The York Catholic boys’ lacrosse team makes it a point to focus more intensely in the fourth quarter.
That extra attention to detail has proven to be pivotal at times during the first half of the regular season.
The few times in which the Irish haven't emerged victorious, it hasn't been because of poor fourth-quarter efforts, but rather, because of slow starts.
The Irish fell behind West York by five goals in their overtime loss to the Bulldogs a few weeks ago. And on Tuesday, against rival Red Lion, another poor start was again costly.
The Lions scored the first two goals of the contest while taking a three-goal lead after a period. Their advantage grew to four goals by the fourth quarter.
Just like they did against West York, the Irish played determined lacrosse over much of the final 12 minutes on Tuesday. Against the Bulldogs, they scored four unanswered tallies to even the score. They duplicated that feat against Red Lion, tying the score at 15-15 with 4:15 remaining.
But the Lions refused to wilt. Jac Gemmill scored at the 3:43 mark to put the visitors ahead for good and Red Lion earned the victory in a match-up of two of the top teams in the York-Adams League, 17-15.
The Lions (7-2 overall) improved to 6-1 in league play with the victory, while the Irish (8-2 overall) fell to 5-2.
“We came into the game a little flat,” York Catholic coach Shane Harper said. “We knew they were the best team that we’ve seen so far this year, but we were a little scared. But toward the end there we tied it up, but just couldn’t finish.”
Trailing 15-11 after three periods, the Irish controlled much of the action over the first eight minutes of the final period. A pair of costly turnovers by the Lions were turned into a pair of quick goals. Jacob Norton and Eddie Smith finished the four-goal burst with tallies for the home team.
But face offs are undoubtedly the biggest key for a team trying to turn things around. The Lions won the final three draws of the contest, with two of them leading to a pair of goals, one by Gemmill (six goals, three assists) and the other by Sam Emig (six goals, four assists).
“They gave it everything they had,” Emig said of the Irish. “We just tried to slow it down on offense, and then we were finally able to put a couple in the back of the net.”
For Harper and his group, the best way to develop a better mentality from start to finish is to pull out victories in these types of games. Harper is hoping that comes sooner rather than later for a team that has never qualified for the York-Adams League or District 3 playoffs.
“We always start play as if we’re down,” Harper said. “What we need is to play in some tough games like this and then win. We have to play well in these big games that have a high emotion … impact games. And we have to win, and that’s when we’re going to get over this hump.”
The Irish, who were led by three-goal games from Norton, Eli Doyle and Tommy Bowser, still have key battles remaining against rivals Dallastown and Central York.
The victory was probably a little more important for the Lions, who have tough battles against York Suburban, Susquehannock and Central York to finish up the 11-game league schedule. A setback would have likely required a sweep of those tilts to remain in contention for the regular-season crown.
“It’s a gauntlet,” Red Lion coach Stefan Striffler said. “And two of those will be during this stretch right now where we play seven games over 10 days. It’s going to be a tough grind for our guys.”
OTHER BOYS' LACROSSE
Dallastown 15, New Oxford 4: At New Oxford, Josh Sebastian and Cade Gold led the Wildcatsby each scoring two goals and adding three assists. Also for the Wildcats, Ryan Dodson had four goals, Ser Greene scored three goals and Andrew Kvasnovsky and Zach Berkley each scored two goals. Ethan Pickett added two assists.
York Suburban 17, Kennard-Dale 2: At Suburban, Mike Sipes and Colin Mailman each scored four goals for the Trojans. Wyatt Cairns and Zach Anderson scored K-D’s goals.
Central York 13, Spring Grove 7: At Spring Grove, Will Hartzel scored five goals and T.J. Ross added four more for the Panthers. Tanner Bolton scored three goals for Spring Grove.
West York 12, South Western 6: At South Western, Nicholas Cintron scored four goals and Ryan McCauley added three more as the Bulldogs doubled up their hosts. Carson Perry and Braden Dunn each scored two goals for South Western.
Susquehannock 19, Eastern York 9: At Glen Rock, Anthony DeVincent scored eight goals and teammate Dorian Faster wasn’t far behind with seven for Susquehannock.
York Catholic 22, Red Lion 4: At Red Lion, Lindsey China’s 13-point effort easily carried the Irish past their hosts. China led all scorers with 10 goals and added three assists. Anna Linthicum recorded five goals and two assists for the victors. Alyssa Adams led Red Lion with a pair of goals.
Susquehannock 15, Eastern York 2: At Wrightsville, Rachel Marshner led the Warriors by scoring six goals and adding three assists. Also for the Warriors, Gena Speights had four goals and two assists, Emma Stiffler had five assists, Maddie Ellis had one goal and two assists, Riley Roeder scored two goals and Kayla Held had one goal and one assist. For the Golden Knights, Rylie Toomey had one goal and one assist.
West York 9, South Western 8: At West York, the Bulldogs escaped with the one-goal win after holding a 6-3 lead at halftime. Holly Detwiler had three goals for West York, while Ally Williams netted two. South Western’s primary scorer was Hannah Huff, who scored five goals.
Kennard-Dale 18, York Suburban 1: At Fawn Grove, Maddie Day led all scorers with four goals in a game that featured 13 diffrerent Rams finding the back of the net. Zoe Zambito scored the Trojans’ goal.
New Oxford 15, Dallastown 11: At Dallastown, Braxtin Reddinger continued her scoring tear this year with eight goals for New Oxford. Melissa Clapsaddle had three goals for Dallastown, while three others had two-goal nights.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.