The Ephrata boys lacrosse team found itself down four goals 90 seconds into the start of the second half at Lampeter-Strasburg’s Pioneer Field on Tuesday night. It’s then the visiting Mountaineers rallied for three quick scores over two minutes to cut their deficit to one score. But the Ephrata rally ended there. The host Pioneers scored the game’s final five goals en route to a 13-7 Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two victory.
What it means: With the win, L-S (8-1 league, 12-3 overall) clinched at least a share of the L-L Section Two crown, and can win it outright with a win in Friday’s league finale at Cocalico on Friday afternoon.
How it happened: Ephrata senior midfielder Tyler Nelson won 20 of 24 faceoffs. The Pioneers countered by winning the ground ball battle, 25 to 20, along with a stellar defensive effort led by sophomore goalkeeper Bryce Thomas (16 saves).
The L-S defense was without Carson Garver, who broke his left hand in last Friday’s 16-14 non-league win over rival Penn Manor. Sophomore Tre Spahr started in Garver’s absence, with sophomore defender Tristan Showers coming off the bench.
Thomas also gave credit to defender Brayden Smith for keeping Ephrata leading-scorer Brock Boyer off the scoreboard over the final 19:35 of the game, a switch L-S made shortly after halftime.
L-S led 3-2 at the end of the first quarter and 6-4 at halftime before pushing its lead to 8-4 at the 10:30 mark of the third quarter. That’s when Ephrata (7-3, 10-4) notched three quick scores to cut its deficit to 8-7 at the 7:35 mark of the third quarter before L-S pulled away for good.
Top scorers: The L-S attack was led by Conner Nolt (three goals, two assists), Zach Labreque (four goals, three assists), Stewart McClain (three goals) and Jack Filius (two goals, one assist). Ephrata was paced by Boyer (four goals).
Quotable: Tuesday was Senior Night for an L-S team with just one senior on the roster: Nolt. He said clinching the section crown is notable for a program that hasn’t experienced such success since 2016, when it reached the L-L tournament final and won a District Three playoff game, which were both program firsts at the time.
“We’ve had a rough patch in our program the last couple of years,” Nolt said. “So this year our character as a team, we’ve brought that around.”