Bears outlast Barons in OT

By on October 15, 2014
John Hosler (6) goes up to head the ball to Baron teammate Tanner Brenize in the L-L quarter-finals against Hempfield.

John Hosler (6) goes up to head the ball to Baron teammate Tanner
Brenize in the L-L quarter-finals against Hempfield.

One had to figure when Manheim Central and Elizabethtown met Tuesday in the L-L League Semifinals at Warwick that it was going to be a tightly-played, nail-biter until the end.

After all, the teams had played to a pair of draws during the regular season in Section Two play, so it came as no surprise when the teams ended regulation locked in a scoreless tie.

It was going to come down to which team could make a play, and in the end, it was the Bears who got it done.

Late in the first overtime, E-town’s Jeremy Wells carried past several Baron defenders to the left of the net when he dished to the middle where teammate Chris Bair was waiting. Bair collected it and promptly tapped it past MC keeper Logan Kready (2 saves) and into the net with 2:32 to play for the gamewinner.

His score not only gave E-town the 1-0 win but vaulted the Bears into Thursday’s L-L title game back at Warwick where they’ll face Manheim Township, a 2-1 winner over Lancaster Mennonite in Thursday’s other semifinal game.

“I think it was a difficult (match) because we know each other so well,” E-town Coach James Sostack said. “We both play very similar styles, and I knew it was going to be a one-goal game. I actually thought it would happen in regulation. We didn’t want to go to overtime. Either team could have won tonight. It was very balanced. It was a matter of opportunities…it’s a game of opportunities.”

And the Bears were able to capitalize.

“Credit E-town,” Manheim Central Coach Rod Brenize said. “The name of the game at this level is finishing a goal, and if you can finish a goal, you move on, and E-town was able to finish a goal and are moving on. I give them credit.”

The loss was the first of the season for the Barons (13-1-6), who finished as runner-up to the Bears (16-1-2) in the Section Two race this fall. Manheim Central will now await the District Three AAA playoffs, which get underway next Tuesday.

“No one beat us till tonight,” Brenize said. “This was our 20th game and this is our first loss in 20 games…the challenge is going to be can we regroup after a tough, emotional loss, and play quality soccer? I think we can. We have a great group of kids. I know we can.”

The Barons did for most of the evening Tuesday.

After an evenly-played first half that saw very few chances, the Barons carried the play for most of the second half. They had a number of scoring chances, but none was better than when Tanner Brenize had the ball on his foot six yards in front of the goal but his shot sailed over the crossbar in the game’s 46th minute.

It was one of nine scoring chances Manheim had, but unfortunately none found the back of the net.

“The second half, that’s when we tried to get them,” Coach Brenize said. “We tried to get them in the second half and I thought we got tired in the overtime. We had several quality chances in the second half, any one of which would have done it to them I think. We just couldn’t get one to go.”

Early in the extra session, the Barons’ Josh Hershey went down the right side and sent a shot to the upper left corner of the net. E-town’s goalie Tommy Shenk (5 saves) was equal to the task, and they played on.

That was the best chance until Wells took control of the ball just outside the 18 and eventually set up the gamewinner.

“Jeremy Wells has really come on strong in the second half of the season,” Sostack said. “I think he must have beaten three or four players with his footwork, and that service was just great. We talked in the break that it’s going to take all heart, all desire, and you are going to possibly have to throw your body in to beat this team. And that’s exactly what Chris Bair did.”

For the game, the Barons held advantages in both shots (7-5) and corners (5-3). Unfortunately for them, the Bears made one of theirs count.

“It’s tough when you know your opponent so well,” Brenize said. “I would think it was tough on them…it was tough on us. We knew all their players by name and I’m sure they knew our players by name, but very tough on a third time. It was true to form, it went to overtime, didn’t it?”

“I told them I was proud of them and to keep your heads high,” he continued. “We went to three backs in the second half. We definitely tried to get them but we just couldn’t get one to go. We left it all on the field.”

Last Saturday, Josh Hershey’s goal with 7:01 left in the opening half &tstr; on Manheim Central’s only shot of the stanza &tstr; was the difference in the Barons’ 1-0 win over Hempfield in the L-L quarter-finals at Comet Field in Millersville.

Both the Barons and Black Knights had golden opportunities in the second half to cash in, but the score remained unchanged in the final 40 minutes. Central’s Colin Brubaker stopped Elliott Adland from close range early on, and then Hempfield’s Raiyo Ayanto turned away Tanner Brenize at the goal line a short time later.

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