Central York boys' lacrosse dominates South Western to continue hot streak

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

EMIGSVILLE — The 2023 season as been a bit unusual for the Central York boys’ lacrosse team so far. Typically atop the York-Adams League and near the top of the District 3 Class 3A rankings, the Panthers have instead had to resort to playing some catch-up in the month of April.

While that has been unusual, the Central boys have adjusted quite well to the predicament. The Panthers had won seven in a row heading into Monday’s clash with a South Western squad that has lost just once so far this season. And against the Mustangs, Central York demonstrated that its rebound from back-to-back one-goal losses to begin the season has been no fluke.

Led by big nights from Dayton Bagwell and Mitchel Myers, the Panthers jetted past the visiting Mustangs, 17-7.

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

“After those first two losses we knew we had to figure something out,” said Bagwell, who torched the nets for seven goals in the victory. “Whatever we were doing just wasn’t working, so we reverted our offense back to what we usually ran the past couple of years. We’ve gotten a bit more comfortable and I think we got our groove back.”

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On a night in which head coach Ryan Muller was absent due to illness, the Panthers raced out to a 3-0 lead after one period as Bagwell, Myers (five goals) and Cameron Diehl (two goals) all found the net. Bagwell added two more in the second quarter to help the home team to a 7-2 lead at the break.

South Western, which fell to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the York-Adams League, kept things even in the third by matching Central York's three tallies, but the Panthers put up seven goals in the fourth — including a trio by Myers — to cruise to the triumph.

“We’re looking a lot better now,” Bagwell said. “But we’re still not perfect.”

Central York's Mitchel Myers (40) against Hempfield during their lacrosse game in Springettsbury on Wednesday March 22, 2023.

Bagwell, whose other two varsity teams didn’t taste defeat until late in the season, has been impressed with how the team came closer after setbacks to Hempfield and rival Dallastown to begin the campaign. He’s hoping that, in a weird way, those early setbacks are what can propel the team to a District 3 Class 3A title next month.

“We’ve faced a lot of adversity early and none of the teams that I’ve played on here have ever had that,” Bagwell said, noting one of his seasons was wiped out by the pandemic. “We would start off real quick with very little adversity and then get to the playoffs and suffer a tough one, but I think maybe that we got that out of the way … hopefully.”

A big test of Bagwell’s faith will come next week when the Panthers take on unbeaten Susquehannock. The Warriors are off to exactly the type of start that Bagwell and his mates have experienced in the past; their closest contest this year has been a seven-goal victory over Cumberland Valley.

“(Susquehannock) is always a big game for us,” Bagwell said. “It should be a good one. I know we’re all looking forward to it.”

Monday’s victory propelled the Panthers to 8-2 overall and 7-1 in the YAIAA, one game clear of the Mustangs. Dallastown (10-0, 7-0) and Susquehannock (9-0, 7-0) are tied atop the standings, but the Warriors get the Panthers next Tuesday, April 25, before facing the unbeaten Wildcats two days later.

Ryan Lancellotti led South Western with three goals, while Matt Benzing and Cole Dittinger added two goals apiece for the Mustangs.