Mounts look to close out section title run

By on October 5, 2016
Ephrata’s Raine Slovak battles for the ball during a recent game. Slovak and the Mounts remain unbeaten in section play with four games remaining. Photo by Mike Shull
Ephrata’s Raine Slovak battles for the ball during a recent game. Slovak and the Mounts remain unbeaten in section play with four games remaining. Photo by Mike Shull

Ephrata’s Raine Slovak battles for the ball during a recent game. Slovak and the Mounts remain unbeaten in section play with four games remaining. Photo by Mike Shull

Ephrata has put a lot of work into getting where it is today, which is undefeated at 9-0-1 and two games in front of the closest competitor in Section Two.

And as the Mounts head into the final week of games, which includes four section games including Wednesday’s showdown with second-place Lampeter-Strasburg, they will look for a strong finish that hopefully leads to winning another section crown.

“We’ve positioned ourselves to take care of what we started out to do,” Ephrata Coach Rob Deininger said Tuesday. “We put ourselves in a good position going into (Wednesday’s)s game with L-S. Hopefully we can get through that and then we can kind of control everything.

“The players are confident. (Winning a section title) was their goal from the beginning, and they are still marching forward. We’ve played extremely well. If we had any hiccups we’ve found a way to overcome them.”

Actually, as far as their record is concerned, the Mounts had their only hiccup of the season this past Saturday in the rain at Mechanicsburg as the host team handed Ephrata its first loss of the season in a 2-0 non-league result.

Despite that loss, Deininger is confident there will be no carry-over from that as they head into the final stretch of games.

“We didn’t have one of our better performances but we still hit the crossbar twice and the post once, so we had our opportunities,” he said. “It was a pretty even game, but when you play 18 games eventually something is going to get you, and if there was one, that was the one. The kids were good with it.”

The Mounts (12-1-1 overall) have been consistent at both ends this season. Defensively, goalie Dave Patrushev has allowed just 10 goals and has pitched six shutouts on the season. Offensively, there has been no shortage of goals throughout the season.

Andrey Patrushev (12 assists) and Gabe Sensenig both have scored 13 goals apiece on the year while Aaron Cummings has had five tallies.

“We have some very quick and skillful lads who can put the ball on target, and if they do they are going to score,” Deininger said. “The majority of times they have. As far as all the teams around, we have some guys who are pure strikers who are goalscorers…you have to get them in the right position to do that and fortunately they have.”

In addition to Ephrata’s game at L-S Wednesday (7 p.m.), the Mounts still must face Manheim Central Saturday at home (noon) before a road game Monday at Cedar Crest (7 p.m.) and next Thursday’s regular-season finale at home vs. E-town (7 p.m.).

There still is work to be done, but as long as they maintain their health, Deininger says his team should be able to close things out strong.

“As long as everybody stays healthy and keeps executing like they’ve been…they all communicate well with what they want to do with the ball and without the ball, so as long as we continue on those paths we’ll be fine,” he said.

Monday at home, the Mounts rebounded from Saturday’s loss to Mechanicsburg with a convincing 5-1 victory over visiting Solanco.

Cummings scored four times in the first-half alone as the Mounts built a 5-0 cushion. Andrey Patrushev had the other goal to go with a pair of assists, while Chris Hershberger set up the other three tallies.

Last Thursday at home, Ephrata held on first a 2-1 victory over Cocalico as Sensenig’s goal in the 67th minute broke a 1-1 tie.

Ryan Sheaffer scored the first Ephrata goal while Cocalico’s lone score went to Ben Hinkley.

As for the Eagles, they also were in action Monday night at Garden Spot where the host squad earned a 2-1 overtime decision.

Nathen good scored just three minutes into the extra session to clinch the win for Spot.

Colin Hinkley’s goal in the final minute of regulation tied the game for the Eagles and sent it to overtime.

Peyton Stetter made four saves in the loss for the Eagles, who dropped to 2-6-2 in Section Two play (3-8-2 overall).

Up next, Cocalico travels to Elizabethtown Wednesday (7 p.m.) before hosting Solanco Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.

The Eagles will then close out the year with a road game Monday at L-S before returning home next Wednesday to face Manheim Central (7 p.m.).

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