After an extensive summer of training, the Elizabethtown boys soccer team fell short in their season opener with an overtime loss to Cocalico.
A senior-heavy team with few underclassmen on the varsity roster, the Bears and a much improved Cocalico team shared possession and exchanged scoring opportunities throughout the contest on Friday, Sept. 2.
Though Elizabethtown led in corners and shots, the golden goal in overtime belonged to Cocalico, which won the game 1-0.
Elizabethtown suffered two injuries in the first 10 minutes to attacking midfielder Dylan Herzer and Eric Friese, who anchors the defense. Forward Jon Ortiz was also sidelined, further weakening a team already hampered by preseason injuires.
“Staying healthy will be essential to our success,” coach James Sostack said.
Sostack returns the core of this squad from last season's 7-8-1 team.
“Having matured from last season's diasppointment, I believe that when the right combination is on the field E-Town will be very competitive,” Sostack said.
Senior captains Austin Aldinger (goalkeeper), Cory Dohner (midfield), and Bruce Boyer (defense) will have a hand in getting Elizabethtown boys back to their winning ways. Bryan Finney and Josh Olinger will provide an attacking fullback role in a system that resembles the Messiah college model that won so many national titles. Junior Derrick Orendorff and sophomores Trey Carrier and Danny Tierney will join the seniors in a midfield role. Senior Steven Groff is hoping to find the back of the net to put some firepower back on the forward line.
The Lancaster-Lebanon boys soccer league is one of the premier school leagues in the nation, giving the Bears a challenge.
“Many teams in the league have advanced level players that will require us to adjust our system,” Sostack said.
Despite the challenging schedule Sostack remains positive about his team's chances to return to the playoffs.
Elizabethtown plays at Warwick at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8. The Bears then host Cedar Crest on Monday, Sept. 12, and Ephrata on Tuesday, Sept. 13, both at 7 p.m., before playing a road game at Manheim Township at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14.