The West York boys’ soccer team will likely not make the District 3 Class 3-A playoffs this season.
Just don’t tell the Bulldogs, however, that they have nothing left to play for.
After qualifying for the York-Adams League playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of Division II, coach Brent Duffy and his squad were certainly disappointed with a 7-9 regular-season campaign. That record left West York 18th in District 3 3-A and just outside the 16-team bracket.
Given their lackluster record and seeding, many likely felt that the Bulldogs would just be a bump in the road when they took on Division I champion Central York on Saturday, Oct. 14, in a first-round league playoff clash.
To Duffy, however, it was an opportunity for his young and balanced squad to make a statement.
And what a statement it was.
The Bulldogs led 1-0 after the first half against the heavily favored Panthers. While Central evened the score in the second half to force overtime, Duffy and his squad were able to score an improbable 2-1 triumph.
“The boys were very excited to have an opportunity to do what we could do,” Duffy said. “They all came together in that moment, which was the same day as homecoming, and they were able to enjoy that. We’re certainly on a bit of a high right now.”
The Panthers had lost only once all season before Saturday’s setback. Central (17-2) is No. 1 in the District 3 4-A ratings, but league playoff contests do not — unfortunately for Duffy and his squad — count for District 3 purposes. Otherwise, the Bulldogs certainly would have jumped into the top 16 in District 3 3-A.
Duffy, however, is not about to cry about that. While his team only played a 16-game regular-season schedule (the maximum is 18 games), he felt that if his team had lived up its potential, it would have easily qualified for the district draw.
“I was talking with one of my assistants and I said ‘darn it guys, I’ve been waiting for this all season,’” Duffy said after the Central win.
The Bulldogs (8-9) practiced Monday, Oct 16, in preparation for their league semifinal with another team, Biglerville, that many others discounted heading into the league playoffs. The D-III champion Canners (14-3-1) upset D-II runner-up Gettysburg, 1-0, to earn its semifinal spot.
While Duffy doesn’t know a whole lot about Biglerville, he does know a few things.
“I know they are very well organized,” Duffy said. “They don’t give up many goals and are very sound defensively. Offensively they take some chances and they are often lethal with those chances.”
The West York-Biglerville contest will take place Tuesday, Oct 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Northeastern High School. The winner will get either D-II champ Susquehannock (18-1) or D-I runner-up South Western (11-7), who play at the same time Tuesday at Red Lion. The title contest will take place Thursday, Oct. 19, at a time and location to be determined.
Field hockey: Central York field hockey coach Lori Livingston can certainly relate to Duffy’s plight.
Her Panthers were on the District 3 3-A bubble for much of the season. The thought of a York-Adams D-I champion not qualifying for districts was a distinct possibility.
Unlike Duffy, however, Livingston’s squad will likely have more to play for after the York-Adams tournament wraps up. The Panthers moved up to the 10th-and-final spot in the ratings last week, which should assure them at least a chance at a district title.
The good news for Central, however, doesn’t stop there. The Panthers (13-5-1) remain alive in their quest for a first-ever league crown after dispatching Littlestown, 2-0, in the first round.
Central will get rival and D-I runner-up New Oxford (13-2-2) in the semifinals Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Eastern York. The Panthers and Colonials split their regular-season showdowns. Central won the first battle, 3-2, while New Oxford won a 1-0 contest in overtime two weeks ago.
The other semifinal features D-III champion Bermudian Springs (19-0) and D-II runner-up South Western (10-8-1). That contest will take place immediately following the New Oxford/Central clash at Eastern.
The Eagles defeated D-I runner-up Red Lion in the first-round. The Mustangs upset D-II champ Susquehannock, 2-0, to get to the semifinals.
Girls' soccer: While there will be a new league champ on the boys' soccer side, the girls’ draw includes the usual cast of characters.
Defending league champ Central (14-4-1), which won D-I this year, will take on D-III champ Fairfield (15-1) in the first game Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Northeastern. The contest is a rematch of last year’s title game, which was won by the Panthers. That setback was the only blemish of Fairfield’s history-making season that included District 3 and PIAA titles.
The other semifinal pits D-I runner-up Dallastown against D-I No. 3 seed Northeastern at the same time at Red Lion. The Bobcats (10-5-4) earned a win and a tie against the Wildcats (10-6-3) this season in their head-to-head showdowns.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org