GLEN ROCK -- Coming off a York-Adams Division II title a year ago, the Susquehannock field hockey team was disappointed in how it started the 2012 season.
Early-season losses to West York and Kennard-Dale put the Warriors behind the eight-ball.
Now, nearly three-plus weeks later, Coach Sharon McLaughlin's group is making up as much ground as it can.
That was bad news for the Bulldogs, who visited the Warriors in a Division II clash Monday afternoon. Despite outplaying the Warriors for large stretches of the contest, the visitors couldn't find a way to stop Susquehannock's Alesha Herman.
Herman started the scoring midway through the second half to put her team ahead. After the Bulldogs evened things up later in the half, Herman did her thing once more in sudden-death overtime. The Warrior junior collected a long clearing pass down the field and smacked the game-winning goal with 4 minutes, 48 seconds left on the clock to give Susquehannock a 2-1 win.
The victory prevented the Bulldogs (6-1) from clinching the outright division title. It also allowed the Warriors (4-2) to remain in the hunt during a make-or-break week.
"We know that we needed these games all week long," Herman said. "We need to win every one of them this week, so that was our motivation today."
Susquehannock will seek revenge against Kennard-Dale on Wednesday before capping a three-game homestand with a Senior Night home tilt against Eastern York on Thursday. West York still has a game vs. York Suburban left on its division schedule. If the Bulldogs beat the Trojans on Wednesday, they will still win the outright division crown. Suburban is 0-5 in the division. West York moved down to Division II this season after finishing second in Division I a season ago.
West York owned the first half, with a 3-0 advantage in shots on goal and a 3-1 edge in penalty corners. Still, the Bulldogs weren't able to get anything behind Warrior keeper Ashton Alban.
Then, in a short burst midway through the second half, the Warriors took the lead. After earning a penalty corner, the Warriors got a couple of smacks at the net before Alexandra Weaver spotted Herman on the left post for the tally.
"There were a lot of great passes to the center of the goal and I was there (on the left) to sweep it in," Herman said. "That really got our confidence up."
McLaughlin knew that the visitors wouldn't give up easily.
"I knew that they had a lot of confidence in their ability to come back," she said.
The Bulldogs rallied on the back of Holli Eppley, who scored on a breakaway with 8:14 left in regulation. Alban made a gutsy decision to race out at Eppley near the circle, but paid for it when Eppley got around her and calmly tapped the ball into the cage.
"You have to know when to go for the ball and when to stay back," McLaughlin said. "But we also are always supposed to have one of our outside backs always back and whoever that one was, wasn't back. So you can never just blame it on the goalie, but she could have probably played that one better."
In the OT, it seemed that running up and down throughout regulation had an impact on the West York forwards. Herman felt that the up-and-down style that West York played did wear them out a little as the game wore on.
"The back-and-forth was pretty hard on us, too," she said. "It felt like sprints. Down on one end and then back, but I guess our stamina was a little bit better than theirs from the preseason. We have a tough preseason that helps us build up our stamina and keep it in shape."
While the Bulldogs relied on dribbling the ball up into the Warrior zone, the home team was able to find space in the West York midfield for some long clearing passes. A couple of breakaway chances were earned that way, but it wasn't until Herman collected one from teammate Taylor Mumley that she was able to put the game away.
McLaughlin lauded Mumley's ability to not only clear the ball out from danger time after time, but also to set up her speedy forward for the game-winner.
"She just has an excellent sense of the game," McLaughlin said. "She has the feel, the concerns ... she just has it. And she has a huge drive too."
OTHER FIELD HOCKEY
RED LION 3, DOVER 0: At Red Lion, the Lions led 2-0 at the end of the first half and went on to capture the York-Adams Division I victory. Alyssa Castle, Ali Posey and Cassidy Barshinger each scored one goal for the home team. The Red Lion defense held the Eagles to three shots on goal. Rachel Laughead made 11 saves in goal for the Eagles. Red Lion improved to 8-2-0 in the division.
NEW OXFORD 3, CENTRAL 2: At Central, Sarah Groft's goal with 2:58 remaining in the match gave the Colonials the Division I victory. Groft and Taylor Sipling connected on first-half goals to put New Oxford up 2-0 at halftime. Central's Laura Stanley and Kayla Smith answered with goals in the second half to forge a tie. Smith assisted on Stanley's goal. The JV teams played to a 0-0 draw.
DALLASTOWN 3, SPRING GROVE 0: At Spring Grove, the first-place Wildcats improved to 10-0-0 in York-Adams Division I action with the easy victory. Spring Grove fell to 3-6-1 in the division. Molly Childress had one goal and two assists for the winners, all in the first half. Paige Barefoot and Bryna Cook had Dallastown's other scores. Spring Grove was held to three shots on goal.
EASTERN YORK 2, KENNARD-DALE 0: At Fawn Grove, Heather Peters scored both goals to lead the Golden Knights.Gabby Graham had to make just one save to record the shutout. Abby Pietra had seven saves for K-D. Eastern won the JV match, 3-2.
BERMUDIAN SPRINGS 2, HANOVER 1: At Hanover, the Eagles led 2-0 at the half and went on to capture the York-Adams Division III victory. Bermudian improved to 8-0-0 in the division and clinched its sixth-straight division championship.
BIGLERVILLE 4, DELONE CATHOLIC 3: At Biglerville, Katie Camara led the Canners to the York-Adams Division III victory by scoring three goals.
LITTLESTOWN 1, FAIR FIELD 0: At Littlestown, Dawn Kraus' goal with 2:08 remaining in the first half was the difference in the Division III match. Kelsey Harteis assisted Kraus.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.