Coming off a big win Saturday, Mar. 3, against Lynchburg, the York College men’s lacrosse team was obviously feeling good about itself.
Ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division III heading into its home matchup with fifth-ranked Gettysburg Wednesday, Mar. 7, the Spartans must have felt like they were riding high. But on a chilly and windy night at Kinsley Field under the lights against the Bullets, York quickly found out that there’s little substitute for playing hard all of the time.
The visitors took the early lead just eight seconds into the action. For good measure, Gettysburg added six more unanswered tallies before the first half was over.
By the time York became a different team in the second half, that seven-goal deficit proved to be too much to overcome. The Spartans pulled within two with just over two minutes left in regulation but couldn’t find the net after that as York’s comeback attempt was thwarted by the Bullets in an 8-6 defeat.
The loss was York’s first of the season, dropping the squad to 4-1 overall. Gettysburg, who had already knocked off two other ranked teams this season, improved to 5-0.
“The weather had absolutely zero to do with it,” York coach Brandon Childs said. “We practice in this weather every night so the weather had nothing to do with it. I think that they (Gettysburg) came ready to play and that we didn’t.”
Scoreless first half: Getting drubbed in a scoreless first half by a Gettysburg squad that was eager to avenge a loss at home to the York a year ago certainly was a wake–up call for the Spartans at the intermission.
York answered that call, which is something that pleased Childs to a certain extent, although the coach was equally displeased with his team’s performance over the first 30 minutes of action.
“Maybe last year had something to do with it,” Childs said. “And we had a big win Saturday down at Lynchburg and I guess that maybe our guys thought that was enough. It was a much needed (wake-up call), yes.”
While York had several uncharacteristic miscues in the first half, Childs gave a lot of credit to Gettysburg goaltender Tim Brady for keeping the Spartans off the board.
“I was going to say something to (Brady) afterwards, but I didn’t want it to come off like I was a jerk,” Childs said. “I was going to say that we had his number last year, but he was incredible tonight. There was a couple of chances that we had in the first half and their goalie made some key saves.”
Improved second half: York put up 31 shots for the game, 18 of which were on goal, which kept Brady active all night. While Brady was a bit of a wall in the first half, the relentless attack by the Spartans seemed to wear on him in the second half.
Trailing 8-1, the home team finished on a 5-0 run to pull with 8-6 with 2 minutes, 31 seconds left.
York won the ensuing faceoff and had a chance to draw within one, but Brady made a big save. The Bullet defense quickly cleared and the visitors were able to run over a minute off the clock before the home team had one more chance at it.
The disappointment allowed Childs to send a message to his senior-laden squad about keeping its focus for each and every contest.
“I told them in the locker room that we’re only going to go as far as our seniors take us,” he said. “And they stepped up in the second half.”
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org