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IMG_5519BY JEFF FALK

LITITZ – Not only has it improved throughout the year, the Elco girls’ soccer team is improved over last season. The Raiders are simply better than they were a year ago.

Not sure the whys or hows are important. But the results certainly bear that hypothesis out.

On a cold evening at Warwick High School’s Grosh Field, the Raiders’ improvement paid off in a big way, as Elco scored its first ever Lancaster-Lebanon League championship with a 2-1 finals’ triumph over Conestoga Valley. After the Buckskins hit them with an early tally, the Raiders received two goals from senior captain Ryelle Shuey, while owning most of the final 67 minutes of play.

IMG_5358The Section Three champion Raiders defeated three larger schools on the way to capturing the initial L-L League title in their 27 years of existence. After failing to win a league playoff game over the past few seasons, Elco improved to 18-0-1.

The Raiders will see their next action at home on Saturday, October 27th in the second round of the District Three Class AA postseason.

Conestoga Valley, the runner-up out of Section One, fell to 12-4-3 on the campaign.

“We lost some quality players, but we’ve been fortunate to have people people step up and make contributions,” said Elco head coach Derek Fulk. “I don’t want to say we’re better. We’re different. We’re not the same team we were last year. We’ve moved some personnel around and we’ve gelled as a unit.

“We have cohesion and great leadership,” continued Fulk. “It’s (the leadership) outstanding. I think some of our younger kids have matured, and I think it’s some of the different roles they’re in. But it’s also been our leadership.”

IMG_5369“I think we are better,” said Shuey. “Nothing against last year’s team. This year we’re just always together. We’re so close, we’re literally family. We do stuff outside of soccer and that helps us on the field.

“We have a good mix of younger girls and older girls,” Shuey added. “We (the seniors) just really stepped up. We made a list of goals and it’s hanging in our locker room. We’re serious. We have a lot of potential. We can go a long way.”

After surrendering a rare earl goal, Elco picked things up in the middle of the first half.

First, Raider forward Cassie Johnson just missed notching the equalizer when she clanged a hard drive off the Buckskin crossbar. Then, Shuey tallied the first of her two left-footed goals, from almost the exact same spot on the pitch.

Shuey made it 1-1, 17:17 before halftime. She slid a low shot along the turf that bounced in off the right post.

“She’s gifted,” said Fulk of his dominant midfielder. “I was surprised she got as much time and space as she did, not only once, but twice. If you give her a step or half-a-step she’s going to make you pay. They were both well-placed.

“You’re always concerned when you give up the first goal, because if one goes to two, it’s a different game,” added Fulk. “I thought Rye’s first goal was a big momentum switch for us.”

“The goals were almost identical,” said Shuey. “Honestly, I’m just as strong with my left foot as I am with my right. I picked that up growing up. We were always taught to use both of our feet.”

About nine minutes later, Shuey registered the eventual game-winner, from about 35 yards away, in the middle of the field. Going left, Shuey rolled an attempt over the carpet that beat Conestoga Valley keeper Ally Riggle inside the same right post.

It was Shuey’s 19th goal of the campaign.

IMG_5421“I think she (Shuey) just plays her game,” said Fulk. “But big players show up in big games. She’s shown up for us all season.

“I don’t think we were as good as we were the other day (in Tuesday’s 1-0 triumph over Hempfield),” said Fulk. “But we were good enough. I thought at the beginning we were a little anxious. Obviously giving up an early goal wasn’t good.”

“No, not really,” said Shuey, when asked if she’s motivated to play better by bigger games. “We were all very excited. I do get nervous for everything. I just have to do the most I can for my team, whatever I can do to help us win.”

IMG_5412A free kick and unmarked Buckskin Madison Delgado helped produce the Raiders’ 1-0 deficit, 13:57 into the match. After collecting the long right-to-left free kick, Delgado got off a good hard shot that eluded Raider goalie Maddie Bailey to the upper portion of the net.

“Our defense is something we pride ourselves on,” said Fulk of just the sixth goal his side has allowed this year. “It starts with our goal keeper and our back line. We press on defense and try to make things happen. It’s a concept our whole team practices. Our defensive back line has been fantastic all year, but we do win a lot of balls in the midfield.”

“No one expected a little school like Elco to come out on top,” said Shuey. “Knowing we had never won one (league championship) before gives you more motivation. All of our hard work paid off.”

Though the second half was score-less, the Raiders resisted the temptation of immersing itself in a full-blown defensive shell. Instead, Elco was content to exert itself in the midfield.

Elco held Conestoga Valley to a single shot in the second half, and just four for the game. The Raiders mustered nine total shots of their own.

IMG_5387“For us it’s nice, because we had never won a Lancaster-Lebanon girls’ soccer championship,” said Fulk. “From that perspective, it’s big. But I hope we’re not done. There’s bigger fish to fry.

“I hope we can use this as motivation,” added Fulk. “We’ll give them (his players) a couple of days off, then have a full week of practice before districts.”

 

 

 

 

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IMG_5398To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

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IMG_53482018 Elco Girls’ Soccer Results 

 

Date Opponents Outcomes
8/31
10:00 am
Palmyra
at Elco
0
3
9/01
11:00 am
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
2
2
9/04
7:00 pm
Elco
at Garden Spot
3
0
9/07
4:00 pm
Muhlenberg
at Elco
0
10
9/08
5:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elco
9/11
4:00 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
6
1
9/14
4:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal
3
0
9/17
7:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara
5
0
9/20
7:00 pm
Solanco
at Elco
0
3
9/22
10:00 am
Hershey
at Elco
0
1
9/26
4:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
3
1
9/28
4:00 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
0
4
10/01
12:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal
5
0
10/03
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Elco
0
5
10/05
4:00 pm
Elco
at Solanco
3
0
10/08
4:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
0
3
10/11
4:00 pm
Berks Catholic
at Elco
10/13
10:00 am
Ephrata
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
1
4
10/16
5:30 pm
Elco
Hempfield
at Manheim Central
1
0
10/18
5:30 pm
Conestoga Valley
Elco
at Warwick
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IMG_5449PIAA District Three
  Class AA Power Rankings
AA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Eastern Lebanon County 15- 0- 1  0.737018  0.973988  0.447388  16.9  118.2  0.5  146.0
2 Boiling Springs 15- 2- 0  0.736828  0.908571  0.526919  15.9  158.6  1.6  142.4
3 Lancaster Catholic 17- 0- 1  0.720624  0.966258  0.420404  15.8  133.1  0.6  183.5
4 Littlestown 14- 4- 0  0.587469  0.755556  0.382030  13.6  121.6  4.4  196.7
5 James Buchanan 9- 6- 3  0.569069  0.610497  0.518435  11.1  160.3  7.1  148.9
6 Trinity (3) 9- 7- 0  0.566738  0.565476  0.568280  9.5  171.5  7.3  130.3
7 Pequea Valley 11- 4- 3  0.560998  0.641243  0.462921  11.4  141.7  6.4  164.4
8 Schuylkill Valley 8- 6- 3  0.541963  0.564815  0.514033  9.2  148.4  7.1  140.3
9 Lancaster Mennonite 8- 7- 1  0.539237  0.535928  0.543282  9.0  144.4  7.8  121.4
10 Wyomissing 10- 4- 3  0.536054  0.638889  0.410368  10.4  118.4  5.9  170.1
11 Delone Catholic 10- 5- 1  0.535003  0.613772  0.438729  10.3  125.0  6.5  159.9
12 Biglerville 10- 6- 2  0.497961  0.569149  0.410953  10.7  132.5  8.1  189.9
13 Northern Lebanon 10- 7- 0  0.494872  0.532544  0.448827  9.0  132.0  7.9  162.1
14 Middletown Area 6- 10- 0  0.451192  0.375000  0.544316  6.0  165.2  10.0  138.3
15 Tulpehocken 7- 9- 2  0.445136  0.423913  0.471074  7.8  142.5  10.6  160.0
16 Kutztown Area 6- 8- 4  0.407281  0.385057  0.434443  6.7  125.3  10.7  163.1
17 Bermudian Springs 6- 10- 0  0.403064  0.359551  0.456248  6.4  130.4  11.4  155.4
18 Susquenita 8- 10- 0  0.371417  0.321839  0.432013  5.6  130.9  11.8  172.1
19 Eastern York 4- 14- 0  0.356567  0.255814  0.479709  4.4  138.3  12.8  150.0
20 Oley Valley 5- 12- 0  0.341142  0.242604  0.461578  4.1  135.8  12.8  158.4
21 Octorara Area 0- 14- 0  0.260668  0.000000  0.579261  0.0  150.6  13.2  109.4
22 Hamburg Area 0- 16- 1  0.245265  0.020349  0.520163  0.4  147.1  16.9  135.7
23 Hanover 0- 18- 0  0.215341  0.000000  0.478535  0.0  148.3  19.8  161.6
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