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Susquehannock Warriors claim their first York-Adams League field hockey title

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

Oh, how much difference a year makes.

It was but a year ago when Central York field hockey downed Susquehannock in the York-Adams League playoff final.

After an offseason of focused dedication and tireless hard work during the regular season, the Warriors were eager to make up for last year’s result when the schools once again battled for the league title Saturday afternoon at Dallastown High School.

All of the extra time and effort the Susky girls put in paid off, but it wasn’t easy. Much like their semifinal victory over York Suburban on Wednesday, the unbeaten Division II champions found it difficult to dominate. Shots and attempts were stymied by the defense of the Division I co-champion Panthers until Lola Sroka was finally able to break up a scoreless deadlock with a goal late in the second quarter.

Susquehannock against York Suburban during their field hockey game in Springettsbury on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.

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Over the final 30-plus minutes of action, Sroka’s goal stood up as the Warriors claimed the school’s first-ever Y-A title with a 1-0 triumph.

“It was awesome to see that heading into districts, even the better teams that we play that I think we can play and compete with them,” Susquehannock senior Maggie Grim said. “And we can win.”

Susquehannock's Bella Kachik (6) celebrating with Maggie Grim (19) after their goal against York Suburban  during their field hockey game in Springettsbury on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.

The Warriors, who improved to 19-0 with the triumph, won a third-straight playoff battle by just one goal. A 3-2 victory in the first round over Littlestown on Monday was followed but a 1-0 victory over Suburban on Wednesday.

“It was a hard game,” Susquehannock senior Lilly Wojcik said. “I mean they came out strong and they were pressing really hard, but so were we.”

As often is the case in field hockey games between two quality teams, one goal can be the difference. While Wednesday’s tally in the semifinal came late in the fourth quarter, the Warriors were able to play with the lead for over a half after Sroka smacked a rebound past the Central goalie with 6:31 left in the first half.

“We had a lot of chances to get goals, but only one went in,” Grim said. “And knowing that we could do it just gave us hope for the rest of the game.”

While the Panthers found themselves behind, that hasn’t be an unusual spot for the squad this season. A number of their victories – including Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Dallastown in overtime – have been in the come-from-behind fashion, so the Central girls knew they could do it again.

Getting that game-tying goal, however, proved difficult. The Panthers had a chance midway through the fourth quarter, but a shot just sailed wide of the cage.

“We did (have our chances),” said Central assistant coach Cathleen Kindred, who filled in as head coach Alexa Taylor was at a wedding. “I think we just pieced things together a little too late in the game. I think if we had another quarter that we could have put it together for sure.”

Playing with the lead can sometimes put teams into a more defensive mindset, but the Warriors talked about being aggressive and attacking over the final 15 minutes of play.

“We were energetic, but were definitely more tired,” Grim said. “It was a little scary because we were only winning by one and it could get tied and got into overtime, which is even worse. But we were still playing our game. Even though we were tired we just kept with it.”

The intensity of playoff hockey figures to be beneficial as the Susky girls prepare for their next goal – a District 3 2-A title. The Warriors will host New Oxford in a first-round clash Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Before that, the Susquehannock girls will enjoy their much-anticipated title with a celebratory meal.

“We’re all going to have a team dinner,” Wojcik said with a smile.