Monday, January 22, 2018
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Mounts pad lead in Section Two


The final two weeks of the L-L League boys' soccer season could not have gotten off to a better start for Ephrata.
 
Holding a three-point lead over Manheim Central in Section Two, the Mountaineers earned a 2-0 victory over the visiting Barons Monday night.
 
The win extends Ephrata's lead to six points with four games left, while it drops Manheim Central into a two-way tie for second with Cocalico, a 5-0 winner over Solanco Monday.
 
The last time Ephrata (9-1 section) and Manheim Central (7-3 section) squared off, the Barons took advantage of an "own goal'' for a 2-1 double-overtime victory. But Monday night, the Mountaineers made their mark early and took a lead 14:11 into the game.
 
After having an earlier chance turned away by the Barons, Kyle Phillips chased a ball deep into the right corner and found space to get a cross into the box. There, Matt Faller made a streaking run out of the midfield and buried a header past Baron keeper Austin Hatch.
 
"Kyle is a tenacious player. He's very skilled and he wants to be a goal scorer or part of the goal scoring," Ephrata head coach Rob Deininger said. "He's vital to what we do."
 
Faller's goal was all the Mountaineers would need, thanks to an airtight defense and keeper Kole Dehaven, who made six saves.
 
"From the first game, we knew what they had. We were more conscious (tonight) of them switching the ball from side to side," Deininger said. "We're very quick on the outside and our two outside backs (Teagan Pfautz and Isiah Striver) are very good and very good tacklers, and it frees up our outside midfielders to do some other things."
 
"They pressured us and it prevented us from generating consistent offensive push," Barons head coach Matt Schwartz said. "We had our moments but we just weren't consistent enough to force their adjustments or sustain pressure. We had a ton of balls served into the box, we just didn't get on the end of them.
 
"You have to finish your chances. Tonight we didn't finish and they did."
 
The Baron defense had its moments as well, slowing Ephrata several times. But it just wasn't enough.
 
"We were fortunate (last game), they had chances and they were just high and wide. We weren't as strong defensively as we were last time," Schwartz said. "The first one was a good goal, that's well conceived and well done. We just made it easier on them than we should have."
 
The second Mountaineer goal was aided by a lapse as well, as Hatch chased a ball toward the goal line and in an attempt to avoid conceding a corner, dropped the ball back in play, right to the feet of Ephrata's Gabriel Murcia. Murcia ripped a shot into the far-side netting to give Ephrata the 2-0 lead.
 
"We're up by two now and we go to L-S Wednesday, which will be a good test for us," Deininger said. "We needed to get our momentum back -- we've been winning, just not in the greatest method, but now I think we've got our confidence back."