The Elizabethtown Area High School boys lacrosse team is still struggling. They lost two more games, falling to 0-3 on the season. As head coach Allen Shissler describes it, the players are “lacking hunger.”
“I have no idea why,” Shissler said. “I’m trying to figure it out too. We have a lot of guys who haven’t had a lot of varsity experience who are still adjusting. We graduated such a big class last year, so we have a bunch of guys bumping up now, and I don’t think they’re used to the level quite yet. It’s a rough start, but I’m sure the hunger’s gonna come sooner or later. It usually happens.”
The team faced off against Lancaster Country Day at Lancaster Catholic Stadium on Wednesday, March 28, losing by a final score of 12-3. Elizabethtown struggled offensively, getting shut out in the first half and only scoring once the game was out of reach.
Seniors Isaiah Shickley and Cole Baker had goals, along with freshman Cam Poulos. Senior goalkeeper David Rich had 7 saves.
Luke Walling led all scorers with 4 goals for Lancaster Country Day, with Mason Scott and Noah Wolfe getting 3 and 2, respectively. Peyton Snopek stopped 12 shots at goalkeeper.
Their fortunes didn’t improve in their first home game either. Elizabethtown was handily shut down by Hempfield 16-2 on Tuesday, April 3, at Jane Hoover Field. The game was fairly competitive early on, but Hempfield slowly pulled away and pretty much had the game in hand midway through the second half.
Shickley and senior Elliott Kline had the two goals for Elizabethtown. Poulos assisted on Shickley’s make, while Kline’s came on a nice shot in the second quarter, the first time the team has scored in the first half this season. Offensively, however, they have just 12 total goals.
“The reason we haven’t been scoring a lot is because our clearing has just been failing us,” Shissler said. “Tonight it was better, but we’re just hitting the goalie and not finishing. We’re pretty much going down and not taking advantage of our opportunities. Practice can fix that. We have the guys to do it. We just have to find it in ourselves.”
On the opposite side of the ball, it hasn’t been much better. Junior Kohl Wesner had a game-high 7 goals for Hempfield. Junior Matt Heuston had 34assists to go with a goal, while juniors Cameron Aksu and Robert Griffith had 2 goals and 2 assists each. Senior goalkeeper Colin Kaiser added 11 saves as well. Overall, Elizabethtown has allowed 37 goals thus far, even though the defense has largely been decent most of the time.
“That’s the mystery I’m trying to solve right now,” Shissler said. “We’re hungry during pregrames, but I don’t know what’s going on after that. Tonight was actually the opposite. We came out ready to play, and we were down by just two at the end of the first quarter. Even in the second quarter, we played pretty well. But right now, we’re just a team of a half. We’re not playing a complete four-quarter game.”
There is talent on this team that hasn’t come across through the first three games. Despite the numerous bright spots they’ve had so far, Elizabethtown just hasn’t been able to pull everything together at once. “We have flashes of brilliance on offense, and the defense is getting a lot of reps since they’ve been playing so much,” Shissler said. “We’re improving there, but we’re just playing too much of it right now. I thought the offense looked their best tonight overall because we haven’t had this many looks before. We just couldn’t finish.”
Shissler specifically pointed to sophomore goalkeeper Duncan Keller as someone who’s been impressive despite the struggles. He had a whopping 24 saves in the net against Hempfield.
“Duncan’s been the MVP so far this year,” Shissler said. “He was brilliant in both of the games he played. He was a stonewall in there tonight. He’s just an excellent guy.”
The team will try and settle down before their next game, which is schedule for Friday, April 6, at Ephrata. They’ll also be making up a home game against West York for the second time on Monday, May 7. Perhaps some rigorous time at practice will help them turn the tide before then.
“We’re just gonna have to work on the little things,” Shissler said. “Ground balls, catching, throwing and finishing are the main areas. We have the talent to do it. We just have to concentrate a little bit more. It’s more or less our focus that we have to improve in order to fine-tune things.”