On Saturday evening, the Soccer teams from Cedar Crest and ELCO met in Myerstown for their annual clash. Started first as a yearly meeting between the Boys programs, the event now features double-header with the Girls also playing in front of the interested crowd.
The Boys’ contest is known as the Ritter-Hoffman Cup, named after the two men who were influential in starting the teams at their respective schools. The winner of the Girls’ game walk away with the Blue-Gray Cup.
When asked about the stakes of the matchups, ELCO Boys Head Coach Jamie Cascarino told LebCoSports.com, “Due to the proximity of the schools, it’s like Manchester United playing Manchester City.”Like the two Manchester teams, this rivalry draws large, enthusiastic student sections from each school, creating an environment usually reserved for football games.
The evening began with the boys playing for the Ritter Hoffman Cup. ELCO entered the match with a 4-1 record and winners of four straight games. Cedar Crest entered with a 2-5 record. However, these records are meaningless in a rivalry game, especially one that has been played since 1987, with Cedar Crest holding the all-time advantage over ELCO, going 18-17-1 in their 36 previous meetings battling for the trophy.
Fortunately for ELCO, they were able to strike first in the 10th minute of action with a goal by Landon Goodison. In the 19th minute, the Raiders would extend the lead to 2-0, when Bryce Hoglund scored off an assist by Camden Marquete. That two-goal advantage for the Raiders would remain at the half.
In the 66th minute, ELCO made it 3-0 on a goal by Ben Macchione. Five minutes later, Marquette was set-up by Kody Boyer to score the game’s final goal.
The win tied up the all-time series for ELCO and moved them even higher in the District 3 AAA Power Rankings to 9th. For Cedar Crest, despite the 4-0 loss, Cedar Crest goalkeeper Wyeth Ritter made 11 saves, as the Raiders outshot the Falcons by a margin of 15-3.
One interesting note about this game was the Coach Cascarino was able to coach against his son one final time. Nathan Cascarino, a Cedar Crest senior midfielder, who learned the game of soccer from his father, but now plays for the other side in this rivalry.
Of the game and having to coach against his son, the elder Cascarino said, “It was an amazing experience being able to coach this fantastic group of boys all while having the joy of coaching against my son Nathan on the opposing team. I’m very proud for ELCO Soccer and my son.”
ELCO 4, Cedar Crest 0
Coach Cascarino (ELCO) with son Nathan Cascarino after the game.
— ELCO Athletics (@ELCOAthletics) September 16, 2023
Following the completion of the boys’ game, the girls from Cedar Crest and ELCO took the field for the 28threndition of the Blue-Gray Cup. Last year, Lady Falcons broke a six-year ELCO winning streak and were now hoping to make it two-in-a-row. Another win by Crest would further close the 15-12 series advantage held by the Lady Raiders. Cedar Crest entered Saturday with a 2-4-1 record, while ELCO sported a 4-2 record.
At the beginning of this one, ELCO’s Carsyn Boyer appeared for the opening kick days after her senior campaign was cut short by an ACL tear. The University of Albany-bound Boyer was then pulled after this classy show of sportsmanship by both sides, giving the injured Raider some closure to her high school career.
Once the action of the game kicked off, it did not stop until the end. Cedar Crest’s Alaina Miller got it started with a goal in the 13th minute, as she was assisted by Hannah Menicheschi to give Crest a 1-0 lead. That lead did not last long, as ELCO’s Maddie Stout, assisted by Carsyn’s freshman sister Hadyn Boyer, knotted the game at 1-1 in the 16th minute.
However, Crest began to break away when Miller scored her 2nd goal of the evening in the 29th minute (assist – Kayla Meyer), followed by another goal by Menicheschi just three minutes later.
Facing a 3-1 deficit, Hadyn Boyer scored in the 41st minute to cut the Crest lead to just one goal. Alaina Miller, assisted by Susie Hoffman, then scored her 3rd goal of the game in the 53rd minute to give her Lady Falcons back a two-goal lead, 4-2. Boyer (assist – Ava Beck) then scored again in the 60th minute to make it a 4-3 game.
The final minutes of the game remained tense, with ELCO looking for the equalizer. Time would expire, with the score still 4-3, giving the visitors the victory and the Blue-Gray Cup to take back to South Lebanon.
In the game, Cedar Crest outshot ELCO, 13-7. ELCO goalie Claire Jacoby made 9 saves, while her counterpart Halle Smith made 4 stops.
Cedar Crest 4, ELCO 3
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