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Lebanon boys soccer drops section debut at McCaskey

LANCASTER - Sebastian Sierra sprung with perfect timing, met the incoming corner kick with his forehead and returned back to earth fully expecting the ball would settle in for a goal.

It did. But there was one small problem.

Sierra's score made only a smell dent in the 4-0 deficit his Lebanon boys soccer team had already dug itself late in the first half. And that new margin would remain for the rest of the afternoon.

The Cedars lost their Section One debut at McCaskey, 4-1, Tuesday in a performance otherwise highlighted by a stronger second-half effort.

Clogging the midfield via a new alignment, Lebanon, which lost starting keeper Gabe Santiago less than 30 minutes in to a leg injury, surrendered only a few quality chances post-intermission. Santiago's exit summoned senior Chase Testerman, a listed center back who could remain in net for the rest of the season.

"(Santiago)'s a really, really tough kid. And when he said his pain level was a 10, I was like 'Oh God," Cedars coach Todd Gingrich said. "We couldn't even take his sock off."

Though the injury also engendered a sort of unifying sense for Lebanon, according to Sierra, the team's captain.

"Gabe going down changed our mindset on things," Sierra said. "He was going after the ball hard, and family is how we look at this team, so we wanted to stepped up."

The Red Tornado eventually tallied its final goal on Greg Troop's crossing chip launched just inside the left corner of the box. McCaskey's Spencer Haiges (two goals) and Danny Wogari accounted for the earlier scoring.

Sierra then struck shortly prior to halftime on a beautiful delivery courtesy of junior Deybel Andujar.

"It was a great ball by Deybel," Sierra said. That's what we aim for."

Strong defensive play and set-piece success have been installed as primary focuses for a Lebanon club now down to 15 varsity players, a serious challenge few league programs face. The Cedars finished shy of a half-dozen shots on goal.

"We pack behind the ball, look to counter and score on set pieces," Gingrich said. "We tell them if you can keep a team within a goal or two, you'll have a chance."

Lebanon's next chance comes Wednesday at home against Warwick.