Monday, December 18, 2017
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Mounts' Fine Finish

Champions find a way to win.

Down a goal from the 38th minute on and growing increasingly frustrated, Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two girls soccer champion Ephrata scored twice in the last 11 minutes of the match, turning back Elizabethtown’s upset bid and finishing its league schedule undefeated.

Mounts senior holding midfielder Hayley Sheehan tied the match off a free kick in the 70th minute.

That seemed to spark the Mounts, who finished the regular season with a 14-0 mark, 17-1-1 overall.

“Any time you see a goal go in it obviously changes your mindset,” Mounts coach Wes Deininger said. “All of a sudden it seemed passing lanes were easier.”

Six minutes later, sophomore forward Abby Weist collected a through ball from Annie Slovak, took one touch and drilled the game-winning goal from the top of the box.

“That was quite a finish. She struck it,” Deininger said.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” said coach Keith Renner, whose Bears finished the season 5-9, 5-12 overall. “This is why they’re 14-0, because they finish a game.”

Renner and assistant Ryan Stadel came up with a defensive plan to deny the Mounts any build up in the center of the field, marrying three midfielders to his back four to form a swarming presence.

“We wanted to make sure if they attacked us, it had to be from the outside,” Renner said. “We were trying to drop, then make a connection to a player up top.”

“They had their numbers behind the ball,” Deininger said. “When they lost possession, they got it back.

“There was a stretch there where we got out of what we normally do, panicked and started playing ‘Big Ball,’” Deininger continued. “That fed into what they wanted.”

Turning point: With the Mounts trailing 1-0, Weist was fouled just outside the penalty area on the left wing at the 68:07 mark.

Sheehan stepped over the ensuing free kick, curling it just inside the far post for the equalizing goal.

“I knew we needed the goal, and knew I could make that shot,” Sheehan said. “It was a little more in the corner than I was aiming for, but it ended up working.”

Key statistic: The 10 offensive chances by Kaeleigh Smedley. The Bears’ senior captain was a ticking bomb in the Mounts’ defensive third.

Five of Jocelyn Umana’s six saves came on Smedley shots. Her finish of a Kim Bucher pass fashioned E-town’s lone goal.

Quotable: Renner: “We have control the whole game and a set play kills our mojo.”

Deininger: “It’s a good test; we found a way back, found a way to pull it out.”