BY JEFF FALK
SOUTH LEBANON – Think of the Cedar Crest boys’ soccer team as a rudder-less ship in choppy waters.
Down is up. Black is white. Front is back.
With their compass out of whack, the Falcons must first discover the correct direction before they can navigate a course.
On Wednesday afternoon, Cedar Crest dropped its fifth straight match to start the 2012 campaign, 2-0 to unbeaten Lampeter-Strasburg. After the Falcons valiantly held off the Pioneers for 57 minutes, L-S broke through for two goals in the contest’s final 13 minutes.
With the setback, Cedar Crest fell to 0-5 on the fall and 0-4 in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. In stark contrast, Lampeter-Strasburg improved to 5-0 on the year and 3-0 in the section.
“Winning is an important part of morale,” said Falcon third-year head coach Dustin Bixler. “Do we need it? No. I just want us to get better. I just want the boys to give the effort.
“They’re (his players) down. They’re frustrated,” Bixler added. “What can you say? It’s five games in and we’ve already had a long season.”
The Falcons played well enough defensively to emerge victorious, but generated very little offense to speak of. Most of the second-half action played out in the Cedar Crest end of the field. And with 12:34 remaining, the Pioneers discovered a crack.
Off a corner kick, L-S senior Jonah Mohre sent a long ball to the back post of the Cedar Crest net. Teammate Evan Addis out jumped the Falcon defense to head the ball inside the near post.
“You’ve got to commend them for putting the ball in the back of the net,” said Bixler of the Pioneers. “In the end, did we defend? We did OK, but when the other team puts the ball in the back of the net something’s wrong.
“You can’t be happy with it,” continued Bixler. “The only question is if the boys want to win. There’s not much we can do as a coaching staff. There were a couple of players who came out and gave the best they had. They played decent. But not enough of them played that way.”
With time winding down, Lampeter-Strasburg’s Matt Wright put the outcome out of reach on a great individual effort. With 17 seconds remaining, Wright fought through the mark of two Falcon defenders and used his right foot to beat CC reserve keeper Jeff Lesher to the far side.
“That kind of stuff is between me and them,” said Bixler of a 15-minute post-game meeting with his charges. “We’re not happy with the way things went and it’s not about the win. It was disappointing. It seems we go from great game to bad game to great game to bad game. It’s just a lack of consistency.
“I would say that overall the effort wasn’t there today,” Bixler continued. “What can you say? It was a four o’clock game. It’s the hardest thing for kids to do. They’re used to going home after school, relaxing and coming back. Normally we play in the stadium at seven o’clock.”
The final stats said that Lampeter-Strasburg out shot Cedar Crest 8-4 and attempted eight corner kicks to the Falcons’ none. But of the Falcons’ four shots, not many of them represented serious scoring opportunities.
“That’s (the Section One record) not really important to us,” said Bixler, who recently retired from a professional soccer playing career with the Harrisburg City Islanders. “I’m just worried about the kids getting better. As long as the kids play well they’ll very easily get my respect.
“It’s one of those seasons,” Bixler continued. “This is a bad time for me. I don’t usually allow interviews after games. But without consistency, we can’t improve. The only way to go is up. We’ve got to get back on track.”