Backs to the wall, the Manheim Central girls soccer team pushed back.
And pushed their way into the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two title picture.
Abbie Reed scored the game winning goal and assisted on the equalizer as the Barons (6-2-1, 8-3-1) claimed a 2-1 victory over Elizabethtown on Tuesday evening at the Bears’ Jane Hoover Field.
Needing just a win or a tie to nail down the section crown, the Bears (7-3, 8-4) saw their hopes fade as the Barons rallied from 1-0 down at the half, pulling out the win with a pair of second-half goals.
With a victory over McCaskey Friday, Manheim Central will nail down the section title.
Spurred by a missed opportunity late in the first half, Manheim drew even six minutes into the second half.
In the 36th minute, Reed sent a sweet cross from the right to the doorstep of the goal, just missing the connection with Abby Knapp.
“That really fired us up,” Reed said of the missed opportunity.
Worse, two minutes later, the Bears’ Olivia Anson crossed into the box from the right wing with Jena Witters executing the scoring finish.
Playing aggressively in the offensive third, Reed capitalized on a failed clear by the Bear defense as the second half began.
“I took a touch, and kind of fell over,” she said. As she fell, she redirected the ball towards Summer Bates. Bates did not miss, and the game was afoot.
Fifteen minutes later, off another defensive miscue, Reed found herself with the ball and a sweet look at the far post.
“I don’t think she (keeper Kaitlyn Snyder) saw me coming,” Reed said. “I kind of sneaked around and tapped it in.”
“Abbie has been assisting all season,” Barons coach Andrew Stoltzfus said. “It’s good to see her score.”
After a good start, the Barons have found the going rough, particularly with Hannah Adair out with an injury. “Luck wasn’t going our way,” Stoltzfus said, “bounces going in the wrong place.”
For this night, the bounces bounced right.
With Manheim in the driver’s seat in Section Two, the field for the league playoffs is about set.
Despite a loss to Warwick over the weekend, Manheim Township has locked up Section One. Sections Three and Four have been Lebanon County runaways, with Elco in command in Three and Northern Lebanon lapping the field in Four.