LANDISVILLE -- The chilly evening at Hempfield High School had started poorly enough for York Catholic.
Perhaps it was a sign of things to come for the No. 5 seed Irish in a District 3-A girls' soccer semifinal contest against top-seeded Tulpehocken. Just 13 seconds into the game, York Catholic's Kelly Waser took a deflection squarely off the right side of her face and had to leave the game for a few minutes.
Moments later, Tulpehocken took the lead on an own goal when York Catholic defender Grace Kiebler misjudged the ball and headed it backward over the arms of her goalkeeper, Hannah Laslo.
In the end, though, Tulpehocken proved to be too much for York Catholic, defeating the Irish, 3-0.
"I thought we were ready but it was pretty obvious we weren't and that's on me as a coach," York Catholic coach Ryan Luckman said afterwards. "(Tulpehocken) came out and did a great job at setting the tempo. They played really fast and put a lot of pressure on us. I think that put us back on our heels."
Despite the loss, York Catholic (13-7) still has a chance to keep its season alive Saturday against No. 6 seed Halifax (13-7-1) in a consolation game for third place in the district tournament and a berth to the PIAA tournament.
The Irish will have some things to work on from Thursday's loss. Tulpehocken (20-1-1) outshot York Catholic, 7-1. The Berks League Division III champion Trojans went ahead 2-0 at the 13:38 mark in the first half when Dylan Shipe sent a corner kick toward the goal into the outstretched arms of Laslo. The ball quickly slipped from Laslo's hands and Tulpehocken's Casey Rightmyer headed it in for the score. The Trojans scored their third goal less than four minutes later. Laslo finished with five saves.
"Their constant pressure put us under duress," Luckman said. "We played tentative and when you play tentative you allow those things to happen."
The Irish had their lone shot on goal with under 17 minutes to play when Natasha Vadas booted the ball from about 20 yards out into the arms of keeper Jamie Fisher.
York Catholic will have a quick turnaround to prepare for Halifax with a practice Friday and the consolation game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Eagle View Middle School in the Cumberland Valley School District.
"I'm not concerned (about the turnaround). It's gonna be easy because in our league with as many games we play, there were days where we played back-to-back games," Luckman said. "Having the day of practice in-between is gonna be good."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.