Barons, Adair clip Cocalico in semifinals

By on October 17, 2019

Will play Ephrata in title game Thursday at Warwick

Hannah Adair had two great chances Tuesday night vs. Cocalico in the L-L Semifinals at Manheim Central. And the Baron sophomore buried them both.

The first, with nearly 28 minutes gone in the first half, gave Manheim Central a 1-0 lead. The second, with 14:22 to play, provided some insurance and eventually lifted the Barons to a 2-0 victory and a berth in Thursday’s L-L Finals.

“She’s one where when the lights are brightest, she steps up,” Manheim Central Coach Andrew Stoltzfus said of Adair. “I know she’s been real frustrated about how her season has gone and not scoring as many goals as she wants, but when she’s gotten the opportunity the last few games she’s buried them.”

With the win, the Barons (15-4-0) move on to Thursday’s championship game (7:30 p.m.) at Warwick where they’ll face a familiar opponent in fellow Section Two foe Ephrata, which knocked off Conestoga Valley 1-0 in the nightcap Tuesday in Manheim.

The Mounts (18-1-2) defeated the Barons 2-0 and 2-1 during the regular season. That second loss, which occurred two weeks ago, put the Barons dangerously close to missing the league playoffs entirely. But since that time, they’ve won five in-a-row and claimed second place behind Ephrata, and are now just one win away from an L-L title.

“When we knew what we needed to do, it’s like our team went to another gear,” Stoltzfus said of his team’s late season run. “When things were kind of up in the air through the middle of the season, we kind of lost our focus a little bit. But once we knew what we needed to do, that’s when they really stepped up.”

Cocalico (10-6-3), too, had things to overcome to get to this stage, which was its first appearance in the semifinals since 2013. The Eagles started the season 0-4-1 before closing strong to earn second place in Section Three behind champion Elco. Then Saturday in the quarterfinals vs. Hempfield, the Eagles pulled off the big upset of the Section One champs, winning 3-2 in PKs.
“Considering the fact that we were sitting 0-4-1 at one point I don’t think anyone thought this was happening except us, and most importantly the girls,” Cocalico Coach Dan Hogan said following the game. “They just always believed in themselves.”

It looked as if that trend would continue Tuesday, at least in the early going.

The Barons weathered an early storm by the Eagles, who controlled the first five minutes of play. Cocalico had two shots during that stretch but they were easily handled by MC keeper Mia Reed (4 saves).

Gradually, the Barons, who out-shot Cocalico 9-4 and led in corners 3-2, began to create more chances and after a few near misses, finally cashed in in the 28th minute.

MaKenna Copley fed Adair down the left side. Adair made a slick move around a Cocalico defender and ripped a shot that beat Eagle keeper Adrienne McGallicher into the lower left corner of the net for the 1-0 advantage.

“I took a touch inside, saw a defender and just stuffed it near post,” Adair said of her first tally.

To make matters worse for Cocalico, McGallicher (2 saves) was injured less than two minutes later when she came out to play a ball near the top of the box and went down in a heap.

Manheim Central sophomore forward Hannah Adair (3) gets congratulations from senior teammate MaKenna Copley after scoring against Cocalico in Tuesday’s L-L League playoff semi-finals. Photos  by Missi Mortimer.

Paige Myer replaced McGallicher in goal, and the Barons kept buzzing the rest of the half, tilting the field but couldn’t get a shot on net as Central took the 1-0 lead into the half.

“I think Central kind of found their way a little bit,” Hogan said. “I was hoping we’d come out hard and we did which was good, but we knew it was going to be tough with them because it’s the semifinals and they are pretty good.”

The Barons controlled the second half, spending much of the time in the Cocalico end. The Eagles did have a few chances though, as Kaia Martz made a run down the right side in the 51st minute but her cross was gobbled up by Baron keeper Mia Reed. Then moments later, Martz fed Brooke Sauder at the top of the 18, but Sauder’s shot whistled over the crossbar.
Central then finally got the insurance tally in the 66th minute as Kelly Abrahamson hit Adair, who sent a well-placed left foot from 20 yards out over the out-stretched arms of Myer and into the back of the net.

“I feel confident with my left and right foot,” Adair explained, “so I took a shot with my left foot because we hadn’t really tested the new goalie yet with balls high in the air. I just put it in.”
Myer, who made five stops in McGallicher’s absence, saved her best for last as she made a great diving stop in a 1v1 situation on MC’s Summer Bates in the final minute.

Unfortunately for Cocalico, it was not enough.

Manheim Central defender Olissa Clingenpeel (32) outduels a Cocalico player for the ball in Tuesday’s L-L League playoff semi-finals.

I felt they were pretty ready to play today,” Hogan said of his team. “Central just seemed to be in the right place at the right time the entire game. When we played Hempfield on a narrower field, we were finding seams. Today, Central’s shape in the back is really good and they really limited our opportunities to use our speed to get in behind them.”
Cocalico will now prepare for the upcoming District Three Tournament which is scheduled to get underway Monday night.

The Barons, who are lined up to play the Eagles in the first round barring any last minute changes to the power ratings, have a big game Thursday before looking ahead to that one.
“Since that three-game losing spell in the middle of the season it’s kind of been a situation where we came back together as a team,” Stoltzfus said. “We figured out what was working for us and we really pushed on from there. We changed a few things around on the team and finally got to the point where things are really clicking. And here we are.”

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