EMIGSVILLE — The past several days haven’t been kind to the Central York field hockey team.
Heading into last weekend, the Panthers were sitting pretty with a 9-2 overall record that included an 8-0 mark in York-Adams Division I.
That was before a disappointing 3-2 loss against host Conestoga Valley Saturday in the Buckskin Tournament, followed by a less-than-stellar effort in a 7-1 setback against Cedar Cliff in the consolation match.
Just two days later, the Panthers were tasked with battling rival Dallastown at Wildcat Stadium. Despite generating more chances, earning more shots and claiming more penalty corners, Central lost in overtime.
For better or worse, the Panthers had no time for despair. Wednesday afternoon they hosted another D-I contender in Red Lion.
Fortunately for coach Lori Livingston and her squad, the final result was much more to the Panthers' liking. The Central girls out-classed the Lions throughout the showdown en route to a convincing 5-0 triumph.
The victory left Central York (10-5 overall) alone in first place in the division at 9-1, a half game clear of 8-1 Dallastown. Red Lion (9-6 overall) fell to 7-3 in the division.
“We really passed much better today,” Livingston said. “(Monday) we didn’t pass very well, but we had a lot of beautiful passes. We’ve had some pretty good passing games, but this one may have been the very best one.”
Kyra Heap, one of four senior captains on the squad, echoed her coach’s sentiments.
“I’m really happy with how we did,” Heap said. “I don’t really care too much about the score that much, but it was just that our passing improved greatly from Monday. It really felt fluid and like we were all moving with each other perfectly.”
Heap got the momentum rolling for her side midway through the first half. Teammate Abby Lamison, who finished with two goals, doubled the lead with just more than three minutes left in the half. A pair of goals within a 90-second span in the second half all but iced a satisfying victory for the Panthers.
“That’s the team that I like to see,” Heap said with a smile. “And I know that’s the one our coaches like to see as well.”
Both Livingston and Heap only wished this team had shown up Monday against the Wildcats. While they played "OK" in Livingston’s words, the passing and finishing were not at the same level as they were against Red Lion.
For Heap, it all comes down to the team’s mood on a particular day.
“I think with the team a lot of it is the mental stuff,” Heap said. “We’re definitely a (team) where it depends on which day it is.”
Heap certainly sensed Saturday that her team, after losing an early morning contest against CV, was not focused against Cedar Cliff.
Wednesday she wasn’t as concerned, with good reason.
“I was a little worried,” she said. “It kind of felt just like it did against Dallastown, but I think we didn’t play bad, we just didn’t finish. Obviously today we finished.”
Gettysburg 6, West York 2: At Gettysburg, Allie Becker and Alexis Miller scored for West York in a losing cause. Brionna Smith had a West York assist. Jenna Brasee made nine saves for the Bulldogs.
Central York 5, Spring Grove 0: At Spring Grove, the Panthers cruised to the road win to improve to 9-3-1 overall and 8-2 in York-Adams Division I. Ava Myers scored twice, while Sydney Konscol, Laurel Stoppard and Anya Schnetzka had the other scores. Hannah Ferguson and Olivia Hare had assists.
Central York 1, Spring Grove 1: At Central, the Rockets and the Panthers battled to a tie in a York-Adams Division I match. Evan Smeltzer scored an unassisted goal in the first half for Central, while Deelan Salemme scored an unassisted second-half goal for Spring Grove. Rockets goalie Chris Wilhide made eight saves. Spring Grove won the JV match, 1-0.
Eastern York 3, Hanover 1: Andrew Hetter, Zach Gross and Isaac Berrow scored the goals for the Eastern in the win. Gross and Gavin Donnelly had Eastern assists.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.