Its 3-2 record may not be fully indicative of it, but the Elizabethtown Area High School girls soccer team looks like a serious threat. Outside of two losses to some of the best teams in District 3, the Lady Bears are playing like they’re ready to square off against anybody. Along the way, they’ve already matched last season’s total of three wins, demonstrating how far they’ve grown in just a year.
The team had an away contest at Cedar Crest on Thursday, Sept. 5, and didn’t waste any time getting going. Just under five minutes into the game, sophomore Aivery Shuck took a pass from freshman Taryn Hummer and fired a shot into the net for a goal to give the Lady Bears an early advantage.
Elizabethtown kept the pressure on offensively, taking numerous shots on goal before its next score, a header from junior Olivia Anson off a corner kick from senior Kaelynn Sheetz with just over 30 minutes remaining in the first half. Exactly one minute later, Sheetz scored a goal of her own off a direct kick from senior Olivia Shuck, putting the Lady Bears’ lead at 3-0 after just 11 minutes of play.
The Falcons did get slightly lucky midway through the half; junior Hailey Shillabeer took advantage of an errant punt from junior Elizabethtown goalkeeper Kaitlyn Snyder and set a long kick into the empty net for a goal. However, other than a corner kick from Shillabeer early in the second half, it was the only serious offense Cedar Crest managed on the night.
While the Lady Bears’ offense cooled off somewhat down the stretch, they were still able to coast to a 3-1 victory thanks to an active defense; Snyder stopped all five of Cedar Crest’s actual shots on goal. Senior Courtney Wysokowski had 4 saves in the net for the Falcons.
The Lady Bears had another road game on Monday, Sept. 9, at McCaskey. Like the Cedar Crest game, their offense was hot to begin the game; Sheetz was able to find junior Sophia Berry for a goal just five minutes into the contest. Unlike the Cedar Crest game, however, Elizabethtown never took its foot off the gas pedal.
Midway through the first half, the Lady Bears used an all-Olivia fastbreak to score, with Olivia Shuck getting the goal off an Anson pass. Shortly thereafter, Hummer collected a rebound and found junior Madison Ernst for another goal; it was the latter’s first career varsity goal.
Elizabethtown sent a flurry of goals through just before halftime. Berry returned the favor to Sheetz for the earlier assist, setting up a long pass for the latter to score off of. She then forced a turnover and took the ball down the field herself for her second goal of the game. Finally, Anson got in on the scoring as well, finding the net off a pass from junior Emma Moore. All in all, the Lady Bears went into the break up 6-0.
An early Olivia Shuck goal in the second half via a pass from her sister Aivery was enough to allow Elizabethtown to put in the majority of its reserves and coast to a 7-0 victory. Notably, the Lady Bears held McCaskey to just 3 shots on goal, none of which came in the second half when Snyder was in the net. Junior backup Liz Carter collected all 3 saves. Red Tornado goalkeeper Gianna Medina fought off a whopping 35 shots on goal to finish with 22 saves, all while fighting through a knee injury that left her limping for most of the second half.
Lastly, Elizabethtown hosted Cumberland Valley, the reigning Class 4A champions in District 3, on Tuesday, Sept. 10. For the majority of the first half, the Lady Bears were neck and neck with the champs, both in possession time and in shots on goal.
But the Eagles finally broke through with seven minutes left before halftime after freshman Rylee Fry was able to find the net off an assist from junior Shea Collins. Fry followed that up two minutes later with another score, this time via a pass from junior Emily Mashinski, giving Cumberland Valley a 2-0 lead.
Elizabethtown hung around as long as possible, but the Eagles capped off the day with a goal from sophomore Lauren Chang midway through the second half, enough to give them a 3-0 cushion that held through the rest of the game. Snyder performed admirably in the net for the Lady Bears, stopping 17 shots out of 20. Junior Abigail Miller (9 saves) and sophomore Halie Thornton (2 saves) split time at goalie for Cumberland Valley.
The Lady Bears are set to have back-to-back home games on Thursday, Sept. 12, against Garden Spot and Monday, Sept. 16, against Exeter before a trip to Ephrata on Tuesday, Sept. 17.