Momentum plays a major factor in sports. That is especially true in lacrosse, where a team can turn things around in a hurry.
Such was the case Thursday night when York-Adams League rivals Red Lion and York Suburban squared off in a contest that carried playoff implications.
The home-standing Trojans controlled much of the first half, building a four-goal lead. A late tally by the Lions before the intermission, however, shifted momentum toward their side. Red Lion scored four more goals in the third quarter to take the lead, but Suburban rallied to even the score with under two minutes left.
That set the stage for Red Lion standout Tyler Dunlap, who ripped home the game-winning score with 30 seconds left.
The 9-8 triumph was big in the league standings for the Lions, who improved to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the league. Suburban fell to 7-3 and 5-2.
"Every game is important this year," Red Lion coach Stefan Stiffler said. "Absolutely."
It all started with a goal by standout attacker Jac Gemmill (five goals) that came with under a second left in the first half. Gemmill's tally cut the Suburban lead to 6-4 at the break.
"That goal before the half was a game changer," Stiffler said. "We weren't getting a lot of really good looks on offense (in the first half), but then everything started to click."
The Lions dominated play in the third period, scoring four more goals to take an 8-6 advantage. Gemmill had two more goals during that surge, while Dunlap and Sam Emig also scored.
Some penalties hurt the visitors in the fourth quarter, when the Trojans were able to cash in with goals from Ryan Yost and Cam LeCates to even it up. LeCates' tally with 1:29 remaining in the game came with a man-advantage.
The home team had possession after that goal, but the Lions were able to turn it over before Dunlap scored the game-winner.
"I just cut and Tanner Reif (one goal, four assists) threw me the ball," Dunlap said. "Then it just happened. It was just instinct. We're a really close team and have been playing together forever. And then we just connected there at the end."
The Lions were able to run out the clock successfully over the final half minute, setting off a big celebration on the same field where they fell 9-8 a year ago.
"It was close last year," Dunlap said. "We had to get them this year. And this was an important game for us in the division."
While the Trojans failed to secure the victory, first-year coach Luke Beam refused to blame his team for the setback. Instead he put the onus squarely on himself.
"This is on me," he said. "I need to coach better in order to get a W. (My kids) need to hold their heads high and get ready for next week."
Collin Mailman led the Trojans with thee goals, while goalie Pat Keane tallied eight saves. Red Lion goalie Nick Serrano finished with seven saves.
OTHER BOYS' LACROSSE
West York 13, Central York 12: At West York, the home rallied from a 4-0 hole after one period to earn the win. The Bulldogs used a 10-4 edge in the middle two periods to regain the lead. West York improved to 8-1 overall and 7-1 in the York-Adams League. Central fell to 6-5 and 4-4. Hunter Betz (two goals, four assists), Devyn Roehm (three goals, assist), Tanner Brannon (two goals, assist), Trevor Sweitzer (three assists), Ryan McCauley (two goals), Seth Wise (goal, assist) and Ian Lichty (goal, assist) led the winners. Central was paced by Connor Hoch (three goals), Katon Yantek (two goals, assist), Alex Kilgour (two goals, assist) and T.J. Ross (goal, two assists). Cole Rinehart had eight saves to get the win in goal. Pearson Hinkle had nine saves in a losing cause.
Dallastown 15, York Catholic 9: At York, the Wildcats improved to 9-1 overall and 7-1 in the York-Adams League. Braven Morris (three goals, assist), Brian Prats (three goals), Cade Gold (three goals), Andrew Kvasnovski (two goals, assist), Dom Gurreri (two goals) and Max Lohss (two goals) paced Dallastown. Jack Marks made seven saves in goal. York Catholic was led by Jacob Norton (three goals), Luke Brennan (two goals, assist) and Tanner Yanick (goal, assist). Alex Reichart had eight saves for York Catholic.
Eastern York 13, South Western 8: At Hanover, Conrad Rhein's eight-point game paced the Golden Knights. Rhein scored a team-high five goals and added three assists. On the other side, South Western's Anthony DeVincent tried to match Rhein point-for-point, tallying five goals and two assists for a team-high seven points.
Susquehannock 15, New Oxford 5: At Glen Rock, Aidan Kirkendall led the Warriors by scoring five goals and adding one assist. Also for the Warriors, Jack Allred had four goals and two assists, Collin Riley had two goals and three assists, Colin Kelly had two goals and one assist, Dorian Faster scored two goals and Alex Rebich added two assists. For the Colonials, John Wilson scored two goals and added one assist.
Correction: The winner of Wednesday's lacrosse match between Red Lion and York Catholic was incorrectly reported in Thursday's Dispatch. Red Lion won the match, 14-11.
South Western 10, Eastern York 4: At Wrightsville, Erin Brown and Lauren Schmidt each had three goals for the Mustangs. Kylie Nikolaus had two goals and an assist for the Golden Knights. Both Tristyn Keller (EY) and Laura Silver (SW) made six stops in goal.
Susquehannock 25, New Oxford 11: At New Oxford, A big second-half by the Warriors helped break the game open. Katelyn Welch had a game-high six goals and added three assists, while Ashley Valway chipped in with five goals for Susquehannock. New Oxford's Braxtin Reddinger had team-high seven points, coming on five goals and two assists.
Kennard-Dale 24, Spring Grove 1: At Fawn Grove, an 18-0 halftime lead for the Rams allowed them to cruise. K-D had 14 different girls score goals, including a game-high four from Emmie Dressel. Lauren Grove scored the only goal for Spring Grove.
Red Lion 17, York Suburban 8: At Red Lion, a 10-2 second-half scoring advantage for the Lions turned a one-goal halftime lead into a nine-goal victory. Jenna Godfrey (five goals), Peyton Shima (four goals), Emily Harrington (three goals) and Josie Raver (three goals) each had multi-goal performances for Red Lion. Karlee Wasilweski scored a team-high three goals for the Trojans.
West York 19, Central 10: At Central, Lakyn Brenneman led the Bulldogs by scoring a game-high six goals. Also for West York,Kelley Dietz scored four goals, Chloe Smith scored three goals and Ally Williams and Samantha Gentzler each scored two goals. For the Panthers, Addison Billings scored five goals, while Hannah Gilhool scored two goals.
York Catholic 13, Dallastown 2: At Dallastown, Anna Linthicum led the Irish by scoring three goals and adding two assists. Also for the Irish, Lindsey China and Amanda Tufano each scored two goals and added two assists, while Shannon Moore had one goal and three assists and Kayleigh Pokrivka scored two goals. For the Wildcats, Alyssa Layton scored both goals for the home team.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.