Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Blue Streaks eliminate Mounts

Manheim Township’s boys’ lacrosse team got Thursday night what its girls’ team is still waiting for.

A challenge.

Either way, both Blue Streak outfits got the desired result.

Getting the game-winner from Willy Hendrick with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter, Township’s third-seeded boys’ squad outlasted L-L League foe and No. 11 seed Ephrata for an 11-7 District Three quarterfinal victory at Penn Manor’s Comet Field.

The result puts the defending champion Blue Streak boys (21-1) in Tuesday’s semifinals opposite No. 2 seed Carlisle (16-3), which advanced with a 15-7 win over Governor Mifflin Thursday. Tuesday’s game is set for 5 p.m. at Lower Dauphin Middle School.

“We work all year to put ourselves in this position,” Township boys’ coach Kyle Wimer said. “Our coaching staff has worked to make sure the team’s players are (working well) on both sides of the ball. It all comes down to discipline.”

Something the Streaks’ boys — the second-ranked team in the central Pennsylvania region by — will figure to need again Tuesday against Carlisle, which is ranked fourth in the region.

Township displayed that discipline, along with a ton of resilience against Ephrata (14-7), a team the Streaks overpowered 15-5 in an L-L regular-season game on April 25.

Thanks to a team-high four goals from Ephrata’s Koty Keefer and 11 saves from goalie Justin Mease it wasn’t as easy this time.

“I thought we played them pretty tough,” Mountaineers coach Kevin Pletz said afterward. “But they’re a quick transition team. And it seemed like every time we got a goal or two, Township got a turnover and a transition goal to break our momentum.”

Which was pretty much the theme all night.

After scoring the third of his five goals 2:15 into the second quarter to put the Streaks in front 4-1, Ephrata responded with scores by Dustin Fisher and Keefer to cut the lead to 4-3 with 2:47 left in the first half.

That momentum was killed, though, when Ryan Miller (three goals, one assist) and Hendrick netted blasts in the final 47 seconds of the half to put the Streaks back in front 6-3.

“When a team’s making a run, you have to bunker down,” Wimer said. “We did that, and it worked to our advantage.”

As did Hendrick’s goal off a Reagan Ketchum assist with 2:35 left in the third quarter, which gave Township an 8-4 lead.

Ephrata cut the deficit back to three (8-5) on Ryan Holochuck’s finish of a Keefer assist with 1:16 left in the third, but the Mounts couldn’t get any closer the rest of the way, compliments of fourth-quarter scores from Miller, Ketchum and Chris Augeri.

“The game came down to (whether) we could stop (the Streaks’) fastbreak, transition goals,” Pletz said. “We did a decent job of it, but when we started getting tired (down the stretch), they got in transition and started scoring goals.”