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BOYS LACROSSE: Irish to meet Panthers for league title

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
505-5403/@yaiaascores
  • York Catholic rolled to a 17-10 triumph over Red Lion in one York-Adams semifinal on Wednesday.
  • In the other semifinal, Central York cruised to a 17-3 triumph over Dallastown.
  • The Irish and the Panthers will meet for the league tournament title at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Central.

DALLASTOWN — In a season chock full of really close boys' lacrosse showdowns across the York-Adams League, the playoff semifinals turned out to be a notable exception.

That included Wednesday evening’s rematch of last year’s title contest between rivals York Catholic and Red Lion.

During their regular-season clash, the Irish hung on for a one-goal victory on their home turf against the Lions. Wednesday, the margin of victory was much more comfortable.

York Catholic standout Eli Doyle found the net seven times while Red Lion’s top attacker, Sam Emig, was held to one goal, helping the Irish claim a 17-10 triumph.

The Irish (13-3 overall) will face regular-season champ Central York in the finals at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Central. The Panthers thrashed Dallastown 17-3 in the other semifinal.

“Our kids know that if we show up that we’re going to win,” York Catholic coach Shane Harper said. “But there’s four really, really good teams in the semifinals and it was all about who was going to show up.”

It didn’t take long for the Irish to demonstrate that they were going to "show up." The defending champs scored the first three goals in a contest in which they never trailed.

The result, however, was put away in the second quarter. Harper’s squad outscored the Lions (12-6) by a 6-1 clip to take a commanding 11-4 lead into the intermission.

“It’s a mental game, especially with high schoolers,” Harper said. “I used a Yogi Berra quote before the game. ‘The game is 90 percent mental and 50 percent physical.’ And they came to play, every single one of them.”

While Doyle, who leads the state in scoring, draws tons of attention, Harper singled out one of his unsung heroes for particular praise. Defenders don’t often get their names in the box score for their efforts, but Harper mentioned Ricky Pokrivka as a difference maker.

Pokrivka, who may have been slightly motivated by watching his sister Kayleigh lead the Catholic girls to victory earlier, almost single-handedly held Emig in check.

“Ricky hassled (Emig) all game,” Harper said. “In the first half we won the game on the offensive side, but in the second half we won it defensively.”

A first-team Y-A League defender, Pokrivka seems to both thrive and enjoy a good challenge. He certainly gets a big dose of it during practices, squaring off against his own team’s prolific attack.

“I work against one of the best guys out there in Eli Doyle,” Pokrivka said. “He gets me ready every single practice.”

So what did Pokrivka and his fellow defenders do to limit the high-scoring Emig?

“I tried to force him to his left, which is his weakness,” he said. “And I just tried to body him up.”

Life won’t get much easier for Pokrivka come Friday when his team prepares to take on a highly-touted Central York outfit. Pokrivka, however, is fully aware of who he’ll be assigned to.

“T.J. Ross,” he said with a smile.

Ross, a first-team Y-A League attacker, is second in the state in scoring, right behind Doyle.

With Emig blanketed, the duo of Elijah Workinger and Ben Hornberger helped keep the Lions alive offensively. That duo combined to evenly split eight goals. Steven Nigro and Chandler Hake each scored three goals for York Catholic.

Panthers cruise: Central York (16-1 overall), meanwhile, improved to 14-0 against York-Adams League foes this season. The Panthers used an 8-0 third-period surge to put the game away. At one point, they scored 11 unanswered goals.

Ryan Kilgour scored five goals for the Panthers, while Ross had four and Alex Kilgour chipped in three. Ryan Fahs and Connor Hoch scored two goals apiece for the Panthers, who are looking for their first league tournament crown since 2013.

Dallastown fell to 11-6.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.