Mounts rebound with big win over Cumberland Valley
by TODD RUTH
Fresh off their most difficult loss of the season Friday night vs. Manheim Township, the Ephrata boys lacrosse team rebounded Saturday with a big effort to knock off Cumberland Valley, 16-8 in a key non-league battle with District playoff implications.
Leading 7-4 at the half, the Mounts had a 5-1 spurt in the third quarter to take command and key the victory.
Justin Hoover had a huge offensive game, scoring seven goals while Koty Keefer chipped in with four goals and six assists to lead Ephrata.
Austin Sensenig added four tallies while defender Blake Weaver also got on the scoring sheet for the Mounts. Ephrata generated 46 shots while goalie Justin Mease notched nine saves to earn the win in goal.
With the win, Ephrata solidified its District ranking at 11th, while the Eagles now sit at 15th. The top 16 teams advance to Districts.
As for Friday night’s battle of the lone two remaining unbeaten teams in Section One, Township took control early and never let up.
Ephrata grabbed an early 2-1 lead on Austin Sensenig’s man-down goal with 4:19 to go in the first. It was all Blue Streaks after that.
Township packed it in on defense and beat Ephrata down the field in transition. It fueled a 7-0 run and put the Streaks firmly in command the rest of the way.
The Blue Streaks led 9-3 at the half before a 5-0 third-quarter run put it out of reach in an eventual 15-5 victory over the Mounts.
Willie Hendrick scored three goals and added three assists to pace the Streaks (10-0 section, 13-1 overall), who now own a one-game lead over Ephrata (9-1, 12-4) in Section One heading into the final week.
“They dominated face-offs which kind of put it into a make it, take it type of deal,” Ephrata Coach Kevin Pletz said following the loss. “They won ground balls…they came out harder than us. They came out with a lot of intensity and we weren’t matching it tonight. It just seemed like we were a step behind today.”
Township won 11 out of the 13 face-offs in the first half, which keyed their big advantage in time of possession, which in turn kept the ball out of the Mounts’ forwards’ hands.
When the Mounts did get a rush, defender Matt Sallade and company didn’t really give Ephrata any real clean looks at the goal.
“And the opportunities we did have (Township goalie Alex) Ready kind of just ate them up,” Pletz said. “We need to move the ball better on offense. We didn’t have good offensive possessions. We forced it…we just didn’t do many things well tonight.”
Ephrata was out-shot 24-12 in the game. Mounts’ goalie Justin Mease, who was peppered all night long, finished with nine saves.
Hoover had a pair of goals to pace Ephrata, while Keefer, Sensenig and Dustin Fisher also found the net for the Mounts.
Barring any upsets in the final week, Ephrata will now more than likely face Hempfield in the L-L semifinals while Township will get either Warwick or Penn Manor. Pletz said if his team could get past Hempfield, he would love to have another shot at the Streaks.
“Obviously we now how to get through Hempfield, which will be tough, but I definitely would like to have another shot at them because they didn’t really get a good look at Ephrata lacrosse tonight. We didn’t show much of our game yet. There has been very few games where we actually have been playing to the level we can play. Now it’s trying to pry it our of the kids, especially now when we are getting close to playoff time. We just need to open it all up and let it all out.”
Ephrata also was in action last Wednesday at Cedar Crest when they emerged with a convincing 18-4 victory. Keefer led the way with an eight-goal outburst while Sensenig added five and Weaver a pair in the victory.
Hoover, Colin Cammauf and Brandon Adams also got on the score sheet for the Mounts, who got seven saves from Mease in the win.
Cocalico, meanwhile, split a pair of contests this past week to even its record at 8-8 overall.
Monday night at Lancaster Catholic/Lancaster Country Day, the Eagles were productive offensively and stingy on the defensive side as they rolled to a 13-4 victory.
Brett Kupp tallied five times while Devon Delpiano added four goals and an assist to pace the Eagles’ offensive attack. Aaron Longstaff chipped in with two goals and four assists while Mike Reitenbach and Matt Weinhold each added goals.
Defensively, the Eagles allowed LC/LCD just one goal in all four quarters. Goalie Ben Puodziunas turned away eight of the 12 shots he faced to capture the win.
Last Thursday at Lampeter-Strasburg, the Pioneers scored seven times in the first quarter before holding on for a 12-9 decision over the Eagles.
Trailing 10-5 after three, Cocalico made a late push but came up short in the end.
Longstaff and Delpiano each scored three goals apiece for Cocalico. Reitenbach, Kupp and Cole Ulrich also scored in the loss.
Puodziunas made nine saves in the goal.
Up next, Cocalico hosts Ephrata Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. in Eagles’ Stadium. They also play host to Hempfield Thursday at 4 p.m. in the regular season finale.