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BY JEFF FALK

MOUNT JOY – There is never any enjoyment to be derived from another’s anguish. But this was the best kind of despair.

It provided a glimpse into a team’s collective competitive psyche.

For the Elco boys’ soccer program, it was a painful, but necessary initial step.

On a bright Wednesday evening at Donegal High School’s Athletic Complex, the Raiders were visually upset after dropping a hard-fought 1-0 decision to the homestanding Indians. After playing Donegal on even terms, or possibly enjoying a slight edge in the flow of the game throughout, Elco was done in by Tye White’s goal late in the fourth quarter.

Now despair in student-athletes following setbacks isn’t all that uncommon in scholastic sports. But in this case, it showed the depths to which the Raiders are committed to the program and the cause.

The 1-0 loss was Elco’s second straight to start the season, while Donegal improved to 1-1. But the one-proud Raiders are coming off a 2-8-3 2020 and a four-year stretch in which they have compiled an overall record of 18-48-3, one of the least productive periods in the storied program’s history.

“That’s where we’re starting to see disappointment,” said Elco rookie head coach Jamie Cascarino, himself a product of the program. “They (his players) were upset that they lost. They know they are a good team. They know they’re coming from a standard set by the Elco boys’ soccer program.

“I’m pleased with the way we’re playing, the effort, the mentality of the boys,” continued Cascarino. “It may come across as two losses. But they were both one-nil games. We’ve got to focus on the positives moving forward.”

One of those positives was that the Raiders performed well enough to win, or at least to draw. But with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter, White had other ideas.

Donegal’s Brody Bonham initiated the winning play by dribbling a ball from right to left along the end line. Bonham somehow managed to slide the ball to White on the left post, and he got just enough of it to direct it over the goal line.

“I didn’t see anything specific, whether it crossed the line or didn’t cross the line,” said Cascarino. “They (the Indians) had numbers in the box. They were able to create an opportunity. I don’t think it was any kind of defensive breakdown on our part.

“I felt we played well,” added Cascarino. “We possessed the ball. We had our chances. It was about us seizing opportunities.”

Before White’s game-winner, the two sides had battled through 70 minutes of tightly-marked, defensive soccer.

With 17:24 remaining, a diving Donegal goalkeeper, Neville Ncube robbed Raider sophomore Camden Marquette of a potential goal on a ball ticketed for the left side of the net. In the first half, Ncube had come up with a similar stop, stoning Elco’s Ashton Beck at point-blank range.

“I’ll have to look at the film,” said Cascarino. “But I felt like we passed the ball well. In the midfield, we had the better of the play for a good percentage of the game. That’s the style of game we want to play.”

“I’m happy with the way we’re playing,” Cascarino added. “We’re doing good things that we’re building on each and every day. The only thing we didn’t do today was finish.”

In the final tally, Elco out shot Donegal 5-4. The Indians held a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.

“There was a spark lit in our team last year,” said Cascarino. “We’re trying to pick up where we left off and build on it this year. We have formulated three main goals. The guys are upset because their expectations are high for each other, and our (the coaches’) expectations are high for them.

“Let’s face it, it’s Elco soccer,” Cascarino continued. “There are high expectations of play. Expectations for us and our players are high. Our expectations when we step on the field is to do everything we can to win the game. We want to win. We did that tonight.”

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

2021 Elco Boys’ Soccer Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/03
10:00 am
Pequea Valley
at Elco
1
0

Nonleague
9/08
4:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal

League
9/10
4:00 pm
Cocalico
at Elco

League
9/13
4:00 pm
Muhlenberg
at Elco

Nonleague
9/14
4:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite

League
9/16
7:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara

League
9/18
5:00 pm
Elco
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
9/20
7:00 pm
Solanco
at Elco

League
9/22
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Elco

League
9/24
7:00 pm
Elco
at Tulpehocken

Nonleague
9/28
7:00 pm
Elco
at Cocalico

League
9/30
7:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco

League
10/02
10:00 am
Elco
at Eastern York

Nonleague
10/05
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Elco

League
10/07
7:00 pm
Elco
at Solanco

League
10/08
4:00 pm
Elco
at Berks Catholic

Nonleague
10/11
7:00 pm
Elco
at Conrad Weiser

Nonleague
10/13
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco

Nonleague

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