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Boys Soccer: 2023 LebCo Season Recap

The 2023 Boys Soccer season was an exciting one locally, with three LebCo teams qualifying for the District 3 Playoffs.  Beyond the wins and losses, the seven local representatives competed with pride and each showed improvement in their game over the course of the year.  The name of the game for more teams was defense, but there was plenty of offense to go around as well, with ELCO’s Camden Marquette and Palmyra’s Matt Bordner combining for 50 goals to lead the way.

While there were many seniors, there were also plenty of players who will be returning to the pitch in 2024, as the LebCo teams will look to continue to improve on what they did this year.


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     Annville-Cleona Dutchmen 

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 4

Final Record:  2-16 overall, 1-9 in Section 4 

District Power Ranking: #19 – 2A (top 10 qualified)


Summary: As the Dutchmen entered the 2023 season, they were hoping to improve from a season ago with a passing of the torch from Coach Raymond Kreiser to his new co-head coach Mike Folmer.  While they only won two games, with victories against Hanover and Lancaster Country Day, but did so with only four seniors on the roster.  This offers some hope that the experience gained this year could translate into future success.  However, they will have to do so next year without top goal scorer Zach Sperlich (10 goals, 3 assists).  To lessen the impact of Sperlich’s departure, they will be returning their next two leading scorers, juniors Matt Clemson (5 goals, 3 assists) and Landon Hostetter (4 goals, 6 assists).  With A-C being a small school, both Clemson and Hostetter, along with senior Samuel Domencic, also served as key members of Annville’s Cross Country Team State Championship.  This championship mindset could catch on with so many players returning to the pitch next year.


 Cedar Crest Falcons 

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 2

Final Record:  3-14 overall, 1-9 in Section 1

District Power Ranking: #26  – 4A (top 16 qualified)

Summary: The Falcons finished the season with three wins, but they were competitive in most of the games that they played. While close doesn’t count in the overall record, it is worth pointing out that Cedar Crest lost eight games by one goal. This was the result of a tough defensive unit that eight times either shut out or held opponents to one goal. For their efforts, two Falcons were named as 2nd Team Section 2 All-Stars. While defender Lucas Garrett was one of those selections, the Cedar Crest faithful can take joy in the fact that goalkeeper Wyeth Ritter is only a sophomore. The midfield was led by Jozef Shkreli and Matt Golub, who as juniors will also help that defensive effort in the future. While seniors Gio Mancino (4 goals, 2 assists) and Krassimir Vassiliv (3 goals, 2 assists) led the offensive effort, freshman Braylon Messenger (3 goals, 2 assists) will hope to improve upon this year’s numbers to help the team win those tight games in the coming years.


  ELCO Raiders  

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3

Final Record:  17-3-1 overall, 9-0-1 in Section 3

District Power Ranking: # 6 – 3A (top 16 qualified)

Section 3 Champions / District 3 Qualifier

Summary: The Raiders entered the season with high hopes after winning Section 3 in ’22. This senior-heavy group did not disappoint, as they took the Section Championship on their way to completing a 16-1-1 regular season. One of the highlights of the season was winning the 900th game in the history of ELCO Soccer. Additionally, for the 4th straight year, the Raiders won their annual clash with Cedar Crest to retain the Ritter-Hoffman Cup. In the postseason, ELCO won in the 1st round of Districts over Manheim Central in an exciting penalty shootout. They then saw their season come to a completion with a tough 1-0 loss to Conrad Weiser.

In terms of individual accolades, the Raiders were led offensively by Camden Marquette (30 goals, 12 assists), who was named the Section 3 MVP and was chosen by the PSCA as 1st Team All-State. Marquette was not alone in receiving honors, as four others were selected as Section 3 1st Team All-Stars. That list included goalkeeper Luke Macchione (12 shutouts) and Dallas George (5 goals, 14 assists), along with key defenders Kody Boyer (9 assists) and Logan Kless (1 goal, 1 assist). All five of these young men are seniors, so ELCO will be without them next year. However, this group laid a foundation for restoring the program back to its former glory, which a new set of leaders will work to continue in ’24.  

Team of the Week – ELCO Boys Soccer (Week of October 2nd)



Boys Soccer: 2023 LebCo Season Award Winners

    Lebanon Cedars

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 3

Final Record:  1-17 overall, 1-9 in Section 3

District Power Ranking: #31 – 4A (top 16 qualified)

Summary: Despite only winning one game, the Cedars had their chances that could have made this season look much different in the win/loss column. They had four one-goal losses, with three one them being 1-0 matches. Besides defeating Donegal, the September 21st game against Octorara may have been the season highlight for Lebanon, as their defense nearly forced an upset over the otherwise solid Braves. It was those defensive efforts that landed senior defender Collin Daugherty and junior midfielder Noah Brandt on the list of 2nd Team All-Stars in Section 3. If Lebanon can build upon some of its defensive teamwork and transfer that into offensive goals, they may have a totally new look in the future.



Northern Lebanon Vikings

Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 4

Final Record:  7-11 overall, 5-5 in Section 4

District Power Ranking: #30 – 3A (top 16 qualified)

Summary: The Vikings defeated every Section 4 opponent at least one time, proving to be a formidable foe in every match. The most satisfying of these victories came on September 21st when Northern Lebanon used teamwork, defense, and solid goalkeeping by Riley Messinger to win at home over Lancaster Mennonite to cap off a three-game winning streak. Senior Everett Atkins scored the decisive goal against the Blazers, but on the season the goal scoring was well-distributed with seniors Will Hillegas (8 goals, 5 assists) and Nathan Klinger (6 goals, 4 assists) leading the way. After a solid 2023, the Vikings will look to improve in 2023, returning several key pieces including Diego Bustillo who tallied 3 goals and 5 assists during his sophomore campaign.


New Covenant Flames

Commonwealth Christian Athletic Conference

Final Record:  11-4-2 overall, 8-4-2 in CCAC

District Power Ranking: #9 – 1A (top 10 qualified)

District 3 Qualifier

Summary: After some early season losses, the Flames got rolling as the season progressed, eventually winning five of their last six regular season contests.  This resulted in District 3 Playoff berth, where they defeated Mount Cavalry Christian before losing 2-0 to powerhouse Tulpehocken in the quarterfinals.  On the season, New Covenant scored a lot of goals, while not giving up many.  They were led by senior midfielder James Fisher, who helped to orchestrate the offensive attack, while fellow Keenan Stoner held things down on the defensive end.



 Palmyra Cougars

Mid-Penn Conference – Keystone Division

Final Record:  15-4 overall, 10-2 in Keystone

District Power Ranking: #7  – 3A (top 16 qualified)

District 3 Qualifier

Summary: The Cougars put together another successful campaign in ’23, finishing 2nd in the Keystone on their way to qualifying for the District 3 Playoffs for the 7th year in a row. It also marked the 3rd year in a row where Palmyra eclipsed the fifteen-win milestone. In reaching that total, they outscored their opponents in the regular season by a total of 56-10 and shut out their opponents a total of 10 times. Offensively, seniors Matt Bordner (20 goals, 3 assists) and Caleb Sitler (11 goals, 11 assists) led the way. Senior midfielder Nolan Wasilefski (8 goals, 4 assists) added additional firepower. The defensive unit that went from giving up 30 goals in ’22 to only giving up 10 in ‘23 was anchored by sophomore netminder Julian Meley but was ferociously led by its centerbacks, junior Andreas Kotsalos and senior Patrick Karpew. This group of seniors paced Palmyra to a 56-13-4 record over the course of the past four years. While they will be tough to replace, the foundation is in place for the Cougars to remain a force in Central PA.


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