SPRING GROVE -- Sometimes a plan can get foiled.
Just ask West York girls' soccer standout Shyanne Kimbrough and her teammates.
A year ago, the Division II-champion Bulldogs had their eyes set on a York-Adams League playoff showdown with Division I champion Dallastown. Unfortunately for Kimbrough and company, West York was ousted by Red Lion in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs' dream matchup with the Wildcats wasn't meant to be.
Fast forward another year and the dream is now reality. With a potential clash with Dallastown looming, the Bulldogs and Kimbrough took care of business Monday night at Spring Grove High School against South Western.
West York, mired in a two-game goal-less drought, finally broke through early in the second half when Kimbrough converted a corner kick with a header at the 36:49 mark. The Bulldogs added an insurance tally with 18:35 left when Holli Eppley converted a Kimbrough rebound shot. Despite a late Mustang rally, that included a goal by Erin Laird, West York hung on for a 2-1 victory.
Combined with Dallastown's 6-0 victory over Fairfield in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Papermakers Stadium, the Bulldogs will finally get their much-coveted battle with the Wildcats in Wednesday's semifinals. West York and Dallastown will square off at 7:30 p.m. at Susquehannock High School. The host school will face York Suburban in the other semifinal at 5:30 p.m.
"Ever since that day that we got knocked out by Red Lion we've been looking forward to playing Dallastown," Kimbrough said. "Now we'll finally get a chance."
Bulldog coach Brett Maxwell, who has never won a league title over his years heading both the Susquehannock and West York programs, was hoping this showdown would come later in the week. Maxwell's club, however, dropped its regular-season finale to Suburban, which sent the Bulldogs into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed from Division II.
"We were hoping it would be in the final," said Maxwell, whose team finished with an 8-1-1 division record -- the same as Suburban. Suburban, however, won the tiebreaker based on goals against in league contests. That aside, the Bulldogs have their sights set on the ultimate prize.
"This is a team that we knew we'd have to beat if we ever wanted to win a county championship," he said.
The Bulldogs, who entered the playoffs with back-to-back 2-0 losses to Suburban and Cedar Cliff, held a healthy 11-6 edge in shots on goal. West York's 8-0 advantage in corner kicks, however, was more indicative of the kind of pressure that the Bulldogs put on the Mustangs.
"We had a lot of opportunities," Maxwell said. "It wasn't that we just weren't scoring, but we weren't creating opportunities those last two games. We could have had a lot of goals tonight. We had a lot of opportunities inside the box."
As the reigning Division II Player of the Year, Kimbrough felt a little anxious to finally help her team turn things around. The junior raced in from the top of the box toward the net and got her head on Amanda Cheak's corner just a few minutes after the intermission.
"I'm pretty sure a defender tipped it," Kimbrough said of her 21st goal on the season. "But I just ran right through it."
Kimbrough saw Eppley open while driving toward the net midway through the second half. The ball deflected off a Mustang and found the West York reserve, who buried her chance to up the lead to 2-0. The two-goal cushion gave Maxwell a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, but not for long. Laird headed in a Kim Vogan free kick with 14:05 left to cut the South Western deficit in half.
Wildcats roll: While the Bulldogs were never able to put away the Mustangs, the Green Knights were only able to stick with the Wildcats for the first 12 minutes. After that, the Division I champs rolled.
"It took us a while to adjust to the speed of play on the turf," Dallastown coach Barry Barbush said. "We haven't played on turf for a long time. Initially some of our passes were a bit too strong."
Cassy Landis scored twice in a seven-minute span, sandwiched around a Megan Newmister tally. Alaina Curry tallied another with 15:02 left as the 'Cats built a 4-0 lead by intermission.
Landis' first goal of the night was a laser-like blast from just outside the box that zipped between the goalie and the crossbar.
"Cassy opened the door with that great shot," Barbush said. "It was a nice rip and that set the stage."
Landis completed a hat-trick with her third goal of the night at the 31:34 mark to make it a 5-0 advantage. Newmister added her second goal to cap off the scoring at the 23:41 mark. Steph Le tallied three assists for the Wildcats, who outshot Fairfield, 20-2.
While the Bulldogs may have the Wildcats firmly in their sights, the three-time defending league playoff champs also sound a little excited about facing the three-time Division II champs.
"We know that West York is good and we're excited to play them," Barbush said. "But I tell the girls that each game is a championship game and this is championship week."
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.