GLEN ROCK -- After the Dover girls' soccer team stepped up the pressure this season, the Eagles soared to uncharted heights.
A midseason change in style to a high-pressure philosophy paid off in the program's first-ever York-Adams League Tournament championship.
A good team in the regular season (8-4-0 in Division II), Dover turned into a fantastic team in the postseason, recording three straight tournament victories.
The Eagles closed the run in style with a 3-1 victory over Dallastown in the title match on Thursday evening at Susquehannock High School. The Wildcats had won the last four tournament titles.
"We watched Dallastown, and they're a magnificent team," Dover head coach Bret Altimore said. "The games we watched, teams would mostly play low pressure against them. We decided as a unit that we're going to come out and play with them and try and take it to them."
The strategy worked perfectly.
Dover dominated play, for the most part, and ended up firing 11 shots on goal to five for Dallastown. The Eagles just missed two more goals, with one shot hitting the crossbar and another caroming off the left post.
The relentless pressure earned Dover its first goal, with Maxine Herman doing the honors at the 25:30 mark of the opening half.
The Eagles' junior picked off a pass deep in the Dallastown end, dribbled toward the goal and beat the goalie.
"To get the first goal was important," Herman said. "It lifted our spirits, and we knew we had a chance after that.
"Challenging every ball, that's our philosophy. The forwards are the first defenders and don't let the ball get out (of the other team's end)."
Herman connected for her second goal to double the lead with 2:46 to play in the half.
"I took the corner (kick), and when the ball deflected off the Dallastown girl, I just shot it into the upper 90 (corner of the goal)," she said.
Dover appeared like it was going to enjoy a 2-0 lead at halftime, but with 1:42 remaining, the Eagles were called for a trip in the box.
Dallastown's Meagan Newmister stepped up and buried the penalty kick to cut Dover's advantage in half.
The score boosted Dallastown, which pushed for the equalizing goal, but wasn't able to get it.
"After that PK, they had a little bit of momentum, but we were able to get it back," Altimore said. "Max (Herman), she worked her tail off today, and Kayla Miller and Brooke Firestone had an endless work ethic. Our two central midfielders (Dover used a 3-4-3 formation), Emily Firestone and Maddy Miller, they did a wonderful job."
Kayla Miller knocked in the final goal of the night with 34 minutes to play in the match. Dallastown's goalie Becca Austin made a diving save on Miller's first shot, but when ball rolled toward the goal, Miller got to it first and booted it across the line.
"There came a time this season when we decided to not only change our system, but our style of play," Altimore said. "It probably cost us a few matches, but we had to work out the bugs. Everyone kept a positive attitude, and now you're seeing it jelling. Tonight was a special night for our girls."
The Eagles will now turn their attention to the District 3 playoffs, which begin on Saturday, while, at the same time, looking back fondly on the 2012 York-Adams Tournament.
"We wanted a banner on the wall," Herman said. "It's our turn to shine."
Curry hurt: Dallastown's Alaina Curry was injured with 36 seconds to play in the match.
She was attended to on the field before being placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. She was moving her extremities when she was taken off the field.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin email@example.com.