Throughout the early part of 2019, the Elizabethtown Area High School girls soccer team has been fairly impressive. After their first six games, the Lady Bears looked primed to take control atop Section Two. However, a daunting schedule of four games in five days lay ahead, and they finally ended up slipping to a section rival.
The team hosted Garden Spot on Thursday, Sept. 12. There were only brief blips of offense early on; the Spartans had a breakaway shot go wide left, while the Lady Bears were unable to convert a pair of corner kicks. Finally, with just under 16 minutes to go in the first half, junior Olivia Anson took a pass from senior Olivia Shuck and knock it in off the right goalpost to give her team a 1-0 lead, which held through the break.
Just under four minutes into the second half, the Olivias teamed up again, with Shuck connecting with Anson on a breakaway goal. Around 20 minutes later, senior Kaelynn Sheetz capped things off with a goal of her own, allowing Elizabethtown to coast to a 3-0 victory.
The Lady Bears defense was especially strong. Garden Spot had numerous potential chances deterred by the trio of senior Alicia Underkoffler, junior Carly Sedun and freshman Taryn Hummer. Junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Snyder stopped 3 shots as well. For the Spartans, senior Marissa Spacht finished with 5 saves.
Elizabethtown had another home game on Monday, Sept. 16, this time in a non-league contest against Exeter. The first half was a defensive battle between the two teams. The Lady Bears had more scoring opportunities than the Eagles, but neither side could find the net, and the game remained scoreless at halftime.
Exeter had a prime chance for a goal early in the second half, but Snyder was able to safely knock a breakaway header clear. From there, the action was especially chippy, with the defenses playing more aggressively than usual. Finally, with just over 23 minutes left, Elizabethtown broke through.
Sheetz took a long pass from the back and headed the ball behind Exeter’s defense to Shuck, who blasted in a breakaway goal to give the Lady Bears the lead. The Eagles never mounted a serious comeback afterward, so Elizabethtown emerged with a 1-0 win. Snyder finished with 15 saves in the net, while Exeter’s two goalkeepers, Heidi Patten and Gwen Hettinger, combined for 12.
Finally, the Lady Bears went on the road to face off against Ephrata on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Both teams were tied at 2-0 in Section Two ahead of the game, so the winner would temporarily take over first place before the last two games in the first slate of section play. Elizabethtown outshot the Mounts 12 to 6 in the opening half, but stellar play from senior goalkeeper Jocelyn Umana kept the game scoreless through halftime.
With just under 27 minutes to go, Ephrata was able to put one on the board after senior Annie Slovak found the net. Fellow senior Kristen Homan would later tack on an insurance goal off a penalty kick with 10 minutes remaining, enough to give the Mounts a 2-0 victory and control of first in Section Two.
Umana was unreal for Ephrata, finishing with a total of 14 saves. The Mounts defense was also able to hold Elizabethtown to just 3 shots on goal in the second half. Snyder, for her part, tallied 12 saves overall.
The Lady Bears (5-3) have two more games set for this week. They’ll go to Central Dauphin on Thursday, Sept. 19, before returning home to face Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday, Sept. 20. Elizabethtown will then have two more contests at Jane Hoover Field vs. Manheim Central on Monday, Sept. 23, and Mechanicsburg on Tuesday, Sept. 24.