The Elizabethtown boys soccer team defeated visiting Hershey, 3-2, but coach James Sostack said that he was disappointed in the team’s level of play.
“I don’t think that we came mentally prepared for a scrimmage. I thought that they were hungry for a game setting rather than scrimmaging against each other and I think there is a huge learning curve. Nothing is going to come easy. I thought we were a stronger squad, but Hershey, give them credit, they played well,” Sostack said.
The team opened with Colin Wieand, Austin Denlinger and Adan Cabrera-Perez as the team captains. Once they returned from the coin toss, Sostack employed a 4-3-2-1 formation. The two squads played 20-minute quarters.
Elizabethtown notched the first scoring opportunity of the day off a low, driven cross that was settled and shot as it eventually bounced off the left goal post and rolled inches off the goal line.
After a clearance attempt that went back into the middle of the field, Hershey found the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead.
Elizabethtown’s second goal-scoring opportunity came when Cabrera-Perez headed the ball towards the goal before Hershey’s goalie punched it off the crossbar. The Trojans carried their 1-0 lead into the half.
With 16 seconds left in the third quarter, Hershey doubled its lead. Elizabethtown battled back in the 71st minute when David Shank was able to score on a through ball. Less than four minutes later, Elizabethtown was able to tie the game at two.
After the equalizer, Cabrera-Perez scored the game-winner in the 75th minute.
Sostack said that while everyone keeps a mental score, he was moving players in and out of positions in an effort to see how they would react in game situations.
“A scrimmage is meant to show some players and it did for me. There were a couple of players that I was quite pleased with their performance and they’ll move up the chart. While others need to now go back and prove it on the training ground,” Sostack said.
In addition to feeling as if the team was not mentally prepared for a scrimmage, Sostack said he was surprised with the team’s fitness level.
“That was something we mentioned right at the end of the game. We thought that we were a fit team and yet the work rate that we have come to exemplify wasn’t at that level,” Sostack said.
The veteran coach was pleased that his team showed some offensive firepower, but believed that the defense is an area that will need vast improvement moving forward.
“We might have to make some changes in personnel because it’s just not the quality of a defensive unit that we’re capable of doing,” Sostack said.
The team’s next challenge is a scrimmage at Lower Dauphin on Wednesday, Aug. 30., at 4 p.m.
“Our next scrimmage will be a tough one against a nationally ranked opponent. We better come ready to play,” Sostack said.