HERSHEY — York Catholic ran into a noticeably different kind of foe on Wednesday night at Hersheypark Stadium.
The Camp Hill team that battled the Fighting Irish for the District 3 Class 1-A boys’ soccer title was markedly more skilled and more physical than York Catholic’s first two foes in the district playoffs.
That difference showed up quickly when Amias Colestock knocked in the first of his two goals on the night in the third minute. While the Irish played the two-time defending district champion Lions close, Colestock's two goals were the difference in a 2-0 Camp Hill victory.
"They're a fantastic team," York Catholic coach Joe Nattans said. "They have speed, they're physical, but they're also talented."
Other teams may have tried to negate those traits by taking a defensive approach, but Nattans eschewed that thinking against a Camp Hill team that improved to 19-2.
"Our game plan tonight was that we weren't going to pack it in and try to keep them off the scoreboard," Nattans said. "We knew they were going to score. So, our philosophy was to push the ball forward to try to make them go the length of the field and score."
That tactic may have been more effective had it not been for Colestock's first goal so early in the game. Giving up momentum that quickly certainly didn't help, but Nattans pointed out that there was plenty of time left to rally.
If the Irish (15-6) had been able to convert a prime scoring chance, that forced Camp Hill goalie Noah Jack to make a sprawling save just minutes after Colestock’s first goal, there might have been a different outcome.
"We tried to press them a lot," Nattans said. "Less than 10 minutes later we had a really good chance in front of the goal that, if we put that in, it's 1-1 and it's a different game."
Colestock's second goal with just more than five minutes left in the first half made a comeback attempt all that more difficult. The Irish struggled throughout to mount sustained attacks.
"I think that in the middle of the field that we were trying to send the ball forward a little too much," Nattans said. "We tried to go 1-on-4 or 1-on-5 too much instead of just possessing. And when we did that and did some combination passes, we got more opportunities."
The season is far from over for the Irish, who will prepare for next Tuesday's PIAA first-round state contest against the District 11 champion at a time and location yet to be determined, but most likely somewhere in the Allentown/Lehigh Valley area.
Fairfield girls fall in District 3 1-A soccer title match: The Fairfield girls suffered a 1-0 overtime loss to Camp Hill on Wednesday night in the District 3 Class 1-A girls’ soccer title match at Hersheypark Stadium.
Camp Hill scored 54 seconds into the first OT on a goal by Sheridan Reid off an assist from Ava Brackett. Both teams will still advance to the PIAA state playoffs.
Top-seeded Fairfield, which was attempting to win a third straight district crown, fell to 20-2. Second-seeded Camp Hill improved to 18-3. In the state playoffs, Fairfield will face the District 2 champion.
Bermudian Springs drops District 3 1-A field hockey semifinal: Bermudian Springs' hopes for a District 3 Class 1-A field hockey championship were dashed Wednesday night in a 5-0 semifinal loss to Oley Valley at Lower Dauphin.
The loss dropped No. 2 seed Bermudian to 21-1-1, while No. 3 seed Oley Valley improved to 23-1.
The Eagles, who have already clinched a PIAA Class 1-A state playoff berth, will compete in the District 3 1-A third-place match on Saturday vs. Newport at a site and time to be determined. Newport lost the other District 3 1-A semifinal on Wednesday to Greenwood, 4-0.
New Oxford suffers District 3 2-A field hockey consolation loss: The New Oxford Colonials’ field hockey season came to an end on Wednesday with a 4-3 loss to East Pennsboro in a District 3 Class 2-A consolation match at West Perry.
The 10th-seeded Colonials finished at 13-8-1. Third-seeded East Pennsboro improved to 17-4.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.