You wouldn’t expect the players on a team that has won the last four York-Adams League girls’ soccer playoff titles to refer to themselves as hungry.
Any other school in the league would love to say it's earned just one recent league championship, let alone four in a row.
The Central York girls’ soccer squad, however, is definitely just that — hungry.
Despite their four-year reign, the Panthers have yet to taste enough success at the next level to become anywhere near remotely satisfied. The Central girls have won just two district games over that span, preventing the Panthers from reaching their next desired goal.
“We want to make it to states,” Central York junior Madison Davis said moments after her team defeated Susquehannock, 4-1, on Saturday morning.
Spreading the wealth: While each of the previous four teams felt like it had the ability to reach that goal, this year’s squad feels even more confident about it. In contrast to the previous editions, this year’s club doesn’t have to rely on just one or two standouts to succeed.
“I’m really excited about the possibilities with this group,” Central York coach Eric Webb said. “Everything that we do is based on playing in late October and early November. That’s when we want to be playing.”
It's been so far, so good for Webb and his squad.
Perfect in Division I: The Panthers have already defeated both of their closest rivals — Dallastown and Red Lion — already this year en route to a perfect 6-0 mark in Division I. They beat Red Lion 2-0 on Sept. 11 and took a thrilling 1-0 double-overtime verdict over Dallastown on Sept. 18, when Britlyn Higgins scored with one minute left in the second OT, off an assist from Sydney Koncsol.
The Panthers' only blemishes on a 7-1-1 overall record were a 4-0 setback against Central Dauphin and a scoreless tie against Conestoga Valley.
“It was our first game of the season,” Central York junior Chloe Carns said of the contest against Central Dauphin (8-0-1), which is No. 1 in the latest District 3 Class 4-A power ratings. “It was pouring down raining and they were really good.”
Growing stronger: Davis and Carns both feel like their team has grown markedly since that game back on Aug. 31 against the squad that ended the Central season in the District 3 4-A quarterfinals a season ago. The 2018 club has seemed to come together as a whole in a more complete way.
“I think this year we’re all working as just one unit,” Davis said. “We really aren’t relying on just that one player anymore. We all lean on each other and help pick each other up.”
Overcoming adversity: For Webb, that sentiment has been felt on seemingly every night, helping his squad overcome injuries and illnesses throughout the first month of the season.
“We’re just starting to get healthy,” Webb said. “We’ve had some girls out with mono and we’ve had some hip flexor injuries. Two weekends ago we only had three field players on the bench and (Saturday) we had nine. So that’s a big difference.”
The Panthers are sitting in the No. 5 spot in the District 3 4-A power ratings. Only the top three finishers in District 3 will make the 4-A state playoffs.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.