The York Catholic boys' lacrosse team defeated West York, 21-6, in a District 3 Class 2-A tournament first round game on Monday, May 14 at York Catholic High School. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
Early in the third quarter, Monday’s District 3 Class 2-A boys’ lacrosse first-round contest looked more like a light-hearted spring clinic than a playoff game.
The high-powered York Catholic offense had just shown off its game-breaking ability while burying the visiting West York Bulldogs under an offensive barrage of shots.
After each Irish score, friendly foes from both squads could be seen chatting each other up, trading jokes while the clock wound toward the inevitable.
When it was all said and done, the fourth-seeded Irish spent little time lingering after a 21-6 victory over the No. 13 Bulldogs. The York Catholic players quickly gathered up their belongings and scurried off to escape what appeared to be an impending thunderstorm.
With the win, the Irish (15-4) move into Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, where they’ll host No. 5 seed Hershey at 5 p.m.
With the top five teams in 2-A earning PIAA state playoff bids, a win Wednesday would see the Irish become the second team in York-Adams League history to earn a state tournament spot. A loss would see Catholic enter the consolation bracket, where the best they could finish would be fifth.
“The whole season we’ve talked about moving it around. The big thing with our team is we have a lot of offensive talent. … So, I’m just reminding them on the sideline ‘Everyone touch it, everyone’s here. We’ve got six players. It’s not one on one. Let’s play the offense, slow it down and play the way we know how to play,’” York Catholic head coach Shane Harper said. “Because when we get into our set offense and move it around and get the plays that we want to play, sometimes it’s pretty. It’s pretty unstoppable sometimes.”
After Colby Goodling scored early in the first quarter to even the score at 1-1, it looked as though the Bulldogs’ might provide the Irish with a game challenge in their quest to improve on a sixth-place finish from a year ago.
Hake takes over: That’s when the overtime hero of the York-Adams League title game, York Catholic’s Chandler Hake, took over. Hake rattled off a hat trick in 40 seconds that kick started a 9-1 run to close the first quarter.
Hake followed up a five-goal effort in clinching the league championship with a nine-goal outburst Monday.
It was during that sustained scoring spree that the standout names for the potent Irish attack displayed an impressive systematic ball movement that kept Bulldog heads on a swivel.
Witman shines: Most of the Irish’s slick passing came off the stick of Johns Hopkins commit Cole Witman. Two of his game-high five assists came during the opening 12 minutes.
After Hake’s first of the day made it 2-1 Irish, a relentless back pressure that Catholic would provide all game resulted in a Bulldogs failure to clear and a change of possession. Catholic rattled off a slick, tic-tac-toe passing sequence that saw Witman whip one to Hake for his second goal and a 3-1 Irish lead.
All-league second-team face-off specialist Andrew Snelbaker, who dominated the "X" by winning 20 of the 25 face-offs, won the ensuing draw before racing downfield and flipping a quick pass to Matt Cassidy, who quickly worked it to Witman. Again, before the West York defense knew what hit it, Witman found Hake for his hat-trick tally and an early 4-1 lead.
Snelbaker displayed an ability to take matters into his own hands during the run, twice winning draws before racing down field for goals of his own.
An Irish lull: After the opening quarter, when the Irish looked like a predatory animal toying with its prey, the hosts fell victim to a brief lapse the saw the Bulldogs match the Irish goal for goal in the second quarter.
Hake scored two more goals that were matched by the Bulldogs’ Brody Pornter and Tyler Maugans to create a 12-4 Irish lead at the half.
“We got up really fast, 10-1, in the first quarter and it was really, really hard. Our kids kind of just thought they would just roll the rest of the way and they could just kind of do whatever they wanted to do,” Harper said. “It’s frustrating. So, at halftime, we had the conversation ‘You lost the second quarter,’ that whole conversation. They turned it back around in the third and scored eight or nine goals. It was nice to know they could turn it around when they were told to turn it around.”
Big third quarter: Leading 12-4, York Catholic’s Dimitri Amalfitano sparked the reversal of fortune Harper was looking for by scoring two of his three goals during the first three minutes of the second half, giving the Irish a running clock the rest of the way. His goals kicked off a dominant third quarter that saw the Irish outscore the Bulldogs, 8-0.
Witman added four goals to his own nine-point effort. Matthew Cassidy was another top facilitator Monday, finishing with four assists and a goal.
The Bulldogs finish at 8-8.
South Western 10, York Suburban 8: At Hanover, in a game that featured two weather delays, the eighth-seeded Mustangs (12-5) advanced to the District 3 Class 2-A quarterfinals with a win over the ninth-seeded Trojans, who finished 10-7. Sean Quinn (three goals), Casey Slater (goal, two assists), Sean Wolfe (two goals), Tyler Dunn (two goals) and James Strausbaugh (goal, assist) paced the winners. Suburban was led by Dominic Corto (two goals, two assists), Austin Sipes (two goals, two assists) and Riley Purcell (two goals). Blake Wallace made 10 saves for Suburban, while Nick Race had seven saves for South Western. South Western will now travel to Lebanon Valley College at 7 p.m. Wednesday to take on top-seeded Palmyra (18-1). Palmyra routed No. 16 seed Daniel Boone on Monday, 16-3.
Dallastown 15, Central Dauphin 7: At Dallastown, the sixth-seeded Wildcats (13-4) moved on to the District 3 Class 3-A quarterfinals by beating the 11th-seeded Rams (11-8). Ethan Pickett led Dallastown with seven goals. Jay Shifflet (three goals), Josh Sebastian (goal, two assists) and Braven Morris (goal, two assists) also excelled for the Wildcats. Dallastown's James Kelly made five saves in goal. Dallastown will now visit third-seeded Wilson (16-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Wilson had a bye on Monday.
Red Lion 9, Warwick 3: At Warwick, the 10th-seeded Lions (11-7) upset seventh-seeded Warwick to advance to the District 3 Class 3-A quarterfinals. Elijah Workinger (three goals), Ben Hornberger (two goals, assist) and Zach Mentzer (three assists) paced the Lions on offense. Nick Serrano made 11 saves for the Lions. Red Lion will travel to second-seeded Manheim Township (14-1) at 5 p.m. Thursday. Manheim Twp. had a first-round bye. Warwick finished at 12-5.
Susquehannock 15, Lower Dauphin 3: At Glen Rock, the third-seeded Warriors (14-4) rolled into the quarterfinals of the District 3 Class 2-A playoffs. No. 14 seed Lower Dauphin finished at 6-11. Susquehannock will now play host to No. 6 seed Red Land (13-2) on Wednesday. Red Land downed No. 11 seed Berks Catholic on Monday, 17-9.
Hershey 15, Spring Grove 5: At Hershey, the 12th-seeded Rockets saw their season end at 10-8 with a District 3 Class 2-A first-round setback. Fifth-seeded Hershey improved to 12-6.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.