Lebanon Sports Buzz
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 BY JEFF FALK

 MYERSTOWN – It’s way too early to draw conclusions, so we won’t read too much into this.

 But over the last few falls, there has existed this informal round-robin field hockey tournament involving Northern Lebanon, Elco and Annville-Cleona. And not only has the winner earned a degree of local bragging rights, more often than not, it has garnered the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three championship.

 Recent history has also been kind to the survivors of Northern Lebanon-Elco overtime contests.

 On a bright Monday after-school at Elco High School, the Vikings edged the Raiders 1-0 in overtime, in an early season showdown dripping with end-of-the-year implications. Lindsay McFeaters’ goal with 6:04 remaining in the 15-minute, seven-on-seven, extra session proved to be the ‘golden tally’.

  Last year, on their way to a first Section Three crown in more than two decades, the Raiders edged the Vikings twice in overtime. But yesterday,  Northern Lebanon turned the tables on Elco, after a tightly marked, highly competitive regulation contested mostly in the midfieled, ended in a score-less draw.

 Not only was McFeaters’ goal the first one surrendered by Elco this season, goalie Emma Bomberger’s shutout was Northern Lebanon’s first of the fall.

 The result pushed the Vikings to 5-0 on  the season and 3-0 in Section Three. The Raiders slipped to 2-1 on the year and 2-1 in the circuit.

  “We’re five games into the season,” said Northern Lebanon Ronda Sowers. “This is just another win. But it does mean something. In terms of confidence, hopefully this will translate.

 “Before the beginning of the season, people were like, ‘Hey, you lost nine starters from last year,'” continued Sowers. “I knew who we had coming back. I knew we had tenacity. At the beginning of the year, I thought we could be 4-14 or 14-4, 0-18 or 18-0. But I always bet on us. I tell the girls, ‘every time you walk on the field, any team can beat any team.’ It’s 60 minutes, or 69 minutes today.”

  “Every game is important,” said Elco first-year head coach Kelsey Thorley. “It’s exciting when you have two good teams going head-to-head – much less rivals. It’s important, but not the end-all or be-all.

 “I walked into a very strong program,” Thorley continued. “I am familiar with a lot of these girls because I’m also the assistant softball coach. We’re in a good groove.”

 The outcome can down to McFeaters’ great individual effort, which was more a case of perseverance than resiliency.

 Off a corner play, the ball was inserted to McFeaters going to her right. McFeaters got off a good, low, quick shot that Elco goalie Sarah Shollenberger kicked out.

 But the ball bounced right back to McFeaters, and this time she slipped it past Shollenberger and into the cage.

  “We ran a corner,” said Sowers. “The initial play was not successful. But that kid (McFeatersw) is not going to stop until the ball is in the cage or the whistle blows. She did her job. She composed herself.

 “I think we have this strong core of kids people didn’t get to see last year,” added Sowers. “I think sometimes you get a bunch of kids, you meld them together and it works. This is a fun group of kids and they’re tenaciously competitive. They take care of one another.”

  “It was a good finish,” said Thorley of McFeaters’ effort. “She (Shollenberger) had a really good save on the first shot, but their player stayed with it. It was well-played by them and it was well-played by us.

 “I think a lot of it is mental in overtime,” Thorley added. “It was our first (overtime) game. I was pretty pleased with how we played. We did have some positives moving forward.”

  Prior to overtime, the Vikings had generated some similar pressure on the Elco cage during the first seven minutes of the second half. The Vikings produced a number of corners and a few shots, but Shollenberger and the Raider defense were up to the task.

 “I thought we played the game plan, and that was to possess the ball between the 25s,” said Sowers. “The kids did a really nice job. We knew they’d (the Raiders) be tough between the 25s, and we knew we’d be tough between the 25s. We battled for 69 minutes.

 “That was about what we expected,”  Sowers added. “Historically, we’ve been on the other end of this with them in overtime. It was a frustrating third-place finish for us last year.”

  “I thought we played well,” said Thorley. “We didn’t finish. We did a lot of good things. The goal moving forward is to put the ball in the back of the net.

 “There was a lot of back-and-forth play,” added Thorley. “We created a lot of opportunities. It’s only Game Three.”

 While each team exhibited some good skills in the midfield, there wasn’t a lot of space for runs or room to maneuver. That limited the scoring opportunities for both sides.

 “After the first five, eight, ten minutes, they started to settle in and play the game plan,” said Sowers of her toops. “Our game plan was just keeping their kids at bay. We limited their time in the circle. When you do that, you limit opportunities for scoring.

 “It was what we expected, good consistent field hockey,” Sowers continued. “It was no accident that we ended up in overtime. They (the Raiders) have explosive and dynamic players who make things happen. I thought we kind of neutralized them.”

  “I think things are going really well,” said Thorley. “A lot of girls have stepped up, girls who are in positions they’re not used to. They’re working incredibly hard in practice. They’re hungry. They want to win the section title.”

 In the final tally, Northern Lebanon out shot Elco 9-3. The Vikings were awarded ten corners, compared to the Raiders’ four.

 “Any time you go to overtime, there’s a component of intestinal fortitude that comes into play,” said Sowers. “I never doubt my kids when it comes down to the will to win. That definitely helps in overtime.

 “I thought we saw two teams play some really nice, strong defense between the 25s,” Sowers continued. “They had a few opportunities in the circle, and we had a few opportunities in the circle.

 “I think we’re right on track,” said Thorley. “I have a lot of personal pride in the program because I played at Elco. I want the girls to experience some of the things I did. I think we’re off on the right foot.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2019 Northern Lebanon Field Hockey Schedule

 
 
Date Opponents Outcomes  
8/30
4:00 pm
Lancaster Country Day
at Northern Lebanon
2
3
 
9/03
4:00 pm
Schuylkill Valley
at Northern Lebanon
1
2
 
9/04
6:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Fleetwood
5
2
 
9/06
4:00 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon
1
4
 
9/09
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
   
9/11
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon
   
9/13
4:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
   
9/16
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Conrad Weiser
   
9/17
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
   
9/18
4:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Northern Lebanon
   
9/20
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
   
9/23
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Country Day
   
9/30
4:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
   
10/02
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
   
10/04
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
   
10/09
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Mennonite
   
10/11
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
   
 
 

 2019 Elco Field Hockey Schedule

 
 
Date Opponents Outcomes  
9/04
4:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara
5
0
 
9/06
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
0
3
 
9/09
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
   
9/11
7:15 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Catholic
   
9/16
7:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Mennonite
   
9/18
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
   
9/20
4:00 pm
Elco
at Lancaster Country Day
   
9/23
5:45 pm
Elco
at Governor Mifflin
   
9/25
4:00 pm
Octorara
at Elco
   
9/27
4:00 pm
Elco
at Lebanon
   
9/30
4:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
   
10/02
4:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Elco
   
10/07
4:00 pm
Lancaster Mennonite
at Elco
   
10/09
4:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
   
10/10
4:00 pm
McCaskey
at Elco
   
10/11
4:00 pm
Lancaster Country Day
at Elco
   
 
 
 
 Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Section Three Standings
 
 
 
  League Overall
  W L T PCT W L T PCT PS PA
Northern Lebanon 3 0 0 100.00 5 0 0 100.00 15 6
Annville-Cleona 2 0 0 100.00 2 0 0 100.00 7 4
Elco 2 1 0 66.67 2 1 0 66.67 8 1
Lancaster Mennonite 2 1 0 66.67 2 2 0 50.00 6 9
Octorara 2 2 0 50.00 3 2 0 60.00 8 10
Lancaster Country Day 1 2 0 33.33 1 2 0 33.33 8 5
Lebanon 0 3 0 0.00 0 3 0 0.00 1 7
Lancaster Catholic 0 3 0 0.00 0 5 0 0.00 5 23
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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