The Mountaineers of Ephrata visited Jane Hoover Field with an unblemished record in Lancaster-Lebanon League play and left with their perfect league record intact after a 3-1 victory.
Elizabethtown (2-6, 2-5) conceded the opening goal in the 8th minute and coach Keith Renner said that the early score took a lot of energy out of his team.
“They got a quick goal which slowed us down a little bit after that. We lost a little bit of our energy after that happened and I thought we lost energy for the rest of the first half. We were just hanging on I thought in the first half,” Renner said.
Ephrata tacked on a second goal in the 18th minute on a give-and-go combination that beat Elizabethtown goalie Kaitlyn Snyder. The deficit would have been three if Snyder did not make a sliding stop on a one-on-one opportunity earlier in the first half.
Elizabethtown did not manage to record a shot in the first half and only mustered one corner kick. Ephrata, meanwhile, had seven shots (six on goal) and one corner kick.
Renner said his halftime speech revolved around the fact that the Bears have faced two goal deficits before and have found a way to battle back.
“We tell them, ‘You guys can come back. You’ve done it before.’ We didn’t feel like we were getting outplayed. They [Ephrata] have two girls that are pretty good up the middle. They were jamming everything through the middle so we just wanted to take control of the middle of the field,” Renner said.
The Bears put their first shot on goal in the second half after a string of one-touch passes that was eventually put into the back of the net by Amber Bostdorf. It was her first goal of the season.
“Second half we came out strong; we got an early goal; we were back in it,” Renner said.
Ephrata responded quickly with their third goal of the game and neither side was able to score during the remainder of the game.
“They got another one four minutes later and that’s kind of the end of the story right there,” Renner said.
The game marked the halfway point for Elizabethtown in terms of league games and Renner said that he believes teams are still learning about themselves and how to figure things out.
“They’re figuring out each other. They’re figuring out what it is to play varsity soccer. A lot of them are hurting right now. They’ve got some minor nagging injuries. There is not a very deep bench so they’re getting a lot of time on the field so we’re just working through some of that stuff,” Renner said. “We’re trying to take practices easy so we’re not able to do what we want to do in practice because we’re trying to work through small injuries.”
Renner went on to say that part of the team’s learning curve is figuring out how to play as a team and developing a winning chemistry.
“We’re still working through what it is to be a team. They have to understand that they’re not doing terrible. We’re not playing terrible soccer. We’re learning as we go and that’s the hardest thing to understand. This is a brand-new team so we just need to keep playing hard,” Renner said. “Eventually we’re going to get that result. The frustrating thing for them right now is that they’re playing hard and they’re not getting the win. That’s what has been frustrating. We have to get some wins against some of the teams we lost to the first time around, which I think we’ll do. That will boost some confidence and once you get confidence, you start feeling better.”