DALLASTOWN — There’s no hiding the fact that Dallastown field hockey coach Jeri Myers is on the cusp of an historic career milestone — 500 victories.
Entering her 38th and final season, Myers needed just two wins to get to a mark that many coaches would believe is nearly impossible to achieve.
You can reduce Myers' magic number to one more win after her Wildcats cruised to a 3-0 season-opening triumph over York Suburban Tuesday afternoon at Wildcat Stadium.
The longtime coach now has 499 career wins.
A couple of fans asked Myers, as they walked by after the game, what her "big number" was now. In true Myers fashion, the answer was a bit unexpected.
“Sixteen,” she said with a smile. “I think that would be kind of sweet.”
Myers most certainly knew what the fans were asking about, but she deflected the focus back on her squad by answering with the number of victories she feels would be satisfactory this season.
“I just want to get the pressure off,” Myers said. “Then we can just get the focus back on the team because the team is more important.”
For Myers, it’s always about the program that she has run for nearly four full decades. She nearly decided to call it quits after last season, but reversed course after her junior varsity and junior high coaches both resigned.
"I did not want to leave the program without a head coach, a JV coach and a junior high coach,” she said. “People keep saying that (getting to 500) was the only reason that I came back, but I came back because that would have been three key people that would have been out. I have too much heart and passion to see the program kind of go belly-up.”
The 12 seniors on the squad this season were certainly relieved to find out that they wouldn’t be faced with a sea change with the coaching staff. Myers has become so successful over all these years by finding a way to get the most out of her players in an orderly and somewhat predictable manner year after year.
“We’ve all consistently had the same coach, the same drills and the same endurance runs,” Dallastown senior goalie Piper Glattacker said. “I think that we all feel that our character has certainly grown because of coach. She’s harsh when she needs to be, but she’s nice when she wants to be. I think that she’s a really good teacher in that way …she teaches us life lessons.”
Glattacker, better known by many fans as the girl who sings the national anthem before sporting events at Dallastown, appears anxious to see her coach reach her milestone.
“I’m so happy to be a part of this team right now,” she said. “I can’t wait to be there and just experience that moment with her.”
That moment may come Thursday evening on the turf field at 7 p.m. at Dover High School.
“We want to make this a good last season for her,” said Glattacker, who didn’t have to make a single save all game long. “Last year (when Dallastown finished 7-7-4 and failed to make the playoffs) kind of broke my heart.”
Tuesday’s triumph over Suburban, which happens to be Myers’ alma mater, was aided by two first-half goals from Eva Wolfe and Camryn Eveler. Abbie Kowalski scored late in the second half to complete the scoring.
Susquehannock 8, Spring Grove 0: At Spring Grove, Lauryn Wojcik had four goals and two assists to power the Warriors. Abby Grim added two goals and three assists. Anabeth Wentzel and Leah Miller had Susquehannock's other goals. The Warriors also won the JV match, 8-1.
Red Lion 6, Dover 1: At Red Lion, Kennedy Bratton led the Lions to the home victory by scoring four goals. Also for the Lions, Megan McCarty scored two goals, while Sarah Gillmen added two assists. For Dover, Abigail Frey scored the lone goal. The JV match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Central York 4, South Western 2: At Central, Kyra Heap had a goal and two assists to power the Panthers. Victoria Whitehead and Breann Craley also scored for Central, while Abby Lamison added an assist. Caitlyn Coates scored both South Western goals. Central won the JV match, 1-0.
Eastern York 4, Hanover 2: At Wrightsville, Lily Campbell led the Golden Knights by scoring one goal and adding one assist. Also for Eastern, Morgan Arnold, Addison Malone and Cassidy Arnold each scored one goal. Eastern won the JV match, 2-1.
Kennard-Dale 5, Fairfield 0: At Fawn Grove, Jenna Soukaseum scored a pair of goals to lead the Rams to the easy win.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.