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Robeson’s late tally lifts MC girls over Cocalico
With the Section Three title still up for grabs, it might have been easy for the Manheim Central girls to get caught looking ahead to their game against front-running Donegal this Friday. Clearly, however, MC boss John Shetromph and his Lady Barons knew that would have been a mistake against up-and-coming Cocalico in a Section battle in Manheim on Tuesday night. I think Cocalico has improved well, Shetromph said. I very much believe that (Cocalico coach Dan Hogan) is getting everything he possibly can out of his team and you can tell they re a better team.
The Lady Eagles showed that in the first half, as Brittany Simmons scored the lone goal in the opening 40 minutes to give Cocalico a 1-0 lead at the halftime break. But the Central girls controlled play in the second half and rallied for two goals, including the game-winner from Kristen Robeson on a feed from Danielle Witmer with just 3:33 remaining which lifted the Lady Barons to a 2-1 victory. That not only kept Manheim Central (10-2 Section, 11-2 overall) on pace with Donegal (11-1 L-L), but it added some separation between the Lady Barons and Lady Eagles (7-5, 7-6 overall). Yet, although Central currently holds the second and final L-L berth in Section Three, nothing is locked up with four league games still remaining. Garden Spot (7-4 L-L) is still very much in the running, (Cocalico) is, I would think, still in the running and we have the ability if we play (well) … we’re going for sections, Shetromph said. They had their work cut out for them on Monday, though. Thanks to Simmons’ goal early in the first half, on an insert by Shannon Hoeveler on the Lady Eagles’ only corner kick, the Lady Barons trailed for a large chunk of the game. It was a real nice corner kick, Hogan said. We’ve struggled all year long to put good balls in off of corner kicks, but Shannon Hoeveler hit a great ball to the back post. For Brittany Simmons, it probably seemed like an eternity until the ball got to her, but it did and she finished it first class. It was great to get it started that way.
But in the second half, Central began to turn the tide. Switching from a 4-4-2 formation to a 3-4-3 in an effort to add more width to their play and get additional offensive thrust, the move seemed to pay off. Creating most of their opportunities in the second half, the MC girls built a 16-8 advantage in shots. Eventually, Brogan Garvey pulled the Lady Barons even, beating Cocalico keeper Kristen Boyer with just over 22:00 left to make it 1-1. That was a special shot, Shetromph said. (Brogan) is a top-notch player and she can be the game-changer and she definitely was tonight.
Cocalico responded, however, and Hoeveler fired a shot barely wide left of the net only moments later. But that would be one of the Lady Eagles’ final threats. I thought we reacted really well right off the kick-off we just couldn’t seem to sustain it the rest of the half, Hogan said. But with Garvey s goal giving them a little extra adrenaline, it was the Lady Barons who were sustaining the offensive push from that point, and they held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks for the game. They got four of those in the game’s final 10:35, and Boyer (9 saves) made a nice stop on a header following an insert by Alli Breneman with just over 6:00 left in regulation. A couple of minutes later, Witmer made a sliding pass to Robeson on the left wing, and Central s sophomore attacker deposited the ball into the right corner of the net for the go-ahead tally. Give kudos to Cocalico they packed it in, they played a smart game, they had numbers up all the time when we were going down, Shetromph said. Again, I thought they played an intelligent, smart game and our objective was to get as many shots on goal as we could in the second half.
Hogan added, Central just came out and played really hard in the second half and we didn’t match that intensity. I thought our defense held pretty strong for quite awhile, but eventually they broke through and did a nice job.
The Lady Eagles, though, didn’t quit and they made one final push, resulting in a shot by Alyssa Gantert in the 80th minute. But MC keeper Marcia Horning was there for the last of her three saves to preserve the one-goal win. I thought the score would be close, Hogan said. I was hoping the play would be a little closer, especially in the second half. I thought Central came out hard and played hard and they were able to keep a lot of the possession. We tried to counter-attack a little bit that is kinda how we play but we had trouble generating a lot of chances in the second half.
Cocalico will now look to bounce back in a home game tonight (Wednesday) vs. Lebanon, as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive. Certainly if we want to control our own (L-L playoff) destiny, I think it probably was (a must-win), Hogan said. Now we’d probably need a little help yet. There’s still four games to go, so we’ll see.
Last Thursday at home, Cocalico scored three times in the first half to key a 4-0 victory over Elco. Kathleen Lawver and Simmons both scored a pair of goals while Hoeveler added two assists in the victory. Boyer turned away four shots to earn the shutout win in goal. Ephrata, meanwhile, hosted Hempfield Tuesday afternoon where the visitors scored twice in the second half to earn a 2-0 victory. Emily Lanser and Mariah Dimm scored the goals for the Black Knights, who outshot Ephrata, 19-4. In addition to Tuesday, Ephrata was in action Monday afternoon at Conestoga Valley where the host Buckskins earned a convincing 7-1 victory. Ashley Hoover and Morgan Higgins both scored a pair of goals to pace CV, who outshot Ephrata, 10-2. Caitlin Davies scored the lone goal for the Lady Mounts in the first half. Last Thursday, the Lady Mounts suffered a 3-0 loss at Penn Manor. And Wednesday, Ephrata dropped a 3-2 decision to visiting Warwick. In Wednesday s affair, Warwick led 3-0 before Ephrata stormed back with a pair of second-half goals to pull to within one. However, they couldn’t find the equalizer as Warwick held on. Madison Walmer and Moriah Pfautz scored the Ephrata goals while Olivia Pfautz made 10 saves in goal. More GIRLS SOCCER, page B-3