Over the past several years, the Central York boys' lacrosse team has certainly not grown accustomed to losing.
So when the Panthers dropped back-to-back games a few weeks ago to Dallastown and West York, it was an eye-opening experience.
Maybe they weren't preparing as hard as they needed to in practice. Perhaps they were relying more on their bevy of skill instead of the fundamentals that are the trademark of a championship-caliber squad.
Whatever it was, the message was certainly delivered loud and clear. The latest example of that came Tuesday evening against a surprising York Suburban squad.
The Panthers and their talented offensive stars came together with a relentless defense in what was undoubtedly their most complete game of the season. A five-goal game from Thomas Kurland, four more from Max Haldeman and a defense that allowed just two goals all night was the recipe for a convincing 14-2 victory over the Trojans.
"We're moving the ball around and basically getting back to playing the way we used to play," Haldeman said of the team's offense. "In the preseason during our three scrimmages we were just moving the ball real quick and hardly anyone was getting touched."
The impetus for what appears to be a renewed sense of focus for Central (11-2) came immediately after the Panthers' 14-12 loss to West York. That setback came on the heels of a 9-8 loss to Dallastown, a contest in which the Panthers were held without a goal the entire fourth period.
"I really think that opened our eyes," Kurland said. "We really started practicing hard after that. We started taking things more seriously. We wouldn't get on each other's backs and we started picking each other up."
"After those two big losses to Dallastown and West York, we all said that if we wanted to get back to where we used to be that we'd have to get back to that defense we used to be," he said. "We (knew) we had to start practicing like we really needed to."
The Panthers started the game with a three-goal run to take control, but the Trojans were able to cut the deficit down to two goals a couple of times. A goal by Dom Badinovac with 4:29 left in the first half cut Central's lead to 4-2.
That would be the last time the home team would find the back of the net.
Haldeman and Kurland wasted little time stretching it out with a pair of goals two minutes apart that sent the Panthers into the intermission with a 6-2 advantage.
The contest was put away quickly in the third period when the visitors, led by three goals from Kurland, struck for five tallies in just over three minutes of play to start the period.
While the outcome was certainly a major disappointment for a Suburban outfit that is looking to ascend into the upper echelon of the league, Haldeman knows that their 10-3 record is legit.
"They've come a long way from where they used to be," he said. "From starting from I don't even know to having a 10-win team this year. Colin (Mailman) is a good player. Anthony Bettencourt and Dom are all really good players. I think it's just been a huge improvement from that team."
OTHER BOYS' LACROSSE
York Catholic 13, Spring Grove 11: At York Catholic, Tanner Yanick collected four goals and an assist to lead the Fighting Irish. BradLee Rosenzweig (goal, three assists), Jacob Norton (two goals, assist), Tommy Bowser (two goals, assist), Teddy Trapeni (two goals) and Alec Lloyd (goal, assist) also excelled for the winners. Trey Baker had seven goals for Spring Grove, while Tanner Bolton had a goal and two assists.
Kennard-Dale 16, New Oxford 4: At Fawn Grove, Robert Seitz scored six goals and added one assist to lead the Rams. Jesse Schonbrunner had four goals and three assists, Albert Greaver had three goals and one assist, while David Wallace had two goals and two assists.
Dallastown 15, Eastern York 3: The Wildcats led the entire way at Eastern York. Wildcats goalie Jack Marks made eight stops, while he and the rest of the Dallastown defense held some of Eastern's top scorers, such as Jon Witman and Christian Buser, scoreless en route to victory. Pacing the Dallastown offense was Tanner Ierley (six goals, one assist), Dom Gurreri (three goals, one assist) and Cade Gold (two goals, one assist). Dallastown improved to 10-2 in York-Adams League competition.
OTHER GIRLS' LACROSSE
Susquehannock 20, Red Lion 3: At Red Lion, Ashley Valway (four goals, assist), Carley VanLuit (five goals), Morgan LeBlanc (four goals), Maddie Ellis (three goals, assist), Kate LeBlanc (goal, two assists), Gena Speights (two assists) and Rachel Marshner (goal assist) paced the Warriors. Sierra Donovan had two goals and an assist for Red Lion.
Kennard-Dale 29, New Oxford 3: At New Oxford, Lyndsey Duty led the Rams by scoring five goals and adding seven assists. Morgan Day had seven goals and two assists, Karly Burdette had two goals and four assists, and Hannah Bracey and Emily Livezey each scored two goals and added one assist. Miriam Gamache and Renee Gerring each scored one goal and added two assists, Emily Dressel scored two goals, while Gillian Zimmerman scored one goal and added one assist. K-D is 12-0-0 in Division II and 13-1-0 overall.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.