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IMG_5729BY JEFF FALK

HERSHEY – The Elco girls’ soccer team got stronger and stronger as the match wore on. Unfortunately, the Raiders just couldn’t overcome one weak moment, early on.

On Monday night at Hersheypark Stadium, Elco was edged 1-0 by Fleetwood in the semifinals of the District Three Class AA tournament. The Tigers netted the only goal of the game 32 seconds in, and try as they may, the Raiders just couldn’t come up with the equalizer over the final 79 minutes of action.

IMG_5707The loss dropped sixth-seeded Elco, the reigning Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three champions, to 16-5-1 and into the loser’s bracket of the postseason. The Raiders can still qualify for the PIAA playoffs by winning Saturday’s third-place game with Susquehannock, which was beaten 1-0 by Northern York in the other semi, at a site and time to be determined.

Fleetwood, the now 18-1-3 second seed, will take on top-seeded Northern York on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium for the District Three Class AA championship.

IMG_5731“Take away the first 32 seconds and we did OK,” said Elco head coach Derek Fulk. “We came out flat, and against a good team that could be the difference. The rest of the game I thought we played as well as them or better. I’m not disappointed, but they’re (his players) upset.

“These kids are one of the most resilient groups I’ve ever coached,” Fulk continued. “They have tremendous character, and it showed tonight. That was a credit to the kids.”

Fleetwood’s goal was created by the momentum of the game’s first touch.

From the left side of the field, the ball was played into Tiger Lauren Hughes at the left post. Hughes didn’t possess it long, getting off a short pass to teammate Sydney Lobb, whose quick shot along the ground found the back of the net.

IMG_5686No one in the place thought it would be the only goal scored all night.

“I wasn’t sure what happened,” said Fulk. “I didn’t see it. We came out soft and a little timid. And maybe a little wide-eyed, playing here for the first time. It is different.

“Because of it being so early, we didn’t want to change anything,” Fulk continued. “If it would’ve came later it would’ve been a different story. But for the most part we did a great job of getting back into it and playing hard.”

Offensively, the Raiders did generate a handful of dangerous chances. The most dangerous of which came 11 minutes into the second half.

IMG_5662From 20 yards out on the right wing, Elco sophomore Taylor Bossert clanged a well-placed shot off the crossbar. Initially, the ball appeared to carom straight down and over the goal line.

When the officials did not signal ‘goal’, Raider Jenna Oliviero got her head on the rebound. But from the ground, sprawled Fleetwood keeper Jenna Hawkins came up with the save.

“I thought the keeper got a piece of it, and I thought maybe the ball went across the goal line,” said Fulk of Bosser’s initial shot. “The referee was right there. She’s (Hawkins) a good keeper.

“I thought Jenna headed it and she saved it off her back,” added Fulk. “It was an unbelievable play. It seemed like we were snake-bitten a little bit. We created a lot of opportunities.”

The flow of the second-half action was characterized by Elco’s 6-2 advantage in shots during the period.

IMG_5682“Most teams, at this point of the season, know about Ryelle (Shuey),” said Fulk of his team’s leading scorer. “I thought we created opportunities. I thought we could. We wanted to try to use our speed and get outside, and draw the sweeper away from the middle. After the game I told them (his players) not to be ashamed. We definitely played with them (the Tigers), if not outplayed them.

“I think we’ve played pretty well offensively (throughout the season),” Fulk added. “We have a bunch of different weapons. I thought Taylor Bossert had a tremendous game tonight. And Ryelle is dangerous. It’s always nice getting different people to contribute.”

IMG_5709On the final stat sheet, the Raiders out shot the Tigers 7-5. Fleetwood enjoyed a slight 3-2 edge in corner kicks.

“We actually knew a lot about them,” said Fulk of the Tigers. “It was nice that they played two Lancaster-Lebanon teams in districts before us. I talked to the Lancaster Mennonite coach and the Manheim Central coach, and got a lot of good information about them.

‘There’s still something to play for,” continued Fulk. “We haven’t been to states since 2007. It would be nice. Yes it hurts, but we’re not finished. I think they’ll (his players) be fine. Once the initial sting wears off, I think we’ll be OK. It’ll be nice to have a couple of days to get ready.”

IMG_5673To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to see more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-ten/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/05
Conrad Weiser
12:00 PM W 2-0
09/09 *
Annville-Cleona
7:00 PM W 6-1
09/11 *
@Pequea Valley
4:00 PM W 2-1
09/12
@Cedar Crest
5:15 PM L 0-3
09/15 *
@Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM W 2-0
09/17 *
Donegal
7:00 PM L 2-4
09/19 *
@Lancaster Mennonite
7:00 PM W 2-0
09/21
@Middletown
5:00 PM L 1-2
09/22 *
@Lebanon Catholic
7:00 PM W 11-2
09/24 *
Lancaster Catholic
7:00 PM W 4-0
09/30 *
@Annville-Cleona
7:00 PM W 4-0
10/02 *
Pequea Valley
4:00 PM W 4-0
10/03
Tulpehocken
7:00 PM W 3-0
10/05 *
Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM W 4-1
10/07 *
@Donegal
7:00 PM W 2-1
10/09 *
Lancaster Mennonite
4:00 PM T 0-0
10/12 *
Lebanon Catholic
4:00 PM W 6-1
10/14 *
@Lancaster Catholic
7:00 PM W 4-1
10/17 #
@Hempfield
10:30 AM L 0-1
10/26 #
@Schuylkill Valley
7:00 PM W 3-2
10/29 #
East Pennsboro
7:00 PM W 2-1
11/02 #
@Fleetwood
5:30 PM L 0-1

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