Shane Harper isn’t the type of coach to continue something just for the sake of tradition.
Especially when he feels it might be having a negative impact on his York Catholic boys’ lacrosse team.
With a dangerous pattern of falling behind early in the first quarter in many of their games this season, Harper thought that it was time to change things up a bit. The Irish coach got rid of the line drills that seemingly every team runs in practices and during pregame warm-ups. He also brought the team back into the locker room before Thursday’s clash with rival York Suburban.
If the results are any indicator, it looks like Harper’s team has started some new pregame traditions. The home squad reeled off six unanswered goals in the first period en route to an impressive 15-7 triumph.
York Catholic improved to 6-3 overall and 6-2 in the league. They moved ahead of the Trojans, who fell to 6-3 overall and in the league.
“We needed to get our intensity level up,” Harper said. “We have to be excited to play the game that we love and I think those changes had a lot to do with it.”
Falling behind in more than half of their first eight contests, the Irish looked like the team that Harper has been waiting for all season. Chandler Hake scored three of the team’s first four goals to get the momentum started and it barely stopped before the final horn sounded.
While it's impossible to judge the results of a changes after only one game, Harper sounds like he has no plans to go back to the old way of doing things.
“Normally we did the standard line drills that everyone is familiar with in lacrosse,” he said. “And line drills are probably the most pointless and stupidest drill in the sport, yet everyone does it. We’ve been doing it for years and now we’ve eliminated them from practice and from pregame just because I don’t think it’s doing us any good.”
While Harper’s side played better, especially in the first quarter, the team is still a work in progress. Coming off the program’s first-ever York-Adams League title a season ago, the Irish coach has waited patiently for his team to start to play like last year’s club.
Getting off to a better start was key, but penalties were a big red flag for the coach. Of Suburban’s seven goals, five came with the man advantage. Harper could be heard scolding his team during a second-half timeout for drawing flags.
Senior Eli Doyle led the home team after scoring five goals. Hake added four more, while fellow sophomore Matt Cassidy added three.
That trio has been coming together since the start of the season, and Thursday was evidence that they might become a formidable attack before the playoffs begin next month.
“It’s huge for them to realize that they can play,” Harper said, talking in particular of his two sophomore forwards. “It’s huge when teams can’t just lock off one player like Eli. Teams couldn’t do that against us last year, and now we’re starting to see that as the season goes along that our attack men have the ability. And I think it’s going really well for us.”
Bryce Gavin led Suburban with three goals while Dominic Corto finished with two goals and four assists.
Red Lion 19, Dover 6: At Red Lion, Sam Emig led the Lions by scoring five goals and adding three assists. Also for the Lions, Trevor Rider had three goals and two assists, Mason Gauntt and Ben Hornberger each scored three goals, Dylon Waskiswicz had one goal and two assists and Elijah Workinger and Quinton Lyons each had one goal and one assist. For the Eagles, Cole Jesmer had four goals and one assist, while Tyler Brock scored two goals. Red Lion is 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the York-Adams League.
Central York 20, Kennard-Dale 1: At Fawn Grove, T.J. Ross led the Panthers by scoring five goals and adding one assist. Also for Central, Kollin Vaught had four goals and one assist, Alex Kilgour had three goals and two assists, Ryan Fahs had one goal and two assists and Connor Hoch and Matt Hawksworth each scored two goals. Central improved to 11-0 overall and 9-0 in the York-Adams League.
West York 16, New Oxford 4: At West York, the Bulldogs rolled behind Cameron Goodling (seven goals), Cody Richter (four goals, one assist), Jordan Billet (goal, two assists), Dylan McCoy (goal, two assists) and Nate Townsley (goal, assist).
Red Lion 20, Dover 3: At Dover, Alyssa Adams led the Lions by scoring five goals and adding three assists. Also for the Lions, Kaitlynn Lower scored four goals, Emily Harrington scored three goals, Sara Simms had one goal and three assists and Peyton Shima and Kaiya Edwards each scored two goals and added one assist. For the Eagles, Paige Lantz scored all three goals.
Dallastown 7, Eastern York 5: At Wrightsville, Melissa Clapsaddle led the Wildcats with three goals. Teammate Olivia Orendorf scored two goals and added one assist. For the Golden Knights, Addy Malone scored three goals.
New Oxford 10, West York 9: At New Oxford, Jaime Leete and Raleigh Bateman each registered a hat trick for the home team. Sydney Sweitzer led West York with a game-high five goals.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.