After struggling offensively for the first time Saturday in a 7-5 victory over Cedar Crest, the Ephrata offense got back on track Monday night in a big Section Two match at Cocalico.

Tied 2-2 midway through the first quarter, the Mounts out-scored the Eagles 12-3 the rest of the half to grab a big 14-5 half-time advantage. They continued that surge through the third before calling off the dogs in an eventual 20-7 victory over the Eagles.

Caden Keefer (6 goals, 3 assists), Bryson Rhee (5, 3) and Kyle Raudenbush (5, 0) accounted for 16 of the 20 Ephrata goals as the Mounts upped their record to a perfect 3-0 in Section Two play (5-0 overall).

“We were happy to see our offense bounce back from a sluggish performance at Cedar Crest on Saturday,” Ephrata coach Mike O’Donnell said. “We have multiple kids battling illness right now, so to watch them tough it out and perform well against a rival school was good to see. I thought our midfielders did a really good job competing at the face-off ‘X’ as well. They were a little quicker than we were on the clamp, but Brock Boyer and Cody Mountz did a good scrapping and giving our wings a chance to get in and help us get possession of the ball. Overall, we’re happy to get another win, and we are focused on getting rested and healthy for LCDS on Wednesday.”

Cocalico, which fell to 0-2 in league play (0-5 overall), got off to the start it needed, leading 1-0 and 2-1 early, but couldn’t sustain it as Ephrata really took over the possession.

“I felt our face off guy (Brayden Johnson) did a good job all night,” Cocalico coach Chris Laudenslager said. “The unfortunate part was that we couldn’t maintain possessions either through turnovers due to fundamentals or shots taken without getting their defense to move. We are hurting right now defensively and Ephrata took advantage of that with their skill.”

Ephrata went from tied 2-2 to up 7-2 at the end of one. The Mounts twice cored off man down situations during that stretch to take command.

“We started off playing pretty decently with a lot of energy and physicality,” Laudenslager said. “Then we lost our composure and started going away from the fundamentals once Ephrata started going up on top of us. Ephrata is a talented team and you must be on your game with the fundamentals and maintaining possessions to be able to beat them and be competitive with them.”

The Mounts owned the second quarter as the offense began to fire on all cylinders. They began the second on a 5-1 run to make it 12-3 before Cocalico added two late goals.

However, Cocalico simply couldn’t slow down the Ephrata offense which was quarterbacked by Keefer and Rhee.

“Our guys have done a pretty good job of working together and taking what the opposing defense gives them,” O’Donnell said. “When you have a group that is as talented as we are on offense, it can be a struggle to find enough touches for everyone. Our guys have made great strides in moving the ball when defenses slide to them, and not trying to do too much on their own. We aren’t perfect, and there are times when some of our guys try to do a little too much on their own, but we continue to show progress on offense. If this offensive group continues to work together and make good decisions with the ball in their stick, then they will continue to have success throughout the rest of this season.”

In addition to their big three, Mount freshman Hunter Mortimer added two goals and an assist while Mountz and Devon Williams also found the net for the still unbeaten Mounts.

“Our coaching staff felt that this team had a chance to make this a special season, and we are really happy to be sitting at 5-0 right now,” O’Donnell said. “All of the coaches are enjoying our opportunity to work with these kids. With that being said, it’s still early, and we are entering a very challenging portion of our schedule. The key for us moving forward will be to stay healthy and continue to work on the little things that are so important during tightly contested games.”

Ephrata has two big contests this week as they host LCD/Lancaster Catholic Wednesday at 7 p.m. and will also be home Friday (7 p.m.) vs. Lampeter-Strasburg.

Cocalico, which got a four-goal night from Sam Stewart while Johnson added a pair and Noah Palm also scored, needs to regroup with a pair of tough match-ups on tap this week. The Eagles hit the road Wednesday (7 p.m.) to face Penn Manor and will also be at LCD/Lancaster Catholic Friday (7 p.m.).

“We need to keep focusing on the little things…ball-handling, sound physical defensive play and a patient offense,” Laudenslager said, when asked what his team needs to do to turn things around. “We have shown that ability but have not strung it over 48 minutes of play.”

In addition to Monday’s contest, Ephrata pulled out that tough 7-5 victory Saturday on the road at Cedar Crest in a non-league contest.

The Mounts held a slight lead throughout and never let it get away to claim the big win.

Raudenbush had three goals while Boyer added a pair of tallies to lead the Mounts. Keefer chipped in with a goal and an assist while Mortimer added the other Ephrata goal while Rhee had a pair of assists in the Ephrata win.

John Lux paced the Falcons (0-3) with a three-goal day.

Ephrata out-shot Cedar Crest 29-23 as Mounts’ goalie Ethan Moyer registered 13 saves in the win.

Last Thursday at Garden Spot in Section Two action, the Mounts out-scored the Spartans 11-3 in the first half and coasted the rest of the way to earn an eventual 18-6 victory.

Rhee led the way for the Mounts with five goals and three assists. Boyer chipped in with four goals and two assists while Raudenbush (3), Keefer (3) and Mortimer (2) all had multiple-goal games for the winners.

Moyer made six saves as Ephrata out-shot GS 36-27.

Cocalico also was in action Thursday, dropping a 9-4 decision to Lampeter-Strasburg in a game played at Talon Field.

Leading 2-1 after one quarter, the Pioneers out-scored Cocalico 3-0 in the second to take command.

Johnson led the Cocalico attack with three goals while Palm added the fourth Eagle tally.

Ben Musselman made 16 saves in net for the Eagles in the loss.

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