|Written by Jeff Falk|
|The date: Friday, Sept. 3, 2010
The place: Elco High School, Myerstown
The sport: Boys’ soccer
The combatants: Elco and Lebanon
The setting: 2010 season opener
The score: Lebanon 2, Elco 0
The implications: Perhaps the biggest upset in the history of Lebanon County soccer.
When one considers the traditions of the Lebanon and Elco boys’ soccer programs, what took place on the pitch at Elco last week was truly historical. Little Lebanon’s win that day was its first ever over the mighty Raiders.
There was a time when some would argue that, for competitve reasons, the Cedars and Raiders shouldn’t even play one another. So Lebanon beating Elco? Absurd!
“It was huge,” said Lebanon’s fourth-year head coach Sean Miller, himself a product of the Elco soccer machine. “I had done some scouting and I knew we had a better team that we did last year. We have ten seniors and a little more depth than we usually do.
“I really thought we had a chance to beat them,” continued Miller, “and I told our guys they had an opportunity to make history. They were psyched for the game. And every time we scored, they kept their composure.”
Jesus Avila scored both goals for Lebanon that day, his first one coming from a tough angle that caromed off the Raider keeper. Codey Short was credited with a helper, while Tim Cassidy assisted on Avila’s later insurance tally.
Miller characterized the flow of the contest as ‘evenly matched.’
“If you look at it historically,” said Miller. “If you look at the Lebanon program and if you look at the Elco program, absolutely, it was the biggest win in program history. Do we have a better team than usual? Yes. Is Elco a little down? Maybe.
“For everybody involved, anybody who knows soccer, it was an upset,” Miller added. “For me going in, I knew we had a shot. But it was the first game of the season.”
And there’s the rub. Or perhaps an explanation. But in no way is it an excuse.
“Yeah, I think the fact that it was the season opener played a role,” said Miller. “What I’m hoping is that it didn’t turn too many heads. That we could still surprise some other teams. The reputation that Lebanon has is that it’s going to be an easy game.
“Being early in the season, that was key,” added Miller. “We know that when we play Elco the second time they’re going to be improved. I tell our guys that it can’t be our championship.”
Instead, what Miller is hoping is that the win will inspire the Cedars to accomplish more great things.
“It definitely turned some heads,” said Miller. “At school, the guys are being congratulated about it. It might encourage some other students to come out and play, because we still have no JV team. It’s a motivation to continue to improve.
“Our team cohesiveness is amazing,” Miller continued. “The guys really work together well and the ten seniors have been working together for a long time. Our team leadership and hard work paid off.”
Miller still has the utmost respect for one of Lebanon County’s most storied programs. That reverence made the triumph that much sweeter.
“I mean yeah, it’s nice to beat your old coach,” said Miller of his mentor, Elco head man Mike Seigfried. “But it’s icing on the cake. It’s great to beat a team like Elco. But we wanted to get the win.
“They’ve had a tremendous amount of success,” concluded Miller. “But the program has changed over the years. Going there, you knew the expectations, you knew the history. And you knew you had to work just to make the team