EMIGSVILLE — Overtime is perhaps the one scenario that the York Catholic boys’ lacrosse team wanted to avoid the most.
Yet, it was also the one that the Irish really needed to face in order to overcome their biggest psychological hurdle.
So, when the final minutes of Tuesday evening’s York-Adams League regular-season finale against home-standing Central York counted down with the score tied, the Irish found themselves inching closer to that reality.
A couple of chances to win it in regulation missed before the horn sounded with the score deadlocked at 13-13.
Having not won an overtime game in several years, Coach Shane Harper and his club focused on ending that drought. After the Panthers won the opening draw and had possession in the four-minute extra period, the Irish defense came up with a huge stand to keep things even.
Then, finally with possession, the Irish got the ball to attacker Eli Doyle. Starting behind the cage, Doyle raced to the right side of the circle before firing a shot past Central goalie Sam Prowell which capped off a thrilling 14-13 triumph.
The victory not only ended York Catholic's overtime troubles, but also earned the Irish (12-3 overall, 9-2 league) a share of the York-Adams League title for the first time in the program’s history.
“It was the first win for these boys in overtime ever,” Harper said with a smile. “Our last win in overtime was back in 2012.”
The "OT jinx" was on the mind of all of the Irish players after regulation. It had become a monkey they were all hoping to get off their backs as soon as possible.
“We were tired of losing in overtime,” Doyle said of his team’s misfortunes in overtime, which included losses to West York the past two seasons in OT. “It’s the worst feeling. But this time it was different.”
What wasn’t different was the fact that Doyle, whom Harper called the most underrated attacker in the league, went with his signature move to earn the game-winning goal.
“That’s my go-to move,” he said. “It’s an inside roll. It works 75 percent of the time. I just did what I did all game.”
That move didn’t work near the end of the regulation. He tried it with under five seconds left only to see a Panther defender make contact with his stick in the process. The ball flew well over the cage that time. Given another chance, he wasn’t over-thinking it. Neither was his coach.
“We give him the ball and we know that he can do it,” Harper said of Doyle, who finished with four goals and two assists. “They made one save (at the end of regulation), but he’s not going to miss again.”
Doyle’s goal set off a wild celebration. The York Catholic junior was mobbed quickly by teammates and even a few fans from the stands.
“Thank God,” Doyle said of what he was thinking at that point. “It was a relief.”
Relief is also a good word to describe the feeling for Harper, who saw the Panthers rally from a 12-9 deficit after three periods to even the score at 13-13 with 5:47 remaining after a pair of goals by T.J. Ross.
This time, however, the Irish finally earned a signature win, in overtime nonetheless. In the process, the York Catholic boys were able to knock off a pair of items from their dwindling bucket list.
“That year we had two opportunities in overtime to win it and we just couldn’t do it,” Harper said. “We just couldn’t finish. And finishing now (is great). Like I told you before, we can’t just be in the game — we have to win. You just have got to win. And now we’ve won.”
Playoff positions still unclear: While the Irish know that they will be in the York-Adams League playoffs, what particular seed they will be is still unsettled. The Irish will at least share the title with Red Lion, who knocked off South Western by a 15-2 margin Tuesday. The Lions defeated the Irish in their only meeting this season so if there is just a two-way tie for the title, the Lions would have the tie-breaker.
The situation becomes more unclear, however, considering that Susquehannock can make it a three-way tie with a victory Wednesday against Dallastown. If the Warriors defeat the Wildcats, all three teams would be left with identical 9-2 marks. Since the Irish beat the Warriors in their only showdown, but Susquehannock knocked off Red Lion, all three would be 1-1 against the other two.
Word on the tie-breaking process is expected to be released by the league either Wednesday or Thursday.
Notes: Tanner Yanick matched Doyle with a team-best four goals for the game, while both Luke Brennan and Steven Nigro each scored a pair for the Irish. Goalie Alex Reichart finished with 14 saves for Catholic.
Gavin George led the Panthers with five goals, while Ross and Alex Kilgour each scored three goals. Prowell finished with 17 saves for Central
The Panthers will enter next week’s league playoffs as either the No. 3 or No. 4 seeded team after an 8-3 mark in league play. If Dallastown upsets the Warriors, the Panthers will be the No. 3 seed by virtue of a head-to-head victory over Susquehannock this season. If Susquehannock wins, they will be the No. 4 seed.
Red Lion 15, South Western 2: At Red Lion, the Lions earned a share of the York-Adams crown with the win over the Mustangs. Sam Emig (five) and Jac Gemmill (four) combined for nine goals for Red Lion, while Gemmill also added four assists. The Lions are 12-4 overall and finished 9-2 in the league.
West York 14, York Suburban 12: At West York, the Bulldogs struck for 10 goals in the second half to rally past the Trojans. Cam Goodling and Zac Hess each had three goals for West York, while Hess also added three assists. Suburban’s Mike Sipes scored four goals.
Eastern York 13, Spring Grove 9: At Wrightsville, Eastern's Brian Lehman scored six goals, while Dom Particelli added four goals and two assists. Spring Grove got two-goal nights from Bryce Kephart, Tanner Bolton, Landon Sterner and Zeb Hollinger.
York Catholic 17, Central York 2: At York Catholic,Lindsey China and Anna Linthicum each recorded a hat trick for York Catholic and Lauren China and Peyton Feder each added two goals. Addy Billings scored both goals for Central. The Irish improved to improved to 15-0 overall and finished 11-0 in the York-Adams League, clinching the outright league title.
Susquehannock 24, Dallastown 9: At Glen Rock, Rachel Marshner and Gena Speights each had seven goals for Susquehannock, while Kayla Held had two goals and nine assists. Melissa Clapsaddle scored a team-high four goals for Dallastown.
Eastern York 15, Spring Grove 8: At Spring Grove, the Golden Knights won behind Rylie Toomey (five goals), Kylie Nikolaus (three goals), Brianna Pfeiffer (three goals) and Rachel Deppen (two goals). Jordyn Miller had five Spring Grove goals, while Cassidy Patchel added two scores.
West York 13, York Suburban 2: At Suburban, the visitors cruised to victory. No other details were available.
Red Lion 15, South Western 14: At Hanover, the Lady Lions won a thriller over the Mustangs. No other details were available.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.