After 200 minutes of boys' soccer, Elco and Lancaster Mennonite have been as evenly matched as two squads can be.
Having already tied 1-1 in Lancaster in September, the Raiders and Blazers tied 1-1 again on Monday night at Elco to remain in a first place tie in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3.
“They're always going to be good, and this year we've dug a little deeper and had the good players too,” Elco head coach Kirk Keppley said.
Elco (10-2-2, 8-0-2) trailed 1-0 at the half, but Clay Hain was able to flip a ball in the box over the Blazer goalie to tie the game with 34:12 left in the second half. Trey Donmoyer assisted on the equalizer, which was only the fourth allowed by Lancaster Mennonite this season.
Lancaster Mennonite (11-1-2, 8-0-2) had taken a 1-0 lead with 22:03 left in the first half when Tyler Wagner put the ball in the top right of the net. Ben Lefever had that assist.
“In the first 20 minutes or so, they really took it to us and got that goal and we were just holding on,” Keppley said.
Though there were no strategic changes in the second half for Elco, Keppley said his forwards were becoming more active off the ball later in the game.
“Defensively, we can't just clear the ball and hope,” Kepley said. “The front line guys have to give them a target. We did more of that in the second half.”
The Blazers held the Raiders without a shot or corner in the first 20 minutes, but saved their most dramatic near-misses for later in the game.
With under eight minutes left in regulation, Wagner hit the crossbar from 25 yards out.
In the first 10-minute overtime, after Elco had controlled play for the first five minutes, Matthew Lynch had a chance to win the game for the Blazers. He went after a loose ball in the box, but there was a collision with Elco netminder Matthew Berger. The referee did not blow the whistle, and the ball rolled away from both players before the Elco defense cleared it.
In the second overtime, Berger needed to make a diving save to his right to preserve the tie. Lancaster Mennonite also had a shot go off the left post.
Berger finished with six saves. Lancaster Mennonite goalie Adam Peachey made one stop.
Lancaster Mennonite had the edge statistically. The Blazers took eight shots on goal and six corners, compared to two and five for the Raiders.
Both teams have four section games left to play before the L-L 3 race is settled.
Lancaster Mennonite 1, Elco 1 (2 OT)
Lancaster Mennonite 1 0 0 0 — 1
Elco 0 1 0 0 — 1
First half — 1. Lancaster Mennonite, Tyler Wagner (Ben Lefever), 22:03.
Second half — 1. Elco, Clay Hain (Trey Donmoyer), 34:12.
Shots on goal — Lancaster Mennonite 8, Elco 2. Corners — Lancaster Mennonite 6, Elco 5.
Goalies — Adam Peachey, Lancaster Mennonite (1), Matthew Berger, Elco (6)
JV score — Lancaster Mennonite 5, Elco 1