Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Mounts Blank Barons


They've played well over the last week and a half, well enough to become part of the Section Two playoff equation.
 
And Monday night Ephrata's playoff plans got a tremendous boost with a 2-0 victory over Manheim Central on Mountaineer Field.
 
Kelly Liebl scored in the sixth minute and Mackenzie Lagaza added insurance in the 58th to lift the Mounts (7-3 L-L, 9-5 overall) into the thick of the section race.
 
Tied for third with Cocalico -- each with 18 points -- coming into the match, Ephrata and the Eagles vaulted over the Barons (5-2-3, 7-4-3) and into a tie for second behind Elizabethtown.
 
Winners now of four straight league matches, the Mounts came in as the highest scoring team in the section with 39 goals, second in the league only to Elco's 42.
 
With 15 shots on goal, and a constant presence in the offensive third, they lived up to their reputation.
 
"We had a fair amount of space to play in and we took it," said Mounts coach Wes Deininger.
 
"We created the opportunities, which is, obviously, the first thing you need to get to. I would've liked for us to finish a few more."
 
That they only scored twice was a testament to a Baron side that entered the game short-handed and green.
 
The Barons were without the services of four injured starters, including three-fourths of their defensive back line.
 
Center backs Kiersten Hatch and Lauren Herr and wing defender Taylor Noll all watched from the sideline, joined by centermid Jenna West, the section scoring leader and Barons' playmaker.
 
Manheim mixed and matched on defense, with carryover Anna Burkhart and Olivia Novak, the latter a forward/midfielder until last Thursday, joined by freshmen Taylor Hess and Kaley Hatch.
 
And while Chelsea Carper played well in West's stead, there was no replacing her generalship.
 
Witness the Barons' two shots on goal and no corner kick opportunities.
 
"They do depend on Jenna, as far as with being the leader on the field," said Baron coach John Shetromph.
 
And if the Barons appeared offensively adrift without West, Ephrata appeared hungry and focused.
 
With or without West.
 
"We've been very competitive with everyone," Deininger said. "We've been creating a lot of chances. They've played well."
 
Kelly Liebl and Jenna Yarger teamed on a sweet give-and-go, triggered by Liebl, for the icebreaker at the 6:33 mark.
 
The Mounts continued to press with Brittany Lutz denied by keeper Emily Good and blocked twice by Novak.
 
Mounts wing defender Mason Hornberger made a standup defensive play in the 21st minute, bodying Emily Doerschuk off the ball as she bore down on the goal.
 
A corner kick in the 58th minute all but slammed the door on the Barons. Kay Liebl bent her service on frame, where it fell, uncleared, to the ground.
 
Lagaza stepped to the loose ball and sent it into the back of the net, sending Ephrata forward.
 
"Things are coming together," Deininger said. "Every game's as important as can be. You can't think past the next one."