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COLLEGE: York field hockey team on roll under new coach

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
505-5403/@ydsports
York College's Ali Posey, a Red Lion High School graduate, scored a goal to help the 18th-ranked Spartans defeat Bridgewater, 4-0, on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
  • The York College field hockey team is off to a 5-0 start this season.
  • The latest win came Wednesday over F&M, 2-0. F&M entered the match No. 5 in NCAA Division III.
  • The Spartans are excelling under first-year head coach Kaitlyn Hamilton.

Whenever a new coach takes over a program, there's always a little uncertainty about the team's direction from the returning players.

The York College field hockey team was no different.

After a season in which the Spartans finished with a winning record (10-9), former coach Carly Zinn left the program for Dickinson College. Zinn’s departure opened the door for a new coach to be hired, which ultimately turned out to be first-year leader Kaitlyn Hamilton.

With Hamilton, who was an assistant coach at Franklin & Marshall for the past six years, taking over, there was a bit of anxiety initially among the York players. That all wore off quickly. The team has taken to Hamilton without much of a hitch, as evidenced by a 4-0 start to the 2016 season.

One of the players most receptive to the new coach was junior standout Ali Posey. An All-American as a sophomore, the former Red Lion High School star has played a big part in the team’s quick start, but in a different role than she had previously.

In fact, it was Posey’s skills that helped the Spartans knock off a highly-acclaimed F&M club Wednesday afternoon at Kinsley Field. Leading 1-0 with just under a minute left, Posey forced a turnover. She then cleared a free shot over the Diplomat defense to teammate Lindsay Nye, who deposited the ball into the empty net with 17 seconds left.

York’s 2-0 triumph over the fifth-ranked team in NCAA Division III improved the Spartans to a perfect 5-0.

“This year started out so different,” Posey said. “We got a new coach, but I feel like everyone kind of took it as a fresh start. And Coach Kaitlyn is really good with all of us. She works with us individually, but is really good about the whole team aspect.”

Hamilton gave a lot of the credit for the ease of the transition to the team.

“The girls have been really super receptive,” Hamilton said. “We put in some new formations and new tactics and I’m really pleased with them because they’ve done such a great job of responding well and coming into practices with a confident attitude. And that’s my philosophy. I want them to work hard at practice, but also to have some fun with it, too. Sometimes we think too much and that takes the joy out of the game and I want to put the joy back into the game.”

Posey is feeling like this year’s team has the chance to be special. After taking some lumps as a freshman, the team finished with a winning record last year. Only one senior graduated from that club, while this year’s crew features just two seniors.

“Every year it feels like we’re building more and more,” Posey said. “We’re getting more and more used to playing with each other. It’s like a family.”

Hamilton pointed out that Posey, the team’s most talented player from a year ago, is taking on a different role with the club this year. The coach says that is evidence of the team-first mentality.

“Ali’s been great,” Hamilton said. “She’s definitely a phenomenal player. Although she isn’t scoring as much as she had in the past, because this year she’s moved to a center-midfield spot. So she’s playing both ways. She has to mark the toughest player on the other team, so she’s doing a lot of the little things for us.”

That was bad news for the F&M attack Wednesday. York held the high-flying Dips (3-1) to just six shots on goal.

“I was certainly pleased with the way that we played today,” Hamilton said. “We did all of the little things that we talked about as a team for the past couple of weeks and we improved upon some of the things that we needed to improve upon. I’m just super proud of the way we came into today. We were confident and believed and trusted in each other, and that’s what we needed to do to win this game.”

The victory was a little bittersweet for Hamilton, who learned a lot about coaching while at F&M under Melissa Mariano.

“She (Mariano) was great,” Hamilton said. “She’s my mentor and one of my best friends. But I knew them pretty well, so that was helpful.”

York took the lead midway through the first half when another former Red Lion standout, sophomore Paige Taylor, scored in the 15th minute.

OTHER YORK

COLLEGE EVENTS

Women's volleyball team wins thriller: The York College women's volleyball team improved to 10-1 by beating Gettysburg, 26-28, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15, 15-11. The win pushes York's winning streak to seven. The two dropped games were also the first two the team dropped since losing its only match of the season back on Sept. 3. For the year, the Spartans have only dropped six games in 11 matches. Madyson Whitcomb led the team with 13 kills, while Brooke Krebs finished with 11. Alexis Harbold served three aces and came up with 30 digs.

Men's soccer team falls to Johns Hopkins: After playing to a scoreless draw in the first half, the York College men's soccer team conceded two goals in the second half to lose 2-0 to Johns Hopkins at home on Wednesday. York (3-2-1) was actually only plagued by about two minutes of poor play in the contest. Johns Hopkins (4-0-2) scored in the 53rd minute on a free kick to take a 1-0 lead and then struck again in the 54th minute to add the insurance marker. The Spartans out-shot the Blue Jays, 14-13, and goalie Charlie Johnson made five saves for York.

Women's soccer team shut out by Gettysburg: The York College women's soccer team allowed two second-half goals to Gettysburg College to lose 3-0 on the road. York (2-3) trailed just 1-0 at halftime, but Gettysburg (3-1) scored twice in a seven-minute span to break the match open.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.