BOYS' SOCCER: Garden Spot cruises in 5-0 home shutout of Lebanon
NEW HOLLAND>> There have been better days in the history of the Lebanon boys' soccer program than Tuesday.
And after a disappointing start to section play, the Cedars (0-3, 0-1 Section Two) are working to ensure there are better days ahead, too.
Lebanon dropped a 5-0 decision Tuesday in an early-season showdown at Garden Spot (1-1, 0-1), highlighted by a hat trick from Spartans forward Cameron Sensenig. Raine Slovak added two goals, including the game's first strike 15 minutes in. Slovak connected on a free kick from 19 yards out that fired through the Cedars' defensive wall and past new keeper Gabe Santiago (eight saves). Sensenig then netted his first score for a commanding 2-0 halftime lead.
"We just have got to get tighter defensively," Cedars assistant coach Andy Dornes said. "A couple easy goals that we need to prevent in the future got us behind early and we weren't able to turn it around from there."
Lebanon played without the guidance of head coach Todd Gingrich, who received a red card in the team's last outing Saturday against Shippensburg. However, it was unlikely that any sideline help could've done much to sway the day's final outcome. Senior forward Hector Cortez Cruz did make a quality run shortly after intermission, though, before getting whistled for offsides. Bryan Boissard later followed with a strong left-footed strike launched inside the box that was corralled by Garden Spot keeper Logan Eby (three saves).
While neither Cedar could score, Sensenig and Slovak went back to work, combining for three additional goals. The key for the Spartans had been maintaining constant possession, thus applying regular pressure on the Lebanon defense. And it was no surprise when Sensenig was the one to break through.
"Cameron is one of our workhorses for the team, so we're going to have to rely on him to put some balls on the net," Garden Spot coach Mike Balazs said. "Today we played together and started getting some touches we'd been working on all summer long."
Slovak, Jacob Shupe, Nathen Good and Josh Boyer all recorded assists for the Spartans.
Balazs shared he had personally scouted Lebanon over its first two games and decided to deploy a high-pressure defensive game plan to dominate possession. It worked to near perfection.
"We wanted to get in behind them a little bit, but unfortunately we weren't able to do that consistently enough," Dornes said. "They had us pinned back in our own end pretty much. I would've liked to be able to push them back a little bit more to create a couple more chances, but Thursday brings another game."
First half — GS: Raine Slovak (Josh Boyer), Cameron Sensenig (Nate Good).
Second half — GS: Sensenig (Jacob Shoop), Slovak, Sensenig (Slovak).
Shots on goal — L 3, GS 15; Corners — L 2, GS 3; Saves — L 8, GS 3.