Central York boys' lacrosse falls in high-intensity opener vs. Hempfield

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

EMIGSVILLE — The boys’ lacrosse rivalry between cross-river rivals Hempfield and Central York renewed Wednesday evening at Central York High School.

While many of the teams' previous epic clashes came late in the season or during the District 3 playoffs, this was instead the season opener for both clubs. That didn’t put a dent on the action, as both teams played as if hardware was on the line.

Leading 4-3 at the half, the Panthers were unable to hold up against a Black Knights program that handed the Central York boys their first loss of the season back in 2021 during the playoffs. A late goal by Phillip Krauser with 6:41 left proved to be the difference as Hempfield beat Central by a 7-6 margin.

Central York's Dayton Bagwell (6) against Hempfield during their lacrosse game in Springettsbury on Wednesday March 22, 2023.

“We started off with the tough one,” Central York coach Ryan Muller said. “We just have to execute and play a little bit smarter and we’ll be all right.”

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That smartness that Muller was referencing related to a second quarter in which the Panthers were flagged for five penalties. Those proved costly, as the Knights were able to rally from a 2-0 deficit by scoring three man-up tallies.

“That said, it’s very early in the season,” Muller said. “We knew that we were going to have some growing pains along the way, but we have to play smarter and not shoot ourselves in the foot so much.”

Trailing 6-5 after three periods, the Knights and goalie Gabe Colon-Munoz shut down the Central attack in the final stanza. Colon-Munoz made three saves over the final 6:30 of play to keep the Panthers from leveling the score late.

Despite the setback, Muller and his club were fully aware that a loss in mid-March is totally different than one in May. That is even more true considering Central has some new faces in the lineup after graduating several seniors from last year.

“I think they (Hempfield) are in the same boat as us in that we both lost a lot of talented players from last year,” Muller said. “So we have a lot of young guys out there trying to make plays, and it’s just going to be learning the difference with high school ball, especially JV to varsity, which is a bit different from what they might have been used to.”

Central York against Hempfield during their lacrosse game in Springettsbury on Wednesday March 22, 2023.

Muller fully expects that when his team finds its groove that the offense will be anything but one-dimensional. On Wednesday, the Panthers got their six goals from five different players, which is something Muller believes will hold true throughout the campaign.

Cameron Diehl scored a pair of goals for Central York, while Brandon Anderson, Mitchel Myers, Dayton Bagwell and Brian McGarvey also found the net. McGarvey, who is the latest name on the list of great Central York faceoff specialists, won 13 of 17 draws against the Knights, including all eight in the second half.

“We have very good leaders and a strong senior class,” Muller said. “We have Dayton on the attack and Brian and Macon (Myers) at the midfield and Sam Czech down low. It’s just a very good core of upperclassmen.”

Central York's Luke McLaughlin (3) against Hempfield during their lacrosse game in Springettsbury on Wednesday March 22, 2023.

There were a handful of sophomores and freshmen on the field at times, and Muller is hopeful the experience and lessons his young players learned against a team of Hempfield's caliber will pay off down the road.

“The younger guys will just need to learn and grow and start to do their things and we’ll get there,” Muller said. “This was just the first game, and we have a lot of season to go.”

Central York goalie Luke McGlaughlin tallied 10 saves, seven of which came in the first quarter.