Soccer section to be decided in final week
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
The Section Three girls’ soccer race is officially going to go down to the wire.
Monday evening, things got a whole lot tighter as Cocalico and Manheim Central played to a 1-1 draw in Denver while Donegal was cruising 3-0 against Lebanon.
The good news locally is the Lady Eagles currently sit on top with just four games to go, and they control their own destiny. Cocalico (9-1-1, 28 pts.) holds a slight one-point lead over second-place Donegal (9-2-0, 26) while Manheim Central (7-3-1, 22) sits in third heading into the final week.
The Lady Eagles can be assured of a title with wins at Lebanon Wednesday, home vs. Northern Lebanon Friday (7 p.m.), at Donegal next Tuesday (4 p.m.) before closing the season with a night game next Thursday at home vs. Garden Spot.
With his team sitting on top, Cocalico Coach Dan Hogan said Tuesday the continuing focus of his team is to take each game one at a time.
"Winning a section title was a team goal since the beginning of the season, but the girls have done a great job of only focusing on the game ahead of us," he said. "All season long we have talked about trying to be ’1-0,’ just winning our next game and not look ahead to anything else. We know there are some tough games remaining, but we will continue to only focus on the opponent ahead of us. If we keep that focus and play up to our ability we will have a good chance of being successful down the stretch."
Monday night, Manheim Central gave the Lady Eagles all they could handle in a game played under the lights in Denver.
Cocalico, which defeated the Barons, 4-1, back on March 23, had its hands full Monday when Maddy Novak scored off an assist from Jenna West midway through the second half.
That goal gave MC a 1-0 advantage, and the Barons almost made it stand. However, with about eight minutes to go, Cocalico came up with the equalizer when Nicole Zwiercan took a feed from teammate Kathleen Lawver and deposited into the net past MC keeper Emily Good.
That score sent the game into overtime, where neither team could come up with the Golden Goal, resulting in the tie.
For the game, the Barons led the way in both shots (12-7) and corners (5-0). Good made five saves for the Barons while Cocalico’s Kristen Boyer re-directed 11 shots in goal.
"The score of our last game with MC was deceiving– both games were extremely close in terms of play on the field," Hogan said. "In the first game, we were fortunate to finish more chances. (Monday) Central did a very good job of possessing in the midfield. Their movement off the ball really gave us fits. Luckily our back four and goalkeeper played well enough to hold them to only one goal."
In addition to Monday’s game, Cocalico also was in action Friday at Elco where it earned a big 3-1 victory over the Raiders.
Lawver and Brittany Simmons both scored first-half goals to stake Cocalico to a 2-0 halftime lead. After Elco cut it to 2-1, Zwiercan came up with a huge insurance goal in the 69th minute to put this one away.
Shannon Hoeveler assisted on a pair of the goals to help spark the Cocalico offense in this one.
As for Ephrata, the Lady Mounts were shutout in a pair of games this past week to fall to 2-9-0 in league play.
Friday at home vs. Penn Manor, the visitors scored goals in each half to earn a 2-0 win over the Lady Mounts. Olivia Pfautz made 13 saves in the Ephrata loss.
Monday afternoon, Section Two leader Conestoga Valley scored three first-half goals en route to a 4-0 triumph over Ephrata.
Steph Bebko (four saves) and Pfautz (three saves) combined in goal for Ephrata, which was outshot, 11-3.
Ephrata hits the road for three-straight games, beginning with Wednesday’s contest at Lampeter-Strasburg. Ephrata travels to Solanco Friday (4 p.m.) and E-town Tuesday (4 p.m.) before closing out the season at home Thursday, May 3 vs. Warwick (7:15 p.m.). More SOCCER, page B-2