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BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – Intense. Heated. Testy.

One official called it ‘animated’.

With just a hint of frustration.

It was not vintage Lebanon-Cedar Crest. But it was very representative of the emotional rivalry that has existed between Lebanon County’s two biggest schools – just not in this sport.

On a pleasant Saturday morning at Lebanon High School, the Cedars blanked the Falcons 2-0, in a tense renewal of a budding boys’ soccer rivalry. Lebanon netted a pair of first half goals and did an admirable job of limiting Cedar Crest’s offensive chances to distance, throughout.

In the match, four different members of Cedar Crest received yellow cards.

Over the years, the rivalry that exists between the neighboring schools in boys’ soccer has traditionally been dominated by Cedar Crest.

With the result, Lebanon improved to 4-5-1 on the season. The Falcons slipped to 0-8 overall.

“Any time you have a crosstown rivalry, the energy is going to go up 150 percent,” said Lebanon head coach Doug Hunter. “It’s always good to play a great opponent.

“All I can say is that in crosstown rivalries, there are always chips on shoulders,” continued Hunter. “When they come off ,another chip is put on. We’re just fortunate the ball fell in our direction today.”

“(Lancaster-Lebanon League) Section One matches are really fast and really physical,” said Cedar Crest head coach Todd Gingrich. “I’d say that in terms of physicality, this wasn’t any more physical than usual. With the rivalry, the desire to compete comes out.

“Give Lebanon credit,” added Gingrich. “When they play us, they play hard and they play like it’s a rivalry. I root for Lebanon 17 games a year. They played hard. We played hard in spurts.”

Eight minutes into the match, the Cedars assumed a 1-0 lead.

From a restart on the left side of the field, Lebanon’s Jorge Sandoval served a hard ball onto the Falcon frame. Cedar Crest keeper Aaron Walters got his gloves on it, but the ball squirted through them to the right post, where Chris Estrada-Vazquez knocked it home.

“We can play a little slower at times to create more goals,” said Hunter. “I think there were more opportunities there, just with services and being more aware in the front of the goal.

“As the season has progressed, we’ve gotten better,” added Hunter. “We were in games early, then we had some injuries. Our guys are playing more poised now.”

“I don’t know if the rivalry is more important to Lebanon,” said Gingrich, who coached Lebanon before taking over the Falcons. “I know it’s important to me. It’s a coaching issue. I have to find the correct formula to get them (his players) aware of the rivalry.

“I feel like the moment overwhelmed us,” Gingrich added. “We didn’t play the way we needed to play.”

With 19:25 left before halftime, the Cedars added some insurance.

Off a left-side corner kick, the ball bounced around in front of the Cedar Crest net, before squirting out to the top of the box. Lebanon’s Derek Infante gobbled up the opportunity and struck a hard right-footer along the ground and inside the right post.

“A clean sheet is always great in soccer,” said Hunter. “It was nice to get the shutout. (Goalie) Dom (Folmer) did a great job back there directing and organizing his back line. We were in position to cut down their angles and opportunities.

“Cedar Crest has a young team,” Hunter continued. “I see a lot of good things coming for them. Todd just needs a little more time to showcase what they have. They need a little time to mature.”

“We kind of did what we were looking to do,” said Gingrich. “But we don’t have that one guy who can score goals. We’ve had some key injuries, but that’s high school soccer. That’s how it is. Our younger players aren’t quite there yet.

“My issue, when I was at Lebanon, was we’d have three or four really good players, and then there would be a drop off,” continued Gingrich. “Now they have nine or ten really good players. They’ve done a great job of building depth. I really respect the job they’ve done.”

In the final tally, Cedar Crest out shot Lebanon 9-8. The Cedars were awarded five corner kids, compared to three for the Falcons.

“We were hoping to be on the plus side of .500,” said Hunter. “We’re in a good position to reach some of the goals we set at the beginning of the season. We want to end up two on the plus side of .500, and we want to finish in the top half of our section (Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League). And we’d like to be in position to challenge for the district playoffs.

“Health is a big part of it,” added Hunter. “We also have to learn when there are opportunities to play slow, so we can kick the door down when it’s open, instead of trying to run through it.”

“I played at Cedar Crest when we were really good,” said Gingrich. “We have sort of fallen back in terms of talent. I’m OK with struggle, because struggle makes you better. We’re so young.

“Our goals are the same as we’ve always had,” Gingrich added. “I want us to play hard. I want us to play physical, but not dirty. I want us to play the game the right way. Character-wise, we have a great team. If we lose, we lose, but I want us to put forth our best effort.”

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

2021 Cedar Crest Boys’ Soccer Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/03
4:00 pm
Elizabethtown
at Cedar Crest
Postponed
Nonleague
9/04
10:00 am
Cedar Crest
at Palmyra
0
7

Nonleague
9/10
4:00 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest

League
9/11
11:30 pm
Cedar Cliff
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
9/14
7:00 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest
5
0

League
9/16
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Warwick
1
4

League
9/18
5:00 pm
Elco
at Cedar Crest
3
0

Nonleague
9/20
4:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield
0
7

League
9/22
7:00 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Cedar Crest
4
1

League
9/25
10:00 am
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon

Nonleague
9/28
7:30 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township

League
9/30
4:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor

League
10/02
4:00 pm
Exeter
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
10/05
7:00 pm
Warwick
at Cedar Crest

League
10/07
7:00 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest

League
10/09
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Central

League
10/13
4:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Garden Spot

Nonleague

2021 Lebanon Boys’ Soccer Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/03
10:00 pm
Lebanon
at Solanco
4
1

Nonleague
9/09
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Lancaster Country Day
1
0

League
9/11
10:00 am
West Shore Christian Academy
at Lebanon

Nonleague
9/13
4:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Lebanon

League
9/15
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
1
10

Nonleague
9/16
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
3
5

League
9/18
10:00 am
Milton Hershey
at Lebanon

Nonleague
9/20
4:30 pm
Lebanon
at New Covenant Christian

Nonleague
9/23
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon
2
3

League
9/25
10:00 am
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon

Nonleague
9/27
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon

League
9/29
4:00 pm
Lancaster Country Day
at Lebanon

League
9/30
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic

League
10/09
10:00 am
McCaskey
at Lebanon

Nonleague
10/11
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon

League

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