Monday, January 22, 2018
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Mounts draw with Falcons

If there was a singular takeaway from Saturday afternoon’s Ephrata-Cedar Crest boys’ soccer match, it would be this: Everybody’s gotta start somewhere.

Finishing is another matter, in every sense of the word.

Neither team mustered a goal throughout 100 minutes of play in this season opener — 80 in regulation and 20 in sudden-death overtime — and can only hope for better things in the offensive third as the season unfolds.

And better things out of the season, period.

Mounts coach Rob Deininger thought it was “a just outcome,” given both sides’ struggles to sustain anything. The Falcons had eight shots, the Mounts five. And while Crest had 12 corner kicks and Ephrata eight, few of them amounted to much.

Nor were there a ton of great chances in general. The Mounts’ Zach Schaller hit the crossbar from just outside the 18 with a little over 15 minutes left in regulation, and Ephrata keeper Jimmy Hickey came off his mark to make a head-high save on Falcons reserve Joe Castma late in the first half, when Castma had a semi-breakaway. Hickey also went diving to his left to deny Charlie Jones midway through the second half.

Crest’s Colton Dellinger did have a sliver of daylight on the left side of the box late in the second extra period, after a set-up by Nate Hess. But Dellinger cracked his shot well over the top.

It was that kind of day.

“Ball possession, it was pretty hard to tell; there wasn’t much of it,” said Falcons coach Dustin Bixler, who thought first-game anxiety was a big part of the problem. “It was pretty much kick it and run. It was pretty much, get the nerves out of the way and play proper soccer later on (in the season).”

Crest returns the bulk of its team, after going 3-11-4 last year. And while the Falcons had much the better of it in the match’s first 10 minutes — no surprise, seeing as the Mounts had one starter on the field from last year’s 9-8-1 side, because of graduation and injuries — they couldn’t generate anything terribly threatening.

Things evened out after that. Ephrata’s Austin Sensenig headed Lukas Olson’s corner wide left with 8:11 left in the first half, but in the process banged heads with a defender. That left Sensenig with a gash over his left eye, and required him to leave with his parents so that he might receive medical attention. He was unable to return.

The day’s best chances came as a result of throw-ins by Crest’s Alex Stuart and Ephrata’s Gavilan FogertyHarnish. Again and again they made long tosses into the box, to no avail.

“I think both (teams) have got heart, and both have got desire,” Deininger said. “Both have got to find a way to finish.”

Referring specifically to his team, he added, “We’ve got to stay more composed in the box, and around the box. … We’ve got to get a player to say, ‘I’m going to put the ball in the back of the net, no matter the cost.’ ”