GETTYSBURG — Revenge is a strong motivator for nearly all athletes.
The thoughts of losing, especially by the narrowest of margins, can fuel the desire to improve.
While the York College men’s lacrosse team certainly could have had its mind set on revenge Wednesday when it visited Gettysburg, its 7-6 loss in overtime to the Bullets in last year’s NCAA Division III quarterfinals wasn’t the primary source of motivation for the Spartans.
A disappointing loss to Lynchburg this past weekend had a lot to do with it.
Regardless of the source of motivation, York was a team on a mission against a Gettysburg side that entered the match on a two-game losing skid.
The Spartans struck early and often as six different York attackers scored in the first quarter. The York defense did the rest as it never allowed the Bullets to string together any consecutive goals, en route to a convincing 16-8 triumph.
York, ranked No. 8 nationally, improved to 5-1 on the season while No. 10 Gettysburg fell to 2-3.
“I think the guys were more motivated by losing on Saturday in overtime more so than they were about what happened last year,” York coach Brandon Childs said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they didn’t forget about what happened last year, but this really is two totally different teams this year.”
Spartan strengths: The Spartans figure to compete for the program’s first ever NCAA Division III title this season behind two key areas — the attack and the goaltending.
It didn’t take long for the attack to show why York is a tough team to handle for opposing squads. The Spartans won seven of the first eight face-offs in the contest that led to a 13-2 edge in shots for the period.
Not coincidentally, those two factors were instrumental in helping the Green and White build a 6-1 lead on Gettysburg’s home turf.
“When things are clicking and they’re shooting well it’s really fun to watch,” York goalie Landry Marshall said.
Brendan McGrath paced York with four goals, while teammates Thomas Pfeiffer, Austin Glab and Hunter Davis all chipped in three apiece. Face-off specialist Billy Sasso dominated as he won 19 of 24 draws for the contest.
While the offense is always fun to watch, Childs is really impressed with the play of Marshall in goal. Injured a season ago and never having played a minute of collegiate action prior to this year, the junior was named one of the team’s captains by his peers.
And it’s not as if Marshall, who tallied five saves in the victory, is stepping into an area where York was weak a season ago. Caleb Abney was named the Division III Goalie of the Year before he graduated last summer.
Being touted as a key by his coach really does speak volumes about just how talented Marshall is.
“He’s a really hard worker and a great leader,” Childs said. “He’s a captain of our team and, having never really played a minute in a game, just shows you how impressive he is off the field. He has a lot of confidence in him and the part of the game that’s the best for him is the clear. We’re clearing the ball over 90 percent this season and that has a lot to do with the goalie.”
Proving Child’s point in regards to his work ethic, Marshall admits that he never feels like he is entitled to the starting goalkeeper position. He practices as if the job — his job — is up for grabs at any moment.
“It’s a competition every single day in practice,” he said. “I don’t take that for granted. We (goalies) push each other at practice and, while there’s a lot of competition, we’re still great friends.”
OTHER YORK COLLEGE RESULTS
Softball swept by Messiah: The York College softball team had its modest four-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday when it was swept in a doubleheader at home by Messiah.
The Falcons (5-1) didn't allow a run to the Spartans (9-5) in the two games, winning the first one 4-0 and then winning the second game, 1-0.
In the second game of the day, the two sides were scoreless heading into the final inning, but Messiah found the game's only run in that frame. Ginger Lewis was the tough-luck loser for the Spartans in the game, as York was held to just four hits in the contest.
In the first game of the afternoon, the Falcons got to Melissa Jurkiewicz for solo runs in each of the first two innings to grab a 2-0 lead. They added two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh to push their lead to 4-0. Messiah pitcher Carrie Fix held the Spartans to just two hits over the seven innings.
Women's lax upends Messiah: The York College women's lacrosse team traveled to Messiah College and took down the 12th-ranked Falcons 9-5 on Wednesday in a non-conference match-up of ranked teams.
The ninth-ranked Spartans improve to 3-1 behind five combined goals from freshmen Meghan Fox and Regan Cook.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com