Eagles take big step

By on April 19, 2017
Cocalico’s Adonis Ramos (left) eludes Warwick’s Corey Snyder during Tuesday’s contest at Talon Field.  Photo by Dick Wanner

Cocalico’s Adonis Ramos (left) eludes Warwick’s Corey Snyder during Tuesday’s contest at Talon Field. Photo by Dick Wanner

Knock off Warwick in key L-L boys’ lax battle

Cocalico scored in bunches both early and late Tuesday afternoon in Denver, besting Warwick 8-4 at Talon Field.

The win moves the Eagles boys (4-1 league, 6-3 overall) into third place, just a half game in front of the Warriors (4-2, 5-5), in the race for the four slots in the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs at the end of the season.

The victory, Cocalico’s fifth-straight, also marked the first time the Eagles beat Warwick since 2011.

“Cocalico came out real emotional. They played us really, really tight,” said Warwick head coach Wayne Hummer. “They took care of the ball. They took advantage of opportunities. They played well on defense and Ben (Puodziunas) was standing on his head in the cage.”

Puodziunas did stop 15 of the 19 shots thrown on goal by the Warriors offense. Warwick’s junior goalkeeper Josiah Jewell stood tall as well in blocking 11 of the Eagles 19 shots.

“Lacrosse is nothing but a game of runs,” noted Cocalico skipper Matt Oberly. “At the end of the day, it’s about putting runs together and trying to limit the other team’s runs.”

Tuesday’s game on the sun-drenched turf was certainly that as the Eagles scored the only goals of the first period to take a 3-0 lead after one. Cocalico held the momentum into the second quarter by netting the first three goals of the period before Warwick broke the ice.

The Warriors found the back of the cage twice before the break, closing to within 6-2 at halftime.

“I told them a Mike Tyson quote,” added Oberly, when asked what he told his team at the half. “Everybody has a plan until they get hit,” repeated Oberly. “We came out and hit them. They hit us back. Now what’s going to happen?”

Warwick scored the only two goals of the third period, closing to within 6-4. But Cocalico returned the favor in the fourth quarter, smacking the back of the cage twice for the final 8-4 margin.

Offensively, the Eagles got a big night from senior Bryce Shaffer, whose four goals and two assists led the way. Junior Owen Zimmerman netted two goals, while junior Nick Harbst and freshman Noah Palm scored one goal apiece.

The Warriors spread the scoring around evenly, as seniors Kyle Weaver, Connor Brechbill and Joshua Croyle scored goals along with freshman Conor Adams. Juniors Corey Snyder and Luke Hirtzel chipped in assists to complete the scoring.

Cocalico had the advantage in face-offs, controlling 10 of the 16 re-starts.

“It’s a massive game,” stated an elated Oberly. “We now have our destiny in our own hands as far as League’s and District playoffs go. It’s a big win over a big-time school.”

“It was the best defense we played all year,” added Puodziunas. “We were shutting them down and giving them the shots we knew I could save.”

Hummer felt that going forward his troops had to work on controlling the ground balls.

“A lot of times, we would get to the ball and get the scoops,” he said. “But we weren’t able to secure the ball after that. They (Cocalico) were swarming on the ground balls, but we have to come up with those.”

The Eagles have two tough opponents in the next week, traveling to unbeaten Manheim Township (5-0, 8-2) before hosting Lampeter-Strasburg (3-3, 4-4) in a Monday evening contest.

The Warriors have a stretch of home cooking over the next week, hosting non-league opponent Exeter on Saturday morning, Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic (2-3, 6-3) on Monday afternoon and Hempfield (6-0, 6-2) on Wednesday evening.

In addition to Tuesday, the Eagles also were in action Monday in a non-league road match at Twin Valley.

Cocalico led 8-5 at the half and held off the Raiders down the stretch for an eventual 11-8 victory.

Zimmerman led the Cocalico scoring attack, notching a game-high five goals. Harbst chipped in with a hat trick while Mitch Caffrey, Shaffer, and Palm also found the net for the Eagles.

Puodziunas made 12 saves to earn the victory in net for Cocalico.

Last Wednesday at Conestoga Valley, Shaffer, Harbst, Zimmerman and Caffrey all scored hat tricks as the Eagles cruised to an easy 15-3 victory over the Buckskins.

Leading 6-2 at the break, Cocalico out-scored CV 6-2 in the third quarter to break things open.

Palm chipped in with two goals for the Eagles while Sam Stewart also found the net.

Cocalico out-shot CV 30-9 with Puodziunas registering seven saves in the win.

Ephrata, meanwhile, was out-scored 5-0 in the third quarter Monday as visiting Palmyra broke open a tight game and cruised the rest of the way en route to a 17-8 victory.

Bryson Rhee led the way for the Mounts, scoring a team-high three goals. Dustin Fisher added two goals and a pair of assists while Carter Cammauf also chipped in with two scores. Mason Sensenig scored the other goal for Ephrata (1-5 league, 3-9 overall).

In net, Brad Horst faced 41 shots and saved 12 in the loss.

In addition to Monday, Ephrata also was in action last Thursday at home where they came out on the short end of a 5-3 decision vs. Lancaster Country Day/Lancaster Catholic.

Trailing 4-3 at the half, the Mounts were out-scored 1-0 down the stretch to come up short in the defensive struggle.

Noah Roark led Ephrata with a pair of goals while Rhee scored the other Mount tally. Caden Keefer added an assist while Horst made 11 saves for Ephrata in the loss.

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