Coach James Sostack was critical of his team’s sense of urgency and desire to play following a 1-0 victory over visiting Cocalico.
“Sports is about passion and desire and if you don’t show up prepared to play, then I’m confused as to why you would play a sport. There is no excuse for the level of play that we executed. They’re going to have to decide what kind of season they’re going to have. The coaching staff can only do so much and they need to execute the training and today they just looked uninspired,” Sostack said after the game on Thursday, Sept. 14.
Sostack went on to question whether it was a hangover effect from the previous game against Manheim Central. That physical game, held two days prior, was the team’s first loss of the season, 1-0.
“Our tradition is we rebound, we come out strong, we look good, we’re healthy, we’re eager. I don’t know. It was just a very uninspiring performance and we need to find that passion in the game again,” Sostack said. “I’m surprised. I’m not putting the bar that high for the execution, but individual players need to take care of individual skills and that’s the starting point.”
David Shank started the game at center back alongside Colin Wieand while Grey Fertich moved to a midfield role and Adan Cabrera-Perez played as the high forward.
“We were just looking for something different. David actually requested to play in the back. It wasn’t a tremendous mix-up,” Sostack said. He then called upon the younger players in the program to “step up” and provide a bigger impact for the team.
The first 20 minutes of the game generated one shot, but Shank took advantage of an opportunity down the right sideline. As he approached the end line, he found Braden Kreider in front of the Cocalico goalie and the two collided, but the ball eventually bounced into the back of the net.
The defense, anchored by Cole Baker, recorded its fourth shutout in five games. Baker has been filling in for the injured Austin Denlinger, who has been out with a partially torn left MCL.
“He’s possibly out another two weeks and then we can see where he is as far as training and then we’ll evaluate it from there. Cole hasn’t made any major mistakes to warrant removing him so Austin is going to have to fight for his spot back in fairness to Cole,” Sostack said.
While he was pleased with the victory, Sostack said that Elizabethtown has to take full advantage of teams that are not as fortunate to have the talent as the Bears do.
“We need to learn to put these teams away and execute our game. I just felt like we didn’t. I’m pleased with the victory, it’s an ugly victory, but a win is a win,” Sostack said.