Central York blanks Eastern York to win another York-Adams League girls' soccer crown
DALLASTOWN – The unknown quality about playing a team such as Eastern York in the York-Adams League girls' soccer title match was a nice breath of fresh air for the Central York Panthers Saturday at Dallastown High School.
The unfamiliarity, however, didn't make the task of winning a fifth-straight Y-A title any easier for the Division I runner-up.
Coming off a one-win campaign in 2020, the Knights shocked pretty much everyone en route to a second-place showing in Division II this fall.
The surprise grew larger when the Eastern girls scored a 1-0 semifinal victory over Division I champ Dallastown in the league semifinals on Thursday.
When Central and Eastern squared off for the league title Saturday, there was a good bit of intrigue, since the teams didn't meet in the regular season. After a scoreless first half, the thought of the Knights dethroning the Panthers was a real possibility.
Enter Central senior Sarah Crusse.
The Panthers were able to get a long through-ball into the box. Eastern goalie Maddie Runkle nearly got her hands on it, but Crusse got there just in time for a tap-in goal to put the Panthers up 12 minutes into the second half.
Getting that goal was huge for the CY girls. It put the defense-oriented Knights on their heels. Eastern had to open up things a bit more and the Panthers got an insurance goal by Eva Barakos with just under 11 minutes left to help seal a 2-0 triumph.
“Sarah has been big for us, not just tonight, but for the entire season,” Central coach Nate Trimmer said. “For her to get us one was big and it was just pure effort. She made a 30-yard run to catch up and was able to toe-poke a ball and she was rewarded for that effort.”
It was clearly a nice result for Crusse, who couldn’t stop smiling while wearing the gold medal she received moments earlier.
“That definitely got us more motivated,” Crusse said. “It was just a really good motivation goal for us to start with and we just kept going and didn’t let them score.”
First goal was key: Eastern coach Christina Crumling figured that the first goal would be fairly decisive Saturday. Knowing that her team was one of the stronger ones in the area, getting ahead was crucial.
“They (Central) were just really consistent all night,” she said. “Our defense has been lights-out all season. And I think our goalie had her hands on the ball and they just got a toe-poke in there and got it through.”
Before the first goal, Trimmer was feeling a bit anxious. His team had good scoring chances a few minutes after the opening whistle and just after the half, but couldn't convert.
“Yeah, I thought that both could have found the back of the net,” he said. “So it took longer than we liked, but, at the end of the day, we just have to get more across the line than them and we had enough tonight.”
Saturday’s victory marked the end of an outstanding day for Central York teams, which also won the Y-A field hockey title as well as earning a quarterfinal triumph in the Y-A girls’ volleyball playoffs.
“It was a good day,” Trimmer said.
Tears of pride for Eastern's Crumling: While the outcome was not what the underdog Knights were hoping for, Crumling’s tears during the post-game huddle were not of disappointment.
“It just meant a lot for us to be here,” said Crumling, who guided the Knights to their previous league final nearly two decades ago. “I was crying, but I told the girls that my tears weren’t because of disappointment. It was because of how proud I was of them. They had an unbelievable season. We won just one game last year and for us to get here and be second in our division was quite a turnaround.”
Notes: While the Panthers (15-4-1) will surely celebrate this weekend’s triumph, getting back to business as usual Monday at practice will be a priority when Trimmer’s team will prepare for a District 3 Class 4-A first-round battle with Dallastown (15-4-1) at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Dallastown.
“It’s tough that the York County teams seem to find each other early in districts,” said Trimmer. “We’ll give it our best and see what we can do.”
Tuesday’s clash will mark the third game in a row for Central at Dallastown. Tuesday’s victory over Fairfield also came at the same venue, so Dallastown is beginning to feel like the Panthers' home-away-from-home these days.
“I don’t want to call it our new home or anything like that, but it’s nice to come to someplace familiar and have a familiar drive,” Trimmer said. “We know the field and procedures so that’s nice.”
Dallastown and Central split their two regular-season matches,
The Knights (14-6-1) will have a week off to prepare for their District 3 2-A quarterfinal clash with Trinity. Eastern finished fifth in the power rankings, just behind the Shamrocks (14-3-1), who will host next Saturday’s battle at 4 p.m.
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