Susquehannock, Central York advance to York-Adams field hockey final
The Warriors and Panthers both emerged with dramatic victories in their semifinal rivalry matchups.
The great Yogi Berra once proclaimed that "it ain’t over until it’s over."
The Central York field hockey team made that statement seem very apropos Wednesday evening in the York-Adams League semifinals at Central York High School. So, too, did Susquehannock in the other semifinal.
In the nightcap of a doubleheader, Central York's girls twice found themselves behind rival Dallastown. Each time, however, the Panthers responded to even up the score, the second time with just under two minutes left in regulation.
The Panthers made sure history wouldn’t repeat a third time, as they took advantage of a penalty corner in overtime. Anna Scott chipped a shot toward the net that was redirected in by teammate Lauren Yarnish for the game-winning goal to send the Panthers to the finals with a 3-2 triumph.
Susquehannock also had a bit of late-game magic in the first semifinal against rival York Suburban. Deadlocked in a scoreless battle late in the fourth quarter, the Warriors staved off a corner opportunity for the Trojans before racing down the field to set up the game-winning goal by Maggie Grim in a 1-0 victory.
The Warriors (18-0-0) will meet up with the Panthers (10-9-1) in a rematch of last year’s final, which was won by Central York. That contest is slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Dallastown High School.
“Your adrenaline is pumping and when there’s only seven of you out there, the pressure is on,” Yarnish said. “Especially with our biggest rival, Dallastown. So it was exciting.”
With fewer players on the field during overtime, Yarnish found herself in an atypical spot on the field during the corner. As it turned out, she just happened to be in the perfect place for the game-winner.
“I usually play defensively,” Yarnish said. “But I was up for that corner and my first instinct was to go to the post, and I was just very ready the whole time.”
As the ball was approaching her head, Yarnish lifted her stick and batted the ball past the goalie to set off an enthusiastic celebration around her on a cool, chilly evening.
The fact that the Panthers rallied twice to draw even Wednesday certainly didn’t shock Yarnish or her coach, Alexa Taylor.
“We’re a comeback team,” Yarnish said with a smile.
“That has been all season,” Taylor added. “They have given each one of us coaches very stressful games, but we are a comeback team. And sometimes we’re a fourth-quarter team.”
Coming off a season in which the Panthers advanced to the PIAA Class 4A semifinals for the first time ever, there were whispers around the league that Central York could suffer a big dropoff. Taylor, who took over for longtime boss Lori Livingston this season, heard the talk but refused to let herself or her team buy into any of it.
“We’ve been underestimated all season,” Taylor said. “We constantly heard that we lost so many (players) and won’t be here (in the finals), yet here we are.”
Much like last season’s improbable run in the state tournament, the Panthers will be underdogs Saturday against a Susquehannock team that has yet to taste defeat this season.
“They’re a great team,” Taylor said of the Warriors. “Obviously their top scorer (Lily Wojcik) is awesome and she has 40-some goals.”
Wojcik, a two-time York-Adams Division II Player of the Year and Princeton commit, was held scoreless against Suburban. So, too, were the rest of the Susquehannock girls for much of the contest. The Warriors had their chances against the Trojans — 17 corners and 15 shots on goal — but it wasn’t until 3:39 left in regulation that the Division II champions could find a way past Suburban goalie Grace Bramble on Grim’s timely tally.
“We had so many shots,” Grim said. “But they have a great goalie and their defense was also great.”
After the Trojans failed on their eighth corner of the contest, the Warriors took off the other way looking for a quick counter. Eventually, the ball found Grim, who smacked it past Bramble and allowed the Susquehannock girls to breathe a sigh of relief.
“At that point, you just have to hit it up the field as far as you can,” Grim said. “It’s like ping-pong, where you just have to go back and forth when it’s 0-0.”
Grim and her team weren’t expecting a blowout Wednesday, especially not against a Suburban side that they edged 4-3 and 3-1 during the regular season.
“This is the third time playing them, so we came into this knowing it would be a big competition,” Grim said.
Grim figures that also to be the case for Saturday’s final with the Panthers. While the Central York is looking to prove the doubters wrong, the Warriors are equally motivated to make a little history for themselves as the first team in school history to win the York-Adams League title.
“Last year we finished runner-up,” Grim said. “Last year we really wanted it, but this year we really don’t want another silver medal. We want a gold.”