Four games in six days. That was the challenge hovering over the Elizabethtown Area High School boys soccer team. With two games against section opponents and two more against non-league teams, the Bears came out of the slate with mixed-to-positive results.
Elizabethtown hosted McCaskey on Thursday, Sept. 27, in what turned out to be a double-overtime thriller. The Bears offense largely controlled the pace throughout the night but was unable to capitalize thanks to some outstanding play from Tornadoes goalkeeper Max Brewster. He had a number of saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless at the break.
McCaskey’s offense opened up a bit in the second half, but it too failed to generate any results. By the end of the game, senior Elizabethtown goalie Brecken Musser faced 0 shots on goal. The score held at 0-0 in regulation, leading to overtime, where Brewster prevented two shots on goal from junior Nacho Bartolome late in the period to send the game to another overtime.
Brewster’s best feats of the night came with just a couple of minutes to go. He first stopped a long shot from Bears senior Chris Gartley, then saved a closer shot from senior Evan Schneider and finally knocked Schneider’s rebound clear with his face. McCaskey’s only real attempt at a goal came afterward, where the Tornadoes had a two-on-one run against Musser called back due to an offsides call. The game would eventually end in a 0-0 tie. Brewster finished the game with an astounding 13 saves.
The Bears had another home game the next day on Friday, Sept. 28, against Cedar Cliff. Just like the previous night, the first half featured very little offense from either team, and the score stayed at 0-0 at halftime. The majority of the second half stayed the same way until Elizabethtown finally found an opening.
Senior Giani Leppler was able to find junior Caleb Gerber on a header for a goal, putting the game at 1-0 with just over 13 minutes left. The Colts tried to pick things up offensively but were unable to respond, giving the Bears the win. For the second straight game, Elizabethtown allowed no shots on goal. It was also the team’s fourth straight shutout. Sophomore goalkeeper Alex Widmer had 4 saves for Cedar Cliff.
A makeup game at Dallastown on Monday, Oct. 1, previously postponed from Friday, Aug. 31, was next on the docket for the Bears. In contrast from the last two outings, the Wildcats largely set the pace offensively in the first half, only stopped by some excellent saves from Musser. Elizabethtown had just two realistic scoring chances, and the game once again stayed at 0-0 at the break.
Musser stopped a flurry of shots early in the second half but was finally beaten on a penalty kick by Gabe Wunderlich with around 24 minutes to go. This came shortly after Schneider was knocked to the ground on a breakaway attempt by a Dallastown player, which only resulted in a free kick. Elizabethtown’s offense picked up the pressure but failed to even the score, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 victory. Musser finished with a season-high 11 saves, while Dallastown goalie Brandon Hole stopped 5 shots of his own.
Elizabethtown won an away game at Garden Spot 3-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Gerber got his fourth goal of the season, while sophomores David Fray and Daniel Tema each added scores as well. Meanwhile, the Spartans didn’t do much offensively outside of the one goal.
With a record of 9-3-2 on the season, the Bears are next set to face off against Ephrata at home on Thursday, Oct. 4, followed by a trip to Lampeter-Strasburg on Monday, Oct. 8.