Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Mounts' Comeback clips Cocalico


There was cause for celebration, and Ephrata's Nicole Wilkerson said her team would do just that.
 
But only for one night.
 
This afternoon, the Ephrata field hockey team is getting back to business.
 
And the business at hand is trying to unseat Cocalico as Section Two champ of the L-L League.
 
Thursday afternoon, the Mountaineers (1-0 L-L, 2-1 overall) took the initial step to do that, scoring four second-half goals in a 4-2 comeback win over host Cocalico (0-1, 2-1) in the league opener for both squads.
 
"We finally did it," Ephrata coach Rhoda Mountz said of taking down a Cocalico team it hadn't beaten since Sept. 22, 2008.
 
"It's an amazing feeling," said Wilkerson. "It was all of us working together."
 
The Eagles jumped on top on a pair of Carrie Sensenig goals off penalty corners just over a minute apart midway through the first half.
 
Cocalico went to the break holding that lead and it looked like the Eagles would stay atop their perch within the section, a stretch that has covered the past five seasons.
 
"It was an extension of our first two games," Eagles coach Krista Page said of how her team controlled the action for about two-thirds of the opening period.
 
Cocalico came in with a 2-1 win over Lancaster Mennonite and a 5-0 thrashing of Tulpehocken in the record book.
 
"We played such a very good first half," Page said. "I honestly don't know what happened. It was like we were two different teams."
 
What happened, according to Ephrata's Brooke Overly, was that her team finally believed it could actually play with Cocalico.
 
"Once we got (the ball) in (the cage), we knew we could get more," said Overly.
 
Meredith Michel got the icebreaker at the 9:14 mark, Alexa Kurtz tied the game with 16:00 off the clock, Overly put in the go-ahead goal at 20:49 and then Morgan Weaver iced it with just 31 seconds left.
 
The first three goals came off field play, while the final tally was on Ephrata's ninth and final penalty corner.
 
Mountz said the turnaround strategy was quite simple in the second half, but it required her players to believe they could beat Cocalico. They hadn't done that since Mountz returned to the sideline for her second tour of duty at Ephrata back in 2008, when the teams split their games.
 
"One pass. One play. One tackle. Win these (individual pieces) and we can win the game," Mountz said.
 
"We came into (the game) a little nervous and flustered," Overly said. "We had to adjust and work together as a team. Then, it clicked."
 
Mountz said that while she's had some excellent players over the past few seasons who had the skills to compete with their backyard rival, they just couldn't get past the Cocalico conundrum.
 
This year, she said, her team is "learning to engage in the mental part of the game."
 
That alone is reason for Ephrata to celebrate. Finally earning that win just put the celebration over the top.