Central York suffers its first boys' lacrosse loss of season in District 3 3-A semifinals

Central York's Macon Myers is chased by Hempfield's Stephen Pitts in a District 3 lacrosse semifinal at Central Monday, May 24, 2021. Bill Kalina photo

The Central York boys’ lacrosse team was riding high heading into Monday’s District 3 Class 3-A semifinal opposite visiting Hempfield.

After rolling to a dominating victory in the quarterfinals last week, the Panthers were looking to advance to the program’s first-ever district final.

The Black Knights, however, made sure that wouldn’t happen.

Trailing for nearly the entire contest, the unbeaten hosts were forced to play a game they were unfamiliar with – catch up.

Every time the CY boys seemed poise to claim the lead, Hempfield had an answer.

Central York's Dayton Bagwell is pressured by Hempfield's David Gross in a District 3 lacrosse semifinal at Central Monday, May 24, 2021. Hempfield held on for a 13-11 win. Bill Kalina photo

After drawing within two with just more than four minutes left in regulation, the Panthers had a couple of chances to pull closer. A difficult offsides call with just over a minute left, however, created a turnover that the Knights needed to ice a 13-11 victory.

Top-seeded Central, the York-Adams League regular-season champion, fell for the first time this season to drop to 18-1. No. 4 seed Hempfield improved to 16-2.

The good news for the Panthers is that they will play again at 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. No. 3 seed Cumberland Valley (17-2) in the district third-place game at Bobby Rahal Toyota Stadium at Eagle View Middle School in the CV School District. CV fell to No. 2 seed Wilson (20-2) in the other district 3-A semifinal, 13-5. Central York has already clinched a state playoff berth. Central York beat CV earlier this season, 16-6.

Central York's Jakob Terpak makes a move against Hempfield's Dan Sears in a District 3 lacrosse semifinal at Central Monday, May 24, 2021. Hempfield held on for a 13-11 win. Bill Kalina photo

“They came out in the first half and forced us to play their style of game,” CY head coach Ryan Muller said. “We ended up running all over the field instead of getting settled in. There was a lot of emotion in this game.”

That was clear as the final seconds ticked off the clock. The two sides had to be separated after the final horn.

“It got to us a little bit,” Muller said.

Matters weren’t helped by the fact that the Panthers scored an 11-6 triumph over the Knights on the same field earlier this month. That outcome had the CY boys feeling confident — perhaps a little too much especially early on.

“We just needed to relax and play our game a bit more,” said Muller, who was denied his 51st career victory Monday. “We got down early and we just never really got caught back up after that.”

The prescription for CY’s success all season included winning face-offs and distributing the ball around the offensive zone. Monday was the first time the Panthers were unable to dominate in that regard, although the Panthers did win 15 of 26 draws.

“We just needed to get a couple more stops,” Muller said. “You can’t just trade goals (when you’re down) and expect to make it happen.”

Jimmy Kohr led the Panthers with four goals, while Robert Wiley added three. Jerin Williams and Alec Fahs each tallied a pair to give CY, which normally had seven or more players score during every game this season, just four goal scorers on the night.

While the Panthers were understandably upset by the outcome, Muller wanted to deliver a simple message to his team in the locker room afterward.

“The season’s not over,” he said. “This wasn’t our night tonight, but we can learn from it and get better. We’ll have to come out Wednesday and play another good game.”

Wednesday’s contest will not be at Central because of  the school’s graduation that evening.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.