When building a successful men’s lacrosse program, like Brandon Childs is doing at York College, your team is going to take some lumps along the way.
As good as the No. 7 Spartans are (13-3 overall, 6-1 Capital Athletic Conference), they still have work to do in order to be the best.
York got an up-close look at what it takes to be one of premier programs in NCAA Division III on Wednesday during its 17-5 loss at home to the top-ranked Salisbury Sea Gulls (16-0, 8-0).
“We’re playing a lot of young guys, and some of the young guys we count on haven’t seen that team yet,” Childs said. “Our young guys need to see it, there’s no doubt about it.”
The win would have been a signature victory for the Spartans. The team is now 0-22 all-time against Salisbury. Defeating the Sea Gulls on Wednesday would have ensured the Spartans at least a share of the conference regular-season title, which would have been a program milestone.
However, Salisbury now claims the regular-season crown and earns the top seed for the upcoming CAC tournament.
The best teams are able to cash in on an opponent's miscues, and that’s exactly how Salisbury got the game’s scoring started.
York worked a lengthy possession before committing the first of its 11 first-half turnovers. Salisbury took the ball the other way and Carson Kalama scored the first of his five goals for an early 1-0 lead.
The Spartans seemed up for the challenge, however, when Thomas Pfeiffer answered with his 16th goal of the year just more than a minute later. But the good feeling was short lived.
The Sea Gulls closed the first quarter with Kalama scoring two more goals and Brady Dashiell recording his hat trick for a 6-1 lead. A number of those goals came quickly off Spartan turnovers.
For the game, Salisbury finished with a 22-12 edge in turnovers. York, however, was able to earn a 20-6 margin in faceoffs won.
“We had so many sloppy plays in our offensive end that ended up being goals down at the other end,” Childs said. “And if you take some of those plays away, the game is entirely different. We gave them a lot of layups by being sloppy in our offensive end.”
After the game, Childs met separately with his seniors, imploring them to push themselves and their younger teammates the rest of the season. They will no doubt use the memory of Wednesday’s loss as motivation should the two teams meet again in the conference playoffs.
“I challenged them to lead those young guys," Childs said. "The message needed to be ‘if that (Salisbury) is the standard, we need to work a lot harder.’ Our seniors, I think, get it. I think our younger guys don’t and I needed to make sure my seniors knew that it’s their job to lead them in the right direction.”
Andrew Gamble attempted to breathe some life into the Spartans with his 29th goal of the season in the third quarter. Gamble took the ball from behind the net off a restart and put a spin move on his defender near the left corner. With his momentum carrying him to an open lane right out in front of the net, Gamble quickly switched hands before firing an off-balance shot past the right shoulder of the Sea Gulls keeper to make it 10-2 Salisbury at the time.
However, Salisbury responded with four answered goals to remove any doubt about the outcome.
York was led offensively by Dillon Hannah and Nick Magnusson, who each notched a goal and an assist.
Kalama was Salisbury’s top gun, with five goals and an assist. Salisbury also saw five-point efforts from Nathan Blondino (two goals, three assists) and Dashiell (three goals, two assists).
York closes its regular-season schedule Saturday at conference foe Christopher Newport. The CAC tournament is set to begin Wednesday.
OTHER YORK COLLEGE EVENTS
Softball team sweeps doubleheader: The York College softball team swept its home doubleheader against Penn State Harrisburg on Wednesday, winning Game 1, 7-5, and then the second game, 9-0, in five innings.
All of the action in the first game came in the sixth inning, when Harrisburg scored five times to take a 5-1 lead. However, the Spartans rallied for six runs in the bottom half of the frame, with the winning hit coming from Savanah Galati, who drove in two runs to give York the lead for good.
In the second game, the Spartans scored seven times in the bottom of the fourth to break open a scoreless tie and pace themselves to the mercy-rule victory. Melissa Jurkiewicz improved to 12-8, allowing two hits in four innings.
The victories helped the team snap a mini two-game losing streak and improve to 23-13 overall and 6-6 in the Capital Athletic Conference play. York homered in each game and broke the school record for most homers in a season with 24.
Baseball team's slide hits double digits: The York College baseball team saw its losing streak hit 10 games on Wednesday, suffering a 13-7 home defeat to Penn State Harrisburg.
The Spartans (7-24-1, 5-11 CAC) spotted the Nittany Lions eight runs in the top of the first and trailed 11-0 before finally scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth. Steve Miller led the team with three RBIs.
Women’s lacrosse team hangs on for narrow win: The York College women’s lacrosse team got a late goal to defeat Catholic, 9-8, on Wednesday.
The Spartans led 6-2 after the first half, but got outscored 6-3 in the second half. Katherine Burk scored with 1:23 to play to break an 8-8 tie and give York the victory.
The Spartans improved to 10-5.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.