LAMPETER — Connecting early was part of Elizabethtown’s game plan going into their match versus Lampeter-Strasburg.
Thanks to a perfect corner and a perfect cross, Etown connected for two clean goals and garnered another on a fortuitous bounce in the first half to earn a 3-0 result over the host Pioneers.
“In the first half we wanted to come away with two or three goals because I was afraid it was going to happen to us in the second half,” said Etown coach Keith Renner, referencing the unpredictability of Tuesday’s contest thanks to the wind and the grass field. “I’m glad we were able to end the first half with a three-goal lead.”
Things certainly got off on the right foot for Etown (2-0 overall, 1-0 Section Two). In the fourth minute, freshman Olivia Shuck sent an ideal ball into the box on the first of the Bears’ six corners, where senior Jamie Marsico drilled it home for the Bears.
A couple of chances later, Kimmy Bucher raced down the right sideline on a throw-in and sent a perfect cross to roughly the same spot as Shuck’s corner, where winger Marena Lonardi earned the tally for a 2-0 Bears’ lead.
“I just took it to the line,” Bucher said about setting up her assist. “It was bouncing, so I knew it was going to go out if I didn’t kick it right then. I just tried to keep it in and it went perfectly on Marena’s foot.”
On a hot day, connecting early and playing well also included being conditioned to play 80 minutes so early in the season.
“We had a really rigorous preseason this year so I made sure I trained for that,” Bucher said. The junior midfielder spent much of the afternoon speeding along the right sideline, chasing the well-placed passes of Shuck, Kaeleigh Smedley, Talia Grynkewicz, and a whole assortment of capable passers.
The Pioneers (1-1 overall, 0-1 Section Two) were gathering chances as well, but couldn’t hit the mark. Kendal Ream nearly finished a rush in the 13th minute but found the post, her shot on the rebound saved by Etown’s Carlee Reed (4 saves).
But Etown’s lead jumped to 3-0 after Grynkewicz drilled a low liner from 25-yards out in the 35th minute, the ball taking an unorthodox bounce over the head of L-S keeper Bella DiCamillo (6 saves).
Both teams played to a draw in the second half, with L-S getting the best opportunities but again unable to finish, including Kristen Worry’s liner off the crossbar in the 45th minute.
“We matched them almost for shots, we just couldn’t put them away,” said L-S coach Emily Lebo, in her first season at the Pioneers’ helm. “Etown is a formidable team; I’m proud of our girls, they came out in the second half and showed they belong on the field with them.”
Elizabethtown 3, Lampeter-Strasburg 0
ET _ 3 _ 0 _ — _ 3
LS _ 0 _ 0 _ — _ 0
ET, Jamie Marsico (Olivia Shuck, corner), 4’
ET, Marena Lonardi (Kimmy Bucher), 25’
ET, Talia Grynkewicz (unassisted), 32’
CORNERS-SHOTS — ET, 6-9. LS, 1-4
SAVES — ET, Carlee Reed 4. LS, Isabella DiCamillo 6