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BY JEFF FALK

HERSHEY – The bigger the game, the better the teams.

The better the teams, the more even the play.

The more even the play, the fewer chances.

A district championship can come down to a lone mistake, a single opportunity – or one penalty kick.

On a chilly Thursday evening at Hersheypark Stadium, the Elco girls’ soccer team was denied a District Three Class AAA championship by the slimmest of margins, during a 1-0 loss to Mechancisburg in the final. After the two sides had battled tooth-and-nail through 80 score-less minutes of regulation and two golden-goal-less, 15-minute overtime periods, Mechancisburg outscored Elco 3-2 in penalty kicks.

Ironically, the Raiders had reached the title tilt with a similar penalty-kick victory over Red Land, in a District Three semifinal contest on Monday.

The setback dropped second-seeded Elco, the reigning Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three champion, to 16-4 overall. The Raiders will open play in the PIAA Class AAA postseason on Tuesday, with a road game against the District Four champion.

Last night represented Elco’s seventh District Three championship game appearance in program history. The Raiders wore District Three crowns in 2019, 2018 and 2003.

Fourth-seeded Mechanicsburg improved to 17-3-2 with the outcome.

“It’s what you expect from a district final, a hard-fought battle,” said Elco head coach Derek Fulk. “It’s a shame when it comes down to penalty kicks. It’s a tough way to lose.

“It’s the way it goes sometimes,” continued Fulk. “We were fortunate to advance the other night with penalty kicks. Until someone comes up with a better idea, penalty kicks are the best way to determine a winner.”

Wildcat goalkeeper Ari Frey netted the decisive goal in the penalty kick portion of the contest, but the Wildcats didn’t clinch the championship until Frey came up with a save on the Raiders’ shooter in the fifth and final round of PKs. Before that, Elco’s Abigail Sargent and Kailey Eckhart had successfully converted their penalty kick attempts.

“It just wasn’t our night,” said Fulk. “It wasn’t our best effort in penalty kicks.

“(Goalie) Sam (Nelson) has been phenomenal for us all year,” added Fulk. “We’re not in this situation withot Sam. She was unbelievable throughout the playoffs. She made great saves. She kept us in the game at times.”

In a tightly-marked and hotly-contested game, neither side was able to generate many dangerous opportunities,

With seven corner kicks, the Raiders enjoyed the better of the play in the second half. But Elco did not register a shot or a corner kick during either of the overtime periods.

“I thought they probably had the better of the play in the first half,” said Fulk of the Wildcats. “But I thought we dominated the second half, besides (Halle) Engle getting a couple of chances. I thought we were more dangerous in the second half. We were creating really good chances, but unfortunately we couldn’t get anything to go in.”

Elco didn’t record its first shot on goal until Carsyn Boyer generated a semi-dangerous chance, 12:30 before halftime.

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

2021 Elco Girls’ Soccer Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/04
10:00 am
Conrad Weiser
at Elco
1
4
Nonleague
9/08
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Elco
0
6
League
9/10
4:00 pm
Elco
at Cocalico
2
1
League
9/14
7:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
0
6
League
9/16
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Elco
0
8
League
9/18
7:00 pm
Elco
at Cedar Crest
1
0
Nonleague
9/20
4:00 pm
Elco
at Solanco
0
1
League
9/22
4:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal
3
0
League
9/23
4:00 pm
Elco
at Garden Spot
Postponed
Nonleague
9/28
7:00 pm
Cocalico
at Elco
0
1
League
9/30
5:15 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
4
0
League
10/01
4:00 pm
Elco
at Berks Catholic
2
0
Nonleague
10/05
7:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara
6
0
League
10/07
7:00 pm
Solanco
at Elco
0
1
League
10/11
4:00 pm
Pottsville Area
at Elco
1
2
Nonleague
10/13
4:00 pm
Wyomissing
at Elco
3
1
Nonleague
10/16
2:00 pm
Elco
Penn Manor
at Manheim Central
1
4
League Playoff
10/26
7:00 pm
Susquehannock
at Elco
0
6
District Playoff
10/30
7:00 pm
Daniel Boone
Elco
at Cedar Crest
2
4
District Playoff
11/01
7:00 pm
Red Land
at Elco
1
3
District Playoff
11/04
5:30 pm
Mechanicsburg
Elco
at Hersheypark Stadium

District Playoff

PIAA District Three

Class AAA Power Rankings

AAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1***Greencastle Antrim17-1-0 0.739720 0.962366 0.467597 17.90 145.75 0.70 165.95
2***Eastern Lebanon County13-2-0 0.726665 0.875776 0.544417 14.10 131.15 2.00 109.75
3***Gettysburg12-2-2 0.723564 0.861446 0.555041 14.30 149.75 2.30 120.05
4***Mechanicsburg13-3-2 0.697044 0.849515 0.510690 17.50 157.65 3.10 151.05
5***Northern York14-4-0 0.692320 0.797872 0.563311 15.00 177.95 3.80 137.95
6***Red Land11-6-1 0.687260 0.751366 0.608908 13.75 193.45 4.55 124.25
7***Daniel Boone13-5-0 0.677207 0.784211 0.546424 14.90 166.55 4.10 138.25
8***Lampeter Strasburg12-6-0 0.672742 0.755319 0.571814 14.20 169.60 4.60 127.00
9***Solanco13-4-0 0.660161 0.805714 0.482262 14.10 130.50 3.40 140.10
10***Palmyra9-7-1 0.641633 0.661932 0.616822 11.65 184.80 5.95 114.80
11***Fleetwood10-7-0 0.630211 0.658960 0.595073 11.40 171.50 5.90 116.70
12***Manheim Central9-7-0 0.624892 0.673077 0.565998 10.50 149.65 5.10 114.75
13***West York11-5-0 0.604007 0.713415 0.470286 11.70 123.45 4.70 139.05
14***Conrad Weiser8-8-1 0.599284 0.588068 0.612991 10.35 179.30 7.25 113.20
15***Susquehannock10-7-0 0.595346 0.624277 0.559986 10.80 158.70 6.50 124.70
16***Cocalico9-8-0 0.587183 0.605096 0.565289 9.50 154.55 6.20 118.85
17South Western8-9-0 0.583387 0.586826 0.579184 9.80 167.50 6.90 121.70
18West Perry10-8-0 0.564571 0.582418 0.542758 10.60 172.00 7.60 144.90
19Dover7-10-1 0.511448 0.500000 0.525440 8.25 164.20 8.25 148.30
20Octorara8-10-0 0.506299 0.488889 0.527577 8.80 138.70 9.20 124.20
21Twin Valley5-12-1 0.495291 0.380000 0.636203 6.65 198.05 10.85 113.25
22Garden Spot4-13-0 0.455231 0.313725 0.628183 4.80 180.10 10.50 106.60
23Susquehanna Township6-10-0 0.455072 0.383721 0.542279 6.60 151.35 10.60 127.75
24Berks Catholic7-11-0 0.441795 0.335294 0.571964 5.70 175.65 11.30 131.45
25Shippensburg5-12-0 0.437020 0.308176 0.594496 4.90 179.30 11.00 122.30
26Spring Grove3-14-0 0.412018 0.248322 0.612090 3.70 177.20 11.20 112.30
27York Suburban3-12-0 0.387478 0.224490 0.586685 3.30 145.85 11.40 102.75
28Big Spring4-14-0 0.364477 0.215909 0.546059 3.80 168.35 13.80 139.95
29East Pennsboro2-15-1 0.362360 0.141711 0.632042 2.65 197.45 16.05 114.95
30Donegal2-13-0 0.358157 0.145985 0.617477 2.00 149.80 11.70 92.80
31Milton Hershey1-15-0 0.286591 0.080247 0.538789 1.30 152.10 14.90 130.20

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