Susquehannock girls’ lacrosse coach Steve Marshner knows the rest of the York-Adams League is beginning to catch up to the area’s top programs.
Dwindling are the days when league stalwarts such as the Warriors, Kennard-Dale and York Catholic simply overwhelmed a majority of their schedule. Each year, more and more teams are providing strong challenges for the traditionally powerful programs throughout the season.
“Now every game means something, this is fun,” Marshner said. “And it’s growing in the county … We’re seeing Central playing great, South Western playing great, obviously Kennard-Dale, York Catholic. And we’re seeing other teams that are playing great, so it’s a lot of fun this year.”
Marshner’s team was pushed for a majority of Tuesday’s night’s road game with one of those upstart challengers at Central York before pulling away late for a15-8 victory.
Abby McFerren’s third goal of the game got the Panthers within one at 9-8 midway through the second half, before Susquehannock squeezed off six unanswered goals the rest of the way.
Susquehannock improved to 9-0 overall and 7-0 in the league. Central fell to 7-3 and 6-2.
The Panthers pestered a potent Warriors offense and provided a solid offensive effort of their own, which increased the value of each of Sam McGuire’s 13 saves for Susquehannock.
“Credit to the other team, they played a very hard game. They are greatly improved,” Marshner said. “It took a while for us to get settled in and set up our game. And that’s because of our opponent.”
McGuire’s night in net was necessary. The Warriors fended off a feisty effort from Central during a first half that saw the Panthers open the scoring before the equalizer and two more ties during a back-and-forth opening half.
Susquehannock started to slowly seize control late in the first half when it went on a 3-0 run to close out the first half with a 7-4 lead.
The first of Riley Roeder’s four goals came as she weaved her way through the Central defense, switching grips and dodging Panthers before bouncing one home to break a 4-4 tie. The stretch was capped with an Ariana Prediger goal that was set up by one of Emma Stiffler’s six assists.
Stiffler added three goals for a game-high nine points and teammate Kenna Hancock added four more goals.
McGuire comes up big: McGuire preserved the early advantage with a save on a point-blank free-position shot from Central York’s Maddy Kurland with 45 seconds left before halftime. The Panthers also plunked the post three times Tuesday night.
“Sam was huge in this game, she was making some big saves," Marshner said. "And even when we weren’t getting the ball, we were making the save that we had to. The defense also played well, we weren’t getting our second slide in, but the defense reacted in the second half and picked that up.”
Adversity for Central: Central had the mutual adversity of the cold and early precipitation compounded by some unfortunate circumstances before the start and penalties down the stretch
“We had some obstacle to overcome,” Central York head coach Matt Klinedinst said. “My first-string goalie (missed Tuesday night’s game because of a death in her family) … but we played with them for at least the first half and into the second half. And then we had a double yellow from one of my top middies. But you’ve got to overcome that.”
Maddy Kurland and Abby McFerren each scored three goals for the Panthers, with Kurland adding an assist. Emily Kurland scored a goal and set up two more.
Up next: Next up for the Warriors is a Thursday tilt on their turf with Spring Grove.
The week doesn’t get any easy for the Panthers. They travel to Fawn Grove on Thursday for another high-caliber match-up against the Rams.
“We get two of them back-to-back, but we’ve got to live for this stuff,” Klinedinst said. “This is the heat of the season and this is the stuff that helps us hopefully get to the postseason.”
York Catholic 16, Eastern York 5: At Wrightsville, the Irish were paced by Kennedy Eckert (three goals, assist), Sarah Mazzur (three goals, assist), Ally Smith (two goals), Carlin Mayer (two goals), Shannon Staples (two goals) and Ella Linthicum (goal, assist).
Red Lion 11, York Suburban 6: At Suburban, Peyton Shima (six goals, assist) and Sara Simms (two goals, five assists) powered the Lions. Kamille Wasilewski (four goals) led Suburban.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.