The York Catholic boys' lacrosse team locked up the third spot in the upcoming York-Adams League tournament with a 20-8 statement victory against Dallastown. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
Shane Harper was afraid that his York Catholic boys’ lacrosse team might come out flat Thursday afternoon at home against Dallastown.
Since defeating another potential York-Adams League tournament participant in Red Lion a week ago, Harper’s Irish have cruised in their last three contests.
Instead, with the league playoffs looming next week, the bench boss wanted his talented team to send a message. After a tight first quarter, Harper’s group obliged and utilized a sustained scoring run built on the dominance of face-off specialist Andrew Snelbaker to run away for a crucial 20-8 victory.
“That was huge. I don’t think anybody expected that. I know Central didn’t expect that, Susquehannock didn’t expect that. We’re happy that that is the result,” Harper said. “…We had some easy games the past three or four games. And I didn’t want to come out flat and we didn’t. We prepared the kids as best as we could, or we thought as best as we could, and obviously it shows it worked.”
The Irish came into Thursday’s contest having won their last three by a combined score of 54-8. The triumph over the Wildcats pushes that mark to 74-16. It also moves York Catholic’s record to 11-4 overall and they close out league play at 11-2.
Dallastown fell to 11-3 overall and 9-3 in the league. The Wildcats next face a must-win game at home on Monday against rival Red Lion, who sits at 9-6 overall and 7-4 in the league.
If the Lions defeat the Wildcats, they would earn the final playoff spot with a victory on Tuesday at New Oxford. A loss against the Colonials, however, would give that final spot to the Wildcats.
York Catholic will enter the league playoff as the third seed, with their only losses in Y-A play coming to top-seed Central York and second-seeded Susquehannock, which nipped Red Lion on Thursday, 11-10.
The win is also nice for the Irish’s future District 3 seeding. York Catholic entered the game ranked fifth in Class 2-A and the Wildcats came in at fifth in Class 3-A.
Snelbaker shines: Of all the Irish’s top performers Thursday, the one who seemingly took Harper’s words to heart most was Snelbaker. He admitted that an intense pregame atmosphere helped spur him to a commanding five-goal performance.
“This is the hypest (sic) I’ve ever seen our team in the locker room before a game. Just because we’ve lost to two of those teams that are in that tournament,” Snelbaker said. “So, we wanted to show (Dallastown and the league) that we’re ready to come play them and we’re ready to beat them.”
His fifth and final goal of the day was the most emblematic of his efforts.
After collecting the draw following a Dallastown goal, which made it 15-7 Irish early in the fourth quarter, Snelbaker was sent to the ground by a group of Wildcat defenders as he raced on goal.
He somehow managed to maintain possession through the contact before getting up, rolling off the group, breaking free and bouncing home a five-hole shot on the goalie.
His effectiveness on the draw, winning 19 of 28, helped the Irish maintain possession throughout their game-breaking scoring spree. He even displayed an ability to create his own offense while helping the Irish break the game open.
Key run: After the Wildcats’ Josh Sebastian made it 3-2 with 9:12 left in the second quarter, Snelbaker single-handedly took control and kicked off a 6-0 Irish run.
Snelbaker won the draw to himself after Sebastian’s score and darted down the throat the Wildcats’ defense before throwing a quick stick fake and burying his first goal of the afternoon. Chandler Hake followed with second goal of the day and Snelbaker mimicked his feat six seconds later for his second score.
“They were cutting off my wings on the side, so I knew I had to be able to take it myself. And when I was running down the field they were slow to slide, so I love taking advantage of that,” Snelbaker said. “It happens once in a while, but that was more than it has usually happened all season. So that was a little crazy.”
Dallastown’s Ethan Pickett scored the first of his four goals with 1:09 left before halftime to end the run. But Snelbaker did his thing for the third time six seconds after Pickett’s tally.
Pickett scored again to make it 10-4 Irish at the half. The two teams would put on a statistical repeat in the second half.
Surviving onslaught: Right before their game-changing charge, the Irish, mainly keeper Jarred Kohl, had to survive a Wildcats offensive onslaught.
Not afraid to shoot at a moment’s notice, the Dallastown attacked forced Kohl to make four of his 13 saves with the Irish clinging to a one-goal lead early in the second quarter. Kohl recorded three more of those saves during the tight opening frame.
The Wildcats opened the game’s scoring with a marker from Tanner Haines. Johns Hopkins commit Cole Witman, however, quickly evened the score with a nice spin move after emerging from behind the net before firing one past Dallastown goalie James Kelly. Dmitri Amalfitano followed quickly by taking a crisp pass from Matthew Cassidy and tickling the twine to give the Irish a lead they’d never relinquish.
Hake scored the first of his six goals on the night as York Catholic led 3-1 after the first quarter.
Making a statement: “I told them ‘With the exception of all of us in that huddle, there’s not a lot of people that believe we can just take it to anybody.’ And I said ‘Look guys, here’s your time to prove to not only Dallastown, but anyone else that wants to watch or listen, we mean business. We’re here to play,’” Harper said of addressing the team after the first quarter.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Delone or Dallastown. We can come out with the same attitude, the same result. And today, winning 20-8 against a playoff team, and a big playoff team for that matter, that’s a statement if nothing else for sure.”
The Irish also reminded the rest of the league that they can score in various ways and boast several different weapons. That was evident by a glance at the stat book that saw Witman finish with five goals and three assists, Hake add an assist to his six scores and Cassidy added two goals and four helpers.
Dallastown was led by four goals from Pickett. Haines scored a goal and added a pair of assists.
Spring Grove 16, New Oxford 10: At Spring Grove, Zeb Hollinger's 13-point game (six goals, seven assists) led the Rockets. Colson Martin added six goals and an assist. Robert Wood made eight saves in goal to get the win.
York Suburban 16, West York 6: At Suburban, Dominic Corto (five goals, four assists), Austin Sipes (two goals, four assists) and Evan LeCates (five goals) combined for 20 Suburban points. Suburban goalie Blake Wallace made 14 saves.
South Western 10, Eastern York 5: At Wrightsville, Cadyn Michael (three goals) and Gavin Evans (two goals, assist) accounted for all the Eastern goals in the loss.
Susquehannock 18, Red Lion 7: At Glen Rock, the Warriors (14-2 overall) finished off a perfect 12-0 York-Adams League season. Kenna Hancock (seven goals), Emma Stiffler (two goals, two assists), Riley Roeder (three goals) and Harley Mummert (two goals, assist) powered the Warriors. Peyton Shima (two goals, assist) led the Lions.
South Western 17, Eastern York 6: At Hanover, the Mustangs rolled behind big games from Adreannna Hacker (three goals, five assists) and Elizabeth Antoshak (five goals). Chelsea Forsyth and Addy Malone each had two goals for Eastern, while Emilee Bodien had nine saves.
Kennard-Dale 19, Dover 3: At Fawn Grove, Megan Halczuk (four goals, five assists), Morgan Bowings (four goals, two assists), Maddie Day (five goals), Mackenzie Young (three goals) and Eden Sterner (two goals, assist) help K-D improve to 14-2 overall and 11-1 in the York-Adams League. Paige Lantz had all three Dover goals. Lantz got her 100th career goal.
York Catholic 13, Dallastown 10: At Dallastown, Carlin Mayer poured in five goals and Sarah Mazzur added four goals for the Irish. Georgia Prindle had three goals for Dallastown.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.