Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Ephrata, E-town wins set up a showdown


It was a doubleheader with singular significance:
 
Sort out the confusion that is the logjam atop the Section Two field hockey standings.
 
When the final whistled sounded at Ephrata on Wednesday night, the host Mountaineers had emerged with a 3-1 triumph over Manheim Central.
 
That, coupled with Elizabethtown's 2-1 victory over Cocalico in the afternoon opener, set up a Friday showdown for first place between the Bears and Mounts.
 
Morgan Weaver, Brooke Overly and Meredith Michel each scored once, and Nicole Wilkerson got a pair of assists when Weaver and Overly redirected her blasts off corners for Ephrata (5-0 L-L, 6-2 overall), which sits alone in first after dispatching Central (3-1-1, 6-2-1).
 
Paige Epler's goal with just 2:03 left was the difference for the Bears (4-0-1, 7-0-1) as they edged five-time defending section champion Cocalico (2-3, 4-4).
 
"They're on a mission," coach Rhoda Mountz said of her Ephrata squad, which had a 13-5 advantage on corners over Central but, like the Barons, had seven shots on goal.
 
The Mounts turned a 1-0 halftime lead into a 3-0 gap when Overly and Michel scored nine minutes apart in the second half.
 
"We pound and pound," Mountz said. "It took us awhile to connect."
 
Connections, or lack thereof, plagued the Barons.
 
"We just didn't connect on anything," said MC first-year head coach Lisa McCoy. "And getting (more) corners definitely would have helped."
 
The Barons' lone goal came on a penalty corner when Jillian Wolgemuth rifled a shot into the cage. But there were only six minutes left at that point.
 
Mountz said her squad couldn't rest on its laurels, because "no game in the Lancaster-Lebanon League is easy."
 
And Friday's 4 p.m. trip to E-town will be no easy task as Ephrata tries to complete its first cycle through the regular-season schedule with an unblemished mark.
 
That's because the Bears have been known to put a few goals in the cage this year, and not allow many into their own cage.
 
E-town now has outscored its opponents 27-3, and goalie Katelyn Keller has five shutouts.