RED LION — After making back-to-back appearances in the York-Adams League boys’ lacrosse championship game the last two seasons, the York Catholic boys entered the 2018 season as a bit of an unknown.
Several key players from those successful squads, including standout and leading scorer Eli Doyle, graduated after last year’s run that ended with a loss to Central York in the title contest.
This year’s Irish team, however, was not about to sit back and become an afterthought. After a bit of a rough start, coach Shane Harper’s squad is positioned to have a shot at again getting back to the title game.
That positioning, which took a hit after a tough loss to rival Susquehannock Monday, was improved Thursday afternoon at Horn Field in Red Lion. Led by hat tricks from Chandler Hake and Dmitri Amalfitano, the visiting Irish raced out to an early 6-2 lead en route to a 12-9 victory over the Lions in a pivotal Y-A contest.
York Catholic improved to 8-4 overall and 8-2 in the league, while breaking a tie with the Lions, who dropped to 9-4 overall and 7-3 in the league.
While the victory was certainly welcomed by Harper and his crew, it was far from a perfect effort, according to the Irish coach.
“We got off to a good start,” Harper said. “But then we kind of just fell over ourselves a bit with some very sloppy play. We had the ability to score a lot more goals than we did.”
Harper’s team gave up a late goal and then committed a penalty to give the Lions a chance to make the game interesting over the final two minutes. Fortunately for the Irish, the home team was unable to capitalize.
“We started beating ourselves to be quite honest with you,” Harper said.
Defense shines: The offense certainly gets a brighter light shined on it for many reasons, but the strength of the Irish this year so far has been a stout defense led by Kyle Dormer. After losing the entire defense and goalie from last year’s club, Dormer and his defensive mates have helped keep the squad on nearly the same level this season.
“I like how the boys are kind of saying, ‘hey, we’re not worse than last year … we’re probably better than last year,’” Harper said. “And the boys have kind of put it on themselves and said ‘hey, we’re not going to listen to everyone.’ It’s really cool to see them kind of get mad and care that much that we’re going to keep moving forward.”
Dormer, who helped quarterback the York Catholic football team to the District 3 2-A title game in the fall, has been a role model for his teammates, even if many of them are sore and banged up from playing five games in seven nights.
“It doesn’t matter if we play five games in a row and we’re all a little sore,” Dormer said. “You have to come out prepared and ready every single game. It’s really more of a mindset thing than anything else.”
Dormer seems to relish his role on the defense. After taking a beating as a run/pass quarterback in the fall, as a defender in lacrosse, the roles are reversed.
“The helmet is a little lighter,” Dormer joked. “But I’m on defense, so I’m the one giving out the hits.”
Looking forward: One thing that the Irish players won’t joke about is getting a chance to win another league title. Dormer and his teammates now sit in position to be among the top four teams in the regular season who earn playoff berths.
In the playoffs, the Irish could meet up with first-place Central. Dormer and his squad believe they can pull of the upset. In their only showdown this season, Central prevailed 10-9.
“We lost in the final minute,” Dormer said. “So that was a tough one, but it really pushed us forward as a team. We’d really like to see them again in the playoffs. But we’ll take on any team from now on. I don’t think we’ve ever gone into a single game scared of the team we’re playing.”
Central York 20, South Western 2: At Central, the unbeaten Panthers kept rolling behind six goals and an assist by Ryan Fahs and three goals and five assists from Ryan Kilgour. Central is now 13-0 overall and 11-0 in the York-Adams League.
Susquehannock 7, York Suburban 6: At Suburban, the Warriors improved to 10-3 overall and 9-2 in the York-Adams League. Gavin Held (two goals, assist), Zach Buchanon (two assists) and Jacob Bedgar (two goals) had multiple-point nights for the winners. Riley Purcell (two goals, assist), Austin Sipes (two assists) and Bryce Gavin (two goals) led Suburban.
Dallastown 22, Dover 1: At Dover, the visitors improved to 11-2 overall and 9-2 in the York-Adams League behind big games from Ethan Pickett (four goals, six assists), Tanner Haines (three goals, three assists), Braven Morris (three goals, assist), Mason Bowman (three goals, assist), Jay Shifflet (two goals, assist), Tyler Harris (two goals, assist) and Spencer Bertok (two goals).
Eastern York 18, Kennard-Dale 7: At Wrightsville, Bryce Henise (six goals, two assists), Cadyn Michael (five goals), Gage Barton (two goals), Gavin Evans (goal, assist) and Jake Crumling (two goals) powered the Golden Knights. K-D's leaders were Seth Ash (two goals) and Wyatt Cairns (goal, assist).
West York 11, Spring Grove 7: At Spring Grove, Jordan Billet (four goals, three assists), Brady Halloran (three goals), Colby Goodling (three goals) and Justice Zortman (two assists) paced the winners. Zeb Hollinger (two goals, three assists) and Colson Martin (two goals) powered Spring Grove.
Kennard-Dale 18, Eastern York 8: At Fawn Grove, Megan Halczuk had four goals and three assists to power the Rams, who improved to 12-1 overall and 9-1 in the York-Adams League. The Rams' other stat leaders were: Morgan Bowings (two goals, three assists), Maddie Day (four goals, assist), Amelie Gamache (three goals, assist), Mackenzie Young (two goals, two assists), Eden Sterner (goal, two assists) and Chloe Fornoff (goal, assist). Addison Malone (four goals) and Chelsea Forsyth (three goals) paced Eastern.
Susquehannock 15, York Suburban 0: At Glen Rock, the first-place Warriors improved to 12-1 overall and 10-0 in the York-Adams League. Harley Mummert (five goals, assist), Kenna Hancock (five goals) and Emma Stiffler (three goals, two assists) paced the Warriors.
York Catholic 13, Red Lion 4: At York, Sarah Mazzur (three goals, assist), Kennedy Eckert (goal, two assists), Lauren China (two goals), Jamie Mullen (two goals), Carlin Mayer (two goals), Shannon Staples (goal, assist), Ella Linthicum (goal, assist) and Natalie Neiman (goal) led the Irish. Kaiya Edwards (two goals), Sara Simms (goal, assist) and Sam Collis (goal) led the Lions.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.