Highlights of the Braves 9-0 rout of the Beaves Wednesday at Lebanon Catholic High School. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
A team can have as little or as much talent in the world, or they can have all the issues that arise on the pitch. But bottom line - if the experience isn’t there, winning unfortunately still comes at a premium.
It’s been an ongoing issue this season for Lebanon Catholic boys soccer, who is still in search of its first Section 3 win after dropping a 9-0 loss to Pequea Valley Wednesday at Lebanon Catholic High School.
But one thing Beavers Coach Kerry Long Sr. won’t question about his team is their effort.
“We’re behind the eight ball before we even start. Half my kids haven’t even played soccer before. They try. They’re good character kids. It’s just that we don’t have the game knowledge everyone has,” Long said.
“You just can’t come into a high school season and compete at this level with the teams in our section. They’re (Pequea Valley) in the middle of the pack in the standings and they killed us, and it just gets better with teams like Lancaster Mennonite, Elco, Annville-Cleona, Lancaster Catholic…we’re overmatched right now. Until we can get more time on the pitch, we’re stuck in the position we’re in.”
The Braves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the game. Josh Stoltzfus started the scoring off a penalty kick just 1:48 in, followed by goals from Garret Elmer and Josh Gingrich in the sixth and eighth minutes.
And after it looked as though the Beavers were finally started to generate the slightest bit of offense heading into the half, everything unraveled in the second half, allowing six PV goals. Josh Henrich scored the first two goals in that span, followed by goals from TJ Hershey, Connor Walsh, Nick Karg, and Brendan Whiteman.
One bright spot for Lebanon Catholic however, not only in this game but the entire season, has been the play of goalkeeper Nate Hatzfeld - though obviously the score doesn’t indicate it. Hatzfeld finished with 16 saves, which has been about his season average, according to Long.
“The rest of the league looks around at goal percentages and that’s not fair to him because without him, we’re in double digits almost every game,” Long said. “People just don’t respect it enough because they see us. With our problems between our defense and offense, he gives us hope. He’s a heck of a keeper. I wish he would get more accolades than he gets.”
And as more losses like this continue to take their toll on his team, Long says effort becomes even more important from everyone.
“We just keep trying to teach. It’s just like anything else. Sometimes things don’t get through the kids’ heads as quickly. It takes a lot to sink in,” he said.
“But it’s not for a lack of trying. It’s just…when you don’t know the sport, it’s very difficult to try and do it. You have to give the kids credit for their effort. They gave you a full 80 minutes. The score it what it is. We don’t really worry about that. We try and win little battles. We have to stay positive but correct to because we want to be better next year.”