Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Township rips Ephrata

As far as statements go, they don’t get much bigger than the one Manheim Township’s boys’ lacrosse team made Friday night.

The Blue Streaks’ game at Ephrata was forecasted to be a thrilling drama between two of the best teams in the L-L League.

And it was, for about 10 minutes, until Township quickly started writing what — too many — was a surprising conclusion.

Powered by three goals and three assists from senior attack Willy Hendrick and a defensive clinic from senior Matt Sallade, Township took over first place in the L-L League with a 15-5 drubbing of Ephrata.

The Blue Streaks (10-0 L-L, 12-1 overall) now hold a one-game lead over Ephrata in the L-L standings. The Mountaineers (9-1, 11-3) fell into sole possession of second, one game clear of Hempfield (8-2, 12-2).

“We were all pumped up and ready to play,” Sallade said afterward. “And once our offense started clicking ... we know we can put up points.”

Safe to say, Ephrata knows it now too.

“They came out fighting hard,” Mounts coach Kevin Pletz said of Township. “They played a better game initially, got the momentum, and rode it the whole game.”

After falling behind 2-1 on a goal by Ephrata’s Austin Sensenig with 4:19 left in the first quarter, Township took the upper hand for good with an ensuing 7-0 run that gave it an 8-2 lead with 4:56 remaining in the second.

Hendrick provided two goals and an assist during that spurt.

“Once they smell blood in the water, they just keep going,” Pletz said of the Streaks. “And when they open up the flood gates like that it’s tough to stop it.”

Especially considering Ephrata’s ongoing troubles this season, according to Pletz, with taking care of the ball.

Not benefiting from a sideways rain that blew across the field for the entire first half, the Mounts struggled to gain possession, and struggled with turnovers when they did get it.

Some of which explained a 14-6 shot advantage by halftime for Township, which also controlled 11 of 13 faceoffs in the first two quarters.

“We just played basic, fundamental lacrosse,” Streaks coach Kyle Wimer said. “And we made the most of our opportunities.”

There were plenty more in the third quarter, when Township pulled away for good.

After getting goals from Hendrick, Ryan Miller and Dylan Speitel in the first 3:02 of the second half to push its lead to 12-3, another score from Sallade made it 13-3 with 7:56 left in the third — invoking the mercy rule.

Goals by Kevin Curcio and Speitel (three goals) eventually stretched Township’s advantage to 15-3 with 9:47 left to play.

By game’s end, the Streaks held a 24-12 edge in shots and a 37-25 advantage in ground balls won.

And while the lopsided result may have come as a surprise to many, Sallade — knowing the guys around him — wasn’t necessarily blind-sided by Friday’s events.

“We knew all week it was going to be a challenge,” he said. “And all respect to Ephrata, they have some great players. But we have confidence in what we have and we know if we’re clicking on all cylinders, we could put up a game like this.”

Statement made.