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LEBANON – The Lebanon boys’ soccer team would like nothing better than to receive an invitation to the ball.

The Cedars don’t have to dance with the princess or anything like that. They just want to see what type of music is played there, take in the sights and sounds and just experience how the other half lives.

On Thursday afternoon at Lebanon High School, the poor-step child Cedars took another key step in their improbable run towards a rare playoff appearance by edging Ephrata 1-0. Lebanon netted an early goal and then had an answer for everything the Mounts threw at it the rest of the way.

IMG_2154After starting the season 0-5-2, the Cedars’ fifth straight win evened their overall record and moved them to 4-2-2 in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Lebanon High has now not surrendered a goal in any of its last three matches, a span of more than 240 minutes of action.

Lebanon, which went 9-9 in 2013, currently sits in third place in the section and 32nd in the latest District Three Class AAA power rankings. It is believed that the Cedars have never qualified for either the league or district playoff tournaments.

IMG_2231With the setback, Ephrata fell to 7-4-1 on the season and 5-4 in the circuit.

“I try to shy away from making numerical goals,” said Todd Gingrich, who’s in his first season as head coach, after being involved with the Lebanon program for 15 years. “But we did discuss that we want to be the first Lebanon team to make leagues. We want to be the first Lebanon team to make districts. We have talent now that’s starting to come together. This win will help us towards those goals.

“We tell our boys that all we can do is go 1-0 everyday,” continued Gingrich. “That’s what we’re trying to do. If you do more, sometimes it overwhelms you. I think this group teaches me more than I teach them. But I tell them ‘Just keep winning and everything will take care of itself.'”

The Cedars tallied the match’s only goal 1:27 in, on their first shot, generated from their first corner kick.

IMG_2188Senior midfielder Keegan Maguire used his right foot to insert the ball from the right corner. The boot was short, but junior Vicente Reyes did a good job of running on to it at the near post, and Reyes knocked a right-footer past Ephrata’s diving keeper and inside the right post.

“It was just a nice flick,” said Gingrich. “Vicente was open and he put the ball away. Ephrata didn’t have school today, and we felt if we could put a ball away early it would be big. No, it wasn’t designed. Sometimes you get fortunate, and he put it away.

“We do what we do, all the time,” Gingrich continued. “We do exactly what we need to do to win. What’s nice is when we play a team like Ephrata, we raise our level of play. We played tough. We played physical.”

IMG_2159Senior Seth Testerman, a converted field player, has been in the Cedar goal for each of the last three shutouts. On this afternoon, Testerman’s defense did an admirable job of limiting Ephrata’s dangerous chances.

Testerman knocked aside six Mountaineer attempts.

“He’s a field player,” said Gingrich of Testerman. “We put him back there. He’s so darn athletic. With some of the positions he takes, I get a little nervous, but he comes up with the saves. And with our defense, we don’t give up a lot of opportunities.

“These are fantastic kids,” added Gingrich. “They’re as tough as can be. We don’t ever have to worry about effort. It’s just a pleasure to coach them. I’m very thankful for the opportunity. It’s been really cool.”

IMG_2210Lebanon certainly didn’t play as well in the first half as it did in the second, as exemplified by the Mounts’ 7-2 advantage in shots during the second 40 minutes of action.

The Cedars missed a chance to tally a second goal midway through the second half, but Roberto Sandoval-Rocha’s 20-yard free kick around an Ephrata five-man wall struck the crossbar and caromed away. The Mounts returned the favor with 11 minutes remaining, as an Ephrata attacker appeared to beat Testerman from in-close, but clanged his shot off the crossbar.

IMG_2269While Lebanon continued to attack throughout, there did come a time late in the contest when it appeared content to protect its one-goal advantage.

“We never play for a 1-0 game,” said Gingrich. “We play a certain style. With a program which doesn’t have the tradition other programs have, we have to play for wins. Every game, we want to win. But with four or five minutes left in the game, hopefully we’re not going to give a ball away cheaply.

“We told them (his players) at the beginning of the season that we lost three fantastic forwards,” Gingrich added. “I thought we’d be better defensively (than last season). I thought we’d be better in the midfield (than last season). Then once we started scoring goals consistently, I thought we’d be difficult to beat. And right now, we are very, very difficult to beat.”

IMG_2328According to the final stats, Ephrata out shot the Cedars 10-8. Both sides took three corner kicks.

“We went 0-5-2 to start the season,” said Gingrich. “We lost games 1-0. We lost in double overtime. We lost to Cedar Crest on an own goal. Now we’re more comfortable playing in these games, which has never been the case at Lebanon.

IMG_2340“They’re (the Mountaineers) in fourth place (in Section Two) and we’re in third,” continued Gingrich. “We lost to them in double overtime with 1:30 to go the last time we played. We were ruing the fact that we let one get away from us. We knew we had zero margin for error. We had to get a win. We’re in smelling distance of a league playoff spot, which would be a major accomplishment for our program.

“When we first started here, we had awesome kids, but they just weren’t the level of athlete. Because we’ve had some success, now we have athletes who want to be associated with the program.”


Lancaster-Lebanon League

 IMG_2295Section Two Standings 

Elizabethtown 7-0-1 9-1-1
Manheim Central 6-0-2 8-0-3
Lebanon 4-2-2 5-5-2
Ephrata 5-4 7-4-1
Solanco 3-3-1 4-4-1
Lampeter-Strasburg 1-5-2 1-6-3
Garden Spot 0-5-3 1-6-3
Cocalico 0-7-1 1-9-1


   District  Three

IMG_2297 Class AAA Power Rankings

School W L T
1 Hershey 11 0 0 .810668
2 Reading 13 0 0 .809598
3 Central York 12 0 1 .808926
4 Chambersburg 8 1 0 .780100
5 Manheim Central 8 0 3 .755100
6 Dallastown 10 2 0 .747216
7 Central Dauphin East 8 2 0 .746222
8 Elizabethtown 9 1 1 .743631
9 Mechanicsburg 9 2 0 .737994
10 Cedar Cliff 7 2 1 .719384
11 Manheim Township 9 2 0 .716976
12 Daniel Boone 6 3 1 .703104
IMG_231813 Cedar Crest 6 2 3 .688645
14 Central Dauphin 6 3 1 .687827
15 Twin Valley 9 1 1 .685908
16 Greencastle Antrim 7 2 1 .668700
17 Ephrata 7 3 1 .667027
18 Exeter Township 6 4 2 .655223
19 Cumberland Valley 5 4 1 .640899
20 Red Lion 6 5 0 .632399
21 Lower Dauphin 6 4 0 .632174
22 Red Land 5 5 1 .626745
23 Waynesboro 6 5 0 .605431
24 Wilson West Lawn 4 5 1 .598865
25 Solanco 4 4 1 .585677
26 Spring Grove 5 6 0 .581665
27 Warwick 5 6 0 .571488
28 Lebanon 4 5 2 .561130
29 Hempfield 3 5 3 .557909
30 Shippensburg 6 6 0 .547254
31 New Oxford 4 5 1 .540856
IMG_216932 Muhlenberg 5 7 0 .538759
33 Penn Manor 4 6 2 .537788
34 Carlisle 4 7 0 .533234
35 Conestoga Valley 3 6 0 .514686
36 Northern York 4 8 0 .472709
37 Governor Mifflin 3 8 1 .470701
38 Garden Spot 1 6 3 .440420
39 J P McCaskey 3 8 0 .438514
40 Harrisburg 2 7 0 .433248
41 South Western 2 8 1 .430208
IMG_221342 Cocalico 1 9 1 .370184
43 Dover 2 7 0 .367900
44 Northeastern 0 8 2 .363883
45 York CDS 2 7 0 .258447






























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