Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Streaks top Mounts

Once again, Manheim Township and Hempfield left little doubt which are the elite of the L-L League boys' lacrosse programs.

Top-seed Manheim Township scored 14 first-quarter goals, including two in the opening 13 seconds, to zip past fourth-seeded Ephrata by a 26-7 score in the first of two tournament semifinals played Tuesday at Conestoga Valley High School.

"They are so talented," said Ephrata coach Eric Bensing. "All of (Manheim Township's) kids are so fundamentally sound. They know how to move with the ball or without the ball. They are taught very well, coached very well and just execute."

Manheim Township wasted little time in jumping out front against Ephrata. Senior Chris Augeri scored off an assist from senior Ryan Miller seven seconds into the first semifinal.

Six seconds later, the Blue Streaks got an unassisted goal by junior Aaron Kager.

"It's something we work on," said Manheim Township coach Kyle Wimer. "It's something our faceoff guy understands how to push that ball forward and get it going on a fast break. We give him the green light to get it going and do that."

Township's Grayson Sallade added another unassisted goal 1:14 into the game, one of two first-quarter goals for the freshman.

The Blue Streaks finished the opening 12 minutes of play with 14 goals and 19 shots on goal. Ephrata (9-9) did not get its initial shot attempt until 31 seconds were left in the first quarter.

"Our first defensive group played well," Wimer said. "They were able to stay disciplined with the ball being on the offensive half of the field quite a bit."

"When they see the ball going into the back of the net, they are able to shoot with more confidence," Wimer said.

Manheim Township continued to push in the second quarter, going ahead by a 23-2 score at the half. Freshman Owen Miller had two second-quarter goals.

The Blue Streaks held a 34-5 advantage in shots on goal by halftime and wound up with a 47-23 edge for the game.

"We played our entire bench," Wimer said. "The focus is that when they have an opportunity, they capitalize on it. We are constantly evaluating. The players know that. They know they will get a chance, an opportunity, and go after it."

Ryan Miller and Chris Augeri scored four goals each for the Streaks, while six other players scored two goals apiece. Three goalies - Jack Braswell, Caton Johnson and Hunter Severe all manned the pipes for MT and combined to make 11 saves.

Justin Hoover led Ephrata (9-9) with three goals.

Second-seeded Hempfield followed and scored 12 unanswered goals on its way to a 17-2 win over Warwick in the nightcap.

Manheim Township (16-2) will now meet Hempfield (16-2) for the L-L tourney championship at 5 p.m. Thursday at Warwick. Manheim Township, which went unbeaten in league play during the regular season, handed Hempfield its lone L-L League loss this season by a 14-9 score on April 28.