Katie Doherty led the exhuberant celebration when the Dallastown field hockey team belted out the familiar refrain to their traditional team song on Thursday night.
“We are family …” the Wildcats shouted repeatedly in unison to the tune.
Dallastown was enjoying its fourth York-Adams League tournament title in the past five seasons. This one, a 5-0 victory against Susquehannock on the turf at Bermudian Springs High School.
“I was kind of like the team leader with the most energy, the most positive, you keep everyone smiling the whole time,” Doherty said. “And I just kind of took on that task this year.”
Like any successful family unit, the Dallastown group functions best when working cohesively in defined roles The Wildcats had their unity on full display Thursday.
With a roster that features 14 seniors, coach Jeri Myers expects her upperclassmen to fulfill the leadership role of elder siblings.
“I always tell the seniors they’re the sergeants of the team,” Myers said. “I might be the captain, but they are the sergeants, and sergeants lead the team.”
Senior goalkeeper Sydney Terroso and the Dallastown defense, featuring a number of those leaders, produced their seventh straight shutout and their 14th victory this year when holding the opposition scoreless.
Thursday night was much of the same domination from that group. Terroso needed only a pair of saves to collect the win in net.
In order to build the sense of togetherness necessary for success, Myers admits to providing some tough love at times. The coach often places high demands on the defense in practices.
Also, after noticing a dip in team morale heading into Wednesday’s semifinal vs. Littlestown, Myers made sure her players spent Thursday afternoon together, despite some free time before the trip to Bermudian.
Those efforts paid off. The Wildcats were admittedly sharper Thursday, especially on their corner inserts. Dallastown was able to pull away from the Warriors on the strength of a pair of Caroline Doll goals off corners.
“It’s called passing,” Myers said, when asked what improvements she saw. “It’s called using everybody on the field. Everybody has the capability of scoring on our team. We played 110 percent better than we did (Wednesday night in a 2-0 semifinal win over Littlestown).”
The senior’s first score of the night came off a series of crisp passes. Sarah Baker got the play started with a pass to Molly Lohss, who quickly fired a pass to her left to Doll.
During the play, Jen Crumling found a nice position in front of the Warriors keeper. Doll then drilled a shot from the top of the arc just past Crumling’s screen and into the net for a 2-0 lead. Doll added her second of the night three minutes later on another corner, and Dallastown took a 3-0 lead into the break.
“We executed corners, thank goodness,” Doll said. “(Wednesday), we had a lot of complications as a team and working together. We just really pulled together (Thursday).”
Doherty added the fourth goal of the night when she cleaned up rebound in front midway through the second half. And Kiele Fullerton closed the game’s scoring when she tipped home a shot with just more than five minutes remaining in regulation. Nicole Crumling had opened the scoring for Dallastown.
The Warriors were making the program’s first appearance in the York-Adams title game, an impressive feat during a season that saw Susquehannock drop its first four games of the season.
After receiving tests from the Warriors on Thursday and Littlestown in the semifinals, Myers is pleased to see a continued growth in the league’s level of play.
“It’s definitely improving, which is nice,” Myers said. “(The league needs) to do that because when we go to districts, we have to play tough teams. And if we have tough league games then we can be tough in districts, too.”
Next up for Dallastown is a District 3 Class 3-A opening-round match against Central Dauphin. Those teams will meet Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Penn Manor.
The Warriors open the 2-A tournament with a game against Gettysburg. That match will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bermudian Springs.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.