Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Bears Find Momentum

On paper, Monday’s 16-8 loss to Hempfield appears bad on paper for the Elizabethtown boys’ lacrosse team. Look closer, though, and you’ll see that the Bears battled back in the second half of the defeat, outscoring the Knights, 7-6.

“I think we didn’t have the intensity we needed when we started coming out at the beginning of games,” E-town junior midfielder Tom Poulos said. “After Hempfield we really set a tempo to stay up there and come out hard and be ready to go.”

E-town carried that momentum into Thursday’s home matchup against visiting Ephrata. The Bears took an early four-goal lead in the opening period, and stretched their advantage to seven goals by halftime in rolling to a 16-8 Lancaster-Lebanon League win over the Mounts (2-1 league, 3-2 overall).

It’s a notable win for E-town (3-1, 3-2) considering Ephrata last year went 10-2 in league action and reached the District Three quarterfinals. It’s also a win the Bears needed if they have any aspirations of reaching the postseason this spring after posting a .500 overall record a year ago. The Bears are thinking the goal is attainable, with all but one starter back this season.

“We have the same team this year we had last year, except for the goalie,” Poulos said. “I was expecting last year to be one of our bigger years. Last year was almost a bit of a disappointment so that motivated us to come out harder this year.”

Poulos tallied three goals and a pair of assists in Thursday’s victory. Teammate Gage Bootay had a team-high five scores and three assists, while Derek Swift had four goals and Tyler McDonald put three in the back of the net. Jacob Koser, the lone new starter for E-town, seems to be fitting in nicely, having made 20 saves in goal against Ephrata. He also had 19 stops Monday against Hempfield, which will likely be one of the teams to beat in the L-L League this spring alongside Manheim Township.

“I’m actually happy where the Hempfield game was. I think that lit a fire for us,” first-year E-town coach Allen Shissler said. “Monday night they played with an intensity I haven’t seen and I think they found themselves Monday. I keep telling them we gotta keep riding that the rest of the year.”

Austin Sensenig, Justin Hoover and Colin Cammauf each had a pair of scores to pace Ephrata’s offense. Although the Mounts only return five starters this year, head coach Eric Bensing is still hopeful his club can be competitive so long as its offensive miscues get cleared up sooner rather than later.

“They push the issue because they think they should be scoring quicker,” Bensing said. “They force a bad pass to the crease. They force a bad pass to a guy that’s cutting through that’s got a defender right on him. So it’s a combination of discipline and gotta be a little bit more patient and take care of the ball.”