Central York leads 2018 York-Adams League field hockey all-star list with five players

From left, Central York's Kaitlyn Merritt, Kyra Heap and Breann Craley celebrate the team's first goal against Bermudian Springs in the York-Adams field hockey championship game at Susquehannock High School Saturday, October 20, 2018. Bermudian Springs won in overtime 3-2. Bill Kalina photo
  • The York-Adams League field hockey coaches voted on their 2018 all stars.
  • Central York led the way with five players in Division I.
  • Bree Craley, Kyra Heap, Kaitlyn Merritt, Grace Harrold and Victoria Whitehead were all awarded.

The 2018 York-Adams League field hockey season was full of mostly ups and a few downs for the Division I champion Central York Panthers.

Some of the joyful moments included cruising to the Division I title with a 12-1 league record with big wins over Division II co-champs South Western and New Oxford. A 2-0 triumph over rival Dallastown in the league playoff semifinals was also a monumental moment for head coach Lori Livingston’s squad.

Then there’s the league playoff finals against Bermudian Springs. Leading 2-0 with less than two minutes left, the Panthers (12-1 in division play, 15-7 overall) surrendered a pair of goals in the final minutes to allow the Eagles to send the game to overtime. Moments later, the Bermudian girls completed an epic comeback with a 3-2 comeback win in overtime.

While the memories of that game against Bermudian will be hard to forget, the play of the Central girls was equally memorable, Livingston said. Her squad posted five players among the 11 spots on the Division I all-star team voted by the coaches.

Central York's Bree Craley, left, passes the ball while under defensive pressure by Hope Allen of West York, Monday, Sept. 11 2017. Central rolled to a 7-0 triumph. For more scholastic sports results, turn to page B3.
John A. Pavoncello photo
Kaitlyn Merritt shoots and scores for Central York as they host West York, Monday, Sept. 11 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

“Their goals were to win the division, as we did last year,” Livingston said. “And then, of course, they wanted to win the league, which unfortunately didn’t happen. But we qualified for districts, (though) I think they would have like to win a district game and that didn’t happen either.”

Central's star players: The senior trio of Bree Craley, a Kutztown University recruit, Kyra Heap, a Washington College commit, and Kaitlyn Merritt combined for 47 goals. In addition, a pair of freshmen in midfielder Grace Harrold and forward Victoria Whitehead also made the all-star list.

“The seniors have all been playing together since junior high,” Livingston said. “It’s always very helpful when you have a bunch of people that have been playing together for a long time.”

Craley, who was also named an all-state honorable mention in Class 3-A, finished with 15 goals and 12 assists for the season.

“Bree was really the one that drove our team,” Livingston said. “She played the center midfield position and really everything went through her. Her skills were just above and beyond most other people in our league.”

Heap tallied 19 goals and 21 assists as a right midfielder/forward.

Central York's Grace Harrold maintains possession with  Bermudian Springs' Lillian Peters defending in the York-Adams field hockey championship game at Susquehannock High School Saturday, October 20, 2018. Bermudian Springs won in overtime 3-2. Bill Kalina photo

“Those assists came because of her crossing passes and her speed and skill-work,” Livingston said.

Merritt was more of a defensive player as the team’s center back, but the senior did score 13 goals to go with five assists.

“She was our corner inserter, so she scored a lot of her goals off of that,” Livingston said. “And she’s our center back, and you usually don’t think of center backs as ones that score a lot.”

Panthers still young: While those three will be gone by the time the Panthers start next season, the youngsters in Harrold and Whitehead will be around for three more years.

That’s something that brings a smile to Livingston’s face, especially the speed of Whitehead, who scored 16 goals to go with six assists.

“Red Lion’s coach once said that they couldn’t deal with (Heap's) speed,” Livingston said. “But Victoria is even faster. She just has really phenomenal speed, and her stick work is pretty decent for a freshman. I think that if she can improve upon that, as the years go on, that she will pretty tough.”

Harrold, the younger sister of former Central standout Paige Harrold, played well with Craley in the midfield while scoring five goals.

“Grace really stepped up going from eighth grade to ninth," Livingston said. "Her stick work is just really, really fine for a ninth-grader. Her mom is one of my assistants, but we try not to put too much pressure on her.”

Central York's Victoria Whitehead moves the ball down the field during field hockey action against Red Lion at Horn Field in Red Lion, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Central York would win the game 5-2. Dawn J. Sagert photo

2018 York-Adams League All-Stars

Division I

Breann Craley, Central York, senior

Kyra Heap, Central York, senior

Kaitlyn Merritt, Central York, senior

Grace Harold, Central York, freshman

Victoria Whitehead, Central York, freshman

Lilly Cantabene, Dallastown, freshman

Madi Strayer, Dallastown, senior

Natasha Milner, Dallastown, senior

Megan McCarty, Red Lion, senior

Kennedy Bratton, Red Lion, sophomore

Lauren Guise, Spring Grove, senior

Division II

Mackensie Husson, Dover, sophomore

Kaylee Swift, New Oxford, senior

Alysia Kraus, New Oxford, junior

Carrie Bair, New Oxford, sophomore

Kat Study, South Western, junior

Caitlyn Coates, South Western, junior

Anna Simpson, South Western, junior

Aunnie Hacker, South Western, junior

Jessica Welch, Susquehannock, senior

Lauryn Wojcik, Susquehannock, junior

Carder Miller, York Suburban, junior

Division III

Skyler West, Bermudian Springs, junior

Hailey Lamo, Bermudian Springs, junior

Kayla Pyles, Bermudian Springs, senior

Melanie Shoop, Bermudian Springs, senior

Cassidy Arnold, Eastern York, senior

Kelsey Felix, Eastern York, sophomore

Addison Malone, Eastern York, junior

Lexi Barlow, Kennard-Dale, senior

Anna Coale, Gettysburg, senior

Cing Lun, Gettysburg, senior

Maggie Spadafora, West York, sophomore

Division IV

Ali Zimmerman, Biglerville, senior

Ericka King, Biglerville, senior

Danielle Malesky, Delone Catholic, senior

Bailey Selman, Fairfield, senior

Olivia Franco, Fairfield, senior

Makenzie Neiderer, Fairfield , senior

Dasani Shields, Fairfield, junior

Ella Krenzer, Hanover, junior

Emma Martin, Hanover, senior

Maddie Hutton, Hanover, junior

Saige Stevens, Hanover, senior

Emily Crouse, Hanover, junior

Cailey Sentz, Littlestown, senior

Regan Schroder, Littlestown, senior

Kelsey Abrams, Littlestown, senior

Carter Clabaugh, Littlestown, junior

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com