Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Text Size

Cocalico holds off Ephrata


Sometimes, it's the mental aspect of athletics that plays a bigger role in the outcome of a game than physical abilities.
 
"This game is always such a head case for both teams," Ephrata coach Rhoda Mountz said.
 
"I'm not surprised the way it went," added Cocalico's Krista Page. "This is always a game, even if it's now the game."
 
In a backyard rivalry that lived up to its Hatfield-McCoy-ness -- including cousins on opposing sidelines and in opposite uniforms -- Cocalico outlasted Ephrata 4-3 in the Section Two field hockey opener for both teams Thursday night in Ephrata.
 
"It's always going to be a good game no matter where the two of us are overall," Mountz said.
 
It was certainly a good game.
 
There are also many other worthy adjectives to describe the contest that saw four yellow cards issued, including one against Eagles goalie Emily Stauffer (8 saves) with no time left to play and Ephrata given a chance to tie with an non-timed penalty corner.
 
The defense held firm for Cocalico in front of backup keeper Kayla Mellinger, as the reigning Section Two champion Eagles (3-0) held on for the victory.
 
Carrie Sensenig and Emily Johnson had first-half goals for Cocalico, which led 2-1 at halftime after Moriah Pfautz put Ephrata (2-1) on board just 4:56 before the break.
 
Courtney Gensemer, with an assist from Sensenig, extended Cocalico's advantage to 3-1. That score came despite the Eagles playing shorthanded after Marissa Gingrich was hit with a five-minute penalty on the first yellow card of the night.
 
Cocalico's Gensemer and the Mountaineers' Emma Frees were later hit with concurrent yellow cards midway through the second half.
 
Ephrata's Kirsten Ueberroth (8:35 into the second half) and Pfautz (20:16 mark) then scored 12 minutes apart to bring the Mounts level with the Eagles, before a Janelle High tally off a Carissa Witmer assist with 7:44 remaining put Cocalico over the top.
 
"We just made some critical mistakes that gave them their goals," Mountz said. "We've got to take care of the ball and know what we need to do in those instances. Sloppy play set up their scoring."
 
Still, even down by two, Mountz didn't figure her team was out of it. "I had confidence we could come back," she said. "We've done it before already this season."
 
Cocalico, though, had other plans.
 
"I knew we could pull it out," said Sensenig. "We just had to keep our cool; maintain our composure."
 
"(Ephrata) came to play. We came to play," said Page, who added that she has just four players with significant varsity experience from last year, while Ephrata returns a ton of experience.
 
"I kind of know what we should get, but I'm not sure what we're going to get (out of the team)," Page added. "I'm pleased with what we got."
 
What the Eagles got was the jump on the Mountaineers, who figure to be their biggest challenger to repeat as section champs.