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.
“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.
“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.”
2018 York-Adams League All-Stars
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
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
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
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
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