Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Bears nip Mounts in OT

They played a full 60 minutes Tuesday at Mountaineer Field, but it all came down to the final eight as Ephrata hosted Elizabethtown in Section Two field hockey.

Ephrata’s Megan Mahlandt and Olamide Fatusin scored to pull the Mounts even with 8:30 to play, but with just 2:42 on the clock, Elizabethtown’s Sharri Kambesis netted her third goal of the game to seal the win for the Bears.

“I could not believe we gave up two goals there in a matter of like two or three minutes; that was not good,” E-town coach Linda Sten said. “We were kind of playing helter-skelter there and couldn’t organize, but I thought they did a really good job. Ball movement in the first half was really, really good.”

That ball movement led to Elizabethtown (4-3-1 in Section Two, 4-6-1 overall) controlling possession early in the game and outshooting Ephrata 6-1 in the opening half.

Kambesis tried to crack the scoreboard on a pair of attempts, but her reverse on a corner went wide before Ephrata’s Meredith Fagan made a key tackle on the second look.

The junior made the most of E-town’s next corner, however.

Taking the insert from Jaide Epler, Kambesis lifted the ball up and over the heads of both her teammates and the defenders, dropping it with a clang in the corner of the cage for a 1-0 E-town lead 5:49 into the game.

There the score would stay until midway through the second half.

Ephrata (4-4, 5-6) earned its fourth corner with 14:19 left on the clock, but it was E-town and Kambesis who would capitalize.

Shea Tatara intercepted an Ephrata pass near the top of the circle and pushed the ball up to Kambesis, who sped past the Ephrata defense. With goalie Courtney Weaver coming up and out of the cage to try and make the stop, Kambesis worked across to her right and tapped it in for a 2-0 advantage.

“She is our go-to person for attack,” Sten said of Kambesis. “She’s not intimidated by any defense, whether she is double-teamed or triple-teamed, she cherishes that. Everybody knows that if we get the ball to Sharri, that she can make things happen and the other forwards feed off of her.”

The second tally may have added to Ephrata’s deficit, but it also gave the Mounts and added intensity.

After consecutive corners without a goal, Mahlandt pulled the Mounts within one on their third attempt. Taking the insert, the junior pulled to her left to escape the defender and swept the ball around the outstretched leg of E-town goalie Kaylani Hernandez with 10:46 on the clock.

Ephrata's Megan Mahlandt (1) makes a move on the ball against Elizabethtown during first half action of an LL section 2 field hockey game at Ephrata Middle School Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo credit © Chris Knight — LNP

Ephrata earned two more corners and, about two minutes later, added another tally.

Julea Truskey had her initial shot saved, but Fatusin was there to corral the rebound and push the ball across the goal line to make it a 2-2 game.

With four minutes to play E-town fired a barrage of shots at Weaver, who saved three before the Bears earned another two corners. Weaver stopped both attempts, but Kambesis found the back of the net again in the final three minutes, sending a shot across the front of the cage to complete her hat trick.

Ephrata earned a pair of corners in the final minute while playing with a one-player advantage after E-town’s Epler received a green card, but could not capitalize.

“I think the thing about our team is we lack experience, but we make up for that, generally, in playing together and letting everybody play a part and our first half, we didn’t do that,” Ephrata coach Joy Rice said. “We sort of played reactionary hockey and tried to play more individually, so we talked about that at halftime. It was very exciting that 10 minutes where we scored two goals and came back, but it definitely wasn’t the game we planned on playing or wanted to play in terms of the other 50 minutes of the game, so it’s unfortunate.”