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IMG_1136BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – Tidy. Organized. Structured. Let’s face it, the Elco field hockey team is made up of a bunch of neat freaks.

The Raiders are always cleaning up the garbage in their circles – both offensively and defensively.

On a splendid Tuesday afternoon at Elco High School, the Raiders displayed a real nose for the ball, especially in the circle, as they were dominating Lancaster Mennonite 2-0 in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three match. Elco tallied similar single goals in each half, and both were more about persistence and determination than talent or ability.

IMG_1318With the win, the Raiders improved to 2-1 on the young season and 2-0 in the circuit. Elco is fresh off a 2016 campaign in which it went 11-7-1 and qualified for the District Three playoffs for the first time in eight years.

The setback dropped Lancaster Mennonite to 2-4 on the year and 2-1 in Section Three.

“It was a lot of garbage in front of the cage,” said Elco head coach Lisa Kercher when asked her side’s offense. “But if we put our garbage in, that’s awesome. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It just has to be in the cage.

“Honestly, things are going very well,” continued Kercher. “I have a great group of seniors who are dedicated to hockey. It’s not as ‘if’ we’re going (to the postseason). It’s ‘we’re going’.”

Elco’s hard work in the circle paid some early dividends.

IMG_1159The Raiders pressured the Blazer cage from the opening tap, and it ultimately resulted in Katie Fields’ goal 2:42 in. The scoring play originated from Abby Keath, but it was Fields who finished it by collecting a loose ball, going hard to her right and depositing it inside the near post.

“Overall, today’s game was very telling of the rest of the season in the section,” said Kercher. “It allows us to see where we are in the section. We’re still working on a lot of fundamental things. Our passing could’ve been better. Overall, a 2-0 win over Mennonite is awesome. But we always have things to work on.

“In the past, Lancaster Mennonite was a very big game,” Kercher continued. “I think their program has weakened. And I think our program is stepping up.”

The game remained 1-0 Elco until 9:53 into the second half, when the Raiders added an insurance tally.

A ball was played deep into the right side of the Blazers’ circle. From just about the end line, Raider Alicia Yoh centered the ball back to the left post, where Keath was stationed, and she guided the ball into the left side of the goal.

“It was a lot of team work in the circle,” said Kercher. “That’s everybody working towards the ball. That second goal was definitely persistence. It doesn’t have to be pretty.

IMG_1121“I’m so proud of my seniors,” added Kercher. “Our defense did great. What did (goalie) Kendra (Bicksler) have, a save or two? We did a good job of not even letting the ball get back to Kendra. We’re going to need them in big games.”

Bicksler registered the shutout by making two saves. Elco out shot the Blazers 21-2, 13 of which came in the first 30 minutes of action.

IMG_1267“Right now, the section is very strong,” said Kercher. “We’re looking pretty good, while (Lancaster) Catholic and (Lancaster) Mennonite have lost numbers, which is unfortunate for hockey. Annville-Cleona has always been a rival, but it’s a friendly rivalry. Last year, Annville-Cleona was number one in the section. This year, we want it to be us and Annville-Cleona.

“Last year, our goal was to go to districts and we achieved that goal,” Kercher added. “This year we’re adding going to the league playoffs as a goal. That’s something we talked about at the beginning. It’s just the little things that have to happen, the little tactical things, the skill things. We’ve been back and forth on turf and grass, so we’ve got to adjust our game. It makes it difficult, but we’ve done a really good job of adjusting.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Elco Field Hockey Schedule

Date/Time Opponent Location
Thu Aug 24
4:00PM
Garden Spot High School Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field
Wed Aug 30
4:00PM
Central Dauphin East Senior Central Dauphin East Senior
Fri Sep 1
10:00AM
Tulpehocken Junior/Senior High School Tulpehocken Junior/Senior High School
Stadium
Wed Sep 6
4:00PM
Governor Mifflin Senior High School Governor Mifflin Senior High School RAINOUT
Fri Sep 8
4:00PM
Northern Lebanon HS/MS Northern Lebanon MS/HS
V/JV Field Hockey – 14
Tue Sep 12
4:00PM
Lancaster Mennonite School Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field
Fri Sep 15
4:00PM
Wyomissing Area High School Wyomissing Area High School
Sat Sep 16
1:30PM
Lancaster Catholic High School Lancaster Catholic High School Stadium Complex
Rossmere Stadium
Mon Sep 18
4:00PM
Lebanon High School Lebanon High School
Field Hockey Field
Wed Sep 20
4:00PM
Pequea Valley High School Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field
Fri Sep 22
4:00PM
Annville-Cleona High School Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field
Sat Sep 23
9:00AM
Cedar Crest High School
with 3 others
Cedar Crest High School
CCHS Stadium
Wed Sep 27
4:00PM
Northern Lebanon HS/MS Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field
Thu Sep 28
4:00PM
Lancaster Mennonite School Lancaster Mennonite High School
Turf Field
Tue Oct 3
4:00PM
Lancaster Catholic High School Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field
Thu Oct 5
4:00PM
Lebanon High School Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field
Fri Oct 6
4:00PM
Governor Mifflin Senior High School Governor Mifflin Senior High School
Stadium
Mon Oct 9
4:00PM
Pequea Valley High School Pequea Valley High School
Field 2-Grass Competition
Wed Oct 11
4:00PM
Annville-Cleona High School Annville-Cleona High School
Field Hockey Field
Thu Oct 12
4:00PM
JP McCaskey High School Campus Eastern Lebanon Co Sr High School
Varsity Field Hockey Field

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