HERSHEY — The York Catholic boys’ soccer team has been pretty good at making second-half comebacks when needed this season.
That’s why Irish coach Joe Nattans wasn’t too worried, despite his team trailing 2-0 after a pair of goals by Nathan Tanner in the first 10 minutes of the District 3 Class 1-A title match against Halifax on Wednesday evening.
Sure enough, the second-seeded York Catholic boys mounted that expected rally at Hersheypark Stadium.
Unlike last week’s comeback from a 3-0 deficit against Fairfield, this time the Irish came up short. Jonathan Yinger’s goal with just more than 34 minutes left in regulation cut the YC deficit in half.
The equalizer, however, never came, and the Irish fell 2-1 to the Wildcats (19-1).
“I felt good at halftime,” Nattans said. “Even down two. And you saw the power that we have to score. It’s just a matter of putting the ball into the net.”
Staying positive: Nattans’ tone was certainly upbeat for a coach who just suffered a disappointing setback. His YC players definitely took the loss hard, but the Irish coach remained positive.
Nattans felt his team dominated for the majority of the contest against the No. 1 seed in the bracket. A pair of mistakes that were cashed in for first-half goals, however, proved to be the decisive factor.
“Yeah, we dominated for long stretches of play,” Nattans said. “And I’m really proud of them all. They played hard and we had more offense than (Halifax). We just didn’t score as many goals as they did.”
YC outshot Halifax, 27-4. Typically when a team holds such a lopsided margin, the result is markedly different.
“We had two mistakes,” Nattans said. “And we missed a couple of shots that we normally make. We had two good opportunities in the first half, but we couldn’t put the ball in the net. We didn’t finish, but it was fun.”
Looking ahead: Nattans’ optimism is strong as the Irish look to make a long run into the PIAA tournament next week. The Irish (18-5) will face the District 2 champion Tuesday at a time and location yet to be determined.
“Oh, we have a lot of soccer left,” Nattans said. “If we play the way that we’re capable of playing, there’s no doubt that we can make a run. And (the players) are hurting right now because they expected a different result tonight, but we have a lot more soccer to play.”
Newport 6, Eastern York 1: At Hummelstown, the Golden Knights' season ended with a District 3 Class 1-A loss. Sixth-seeded Eastern finished at 15-6. Seventh-seeded Newport improved to 13-5-1.
Fleetwood 2, Bermudian Springs 1: At Hummelstown, the Eagles' season ended with a District 3 Class 1-A setback. Bermudian finished at 19-5. Fleetwood improved to 15-6. Fleetwood scored off a corner with six seconds left to get the win. Skyler West had Bermudian's goal.
Donegal 1, South Western 0: At Hummelstown, the Mustangs' season ended with a District 3 Class 2-A loss. Fourth-seeded South Western finished at 17-5. Ninth-seeded Donegal improved to 14-7.
Hempfield 5, Dallastown 1: At York, Wyatt Gray scored off an assist from Evan Mitchell to account for the Wildcats' only goal. Alexander Sears had 22 saves in a losing cause. Dallastown dropped to 0-2 in Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Viola Division action.
Cedar Crest 6, Susquehannock 0: At York, Brady Frey made 36 saves in a losing cause. Susquehannock fell to 0-2 in CPIHL Viola Division play.
Camp Hill 2, Fairfield 0: At Hershey, the second-seeded Green Knights dropped the District 3 Class 1-A title match against top-seeded and unbeaten Camp Hill. Fairfield fell to 21-2. Camp Hill improved to 21-0. Both teams will advance to next week's state playoffs.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.