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Barons Fight Off Ephrata

Lancaster, PA – The Thursday night crowd at Elden Rettew Field had something to cheer about, and it wasn’t their beloved Barons football squad. Instead, the Manheim Central field hockey team gave the hometown fans some excitement with a hard-fought 2-1 triumph over Ephrata in an early L-L League Section Two showdown. Chelsea Lefever and Kendra Longenecker scored first-half goals for the Barons (2-0-0 L-L, 3-1-1 overall), who handed the Mountaineers (2-1-0, 3-3-0) their first league loss of the season. While it’s still early, the victory put the Barons in an unusual place in volatile Section Two: Alone in first place. “To have a 2-0 start is huge for Manheim,” said second-year head coach Michelle Haydt, who admitted she really didn’t like doing the talking about her team. That’s OK, because the 2006 Barons know how to communicate among themselves and they let their actions speak volumes. “We’ve grown together as a team,” said Lefever, a senior forward who took a feed from Longenecker and lifted the ball over fallen Ephrata keeper Katie Jo Rice 18:44 into the contest. “A lot of us have played together since at least ninth grade. We knew that this was definitely the year that should be our year.” With 11 seniors on the roster, Lefever and her classmates have this one last shot at making something special happen. They weren’t about to blemish their perfect league record on their new A-Turf artificial surface. “We were expecting a tough game, and it was,” said Lefever. “I think we gave them a run for their money,” said Ephrata rookie head coach Candy Rosenberry. “We knew we were going to have our hands full with Manheim.” It was definitely a tale of two halves, with Central blasting seven shots on Rice in the opening 30 minutes, and getting two past the Mounts’ keeper. “I was on the pads and just lifted (the ball) up,” Lefever said of her goal. “I knew if I tried to jam it in, it wouldn’t go.” Almost exactly six minutes later, Longenecker converted a rebound on the Barons’ second “” and final “” penalty corner in the first half. Central added four more corners in the second half, but couldn’t get a shot on goal after intermission. “We just need to learn to play two halves of hockey,” said Haydt. As for the Mounts, Rosenberry said: “We just couldn’t get the intensity going in the first half. We seem to be a second-half team.” The Mounts definitely had the better of the play after the break, earning seven corners to go along with the four they had in the first half. “You could tell they were hungry,” Rosenberry said of her team. “We just need to get that kind of intensity going in the first half.” Hannah Hess, with an assist from Arielle Gordon, cut the deficit to 2-1 with just over seven minutes left to play, going high into the cage to beat Central keeper Whitney Clugston. “Ephrata’s goal was a nice shot, obviously,” Lefever said of her opponent’s blast. “There was no way Whitney was going to get that one. I don’t think anyone could have (stopped that shot).” Lefever was right on the money there, but she also knew that she and her teammates weren’t going to let this one slip away. Ephrata, though, wouldn’t go away. The Mounts earned three corners in the final 1:49 of the contest, but their best chance went just wide as Hess missed a little left of the cage on a great blast off the final corner.

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