In what should be another entertaining week of Lebanon County soccer, lots of intracounty and section rivalries take place this week with plenty of playoff implications on the line, and one county girls soccer team with its best chance for its first section win.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s top five games.
Elco at Annville-Cleona boys soccer, Wednesday Oct. 12, 4 p.m.
While they remain mathematically alive for the Section 3 title, the Dutchmen’s focus the rest of the season is also on qualifying for the District 3 playoffs, as they are hovering around the 10th and final spot in the Class AA Power Rankings.
Eli Setlock will continue to be the X-factor, coming off multiple clutch performances last week, as he approaches the 20-goal mark. Alex St. Clair has also been essential in facilitating offense for the Dutchmen.
Koy Alwine will also keep up his solid play in the goal, approaching 90 saves on the season.
The Raiders of course, obviously need a win to keep pace with the Blazers in hopes of that section title. Elco currently sits fourth in the Double-A power rankings.
Palmyra at Hershey girls soccer, Thursday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m.
Finding themselves in a battle for first place in the Mid-Penn Keystone with Mechanicsburg, the Lady Cougars will need a win to keep pace. Palmyra had virtually no problem with their division rivals in the first meeting Sept. 22, which was a 4-1 win, thanks to a two-goal performance by Nikki Bowman. All of the Cougars weapons of Nikki Bowman, Hannah Bowman, Mara Bowman, Nyah Combs, and Camryn Simpson will all be critical once again.
Since losing two in a row, including the loss to Palmyra, the Trojans find themselves back in the playoff picture, having won three of four, with the non-win coming in a tie with Lower Dauphin. Both teams find themselves on the inside of the Class Triple-A Power Rankings, but not by much, as the last four spots are separated by roughly a game and a half of each other.
Hershey at Palmyra boys soccer, Thursday, Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m.
The Cougars boys team, however, will be a little more desperate in their second clash of this season with their rivals, battling for that last spot in the district postseason. But the Trojans are in better shape, in the top 10 of the power rankings.
The last time both these teams met, it was Chris Leonard’s 60th-minute goal that gave Hershey the win. But now Palmyra is starting to get some guys back, though it hasn’t shown as it’s lost two of three since then, which included a 7-3 pounding of Shippensburg. The Cougars will look to finally settle that fluid chemistry it’s been searching for all season. And a little revenge factor always helps too.
Lancaster Mennonite at Annville-Cleona boys soccer, Monday, Oct. 10, 4 p.m.
Well by the end of this week, we’ll certainly find out a lot about this Dutchmen team. If they come out of both these games somewhat unscathed and can take any sort of momentum from them, A-C could become a sneaky team come playoff time. Though Mennonite is towards the top of the district power rankings, again, they’ll need a win to help claim yet another section title.
What makes the Blazers so tough is their constant chemistry, especially from guys this season like Udit Jain, Matthew Lynch, and Ben Lefever. If the Dutchmen can find a way to be disruptive and frustrate a team like this, they’ll definitely be in this game. So yes, the Dutchmen can win this game.
Solanco at Lebanon girls soccer, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m.
No, there’s not any playoff or standings implications with this game, but there’s still one goal to accomplish for the Cedars – earn a section win.
If nothing else, it’s the biggest positive they can take from this season – they found a way to win against a section opponent. And when teams endure challenging seasons like this, what is described by everyone else as a “meaningless win,” is in fact the opposite. This is Lebanon’s version of a playoff implication.
And this could be the game to do it, facing a Golden Mules team that has not had a ton of success winning section games either.
Stating the obvious – it will take a total team effort to earn that coveted win.