SPRING GROVE -- They had only gone to two overtimes the entire season.
Both came in the first two games of the year.
And neither went to a shootout.
Still, the Dallastown field hockey team made sure to stay prepared for just such a scenario.
The Wildcats have been practicing shootout strokes before every game this season. Finally, the work paid off Thursday night at Spring Grove.
Squaring off in the York-Adams League Tournament championship game, Dallastown and Red Lion went to a best-of-five shootout after the teams were tied at 2-2 following a pair of 15-minute overtime periods.
"We do strokes before every game and I always ask the team 'Who's our best stroker for the game?" Dallastown head coach Jeri Myers said. "It's usually Hope (Kohlbus), but the players said Hailee (Anders). I let the team decide."
Anders proved to have the hot hand for the Wildcats. The sophomore scored the game-tying goal with 1:19 left in regulation on a penalty stroke.
She wound up scoring Dallastown's first shootout stroke before teammate Bryna Cook got one in the cage on the Wildcats' third shootout stroke. Dallastown goalie Niki Bream, meanwhile, stopped all of Red Lion's shootout strokes to seal the win and the first league tournament title for the Wildcats.
"It feels good," Anders said afterwards. "We played really good as a team and we worked together really well. I think that's what really helped us."
Physical: The shootout capped off a physical game between the rival teams. The Division I champion Wildcats defeated Red Lion in two regular-season match-ups. But the Lions entered having won the previous two league tournament titles -- they won the first over Dallastown two years ago.
Red Lion took its first lead of the game when Ali Posey scored at the 9:25 mark in the first half. Dallastown tied it when Taylor Kline put one in the cage on an assist from Cook with 4:15 to play before intermission. Hailey Orwig gave the Lions the lead again on a goal with 20:04 left in the second half. This all came against a Dallastown defense that had only allowed three goals all year coming into the game.
Penalty stroke: On a corner with under 90 seconds left in the second half, Dallastown centered a pass in front of the net, where the officials whistled Red Lion keeper Gabriella Uberti for pushing Wildcats' forward Molly Childress. The officials issued a yellow card to Uberti and awarded a penalty stroke to Dallastown. It marked one of four yellow cards issued to Red Lion.
As a result, Uberti had to leave the game for the next five minutes of play. She was replaced by junior Jessica Everett, who allowed the game-tying score to Anders on the penalty stroke.
"You tell your team to go to the ball and play the ball. That's all we did. There was no foul," Red Lion coach Carol Gillmen said of the yellow card. "Obviously the officials had a hand in the outcome of this game."
Myers saw it differently.
"The goalie shoved my player out of the way," Myers said. "That's illegal."
Bream: Although she allowed two goals in regulation, Dallastown goalie Niki Bream made a total of 15 saves, including the five stops in the shootout. The senior keeper avenged her performance from two years ago in the league title game against Red Lion.
"She's been our starting goalie since her freshman year. And two years ago she left the goal go in that we lost the county championship," Myers said. "In the two years since she has become really good."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.