York College men's lacrosse rounding into form, cruising in conference
The Spartans dominated Alvernia for a 19-1 win Wednesday night.
At first glance, the record of the York College men’s lacrosse team isn’t all that impressive. With a 7-5 mark overall, the Spartans' mark seems rather basic.
The York men, however, are anything but basic. In fact, they may actually be one of the best teams in the country at the NCAA Division III level.
So, how could that be? In a word — schedule. No one has squared off against as many top-25 ranked foes as the Spartans. That number stands at seven, with all five losses coming against high-level competition, including three defeats by a single goal (vs. No. 5 Gettysburg, at No. 1 RIT and at No. 19 Washington and Lee).
It should not come as much of a surprise that when York hosted MAC Commonwealth rival and unranked Alvernia at Kinsley Field on Wednesday evening, the outcome would be one-sided. The No. 14-ranked Spartans dominated the Reading-area school in every statistical category, routing the Wolves by a 19-1 margin.
“I think it’s fair to say that we’re the best 7-5 team in the country,” York senior midfielder Zach Mentzer said after his team improved to 3-0 in league play with the victory. “We always play a tough schedule, and we had three games that came down to one goal as the difference. Those losses hurt, but it builds character.”
The character that Mentzer, a former standout at Red Lion, was referencing included the team’s intensity, resiliency and especially its depth.
The York roster was nearly double that of the Alvernia side, and the excess isn’t just filler. The second-team attack and defense is probably as good as, if not better than, the majority of teams the Spartans square off against in the MAC Commonwealth. The intensity of practices at York are normally at a high level that elevates the play of everyone, up and down the roster.
“(The reserves) make us better,” Mentzer said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without them, and I don’t think that they would be where they are without us.”
After a slew of nail-biters, including a 9-8 heartbreaker against Gettysburg last Wednesday, the Spartans were able to enjoy the game against the Wolves (4-8, 0-4 MACC). The second, third and fourth teams were all able to get extensive time on the pitch as the Spartans raced out to a 9-0 lead after one period.
The difference was barely noticeable, as the Wolves struggled to win draw controls, ground balls and ultimately mount much of an attack against the faster and stronger Spartans.
“It’s really nice to see the guys that keep working at practice get a chance to play,” Mentzer said. “We all kind of root for everyone to succeed on the team, and it’s really nice when that happens.”
Mentzer and his mates still have five regular season contests left on the schedule — all against unranked foes — including unbeaten MAC Commonwealth foes Eastern (7-6, 4-0) and Stevenson (6-6, 3-0).
Ben Mayer led the York attack with four goals, while JD Townsend and Rhys McCarver scored three times apiece in Wednesday's win. York won 23 of 24 draws on the night while holding a tremendous 60-8 edge in shots.