For someone as talented on the lacrosse field as Sam Emig, perhaps the best quality about the Red Lion standout is his intense desire to win.
Emig is a marked man, often garnering a ton of attention every time he steps on the field. Scoring nearly 200 goals in his distinguished high school career before his senior season will do that.
Emig, however, has adjusted his game a bit for this campaign. His dodges in the offensive end still draw crowds of defenders, but instead of trying to beat those difficult odds, more times than not, he's just as happy to find open teammates for good scoring chances.
As a result, the Eastern University recruit has as many assists this season as he had all of last year. Mind you, there are still several weeks left before 2017 is over.
Emig was at it again Tuesday night when his team traveled to take on York Suburban in a pivotal regular-season battle. The Lion attacker scored three goals to go with a pair of helpers to lead his team to an impressive 14-6 triumph.
Red Lion improved to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in the Y-A League. They inched closer to Suburban, which fell to 6-2 overall and in the league.
“This was a big game for us,” Emig said. “We knew we had to come out strong. And we started strong, but I don’t know what happened there in the middle, but we picked it back up.”
Part of that is a credit to Emig, who admits he’s just as happy to help his team score a goal as he is to score a goal himself.
“Sam has changed,” Red Lion coach Stefan Striffler said. “We’re a different team this year, and he’s really embraced it. He’s not all about just scoring goals. He wants to win.”
The Lions scored the game’s first two goals before the Trojans kept things close. Emig’s side led by just a goal, 5-4, at the half. But the visitors scored five straight goals to begin the second half to regain the upper hand. Just for good measure, the Lions added four more unanswered tallies in the fourth quarter.
“We’re a young team, but everyone is stepping up,” Emig said. “And that’s most of our team. We only have five seniors and it’s big for those young guys to step it up.”
One of those young guns that Emig referenced is Elijah Workinger. The sophomore scored three goals to go along with three helpers.
Those young players may not have played up to their potential so far this season, but that’s OK with Striffler, who understands that early-season losses to Central York and South Western will not make or break this season.
“It’s like coach (Bill) Belichick tells the Patriots, ‘championships are not won in September,’” Striffler said. “For us, it’s March and April. We need to get to May in order to have a shot. We’re still a work in progress, but we’re getting better every game.”
Suburban is another team in the same category. The Trojans, however, came into Tuesday with just one loss to league-leading Central. Now Suburban will have to find a way to regroup before another big showdown Thursday afternoon against rival York Catholic.
“I don’t know of any games in this league that are not must-wins,” Trojan coach Luke Beam said. “I do know that all we’re thinking about right now is Catholic and seeing if we can play better than we did (tonight).”
Dominic Corto led Suburban with two goals, while goalie Blake Wallace recorded nine saves. Red Lion goalie Nick Serano finished with five saves.
Dallastown 17, Spring Grove 16 (OT): At Spring Grove, Ser Greene scored in the overtime session to lift the Wildcats to the thrilling victory. It was Greene’s lone score of the contest. The Rockets used a 5-3 fourth quarter to force the extra frame. Leading the way for Dallastown was Tanner Haines with six goals and Ethan Pickett added five more. Tanner Bolton was Spring Grove’s leader with six goals and teammate Zeb Hollinger added five more.
South Western 14, West York 8: At South Western, the Mustangs were led by four-goal efforts from Braden Dunn and Casey Slater. Cody Richter scored four goals and Colby Goodling added three more for West York.
Dover 18, Delone Catholic 8: At Dover, the Eagles picked up their first league win of the season. Cole Jesmer and Tyler Brock each had five goals for Dover, while Sean MacDonald added four.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.