DALLASTOWN -- Red Lion standout Ali Posey bent over with her field hockey stick in hand as play paused around her on a free stroke.
Down by a goal to arch-rival Dallastown with 1 minute, 43 seconds left, Posey needed to get the ball past Wildcats' fourth-year keeper Niki Bream if the Lions had any hopes of sending the contest to overtime.
The scenario was fitting in the York-Adams League Division I opener for the two programs Tuesday afternoon on the grass at Dallastown. The last time the two teams met was Oct. 18 in the league tournament title game, which the Wildcats won in a shootout, with Bream stopping all of Red Lion's shootout attempts.
Standing 10 yards out from the Dallastown goal Tuesday, Posey fired a shot upward to the left side of the cage. Teammates with Posey in offseason club ball, Bream had a good expectation of what might be coming at her. Bream dove to her right just in time to grab a piece of the ball, which went wide of the cage. The Wildcats hung on to nab a 1-0 victory.
"It's so nerve-racking because I knew that if they scored we'd be going into overtime," Bream said. "And I knew we'd be able to (win the game) anyways, but it was a little scary."
Senior Taylor Kline scored the Wildcats' lone goal at the 16:41 mark of the first half on an assist from senior Ashley Chioda.
While the contest wasn't exactly a showcase of great field hockey, it lived up to expectations in terms of excitement. The Wildcats and the Lions might again turn out to be two of the best teams in the league this season.
"It's tough to start with your arch-rivals with it being your first league game," Dallastown head coach Jeri Myers said. "One of the bad things for us this year is we lost two key defenders. One (Cheyenne Philson) for the season to an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and one (Danielle Ludwig) to an Achilles tear, so we're lean on defense right now. It makes it a little bit tougher."
Both Myers and Red Lion coach Carol Gillmen stressed the need for improvement from their handful of new varsity players, but each also return a handful of talented starters. Among them for Red Lion is Posey, who Gillmen said committed to play at NCAA Division II West Chester next season. For the most part, Dallastown did a good job of keeping Posey quiet, thanks in part to forward Bryna Cook staying glued to Posey throughout the game.
"We've always done that. And you know what? I'm not gonna put somebody else on her," Myers said. "My theory is if it works, don't change it."
Red Lion collected five shots on goal to Dallastown's 10. The Lions didn't put a second-half shot on goal until the 1:43 mark, when Bream (five saves) stopped a flurry of shots in front of the cage before referees whistled for the free stroke.
"First of all, Niki is great on strokes and, second of all, Ali plays on Niki's club team," Myers said. "So she's had a lot of practice with Ali. When Niki is in there for strokes I'm very confident because we can't even score on her (in practice)."
Red Lion goalie Jess Everet finished with nine saves.
In JV action, Dallastown beat Red Lion, 3-0.
OTHER FIELD HOCKEY
SUSQUEHANNOCK 4, LITTLESTOWN 2: The visiting Thunderbolts got a score from Rarissa O'Connor with 25:37 left in the second half to tie it at 2-2. The host Warriors answered with unassisted goals from Camryn Burk and Taylor Numley (two assists) in the final 12:37 to seal the win. Susquehannock got first-half goals from Elizabeth Ferg and Alesha Herman. Goalie Ashton Alban made five stops for Susquehannock.
NORTHEASTERN 2, CENTRAL YORK 1: At Central, Kathleen Leary scored in overtime to lead the Bobcats. Kirstin Pizzino also scored for the winners. Central got a goal from Shea McKinney, assisted by Paige Harrold.
NEW OXFORD 4, SPRING GROVE 0: At New Oxford, Sarah Pagnanelli had three goals and an assist to lead the Colonials. New Oxford also won the JV match, 2-0.
BERMUDIAN SPRINGS 8, EASTERN YORK 0: At Wrightsville, Kenzie Farley had two goals and two assists and Alyssa McCreary added two goals and an assist to power the Eagles. The JV match ended in a 1-1 tie.
SOUTH WESTERN 1, DOVER 0: At Dover, the Mustangs came away with the tight win. The only goal was scored by Maddie Swanner with 6:16 left in the game.
KENNARD-DALE 3, BIGLERVILLE 1: At Fawn Grove, the Rams led 1-0 at the end of the first half and went on to capture the victory. Jordan Miller, Sierra Sommer and Lindsey Duty each scored one goal for the Rams. K-D goalie Abi Pietra made 14 saves to record the shutout. Biglerville won the JV match, 2-1.
YORK SUBURBAN 3, DELONE CATHOLIC 0: At Suburban, Paige Robinson led the Trojans with two goals. Ali Plonk scored one goal, while Sophie Hovis, Raven Avery and Allie Patterson each picked up one assist. Suburban goalie Colleen Dommel made three stops to record the shutout.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.