RED LION — The Central York field hockey starting lineup can be split into two groups.
The seniors and the freshmen.
Of the Panthers’ 11 starters, six are seniors and four are freshmen.
In Central’s match Wednesday at Red Lion, a contest where both teams entered undefeated in York-Adams Division I play, one member of each group excelled to lead the Panthers to a pivotal 5-2 win.
Senior midfielder Breann Craley scored two goals to lead the elder class, while freshman forward Victoria Whitehead also netted two goals — including the game-tying and game-winning scores after Red Lion led 2-1 at halftime.
“We’re confident in our skills,” said Craley, a Kutztown University (NCAA Division II) commit. “This year, we brought up a few freshmen like Victoria. I’m so comfortable in passing her or (freshman) Grace Harrold the ball. I know if I give it to them, they’re taking it to the goal and getting a good shot off.”
Whitehead, who used her speed to break through the Red Lion defense for her game-winning goal in the second half, said having senior leaders such as Craley has helped her and the rest of the younger players.
“Knowing (Breann) and being able to feel the game like she does is definitely a good thing,” Whitehead said. “All of the seniors have my back, and that helps me and all of the other freshmen.”
Not easy: While Central’s three-goal victory seemed easy, it was anything but that in the first half for the Panthers (7-0 overall, 6-0 in D-I). Despite controlling possession and totaling more than 10 corners in the opening 30-minute period, Red Lion (5-3, 4-1) led 2-1 at halftime.
“We have a tendency to start slow,” Central head coach Lori Livingston said. “We have to work on that. We have to fix that problem.”
The match was scoreless for the first 20 minutes, until Red Lion freshman Kennedy Bratton scored. The goal was assisted by Jillian Sleeth.
Craley tied the match five minutes later, but Bratton responded with her second goal only minutes before the end of the first half.
“Central does a great job of possessing,” Red Lion head coach Carol Gillmen said. “Their speed with the ball and their passing game is tremendous. They have a great core group of seniors. They do a good job of keeping the tempo up and finding that big lead pass.”
Anderson shines in goal: Red Lion goalie Allie Anderson saved five shots in the first half, and six total in the match, to lead the Lions’ early bend-but-don’t-break defense.
“Allie had some big saves there in the first half,” Gillmen said. “She was facing a lot of shots.”
Whitehead tied the match early in the second half and scored again with less than 10 minutes left to give the Panthers the lead. As the game wore on, the freshman’s speed was too much for the tiring Red Lion defense.
“If you don’t have people who can keep up with her, plus she has the stick skills to go along with it, you can’t stop (her) speed,” Livingston said.
Craley’s second goal came with about four minutes left and gave the Panthers a two-goal lead. Senior Kyra Heap capped the Panthers’ scoring with less than a minute remaining.
Looking to be mentor: As Central continues its undefeated season, one of Craley's personal goals as a senior leader is to mentor the younger class, considering it was only three years ago when Craley herself was a wide-eyed freshman playing on the varsity.
“One of the things that helped me (as a freshman) was the seniors motivating me,” Craley said. “I wanted to turn that around as a senior to help my freshmen and give them the confidence my seniors gave me.”
Dallastown 4, Northeastern 0: At Dallastown, the Wildcats improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in Y-A Division I. Madi Strayer had a goal and an assist for the winners. Camryn Eveler, Olivia Jackson and Lily Cantabene also had goals. Northeastern goalie Erin Kelly had 16 saves.
South Western 4, York Suburban 0: At Hanover, Albanie Hersh had two goals and Lexi Seidenstricker had two assists to power the Mustangs. Natalie Fuhrman had 24 saves in a losing cause. South Western won the JV match, 3-0.
Gettysburg 3, West York 1: At West York, Tiffany Slonaker had two goals and an assist to lead the Warriors. Gettysburg also won the JV match, 2-0.
Dallastown 5, Red Lion 0: At Red Lion, the Wildcats received straight-set singles victories from Meghan Salaga, Morgan Kistler and Taylor Jones. In doubles, Grace Heird and Jordan Striebig won the No. 1 match, while Bria Beverly and Emily Sarro won the No. 2 match. Dallastown improved to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in Y-A D-I play.
South Western 4, Central York 1: At Central York, the Mustangs swept the singles matches behind Michaela Sentz, Emma Hynson and Karen Yang. For the Panthers, Catherine Bennett and Maria Houseman captured the No. 2 doubles match. South Western is 10-1 overall and 6-1 in Y-A Division I. Central fell to 3-4 and 3-2.
Kennard-Dale 5, York Catholic 0: At Fawn Grove, Brianna Miller, Megan Hawkins and Julie Rubelmann each earned straight-set singles wins. In doubles, the winners were Meghan Silva/Grace Maccarelli and Shannon Fletcher/Tori Santoriello.
York Suburban 5, Spring Grove 0: At Spring Grove, Alex Clancy, Liv Pindzola and Zoe Prats each earned 6-0, 6-0 singles wins. Ini Ekaha/Alivia Halza and Sophie Gilbert/Janelle Rice were the doubles winners.
Northeastern 4, Susquehannock 1: At Manchester, the Bobcats received singles victories from Jillian Laughman and Brynn MacDonald. Madison Laughman and Jiselle Castano combined to win the No. 1 doubles match for the Bobcats, while Aubrey Shaffer and Taylor Forry combined to win the No. 2 doubles match. For the Warriors, Julianne Cassady won the No. 1 singles match.
West York 3, Gettysburg 2: At Gettysbug, Audrey Kinney and Alisa Steele got singles wins for West York, while Brenya Stallsmith and Megan Hartlaub won in doubles.
York Catholic takes Division III title: At Bridgewater Golf Club, York Catholic finished first in the final York-Adams Division III golf match of the season to sew up the division crown.
The Fighting Irish finished with a 325 total, which was 26 shots better than second-place Delone. Bermudian Springs was third at 362, followed by Fairfield (364), York Tech (384) and Hanover (414).
York Catholic finished with a 29-1 D-III record, good for 87 points. Delone was second at 25-5 (75 points).
York Catholic's Russ McPaul was the individual medalist at 74, followed by York Tech's Alex May at 76. Nolan Wisniewski of the Fighting Irish was the only other golf to break 80 with a 78.
Susquehannock 3, York Suburban 3: At Suburban, the two York-Adams Division II contenders battled to a deadlock. The Trojans rallied from a 3-1 second-half deficit. Carly Attig had two Susquehannock goals, while Olivia Pasko had one. Katie Wand, Molly Earnardt and Isabel Coy scored for Suburban. Susquehannock goalie Jordyn Prediger and Suburban goalie Emma Poff each had eight saves. Suburban (5-1-2 overall) is 2-0-2 in the division, while Susquehannock (3-3-1 overall) is 3-1-1 in D-II. Susquehannock won the JV match, 2-1.
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