Monday, January 22, 2018
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Mounts knock Rockets Off Course

For the second game in a row, Spring Grove lost in overtime. This time, the Rockets will not get to play another game this season.

After losing in overtime to Eastern York in the semifinals of the YAIAA tournament, the Rockets watched their season come to an end when Ephrata's Leah Amstutz pocketed the game-winning goal with 6:24 left in the second overtime. It gave the Mounts a 3-2 win in the play-in round of the District 3 Class AAA girls' soccer tournament Monday night at Papermakers' Stadium.

Amstutz's goal came unassisted and sent the Ephrata sideline into a euphoric celebration as the Mounts continued their hot streak, winning for the sixth straight time.

"It's really exciting to score a goal to win a district game," Amstutz said. "I was just trying to stay calm and not get too high or too low when the game was going our way and when it wasn't."

The Mounts next face Conestoga Valley, a team that beat them twice in the regular season, in the first round of the district tournament at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Conestoga Valley.

Ephrata (11-8) took a 2-1 lead into halftime, but it didn't take long for the Rockets to tie the score in the second half, as Maggie Hoff scored off an assist from Courtney Keller with 39 minutes left in regulation.

Both keepers stood tall for the remainder of regulation with Spring Grove's Leah Roy turning aside all six shots that came her way in the second half, including a pair of direct kicks from 20 yards out.

The first one came off the foot of Madison Walmer with 9:04 to go. The second one came off the foot of Steph Bebko with 2:40 remaining.

Neither side got much going in the first overtime, but Spring Grove's Katie Holtzapple had a chance to end it. She was denied when Ephrata keeper Olivia Pfautz made a diving stop with 8:34 left in the second OT.

"We showed a lot of heart and a lot of effort tonight," Spring Grove coach Emily Sprenkle said. "We just didn't finish our opportunities."

After a scoreless first 24 minutes, Moriah Pfautz got the Mounts on the scoreboard first when she scored off a cross from Aspen Brennan with 15:59 left in the first half.

Holtzapple tied the score at the 12:28 mark on a direct kick from 20 yards out. The kick was awarded when Pfautz received a yellow card for taking down Hoff right in front of the box.

With his starting keeper relegated to the bench for five minutes for receiving a yellow card, Ephrata coach John Shetromph called on Bebko to mind the net for the remainder of the first half.

After allowing Holtzapple's equalizer on the first shot she saw, Bebko stopped Ashley Madison's shot with 5:43 left in the first half and then denied Holtzapple at the 4:28 mark.

"Bebko played a lot of goalkeeper early in the season when Olivia was injured," Shetromph said, "and she's a good keeper in her own right."

I was playing them both equally for a while, but Olivia has been the starter for the last seven games."

Kelsey Adair gave the Mounts a 2-1 lead when she scored off an assist from Caitlin Davies with 3:45 left in the opening half. Davies had a free kick from 40 yards out that Roy deflected off the crossbar. Adair was able to track it down and fire it into the net to put her side ahead, 2-1.

"I think, when Caitlin hit the crossbar, their defense froze a little bit," Shetromph said. "We had a player in the right place at the right time and she made a great play by taking advantage of her chance."

Ephrata held a 15-10 advantage in shots on goal while Spring Grove had a 5-2 edge in corners.