As is the case in nearly all of the biggest showdowns in men’s lacrosse at the collegiate level, possession is key.
The York College men found out that lesson the hard way Wednesday afternoon.
Hosting local rival Gettysburg in a matchup of two of the best teams at the NCAA Division III level, the Spartans appeared to be poised for a signature triumph late in the contest against the Bullets.
A late goal with 2:37 left in regulation, however, pulled the Bullets even. Then a penalty with 10.3 second left awarded the visitors possession that carried over into an extra session.
In overtime, York literally never had a chance.
The Bullets, ranked No. 12 nationally in the latest USILA coach’s poll, used their advantage with possession in overtime to get off a handful of shots and Gettysburg’s Connor Koch ended it before the Spartans ever had the ball, capping off a 7-6 triumph for the visitors.
“They called a penalty at the end (of regulation) so they got to start with it,” York coach Brandon Childs said. “We never had a faceoff so we never had a shot at it. We got a stop being a man down, but we never had the ball in overtime.”
As heart-breaking as a loss to a rival on their home turf was, Childs could pick out many other plays during the game that could have altered the outcome.
“Yeah, it’s a 60-minute game,” he said. “We had plenty of opportunities over the first 60 minutes to win this.”
The Bullets (4-1) staked a 5-3 lead midway through the third-quarter before the Spartans rallied back with a trio of goals to take the lead. Chandler Schmidt scored twice in the third period to even the score before York teammate Brendan O’Sullivan cashed in on the man-up advantage with 9:43 left in the contest to put the Spartans ahead.
With just under three minutes left in regulation, the home team was still clinging to a 6-5 lead. A turnover gave Gettysburg possession and the after a few close calls, the Bullets evened the score with 2:37 left on a goal by Nick Cooper.
Cooper’s goal stung a bit more as goalie Jack Michael was caught out of position.
“(Jack) took a chance,” Childs said. “He tried to pick off a pass through X and just got caught out of the cage.”
York (3-2) had the ball with just over a minute left in the fourth-quarter, but couldn’t capitalize. The Bullets were able to take possession after a ground ball win by Andrew Horn with 55 seconds left.
With 10.3 seconds left, Danny O’Connell was called for a push that set the Bullets up to win it in overtime.
While the setback was disappointing for Childs and his team, which entered the showdown ranked No. 9 in the USILA rankings, the truth of the matter is that Wednesday’s contest was just one of many in a long season.
“We just go back and get ready for to work,” Childs said. “And that would be the same if we won or lost.”
York and Gettysburg have now split their last six clashes over the past five years. The Spartans won last year’s contest by a 14-6 margin.
Cook's dominant day: The York College women's lacrosse team used a big second half to secure a victory at Denison on Tuesday.
The Spartans (2-1) scored eight of their 13 goals after halftime and pulled away for a 13-7 win.
Regan Cook had a dominant performance in the victory. Cook scored seven goals including five of the Spartans' second-half scores.
Meghan Fox added four scores of her own in the contest. Fox and Cook combined for all five of York College's first-half scores.
Rachel Della and Madison Marciniak added the final two goals to secure the victory over Denison.
Molly Fischer led Denison with a pair of scores.
Spartans' bats explode: The York College baseball team's offense has been unleashed in in the past two days.
The Spartans (2-3) destroyed Bridgewater on Wednesday, 11-0. Connor Miller earned his first win of the season after he went seven innings with three strikeouts and allowed just three hits.
Andrew Ross finished off the final two innings in relief and allowed one hit while striking out three batters.
Brandon White had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Jimmy Weigers added another three RBI and scored a run as well in the contest.
The 11-run performance by the Spartans followed their 17 runs scored on Tuesday. York College defeated East Mennonite, 17-5, behind a big day at the plate from Weigers.
The junior outfielder was 2-for-5 in the game and hit a pair of home runs for a 5-RBI day. Rob Acierno went 3-for-5 with a home run and scored three runs, while Austin Denlinger added four hits and four RBI.
AJ Vincenzi got the victory on the mound after he went seven innings with four strikeouts and allowed all five runs.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.