SPRING GROVE — With a slew of games littered across a short time span, managing her girls' soccer team has been a challenge for Central York coach Liz Critchfield.
Throw in a couple of injuries and some illnesses and her job becomes even more difficult.
Fortunately for the Panthers, forward Bre Sgrignoli was around to make a difference Thursday night against Spring Grove. After fending off a few early chances by the Rockets, Central was able to establish some flow offensively. That flow eventually paid off when Sgrignoli collected a loose ball and dribbled into the box before blasting a shot inside the left post.
That goal stood up. The Panthers held off a young yet scrappy Rocket side in a 1-0 York-Adams Division I triumph. Both teams entered with just one division loss. Central (now 5-1 in Division I) outshot the Rockets by a 17-7 clip.
"We're dealing with a lot of injuries," Critchfield said. "I have a lot of my players either injured or not feeling good."
Three that were held out were starters Zaria Emswiler, Torri Bailey and Ashley Horner. Sgrignoli, who has scored some big goals for her club already this season, is back after dealing with a neck injury.
All that comes in the midst of a hectic 10 games in 14 days, that included a tough 2-0 loss Tuesday against rival Dallastown, which leads the division at 6-0-0.
"We're jam-packed with games," Critchfield said. "We played four games last week and four more this week (with two more early next week). So sometimes you just have to take some days off and, as a coach, you just have to say: 'you've got to sit.'"
Those losses may have loomed larger had the Rockets (now 3-2 in Division I) been able to capitalize on some early momentum. Abby Erlmeier consistently got past the Panther backs over the first 10 minutes of the contest to create pressure. The Rockets, however, are still looking for a weapon to go alongside Erlmeier up front who would serve as a complement to the junior speedster.
"(Coach Emily Mahon) has a great team coming up here," Critchfield said. "They have a lot of freshmen starting, but they have a great team coming through here."
The Panthers always seemed to find ways to foil Erlmeier as the game wore on, but were unable to get anything past Spring Grove goalie Carlie Marquette, until a ball that opened up Sgrignoli for her game-winner with 26:52 left on the game clock.
"I wasn't anticipating that the defense would miss (the ball), but I was just in the right spot at the right time," Sgrignoli said. "I was able to keep my composure and just get it by the goalie."
After the final buzzer sounded, a relieved Central squad was able to walk away with an important victory that improved its overall record to 7-3.
"We have some players that are injured, but we just need to keep playing hard," Sgrignoli said. "But we know that we can still do it with what we have."
OTHER GIRLS' SOCCER
York Suburban 5, Delone Catholic 3: At McSherrystown, Abby Eisenhart led the Trojans by scoring three goals and adding two assists. Also for Suburban, Paige Linden and Julia Chojnack each scored one goal, while Brianna Hackos and Delaney Gross picked up one assist apiece.
Dallastown 3, Red Lion 0: At Red Lion, Carsyn Gold led the Wildcats by scoring two goals. Also for Dallastown, Paige Hartman scored a goal, while goalie Allison Hameier made three stops to record the shutout. For the Lions, Madi Kling made 11 saves in goal. Dallastown improved to 6-0-0 in York-Adams Division I.
Dover 5, South Western 0: At Hanover, the Eagles received two goals apiece from Maddy Miller and Brooke Firestone. Libby McKeever scored one goal, while goalie Tori Wantz made five stops to secure the shutout.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.