Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Lady Mounts Draw with Barons

With 24 seconds left in the second of two 10-minute overtimes, and the Ephrata and Manheim Central Ephrata girls’ soccer teams headed to a certain 0-0 tie, momentum did a whiplash-inducing 180 on both sides Monday evening on Mountaineer Field.

With the Barons pushed up in one last-gasp effort, sophomore centerback Kayla Herr stepped to a loose ball near the top of the box, unleashing one final shot on goal, a rising rocket on frame.

Mountaineers’ junior keeper Becca Gehman leaped to her full extension and punched it over the crossbar, preserving the shutout.

One last corner kick for Manheim (5-3-2 Section Two) ended in a soft roller Gehman covered and the teams walked off the pitch, each with a well-earned point in hand.

“I haven’t had to make a save like that in a while,” Gehman said. “I didn’t see it until it was right in front of me, actually. Then I just reacted to it.”

She wasn’t the only one whose vision was occluded.

“I couldn’t see the keeper,” Herr said, “but I made sure I got my foot on the ball.”

The final-second drama capped a back-and-forth match that saw the Barons dominate the first half of regulation and the first overtime. As did the Mountaineers (6-3-1, 8-5-1) in the second half and 9:36 of the second OT.

The back lines for both teams influenced the flow of the game, forcing multiple incursions back to the middle where trench warfare prevailed.

Standing out in the back were the Mounts’ Kennedy Root and Mason Hornberger. For the Barons it was Herr and Anna Burkhart.

Up top, Ephrata’s Taylor Moore ran the Barons midfield ragged, as did her counterpart, Anna Middleton, who constantly tested Ephrata’s middies.

While the respective coaches involved may disagree, as the L-L season rounds the far turn and heads to the home stretch there are two contested races in Section Two.

One, for first place, between Elizabethtown, with 27 points, and Cocalico, with 25. The other, for the third and final playoff berth allotted to the section, between Manheim, Ephrata and Lampeter-Strasburg.

That race tightened even more as L-S (18 points) passed the Barons (17 points) and closed on the Mountaineers (19 points).

Turning point: Gehman’s final save. Also, in a multi-touch buildup, with 13:24 left in regulation, Moore gets a toe on a ball in the box but, with quite not enough mustard on it, Baron keeper Kelli Kreider scoops it safely.

Stars of the game: The keepers, who kept the scoreboard clean.

Key statistic: The Barons had seven corner kicks to Ephrata’s one and a 20-17 advantage in scoring opportunities, but Ephrata had the edge, unofficially, in shots on goal, 12-9.

Up next: Ephrata travels to Lampeter-Strasburg Wednesday evening for a 7 p.m. tap. Manheim Central hosts Lebanon at 4 p.m. that afternoon.