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 BY JEFF FALK

 SOUTH LEBANON – If you think about it, the Elco and Cedar Crest boys’ soccer teams aren’t all that different. Both are struggling to get back to once-proud levels of competition.

 And as they do, each is a pretty good measuring of the other’s progress.

 On a clear Saturday evening at Ed and Jeannie Arnold field at Earl Boltz Stadium, it appeared that the Falcons have a leg up on the Raiders, as evidenced by Cedar Crest’s 3-1 victory, in the 33rd annual Ritter-Hoffman Cup contest. Ultimately, the difference in the rivalry match, were Cedar Crest goals early in each half.

 Three different Falcons – Gerik Urban, Jonas Funk and Nick Bensing – found the back of the net. Cedar Crest out shot Elco by a 15-3 margin.

  Cedar Crest has now won the last three Ritter-Hoffman Cup games and leads the all-time series 17-15-1. But perhaps just as important is the fact that the triumph was the Falcons’ first of the season, against three setbacks.

 The result made Elco 1-4 on the year.

 “We have a lot of underclassmen and I’m not sure everyone understands the rivalry,” said Cedar Crest head coach Travis Bensing. “What we talked about yesterday is bringing the county together for the love of soccer. This was the biggest crowd they’re going to see all year.

 “Give Elco credit,” continued Bensing. “They played hard. Neither season is going the way we wanted it to, but it was a great battle. It’s great for Lebanon County and it’s great for local soccer.”

 “We didn’t have the cup back when I played,” said Elco head coach Kirk Keppley. “But those were the two biggest games of the year for us. This might’ve been just another game, because we’re so young.

 “It’s one of those years where we’re getting a lot of guys a lot of experience,” said Keppley. “We’re starting two seniors. Hopefully we don’t have a lot of games like this. But maybe we can build on this.”

 The Falcons wasted little time putting Elco behind the eight ball.

  A mere 10:06 into the match, Urban beat the Raider netminder to a loose ball some 25 yards away from the Elco goal. With his right foot, Urban knocked the ball into the open net.

 Teammate Evan Krall drew an assist on the play.

 Then 4:32 into the second half, Funk made it 2-0 Crest. He pounced on a stray ball and fired a hard, low shot into the Elco net.

 “I thought we played well offensively,” said Bensing. “We made runs off of balls and it created opportunities for us. We’re starting to see the passing lanes. We’re starting to create better chances.

 “We were very strong defensively,” Bensing continued. “For the most part, we were defending as a team and not relying on individuals to make big plays.”

  “He’s a freshman. He’s got a lot of learning to do, in a hurry,” said Keppley of goalkeeper Chandler Erhart. “It’s a different game. We expect some of those things to happen. You want him to be aggressive. But we looked a little unorganized in the back. We start two freshman in the back, as well. They’re learning on the job. In the first half, they had some freshmen moments.

 “I thought we struggled,” Keppley added. “In the first half, they (the Falcons) were beating us to every ball. It looked like we were still on the bus. In the second half, we did a little better. We had our moments, we just couldn’t control the ball.”

 Yet despite all of the Falcons’ dominance, Elco pulled to within 2-1 of them on a Brandon Noll goal, with 26:40 to go.

 Just seconds earlier, the Raiders had generated their first shot of the contest, off a corner kick. From that extended pressure, a ball was played into Noll from the left wing, and he made no mistakes.

 “When we were up 1-0 in the first half, I was fine with the way we were playing,” said Bensing. “But after the second goal, I thought we took our foot off the gas. Our third goal got us fired up again. But we want to get to every 50-50 ball.

 “When we play Elco,” added Bensing, “they’re always well-coached.”

  “I think the first half was probably our worst half of the season,” said Keppley. “In the first half, we just didn’t look like we were ready to play. We didn’t move to the ball. We did pick things up, but it wasn’t enough.

 “It looked like when we got that goal, our spirits went up,” continued Keppley. “But that third goal hurt. We didn’t stop playing, we just struggled.”

 If the outcome was still in doubt, N. Bensing removed any with his tally, with 22:42 to play.

 A long ball was played into the middle of the Elco danger zone, and when the Raiders were unable to control it or clear it, Bensing drilled home a right-footer.

 “We had a large turnover with players graduating,” said Bensing. “We had some eye-opening moments in our first three games. We had a great game against Elizabethtown (on Thursday), but lost in double overtime. It was a turning point. The confidence level was higher for this game.

 “I feel like the season goes fast,” Bensing added. “It feels like the first week of the season, but we’ve played a quarter of our games. We need to pick it up.”

 “They went hard to the ball,” said Keppley of the Falcons. “They challenged for every ball. That was good for them. That’s the way Section One (of the Lancaster-Lebanon League) is. If they play hard like that, they’ll be competitive.”

 

 To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2019 Cedar Crest Boys’ Soccer Schedule

 
 
Date Opponents Outcomes  
8/31
10:00 am
Cedar Crest
at Governor Mifflin
0
5
 
9/03
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Central
1
4
 
9/05
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elizabethtown
0
1
 
9/07
5:00 pm
Elco
at Cedar Crest
   
9/09
7:00 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
   
9/12
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor
   
9/14
10:00 am
Cedar Cliff
at Cedar Crest
   
9/17
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Conestoga Valley
   
9/20
4:00 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
   
9/23
7:00 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest
   
9/26
4:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
   
10/01
7:00 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
   
10/04
4:00 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Cedar Crest
   
10/05
10:00 am
Exeter
at Cedar Crest
   
10/07
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township
   
10/09
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Warwick
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2019 Elco Boys’ Soccer Schedule
 
 
 
Date Tea Score  
8/30
10:00 am
Pequea Valley
at Elco
5
0
 
8/31
10:00 am
Elco
at Eastern York
0
1
 
9/03
7:00 pm
Elco
at Ephrata
1
3
 
9/05
7:00 pm
Elco
at Muhlenberg
3
0
 
9/07
5:00 pm
Elco
at Cedar Crest
   
9/10
7:00 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
   
9/11
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
   
9/13
4:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal
   
9/16
7:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara
   
9/19
7:00 pm
Solanco
at Elco
   
9/20
7:00 pm
Elco
at Tulpehocken
   
9/24
7:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
   
9/25
4:00 pm
Elco
at Lebanon
   
9/27
4:00 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
   
9/30
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Elco
   
10/02
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Elco
   
10/04
4:00 pm
Elco
at Solanco
   
10/08
7:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
   
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ritter-Hoffman Cup History

2019 – Cedar Crest

 2018 – Cedar Crest

2017 – Cedar Crest

2016 – Elco

2015 – Elco

2014 – Tie

2013 – Cedar Crest

2012 – Cedar Crest

2011 – Cedar Crest

2010 – Elco

2009 – Elco

2008 – Elco

2007 – Elco

2006 – Cedar Crest

2005 – Cedar Crest

2004 – Elco

2003 – Cedar Crest

2002 – Elco

2001 – Cedar Crest

2000 – Elco

1999 – Elco

1998 – Cedar Crest

1997 – Cedar Crest

1996 – Cedar Crest

1995 – Cedar Crest

1994 – Cedar Crest

1993 – Elco

1992 – Elco

1991 – Elco

1990 – Elco

1989 – Elco

1988 – Cedar Crest

1987 – Cedar Crest

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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