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 IMG_2480BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – Isn’t it ironic that the Elco girls’ soccer team didn’t perform well the other night and advanced, and did play well last night and lost? No. It is not ironic.

It’s sports. It’s life. It’s sports imitating life. It’s reality.

On a moist Thursday night at Cedar Crest High School’s Edward and Jeannie Arnold Field at Earl Boltz Stadium, the Raiders performed the way they did in winning 18 straight games during the regular season, but fell to Manheim Central 1-0 in the quarterfinal round of the District Three Class AAA playoffs. In a tightly marked match in which neither side generated many scoring opportunities, the Barons tallied the only goal in the contest’s 68th minute.

The loss ended the fifth-seeded Raiders’ year at 19-2, and a game short of qualifying for the PIAA tournament. But the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three champions played determined, intense and together.

IMG_2465Manheim Central, the fourth seed, upped its overall mark to 16-3 and advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round of the District Three Class AAA playoffs.

“For our kids, I’d rather not play well and win,” said Elco head coach Derek Fulk. “But I was much happier with the way we played tonight than against Twin Valley on Monday. Obviously, you want to win. But that’s the way things go sometimes.

“It’s definitely a good season,” continued Fulk. “When you go 18-0 you’re doing something right. It’s disappointing that in the league playoffs we didn’t put our best foot forward. Tonight we did. I’m disappointed for the kids, but I’m happy with the way we played.”

The game was scoreless and appeared headed to overtime when Manheim Central’s Kayla Herr took matters into her own hands.

IMG_2490Herr took possession of a loose ball in the midfield, went hard to her left and unleashed a low left-footer from 25 yards out that beat Elco goalie Emma Strickler inside the right post. The unassisted score came with 13:17 showing on the second-half clock.

“I thought we turned the ball over,” said Fulk. “A couple of passes and she (Herr) hit a nice shot far post. She’s a good player. She’s a dangerous scorer. What are you going to do?

“Our kids settled into the game,” Fulk continued. “I knew they (the Barons) were going to come at us. We wanted to play defense and counter attack. That was the game plan.”

While most of the game was contested with a slight mist in the air, the skies opened up not long after Herr’s goal. The steady downpour certainly affected the playing conditions over the final 12 minutes.

IMG_2499“To me, it didn’t matter,” said Fulk of the weather. “Our kids were into the game. You want to get over that initial shock of giving up a goal. But I thought our kids responded well.

“I’m proud of the kids and the way we fought,” added Fulk. “It’s definitely a positive, what we did during the regular season. You can’t take anything away from that.”

Much of the play in the first half occurred in the midfield.

And while scoring chances were at a premium, the Raiders enjoyed the better of them. Two to be exact – a decent one out of a corner kick in which the ball was bouncing around in front of the Baron net and a 40-yard Ryelle Shuey free kick that sailed just over the cross bar.

“I thought we played ten times better than we did on Monday night,” said Fulk. “It was a much better effort collectively. It’s hard to find opportunities with the way they (the Barons) play. One bad break, one mistake, against a team like that can prove costly.

IMG_2483“Maybe the first game we felt pressure because we were at home,” Fulk added. “But we were pretty relaxed tonight. We might’ve had a little more pressure on us against Twin Valley. But I thought we played a better game tonight.”

With a 5-1 advantage over the second 40 minutes of action, the Barons out shot the Raiders 8-4. Manheim Central also enjoyed a slight 2-1 edge in corner kicks.

“Eighteen-and-oh was unbelievable,” said Fulk. “Seventeen-and-one is great. Sixteen-and-two is fantastic. But 18-0 is unbelievable. That’s two years in-a-row that we’ve been one step away from qualifying for districts. It’s disappointing, with the way the season went. But it’s a good experience for our kids, and we are fairly young.

“For us being the smallest school in AAA, it’s going to be difficult to compete,” Fulk continued. “We were focused and we played hard. I told the girls, ‘Whatever you do, don’t look back.’ I feel bad for the seniors. They had great careers at Elco.”

 

IMG_2510To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com., or to view more go to www.https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/?page_id=40462.

 

 

 

 

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2016 Elco Girls’ Soccer Results
Date Teams Score
9/02
4:00 pm
Elco
at Tulpehocken
4
1
9/03
11:00 am
Elco
at Conrad Weiser
3
0
9/07
4:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
4
0
9/09
4:00 pm
Lebanon Catholic
at Elco
1
9
9/10
5:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elco
0
1
9/13
7:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
0
5
9/15
7:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal
2
1
9/17
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
0
4
9/20
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Elco
1
2
9/22
4:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
3
2
9/26
7:00 pm
Elco
at Middletown
4
0
9/28
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
2
5
9/30
7:00 pm
Elco
at Lebanon Catholic
10/03
7:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
2
1
10/05
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Elco
0
1
10/07
4:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
2
0
 
10/10
7:00 pm
Elco
at Pequea Valley
3
0
10/12
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
0
4
10/15
10:00 am
Hempfield
Elco
at Manheim Central
5
0
10/24
7:00 pm
Twin Valley
at Elco
2
4
10/27
7:00 pm
Elco
Manheim Central
at Cedar Crest

 

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Elco Girls’ Soccer Individual Statistics

 

GOALKEEPING
Name Saves Games played
Emma Strickler 108 18
Hailey Sherk 9 3

 

 

Offense
Name Goals Assists
Ryelle Shuey 17 7
Jenna Oliviero 7 5
Emily Bidelspach 7 6
Taylor Bossert 6 1
Tanisha Grewel 6 0
Julia Nelson 5 1
Natalie Swingholm 3 4
E, Bidelspach 2 1
Kiersten Sweigart 2 1
Kate Fischer 1 0
Eve Peiffer 1 6
Deziree Balthaser 1 0
Kate Fisher 1 0
Kelsie Salem 1 0

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