According to York Catholic boys' lacrosse coach Shane Harper, junior attacker Eli Doyle has been on a mission.
"He's been upset ever since he's been told he was honorable mention attack," Harper said, in reference to the All-York-Adams League Team. "And again, he is one of the best attackmen in the league. He's just unstoppable and attracts the best pole at this point and time, and he does well with it."
That perceived slight has propelled Doyle's play of late, manifesting itself in his seven-goal effort in leading the No. 6 seed Fighting Irish (15-3) past No. 11 Central York, 19-12, in a District 3 first-round contest Tuesday at York Suburban High School.
The Irish now move on to face No. 3 Cumberland Valley at 5 p.m. Thursday at Lower Dauphin Middle School. York Catholic is the lone York-Adams boys' lacrosse team left in district play. Cumberland Valley eliminated Susquehannock, 13-1, Tuesday.
It was the first district victory for the Irish program, and also marked their third win against Central in the past two weeks. The two teams met May 10 in the York-Adams League semifinals, with the Irish winning 14-8 before going on to claim the school's first league crown.
"Offense," Doyle quickly replied when asking the strength of this team in the midst of a special year for the program. "It feels pretty good. It's hard to win a third time but I think we played well and got better every time we played them, knowing their strengths and weaknesses."
Anytime the Panthers (11-7) tried to get something going, Doyle was quick to shift momentum. Doyle and the Irish offense, including a five-goal performance by Tommy Bowser, squelched a pair of Panther runs in the second half that helped York Catholic protect a 13-4 halftime lead.
Late in the third quarter, Central made its most furious attempt at a comeback, with Connor Hoch touching off a spree of five straight goals. The run, ending early in the fourth quarter, got the Panthers to within 16-12, which was closest the teams were since the middle of the first quarter.
But Bowser and Doyle quickly squashed the comeback attempt with back-to-back goals, finishing their nights and giving the Irish an 18-12 lead with 3:49 left to play. Tanner Yanick added his third goal of the night a little more than a minute later to cap the scoring.
"Outside shots," Doyle said, when asked the reason he was finding successs. "But that's not really my game, I usually dodge. But I had open shots and I somehow buried them."
Katon Yantek, T.J. Ross and Hoch scored three goals each for Central.
After the game, Central coach Tom Mayne expressed displeasure at his team's level of preparation recently, noting it as a contributing factor to the large first-half deficit.
"We haven't practiced well before games, we didn't practice well yesterday, and it was kind of symbolic of what I see happen when we start a game," Mayne said. "It's been habitual for quite a while now, especially toward the end of our season."
He added: "Our problem all season has been digging big holes for ourselves. It's nice to see that you don't quit, nice to see you can put a run on, but when you see it over and over again it's hard to be happy about it."
OTHER DISTRICT 3
Berks Catholic 14, Red Lion 13 (OT): At Red Lion, the Lions lost a tough one in the first round of districts to see their season come to an end against Berks Catholic. Jac Gemmill had a huge night offensively for Red Lion, scoring five goals and tallying four assists, while teammate Sam Emig had four goals and two assists. Nick Serrano made 18 saves in the cage for the Lions. Red Lion finished 14-6.
Hershey 9, Dallastown 3: At Hershey, Tanner Haines had a goal and two assists for the Wildcats in the season-ending loss. Ethan Pickett added a goal and an assist. Cade Gold had Dallastown's other score, while Jack Marks made 13 saves in goal for the Wildcats, who finished 11-5.
Cumberland Valley 13, Susquehannock 1: At Cumberland Valley, Brady Gallegos had the Warriors' only goal and Michael Weaver added as assist. Nick Chamberlin made 14 saves. Susquehannock finished 9-7.
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.