For the seventh time in 10 games, the Elizabethtown Area High School girls soccer team lost by one goal. This time, it was the Garden Spot Spartans that used a 30th minute goal to defeat the Bears 1-0.
Coach Keith Renner said that he was at a loss for words following another defeat by the narrowest of margins. He had previously said that he was hopeful the team would reverse the trend in the back half of the schedule when they played their opponents a second time.
“This was a disappointing game. This was one that we should’ve taken care of and we just didn’t. I thought we had a great practice yesterday so I expected us to come out and dominate them,” Renner said after the game on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
Rachel Wood produced the Bears’ first and, as it played out, best opportunity in the first five minutes of the game. She ran onto a pass from Kaeleigh Smedley and was fighting off a defender on her back, but her shot was stopped and held onto by the Garden Spot keeper.
Garden Spot’s first shot on goal found the back of the net in the 30th minute past a diving Lizzie Carter, who started in goal for Elizabethtown. The shot was one of two that Garden Spot had in the first half and the only one that was on goal. Elizabethtown, meanwhile, had five shots and four of those were on goal.
As the second half began, Kaitlyn Snyder jogged out and started the half in goal. Captain Sophia Berry also received her first minutes at the beginning of the second half.
Elizabethtown began to gain momentum as the second half progressed and turned that into a decided offensive advantage. At one point, Smedley stood over the ball for a free kick just outside the 18-yard box that she laid off to Kimmy Bucher (above), but Bucher’s shot sailed over the goal. The Bears finished the second half with seven shots and four corners, but none of their opportunities resulted in a shot on goal.
The team’s pace picked up considerably as the clock reached single digits, but it was not enough to avoid the loss on Thursday, Sept. 28. The effort at the end of the game was something that Renner was hoping to see throughout, rather than a brief spurt at the end.
“We just don’t give that same 100 percent effort the entire 80 minutes. Anybody that watched the game would look at them and say, ‘Wow, look at them in the last five minutes.’ It’s just that passion in the first 75 minutes. It just isn’t there and I don’t get it. I felt like, after the first half, we would pick it up in the second half. The first half wasn’t enough and I thought we’d bring more energy in the second half and we just didn’t. They’re just going to have to keep working at it. At some point it’s going to turn around. The girls want to win,” Renner said.
The team returned to Jane Hoover Field on Saturday, Sept. 30, and lost to Mechanicsburg 2-1. That was the team’s eigth one-goal loss out of the nine that they have suffered this season.
In Elizabethtown’s most recent game, played on Monday, Oct. 2, the Bears lost 1-0 at Manheim Central in overtime, making it a ninth one-goal loss.