What a way to open up the season with a new head coach. The Elizabethtown Area High School girls lacrosse team started with a bang, beating Central Dauphin 15-12 at Jane Hoover Field on Monday, March 26.
In her first game as varsity head coach, Cheyenne Benson earned her first victory as well. All the more astounding considering that the team was down 4-0 just four minutes into the first half to a team who competed in districts last year. “It feels pretty good,” Benson said. “I am incredibly proud right now. I took a timeout when we were down four at the start, and I told them they need to play their game. I think a lot of it was they were playing to the level of the other team, and they weren’t playing the way I knew they could. We needed to tighten up our defense and win the draws. Once we did that, we did pretty well.”
Elizabethtown gradually climbed back into the game, narrowing the gap to 7-6 at halftime. Goalkeeper Corrie Baker recovered nicely from her slow start, finishing the game with 12 saves, and the defense as a whole held Central Dauphin in check for the rest of the contest.
“We have a couple of different colors to use as far as our defense alignments go,” Benson said. “I think we became smarter about when we used them. At the beginning, I let them control them a little bit, and they kind of ran away with it. Once we settled down and figured out which strategy we were gonna play with, then they were able to run with it. Corrie did a great job of leading back there and letting them know what she needed. I think that made the difference for her.”
Senior Kimmy Bucher played like a star, scoring a game-high 9 goals. Six came in the second half, equalling Central Dauphin’s total team amount during that period. Her output is also the highest of any Lancaster-Lebanon League player thus far in 2018.
“Kimmy’s great,” Benson said. “She’s ridiculously fast; she can take it in and score, but she also knows when to pull it out when she needs to. Her ability to see what was going on in front of her and see the next move made a huge difference today. She knew if it wasn’t there, she could stop and set things up offensively. Nine goals tells a lot.”
While Benson carried the team to an extent on offense, the rest of the players contributed as well to form a relatively balanced scoring attack.. Senior Cyrose Conteh and sophomore Katie Weissend had 2 goals and 1 assist each. Senior Aba Aggrey and junior Sami Shutt also scored.
“We had to settle in,” Benson said. “This is the first time we’ve been on an actual field since Monday of last week. In the beginning, they just needed to figure out spacing. Once they did that, then they were able to start setting up plays, making moves and playing off each other.”
Junior Skyler Oken led Central Dauphin in scoring with 6 goals. Fellow junior Lauren Martin had 4. Senior goalkeeper Mattie Ross had 10 saves.
With their first game in the books, Elizabethtown was looking ahead to backto- back home games against Lancaster Country Day on Wednesday, March 28, and Exeter on Thursday, March 29. Their first away trip will come on Tuesday, April 3, at Hempfield.
“We’re gonna use our turf as long as the weather holds up,” Benson said. “I just think we need to keep working on both sides of the ball and keep doing the same things we did in the second half of this game. If we do that, we can really take care of a lot of things.”