When the Central York field hockey team imagined leaving the field at Eastern York High School on Tuesday, Oct. 17, walking off a bleary-eyed bunch with their season in limbo was anything but the plan.
However, after dropping a 2-0 decision to New Oxford in their York-Adams League semifinal match, that’s how the Panthers made their exit. The loss ends Central’s shot at the program’s first league title, and whether or not their 2017 campaign continues remains to be seen.
New Oxford (14-2-2) advances to Thursday’s league championship game to face Bermudian Springs at 7 p.m. at Northeastern High School.
The Panthers (13-6-1) will now have to wait for finalized District 3 Class 3-A ratings later in the week to see if they’ve secured a spot in district play. Central entered the night sitting in the 10th and final district playoff spot.
“It wasn’t what we were expecting, we were expecting to be playing Thursday,” Central head coach Lori Livingston said. “The effort was there. The other team played real well and they seemed to be everywhere we were taking the ball. We didn’t play smart, we didn’t play our game.”
The Panthers and Colonials entered Tuesday’s tilt having split their regular-season match-ups, with each winning one-goal contests at home.
Tuesday’s game became a family affair for New Oxford. The twin Smith sisters, Bri and Lauren, scored the two goals. Bri Smith was able to put the game away with her goal midway through the second half.
It marked the culmination of what had been an impressive effort from a formidable duo. Bri Smith and Carly Flickinger presented problems for the Panthers' defense throughout much of the contest.
Flickinger set up Bri Smith’s marker by taking the ball down the right side of the field before centering into a large scrum in front of the net. Bri Smith ultimately jammed home the Colonials' second score after a brief moment of chaos in front.
In the first half, Flickinger used some solid stick work to advance the ball up the field before sending a pass ahead to Bri Smith.
Central York goalkeeper Emily Smith raced out in an unsuccessful attempt to cut off the pass, and it looked like Bri Smith was headed for a sure goal. However, the Panthers’ Lexi McAnnaney raced to catch up to the play before laying out and making a diving stop on Bri Smith’s shot in front of the net.
McAnnaney, however, was whistled for blocking the shot with her body and not her stick, resulting in a penalty shot for New Oxford.
Lauren Smith was the one to take the shot, and her attempt glanced off Emily Smith’s right pad before finding the back of the net. That put the Colonials ahead 1-0 midway through the first half.
Central had perhaps its best chance late in the first half when Shae Strange found herself with the ball right in front of Colonial keeper Franzie Bacher with roughly two minutes remaining.
Strange banged her first shot attempt right off the pads before collecting the rebound and repeating the sequence.
On the evening, Emily Smith and Bacher finished with five saves. New Oxford finished with an edge in shots on goal at 7-5 and also in penalty corners at 6-4.
Should the Panthers' season continue in district play, Livingston said her squad will need to get back to basics to find success.
“We have to work on some of our basic skills and staying strong,” Livingston said. “We played a lot on the left side of the field tonight, instead of the right side, which is our strong side.”
Bermudian Springs blanks South Western: In the other Y-A semifinal at Eastern, Bermudian Springs blanked South Western, 3-0.
Kiersten Wiley opened the game’s scoring just 21 seconds into the contest. The win keeps a perfect record intact for the Eagles, who improved to 20-0.
Bermudian also received goals from Megan Wolf and Lindsay Kutz.
Hanover 6, York Country Day 1: At Hanover, Avery Martz led the Hawkettes to the non-league victory by scoring three goals. For the Greyhounds, Emily Macklin scored the lone second-half goal, while teammate Keera Dupler made 20 stops in goal.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.