As its coach would later recall, the Cedar Crest lacrosse team was on pace to dig itself out of a hole Tuesday.
Ready to make up for an immediate four-goal deficit, build on a growing offensive rhythm and earn a needed victory.
Here was the problem: being on pace is an idea. And sitting inside the penalty box is a reality. Far too often the Falcons' seated reality stymied their comeback hopes and then ultimately saddled them with a loss to visiting Elizabethtown.
After closing to within two with 9:19 remaining, Cedar Crest yielded three straight scores and an eventual 14-10 final to the Bears at Earl Boltz Stadium. The defeat was marred by a slew of Falcon penalties, which surpassed double digits in total and allowed E-town critical possessions down the stretch. The penalties were a mix of post-whistle and mid-possession infractions that collectively formed as a black eye on an otherwise strong offensive night.
"We know we can run our offense, run our dodges and find our matchups. We just couldn't find those opportunities getting stuck in those penalties," Falcons coach Craig Kemmlein said. "Both teams got heated up and things happened out there that shouldn't have happened. Emotions started to fly and that affected our play, as well. We need to address what occurred on the field. "
Following an opening Cedar Crest score, the Bears netted five transition goals, which helped lead to an 9-4 edge at halftime. The Falcons then fell behind by a half-dozen and founded their comeback try on succeeding third-quarter scores from Mitchell Tice, Hunter Craig and Stevie Roda. Then, armed with possession at 0:51 left in the period, Cedar Crest was whistled for a stick violation, which initiated a snowballing of penalties that was later fueled by frustration.
Cedar Crest returns to the field Thursday for its Senior Night against Conestoga Valley at 7:30 p.m.
"We've got a large group of seniors," Kemmlein said. "A lot of them are the initial group that started when the program was a club and then moved into PIAA. It's going to be an emotional day on Thursday for us and the seniors. They're going to be a loss for the program, but hopefully we can pull out a win."