DALLASTOWN — It wasn’t the kind of weather that either team was hoping to see.
Especially for a game of such magnitude.
While the conditions were certainly ugly, the end result was undeniably beautiful as far as the Central York Panthers were concerned.
Central visited Dallastown in a York-Adams Division I girls' soccer showdown on Wednesday, Oct. 11
Playing on a grass field that was saturated because of the rain falling throughout the York area during the day, the visitors were able to make some recent adjustments pay off in what was essentially a playoff for the division title.
A more aggressive Central attack helped free up Bre Sgrignoli, who scored both of the Panthers' goals in a 2-1 triumph.
The victory clinched the title for Central (14-4-1, 10-1-1), which will be the No. 1 seed from the division in the league tournament that begins Saturday. It also fulfilled a burning need for revenge after the Wildcats (9-7-3, 8-2-2) handed the Panthers their only division setback in a 1-0 defeat last month.
“We knew this was an important game that we had to win,” Sgrignoli said.
Sgrignoli scored the game-winner midway through the second half. With the score even at 1-1, teammate Kenzie Stephens launched a shot that found its way to Sgrignoli in the box with 20:10 left.
“We know who Bre Sgrignoli is,” Dallastown coach Scott Austin said. “She’s been an all-county player the last two years. She got a step on one of my girls (on the first goal) and that’s all she needs. And she did a great job down in the box with that second goal.”
Both teams had difficulty playing on a wet and dreary afternoon. With the league playoffs slated for Saturday, neither side had much of an option but to play under less-than-ideal conditions.
Sgrignoli, however, seemed to enjoy it a little more than most of her teammates, who were eager to get off the field and change into dry clothes after it was over.
“It was awful,” she said before breaking into a smile. “But it was kind of fun sliding around.”
Central coach Eric Webb changed some things up this week in anticipation of the rematch with the Wildcats. While those changes were used Tuesday, Oct. 10, in a game against New Oxford, the true test of how effective they would be was determined Wednesday.
“We changed things up in the midfield a little bit,” he said. “And we changed some things up on top a bit and I thought we were pretty dangerous. We controlled the attack pretty much the whole game and Bre Sgrignoli was really good today.”
Austin, who is good friends with Webb off the field, expected his buddy to mix up his strategy. And he sounded impressed after noting his team was outshot 16-7 and on the short side of a 6-1 margin in corners.
“I thought our midfield controlled their midfield in the first game,” Austin said. “I’ve known Eric for years so I knew changes would be coming. It looked like he tried to play a 4-5-1 and then transitioned into a 4-4-2. They put together some nice wall passes with their forwards and we were a little slow to adjust to that.”
With Central taking the division crown, Austin and his team have their sights set on winning the league playoff title. It is perhaps fortunate for the Wildcats that both Central and defending PIAA Class 1-A state champ Fairfield, who beat Dallastown in the playoffs last year, are expected to be on the other side of the league bracket.
That means that a rematch wouldn’t happen until the league title game Thursday, Oct. 19.
“We’ll see if we can get it done in counties,” Austin said. “And maybe we’ll see Central again in the championship.”
Carsyn Gold scored Dallastown’s goal, which evened up the game with 15:42 left on the clock in the first half.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.