Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Mounts upset Hempfield

It didn't really matter if nobody outside of Ephrata believed in the Ephrata's girls' soccer team going into its District Three Class AAA first-rounder match with Hempfield, what was important was the Mountaineers believed in themselves.

With time running out in the second 15-minute overtime period, and penalty kicks looming, Brittany Lutz took a ball from Taylor Moore and buried it in the back of the net, sending the Mountaineers to Saturday's quarterfinals, 2-1.

Quite a turnaround from 10 days ago on October 11th when the Black Knights (17-4) eliminated Ephrata (15-5-1) in the first round of the L-L League playoffs, 4-0. The victory then for the Black Knights was the first step on a path that led them to being crowned L-L League Champions.

"Taylor gave me a nice ball, I turned and shot it," said Lutz. "I didn't even think it was going in."

The Mounts started the scoring 14 minutes into the contest when Jenna Yarger took a diagonal ball from Lutz and converted it to give the Mounts a 1-0 lead.

That lead would hold for 22 minutes until the Black Knight's Natalie Connell knotted the score at 1-1 in the first half.

It went over 70 scoreless minutes until deep into the second overtime when Yarger drew two defenders to her as she carried up the middle. She then crossed to Moore on the right wing, who sent the ball back into Lutz. Goal.

How do you go 70 minutes without giving up a goal? You thank your defense first, anchored by Becca Gehman who finished the night with 7 saves, and sweeper Kelly Liebl who blocked five shots.

The Black Knights kept the pressure on all night out-shooting the mounts 10-4, while also holding a large 5-1 corner advantage. "We knew we would have to defend a fair amount, and we did great," said Mounts coach Wes Deininger.

Hempfield coach Jason Mackey added "We couldn't finish our chances ... a couple things don't go your way, and the end's the end."

Indeed this is the end for Hempfield who, with the loss, were eliminated from the playoffs.

Ephrata, the No. 13 seed, will play No. 12 seed Cedar Cliff (13-5-1), a 3-2 upset winner over fifth-seeded Central York, Saturday at a Earl Boltz Stadium (aka Cedar Crest High School). Match time is set for 4:00, and please do note that the game is at Cedar CREST, not Cedar Cliff. Oh, I'll just give you directions.

At stake, a trip to the semi-finals and a guaranteed spot in the State playoffs.

Penn State plays at 8:00 on Saturday, so you really do have limited excuses for not driving to Cedar Crest and cheering on the Mounts.

I would also recommend stopping at the Blue Bird Inn for an excellent meal after the game.

Go Mounts!