Staying alive: Lapi OT winner creates logjam for final L-L spot

By on October 12, 2016
Cocalico’s Allison Grobengieser (21) passes to a teammate during Monday’s game vs. Lampeter-Strasburg. Photo by Stan Hall

Cocalico’s Allison Grobengieser (21) passes to a teammate during Monday’s game vs. Lampeter-Strasburg. Photo by Stan Hall

Cocalico’s Rowan Lapi scored the biggest goal of her team’s girls soccer season Monday at home vs. Lampeter-Strasburg.

In a game the Lady Eagles simply had to have to keep their L-L and District playoffs hopes alive, Lapi had an opportunity in overtime, and she didn’t waste it.

With the score tied at 1-1 with a little more than a minute remaining in the first overtime, Lapi was awarded a penalty kick. The sophomore midfielder didn’t miss, ripping a low shot past Pioneer keeper Isabella DeCamillo and into the left corner of the net to clinch a must-have 2-1 Lady Eagle victory.

“A good bit of relief,” Cocalico Coach Dan Hogan said of his feelings when he saw the ball go in. “Not because I was worried about the PK going in, but because we have been on the wrong end of so many one-goal games this year. It felt great to get the win today. Rowan did a great job of staying calm and hitting a great PK.”

Cocalico not only lives to fight another day, but created a three-team battle for the third and final L-L League playoff spot with Ephrata and Garden Spot heading into Wednesday’s final night of league action.

Ephrata (7-5-1) currently holds down the third spot behind undefeated section champion E-town (13-0) and runner-up Manheim Central (10-3), with Cocalico (7-6) and Garden Spot (6-6-1) both nipping at the Lady Mounts’ heals.

Ephrata travels to E-town Wednesday to face the section champs (7 p.m.) while Cocalico is on the road at Manheim Central (7 p.m.) and Garden Spot travels to winless Lebanon (0-12) at 4 p.m.

Should Ephrata upset E-town, the Lady Mounts are in. Should Ephrata lose, that opens the door for Cocalico to leapfrog Ephrata with a win at Manheim. If Ephrata and the Lady Eagles both fall Wednesday, Garden Spot would pull into a tie with Ephrata with a win and would get the third spot based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Both Cocalico (AAA) and Ephrata (AAAA) are sitting in 11th place in their respective District pools and both should be in good shape to qualify for that tournament, which gets underway Oct. 24 & 25.

Monday, L-S struck first halfway through the initial half when Hannah Adams lifted an arching shot over the out-stretched arms of Cocalico keeper Adi Landis and into the goal for the 1-0 lead.

But Cocalico struck back quickly to tie just 1:17 later when Katie Heck picked up a loose ball and drilled a shot in the back of the net for the equalizer.

It stayed that way through a scoreless second half and into overtime, when Lapi connected on her game winner.

“This team has been really resilient all year and they believe in themselves,” Hogan said of the win. “We talked before the game about what was at stake with this game, so it was great to see their reaction when we won. You could see that they knew how important this game was to them.”

Cocalico held a slight 9-7 advantage in shots and had eight corners to the Pioneers’ two in the game as the Lady Eagles moved a step toward the post-season.

The L-L League playoffs begin with quarterfinal action Saturday at sites and times TBA.

“In terms of the L-L playoffs, we don’t control our own destiny, so we need a little help,” Hogan said. ‘Our focus for Wednesday will be controlling the things we can control, which is our effort and our focus. We want to make sure that if we do get the help that we need that we have done everything we can to take advantage of it. As for the District Three playoffs, the win over L-S really put us in a good position. Baring any really strange results I think that means we are likely to get in. And with the new classifications this year I think the AAA bracket is going to be very competitive from top to bottom.”

Ephrata also was victorious Monday night in a rare game at War Memorial Field where the Lady Mounts scored five times in the first half on their way to a 6-0 victory over Lebanon.

Taylor Moore scored a pair of goals while Abbie Wiest, Amanda White, Madison Root and Jordan Welsh also had goals for the winners.

Last Friday at Manheim Central, Ephrata suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Lady Barons.

Taylor Kauffman broke a 1-1 tie with a second half goal which turned out to be the game winner. Root scored the lone Ephrata tally.

And last Wednesday at home vs. L-S, the visiting Pioneers battled Ephrata to a 2-2 draw.

Annie Slovak had a goal and an assist for Ephrata, while White also found the back of the net for the Lady Mounts.

Becca Gehman made nine saves in goal to help secure the tie.

Last Friday at Solanco, Cocalico picked up a 5-0 victory over the Mares as Aly Richwine, Allison Grobengieser, Katie Heck, Alyssa Hirneisen and Sam Klumpp all scored for the Lady Eagles.

And last Wednesday at home, the lady eagles dropped a tough 3-1 decision to E-town.

In that one, Grobengieser had the lone Cocalico tally off an assist from Richwine.

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