West York girls' soccer coach Brett Maxwell feels that his team won't have a cakewalk in defending their York-Adams League Division II title this year.
It would be hard to tell that, however, from their division opener Monday afternoon against Kennard-Dale.
Led by sophomore Amanda Cheak's seven-point game (three goals, four assists), West York rolled to an easy 8-0 victory.
"It was a bit of a surprise," Maxwell said. "I didn't expect us to put that many goals in the net."
The avalanche started almost from the opening whistle. The Bulldogs (3-0-0 overall) scored three goals over the first 10 minutes to take command.
Cheak opened the scoring after redirecting a shot from teammate Shyanne Kimbrough in the second minute. Minutes later, Cheak returned the favor by feeding a crossing pass to Kimbrough, the reigning Division II Player of the Year, who ripped a shot into the twine.
Cheak then assisted on senior Bre Schlemmer's goal in the 10th minute. It was clear the tone was set.
The scoring barrage isn't new for a player such as Cheak, who played defense last season as a freshman.
"It's been easier because I've played striker my whole life basically," Cheak said. "Last year was my first year on defense, so now I guess I'm back up to where I used to be."
Maxwell feels good about his one-two combo of the speedy Kimbrough and the even speedier Cheak.
"We moved her up top just because a lot of teams are going to key on Shyanne," he said. "So (Cheak) is just another option up there. She has all of the physical ability in the world. She's fast and strong. She's coming around in terms of her positioning and her skill on the ball."
Maxwell is also impressed with Kimbrough (two goals, assist), not only with her play on the field, but also with her leadership.
"This year it's more of a leadership role (for Shyanne)," Maxwell said. "She's stepped up and she's a captain on our team. She's very vocal, which is something she hasn't been in the past. She's a very shy person, but she's become more vocal and that's important because the girls look up to her because of her ability. So for her to take on that role is going to be an important part for us."
The 'Dogs led 6-0 by intermission and added two more goals in the second half, the second of which was a header off a Cheak corner by Jenna Sollberger in the game's final minute. The hosts outshot K-D, 12-7. Goalies Stevie Gross (one save) and Kayli Thomas (six saves) pitched a shutout.
Despite the relatively easy win, Maxwell doesn't feel that the rest of the season will play out quite as easily.
"We have a goal of repeating as division champions, which I think is a tall order this year," Maxwell said. "Our division has really taken a step up. There's three or four very, very good teams. I've been coaching now in the county for 10 years and this is one of only a couple of times where I think that Division II is just as strong, if not stronger, than Division I."
Maxwell, who also coaches the Bulldog boys' soccer team, believes that rivals Dover, York Suburban and Susquehannock will give his experienced squad a run.
"Dover is going to be very good this year," he said. "We see them Thursday night and they're going to be very tough this year. Suburban is going to be very good. I've seen them play and they're going to be very strong this year. And Susquehannock is always there."
OTHER GIRLS' SOCCER
CENTRAL YORK 1, SPRING GROVE 0, 2-OT: At Spring Grove, Taylor Artman scored off an assist from Kelly Williamson with 6:05 left in the second overtime to lift the Panthers to the victory. Central dominated the stats, outshooting Spring Grove, 14-2, and earning a 9-1 edge in corners. Spring Grove's Leah Roy had 11 saves before leaving the game with an injury. She was taken from the field in a stretcher.
NEW OXFORD 8, YORK HIGH 0: The visiting Colonials scored four goals in each half, while holding the Bearcats to zero shots on goal. Kim DelaTorre paced New Oxford with three goals and one assist. Margo Jacoby had a pair of goals, while Allie Mack notched three assists.
SOUTH WESTERN 3, RED LION 1: The visiting Mustangs took a 2-1 lead into intermission with a pair of goals from Erin Laird. Tia Wildasin hit the final goal in the second half. Red Lion's lone goal came from Sam Faller.
YORK SUBURBAN 2, SUSQUEHANNOCK 2 (TIE): The Trojans got goals from Mikala Kin and Lexi Ketterman, while the Warriors got goals from Cassidy Mummert and Brooke McGee. Suquehannock goalkeeper Cayla Stiffler collected 15 saves. Suburban put 20 shots on goal to the Warriors' 10 shots.
DOVER 8, NORTHEAST ERN 2: At Dover, Maxine Herman led the Eagles to the York-Adams Division II victory by scoring four goals. Abby Patterson and Brooke May each scored two goals.
FAIRFIELD 3, YORK CATHOLIC 2: At York Catholic, Katelyn McDonald led the Green Knights to the York-Adams Division IV victory by scoring two second-half goals.
EASTERN 3, LITTLES TOWN 0: At Wrightsville, the Golden Knights received one goal apiece from Kayla Hanks, Erin Gladfelter and Anna Arnsberger. Carroll Charles picked up an assist. The Golden Knights' defense held the Thunderbolts to five shots on goal.
-- Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.