The initial few games of the season haven’t gone so fruitfully for the Elizabethtown Area High School boys lacrosse team. However, in the face of adversity, the Bears were finally able to right the ship and give their new head coach his first career victory.
The team hosted Warwick on Thursday, March 28, losing 13-7 in a competitive contest. The Warriors opened up the scoring just 78 seconds into the game to go up 1-0. Both teams traded goals over the next minute; after a Warwick goal, sophomore Sawyer Smith found the net off a pass from junior Alex Hartman. Just 17 seconds later, the Warriors scored again to lead 3-1.
Senior Matt Pottgeiser fired one through with five minutes left in the first to cut it to 3-2. However, Warwick scored three times in the final three minutes of the period thanks to a turnover, a fast break and a goal off a draw control, to extend its lead to 6-2.
Midway through the second, a wild sequence ended up resulting in an easy, empty-net goal for senior Chad Heisey. Elizabethtown later used a 6-on-4 scenario to help Smith score, ironically making the score 6-4. Warwick did answer late in the half to go up 7-4, however.
The Bears started the second half with a Hartman goal off a pass from sophomore Cam Poulos to make it 7-5. However, the Warriors responded by four straight to finish out the third, entering the fourth with an 11-5 advantage. They added another midway through the final period as well. Hartman and sophomore Sam Azzalina scored to cut the lead to 11-7, but Warwick tacked on one final goal to ice out the win.
Junior Conor Adams led all players with 5 goals for Warwick. Senior Hilton Michael (3 goals) and junior Justin Gerhart (2 goals) were also major contributors. Sophomore Nick Reedy had 10 saves at goalkeeper.
Hartman and Smith each had 2 goals to lead Elizabethtown. The former also had a game-high 3 assists. Freshman Joseph Zink, playing in place of junior Duncan Keller, made 17 saves in the net.
Elizabethtown had a road game on Monday, April 1, at Penn Manor. Both teams entered the day with identical 0-3 records, but the Comets didn’t play like that. They held the Bears to just a single goal in the first half, scoring four themselves in the first and two more in the second to go up 6-1 at the break.
Penn Manor then doubled its scoring output in the third, finding the net six times. The Comets added three more in the final period, allowing Elizabethtown to score one in the third and two in the fourth to get the 15-4 victory.
Sophomore Clayton Hollinger went off for Penn Manor, scoring a game-high 6 goals. The Comets got all but one of the rest of the goals from seniors Alex Powders (5 goals, 3 assists) and Josh Heckman (3 goals, 2 assists). Junior Ian Young had 6 saves at goalkeeper.
Sophomore Jacob Wivell led Elizabethtown by getting his first two goals of the season. Poulos and Hartman rounded out the scoring with a goal each. The latter assisted on all three of the other Bears goals. Keller returned at goalie and made 14 saves.
Lastly, Elizabethtown returned to Jane Hoover Field on Tuesday, April 2, to take on Cedar Cliff. Like the last game, both teams entered the night without a win. Unlike the previous day, the Bears were the ones who came out hot, with junior Caleb Gerber scoring off a Pottgeiser pass just a minute and a half into the game. Junior Caleb Lord added another goal shortly thereafter, and Pottgeiser fired a shot into the net via an assist from junior Drew Shaffer to give Elizabethtown a 3-0 lead at the end of the first.
Early in the second, Azzalina was somehow able to draw two Cedar Cliff penalties and score. Poulos took advantage and got his own goal a minute later. Azzalina would score again before halftime to put the Bears up 6-0.
Elizabethtown got two early second-half goals from Heisey, who took a fastbreak pass from junior Todd Hooper to the house, and Wivell to further extend its lead. Poulos would tack on goals late in the third and midway through the fourth, split by a Shaffer score. Thus, the Bears got the 11-0 shutout, giving head coach Cassidy Bender the first win in his career.
Eight different Elizabethtown players scored, led by a hat trick from Poulos. Pottgeiser, Hooper and Hartman each had assists. Keller finished with 8 saves, while senior Ben Delozier had 20 for the Colts.
The Bears (1-4) moved their scheduled game at home against Hempfield on Thursday, April 4, to Friday, April 5. They’ll then travel to Wyomissing on Monday, April 8.