Despite a modest number of upperclassmen, York College women’s lacrosse coach Jen Muston still considers this year’s team a “new group.”
It’s a collection of talent that’s still improving as the season goes on, but is still living up to York’s reputation as a perennial power. It’s also a group that earned a confidence-building, 14-6 victory against No. 11 Catholic University at home Tuesday.
However, it wasn’t the final score that should inspire the seventh-ranked Spartans (9-2) going forward. Rather, it's how they went about earning the win.
The Spartans were able to maintain composure while responding to adversity, all the while relying on a potent mix of fresh talent and veteran leadership to pull through.
All ages contributing: So far this season, the Spartans are led in scoring by a pair of freshmen in Meghan Fox (26 goals, nine assists) and Regan Cook (22 goals). Fox had three goals Tuesday and Cook added one of her own.
The newcomers, however, wouldn’t find success if it weren’t for the precision passing of senior teammates such as Katelyn Cattrano and Rachel Saks. Cattrano leads the team with 17 assists and provided a pair of helpers Tuesday. Saks sits second on the squad with nine assists, with three of those coming in the triumph over the Cardinals.
“This group, overall, is just really hungry,” Muston said. “Really hungry to win these games, to make sure we’re getting better. We have a really dangerous offense in terms of how many people can contribute. We have multiple scorers. Any given day, I don’t know who will be our top scorer, and that’s really good because other teams can’t really plan.”
Crucial timeout: After York raced to an 8-2 lead at halftime, the Spartans felt disaster closing in early in the second half. The Cardinals scored a goal with 25:08 left to play that trimmed York’s lead to 9-5 and forced Muston into a timeout in an effort to slow a 3-1 Catholic run.
“They got three quick goals right in a row to start that second half and we called a timeout to calm them down and regroup,” Muston said. “We just needed to take a minute, regroup, take the wind out of (Catholic’s) sails and slow it down a little. Just because they scored three quick goals doesn’t mean we need to panic. I think that snapped them back into place and got them back to our game plan.”
The Spartans took Muston’s advice to heart and promptly went on a minutes-long possession that culminated with Cattrano finding a cutting Cook for a goal to make it 10-5 York with 22:21 left to play.
Cook’s 22nd goal of the season firmly reestablished momentum in York’s favor. Spartans senior Skye Slater scored three of York’s final four goals. She finished with four goals and an assist.
“We had a really specific game plan coming into this game and I think they just needed to be reminded to stick to it,” Muston said. “Once they started doing that and seeing the results, they said ‘OK, this is going to work’ and they really got it going.”
Salisbury looms: While this season is shaping up nicely for the Spartans, a familiar foe looms on the schedule.
York will play host to Salisbury on April 12 in a battle that could decide the top seed for the upcoming Capital Athletic Conference Tournament. Salisbury currently sits atop the CAC standings at 5-0. York trails right behind at 4-0.
The No. 13 Sea Gulls have been a perennial thorn in the Spartans’ side. Salisbury eliminated York in the CAC semifinals last season, and defeated the Spartans the conference title games in each of the four season from 2012-2015. However, York gained an additional confidence boost from Tuesday’s win in the form of shared opposition. Catholic got the best of Salisbury, 9-8, on Feb. 25.
Muston believes her squad is better poised for the road ahead.
“It’s really good for this young team to have (a game like Tuesday’s), and know that we got through that and we were fine. Because in the future when it happens, I can bring this back up and remind them,” Muston said. “They’re a new team, they’re young, and they want to make new records at York College for women’s lacrosse. They’re seeing they have the potential to do it, so I think they’re really hungry to keep going.”
Spartans fall to Messiah in baseball: The York College baseball team dropped a 7-5 non-league decision to visiting Messiah on Tuesday afternoon.
York dropped to 12-9 overall, while Messiah improved to 8-12.
York Catholic High School graduate Patrick Clement had two hits, two runs scored and a walk for the Spartans, while Christian Bilan had two hits and a run scored and Logan Countryman had a double and two RBIs. Andrew Ross took the loss despite pitching well in relief, giving up one earned run over 4 1/3 innings.
Messiah plated two runs in the top of the eighth to break a 5-5 tie.
Newton is CAC Golfer of Week: York College sophomore Tyler Newton has been named the Capital Athletic Conference Golfer of the Week after winning the Scarlet Consolation Tournament at the Camp Lejeune Marine Championship.
Newton fired a three-day total of 2-over par 214 (67-76-71) to edge out the second-place finisher by two strokes among 70 golfers in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The Spartans finished eighth as a team in the tournament.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.