Manheim Township advanced past Manheim Central, 1-0 in the quarterfinal round of the L-L field hockey playoffs on Saturday, October 15, 2016. Video by Daryl Simione.
EPHRATA — Paris Benfer and her Manheim Township teammates don’t care whether the game-winning goal comes early or late, just as long as the Blue Streaks are on the winning end of it.
On Saturday afternoon, Benfer fought through a mini-scrum of players with 6:14 remaining to tally the only goal in Game Two of the L-L Quarterfinals at Ephrata Middle School, propelling Township to Tuesday’s semifinals with a 1-0 victory over Manheim Central.
Township, the Section One runner-up, will face Section Two champion Donegal, which routed Lancaster Catholic in Saturday’s first game at Ephrata, 11-0.
In Saturday’s other quarterfinal doubleheader, taking place in Millersville, Section One champion Penn Manor defeated visiting Ephrata, 13-0, before Section One third-place finisher Warwick advanced with a 4-0 victory over Section Three champion Annville-Cleona.
Warwick will play host for Tuesday’s semifinals, with the Warriors matching-up with section foe Penn Manor at 5:30 p.m. Township-Donegal will follow at 7:30 p.m.
Unlike Saturday’s other quarterfinals, however, goals were difficult to come by for both Township (14-5) and Section Two runner-up Manheim Central (14-5).
Each team had four corners and multiple shots on goal in the first half but both defenses, and in particular that of the Streaks, tightened in the second half.
Central goalkeeper Kassidy Breneman (seven saves) denied Township on each of its nine corner opportunities, aided with a defensive save by Hannah Barbush with 13:38 to play.
“I think we were all very stressed because it was getting down to the last couple of minutes and we really wanted to score,” Benfer offered. “We don’t really like going into overtime so we really needed to score.”
Following another unsuccessful corner, Streaks’ midfielder Grace Torrance took possession around the 25-yard line and moved in toward goal where she and Benfer were corralled by two Baron defenders. But Benfer came away with the ball and was able to send a dribbler past Breneman into the far corner for the game-winner.
“I didn’t go to it a couple other times so I was just like I really need to go to this one,” Benfer said of the loose ball. “Grace hit it in … and then I got it and then pushed it in a little bit and I just turned (away) because I didn’t know if it was going in because it was so close to the post.
“Then it just like went in, and then Lindsey (Koser) was right there and I literally think I hugged her for like a solid minute. It was like crazy and then (Township) defenders in the back were going nuts… It was a good moment.”
For her part, Township goalkeeper Kayla Zapcic had four saves, all in the first half, as Central had just one corner and no shots following the break.
“They obviously performed well,” Township coach Renee Suter said of her players. “A little slow to start out the gate but… keep bringing it, don’t get frustrated, and we knew Manheim Central was going to be a tough game. Just keeping that intensity for the full 60 minutes, that can be hard.”
Township will need more of the same on Tuesday against Donegal (19-0), the top-scoring team in the L-L league this season and the defending league champion.
“Donegal is always really good and I think it’ll be a fun game,” Suter said. “It’s fun to play different teams that are still in Lancaster-Lebanon League but aren’t in our section.”
L-L Quarterfinal Two at Ephrata Middle School
Manheim Township 1, Manheim Central 0
1. MT, Paris Benfer (Grace Torrance), 23:46
CORNERS-SHOTS — MT, 9-9. MC, 5-4.
SAVES — MT, Kayla Zapcik 4. MC, Kassidy Breneman 7, Hannah Barbush 1.
Donegal downs Lancaster Catholic, 11-0
In the first quarterfinal at Ephrata, Donegal (19-0) scored twice in the third minute against Section Three runner-up Lancaster Catholic (13-5-1) and never looked back. Mackenzie Allessie tallied five goals and Amanda Beck and Grace Miller each scored a pair of goals to pace the Indians’ attack, shutting out the Crusaders on the score board as well as statistically, 21-0 on corners and 30-0 on shots.
Crusaders’ goalkeeper Claire Wolfe was outstanding versus a barrage of goals, though, finishing with 16 saves including a save on a penalty stroke by Rachel Robinson, who contributed a hat-trick of assists on the day for the Indians.
Izzy Miller, Helena Ramos, and Miranda Costello all had defensive saves for Catholic.
L-L Quarterfinal One at Ephrata Middle School
Donegal 11, Lancaster Catholic 0
1. DN, Mackenzie Allessie (UA), 2:05. 2. DN, Rachael Overlander (Grace Miller), 2:33. 3. DN, Allaura Bohan (Rachel Robinson), 5:27. 4. DN, Miller (Allessie), 13:22. 5. DN, Amanda Beck (Robinson), 21:41. 6. DN, Allessie (Beck), 27:30. 7. DN, Beck (UA), 28:29.
8. DN, Allessie (UA), 1:34. 9. DN, Allessie (UA), 5:27. 10. DN, Allessie (Robinson), 10:37. 11. DN, Miller (UA), 18:33.
CORNERS-SHOTS — LC, 0-0. DN, 21-30.
SAVES — LC, Claire Wolfe 16, Izzy Miller 1, Helena Ramos 1, Miranda Costello 1. DN, Katie Jean 0.
Penn Manor rolls past Ephrata, 13-0
In Game One in Millersville, Penn Manor (19-0) dominated Section Two third-seed Ephrata (9-10) behind five goals from sophomore Gabby Bitts. Emma DeBerdine had three goals and two assists, Anna May Barbusca had a goal and three assists, and Lisa Schaefer also had three assists to pace the Comets.
Mounts’ goalkeeper Courtney Weaver finished with 20 saves, while Penn Manor goalie Brittany Hook stopped Ephrata’s lone shot on goal, coming on Ephrata’s only corner opportunity on the day. Playing in the familiar confines of Comet field, Penn Manor finished with 33 shots and 19 penalty corners.
L-L Quarterfinal One
at Penn Manor High School
Penn Manor 13, Ephrata 0
1. PM, Gabby Bitts (Anna May Barbusca), 4:44. 2. PM, Emma DeBerdine (Brooke DeBerdine), 5:08. 3. PM, Bitts (Lisa Schaefer), 7:59. 4. PM, Hannah Brown (UA), 8:23. 5. PM, Bitts (Barbusca), 13:28. 6. PM, E. DeBerdine (UA), 15:54. 7. PM, Nicole Reinhardt (Schaefer), 19:12.
8. PM, E. DeBerdine (Barbusca), 2:18. 9. PM, Barbusca (E. DeBerdine), 3:39. 10. PM, Bitts (E. DeBerdine), 5:37. 11. PM, B. DeBerdine, 11:22. 12. PM, Bitts (Schaefer), 12:33. 13. PM, Autumn Gager (Brooke Spezialetti), 17:08.
CORNERS-SHOTS — EPH 1-1. PM 19-33.
SAVES — EPH, Courtney Weaver 20. PM, Brittany Hook 1.
OTHER SCORE — Warwick 4, Annville-Cleona 0.