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Mounts rip CV, stay in section race


ImageAccording to Leah Sipe, the heartbreaks were becoming increasingly harder to swallow.

For starters, there was that 4-3 loss to Conestoga Valley late in the Section Two season last year, during which the Mountaineers watched a 3-0 lead disintegrate in the game's final 12:00.

Then there was April 11 in windswept Witmer, when Ephrata came out on the short end of a 3-2 overtime decision to the Buckskins.

Eventually, something had to change.

"We felt this was the game to win," Ephrata's sophomore midfielder said of the Mounts' Section Two clash with CV Monday night. "We knew we would come in here (wanting to win) it. And the result was awesome. Awesome."

Not if you were wearing a CV jersey.

Using its quick-strike offense to rack up three unanswered goals after halftime, Ephrata reversed years worth of disappointment by drilling the Bucks, 4-1, at Ephrata's War Memorial Field.

It was only the second Section Two loss in three years for section leader and two-time defending section champ CV (9-1-1 section, 11-3-1 overall).

More important to Ephrata (8-2-1, 10-4-1), though, was that Monday's win kept it alive in the section title race. At least mathematically.

CV, which holds a three-point lead over Ephrata, can clinch its third straight section title outright with a win over sixth-place Garden Spot (3-8 section) in Wednesday's regular-season finale.

Should CV lose to Spot, and Ephrata win its final Section Two game against fifth-place Cocalico (4-7 section) Wednesday, the Mounts would be awarded the section crown by virtue of their advantage in head-to-head goal differential (6-4) with the Bucks this season.

Not that Sipe and her teammates are getting ahead of themselves.

"Maybe Garden Spot will pull it off," Sipe said. "But we just need to worry about Cocalico and maintain second right now. And if Garden Spot can beat (CV) ... awesome."

If Spot bears down on CV's All-State junior striker Teresa Rynier and sophomore striker Morgan Gerz like Ephrata did Monday, there might be a chance.

While both Rynier and Gerz took turns creating chances for themselves as usual, the only one of CV's 15 shots to get past Ephrata senior goalie Becca Cetkowski (11 saves) came with 10:14 left before halftime, when freshman forward Holland Beiler knocked in the leftovers of a Rynier direct kick to tie it 1-1.

"Teresa is a fantastic player, and if you let Teresa play they're going to win," Ephrata coach Chris Dutton said. "The target was don't let Teresa play and don't let Morgan play. We figured 11 of us could take (the two of them) and that's what we were banking on."

Considering the Bucks had allowed just nine goals in 10 section games prior to Monday, Ephrata probably wasn't banking on the offensive onslaught it mounted in the second half, when it outshot CV 11-7, outcornered it 3-1 and created eight scoring chances to the Buckskins' four.

After getting the eventual game-winner from Arielle Gordon 1:02 into the second, Ephrata distanced itself further when Claire Woolley headed home an Emily Beamesderfer crossing pass to make it 3-1 with 22:45 left.

And by the time Ephrata freshman midfielder Kelly Martin scored during a skirmish in the box to make it 4-1 with 53 seconds left, CV's explosive offense -- whose 40 goals coming in were second best in the L-L league -- was officially out of answers.

"Their goalie did a great job, falling on loose balls and being at the right place at the right time," CV coach Bob Scotten said. "You've got to give her credit for that. I mean, what are you going to do?"

After all, nothing lasts forever.

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