Monday, January 22, 2018
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Elizabethtown Gains Ground on Ephrata


Deep down, James Sostack knows he has a good team, regardless of what the standings say.
 
In the first half of the Lancaster-Lebanon League season, Elizabethtown's boys' soccer coach watched his guys lose three Section Two games -- all by one goal.
 
A goal that was usually given up in the first few minutes of those matches.
 
Now, it's about reversing that trend, which the Bears did Tuesday.
 
Danny Tierney's breakaway goal 3:20 into the match was the game-winner for E-town, which powered its way to a 2-0 Section Two victory over visiting Ephrata on Tuesday afternoon.
 
"We knew there was some immediacy," Sostack said afterward. "We know in the second half of the season we have to perform. And the 1-0s we've been losing, we need to be on the other side of those."
 
Especially if the Bears want to stay involved in a section race that got a little more murky with Tuesday's result.
 
Lampeter-Strasburg (7-0-1 L-L, 10-0-1 overall) and Manheim Central (6-0-2, 8-1-2) are currently in control of the section with 22 and 20 standings points, respectively.
 
But with Tuesday's victory, E-town (5-3, 6-3) got its 15th point, pulling it within one of third-place Ephrata (5-2-1, 6-4-1).
 
E-town and Ephrata each have a game remaining with both of the section frontrunners, as the fight for Section Two's two L-L playoff berths continues.
 
"You've just to take each battle as it comes," Ephrata coach Rob Deininger said. "It's a long war. And, unfortunately, today wasn't ours."
 
Compliments of Tierney.
 
After beating the Mounts' last defender for a ball at the top of the box to get one on one with Ephrata keeper Kole DeHaven, Tierney worked down the right side and around DeHaven before tucking a shot over the line for a 1-0 E-town lead 3:20 into the match.
 
It was the only shot by either team in the first half.
 
"It was nice to reverse the pattern and be the early scorer," said Sostack, whose team surrendered the game-winner in the first five minutes of its 1-0 loss at Ephrata on Sept. 3. "It changes the complexion (of the game) for any team, because you're not fighting uphill."
 
Which turned out to be important in a classic Section Two fight in which Ephrata managed just one shot, a Chris Hershberger blast off a restart that E-town goalie Tommy Shank was able to smother 16:30 into the second half.
 
Meanwhile, the Bears got off only seven shots of their own, but it was more than enough thanks to Christian Wieand, who took a feed from Chad Mentzer at the top of the box with 19:00 remaining and uncorked a rocket under the crossbar for a 2-0 E-town edge.
 
"E-town was the better team today," Deininger said. "They deserved the victory. So we'll lace 'em up, play Thursday, and go from there."
 
In other words, just another day in Section Two.
 
"Obviously we still have a lot more work to do," Sostack said. "But I think we've been playing well. This is the most important part of the season now. So if we can get some momentum, hopefully we'll be able to carry it through to the rest of our games."