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SOCCER: Under new coach, Red Lion girls on roll early

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
505-5403/@ydsports
  • Red Lion improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in York-Adams Division I.
  • Central York fell to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the division.
  • The Red Lion duo of Gabby Young and Natalie Aldrich combined for three goals and two assists.

RED LION — Taking over the program this year was not an extremely difficult decision for Red Lion girls’ soccer coach Megan Mahon.

Mahon is an eighth-grade teacher in the Red Lion district, so making the change from Spring Grove to Red Lion made a lot of sense.

Central York's Laurel Stoppard, left, and Red Lion's Tessa Engles struggle to control the ball during soccer action in Red Lion on Monday. Red Lion won the match, 3-2, to improved to 3-0 in York-Adams Division I action.

It doesn’t hurt that Mahon inherited some real talent in the move, too.

While her Lions are nowhere near the level she would like them to be at, the start to her first season at the helm can't be labeled as anything but a success thus far.

Taking on perennial York-Adams League Division I contender Central York Monday afternoon at Horn Field, Mahon’s club cruised to a surprising 3-0 lead at the break. While the Panthers did their best to rally back behind a pair of goals from Lynsey Nicholas, the Lions held on for a 3-2 triumph.

Red Lion improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the division. That's a drastic improvement from a year ago, when Red Lion finished 2-10 in Division I.

Central dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the division.

Central York's Mia Balderston, left, works to hold back Red Lion's Alyssa Adams during girls' soccer action in Red Lion on Monday.

“We had them on their heels,” Mahon said. “But every game is a learning experience for us and that’s how we’re taking it.”

The Lions controlled play over the first 40 minutes. The duo of Gabby Young and Natalie Aldrich combined for three goals and two assists in the half.

“They’ve been playing together for years,” Mahon said of the duo. “And they like that combination play.”

While the first half was very good, the second half was a bit of a struggle for the Lions. The Panthers twice found the head of Nicholas on set plays. Her first goal came just more than 10 minutes into the final 40 minutes, while her second tally made it a one-goal game with just under six minutes left.

While Mahon is a familiar face at a new place in Red Lion, the Panthers, too, have a new coach this season. Former Central York boys’ soccer coach Eric Webb returned this season to take over the program that had long been headed by Liz Critchfield.

The feeling-out process is a work in progress for Webb, who coached the Central boys’ soccer team to the league title back in 2005. He’d certainly like to avoid halves such as the first one on Monday.

Central York's Kylie Bovender, left, and Red Lion's Abby Castle battle each other for control of the ball during girls' soccer action in Red Lion on Monday.

“We just want to keep it simple,” Webb said. “Possession style, be patient and play to feet. When we do that, we’re effective, and when we get away from that, like in the first half, we’re not so effective. We (coaches) had very little to say at halftime other than that.”

Mahon’s new club sits atop the league standings with her former one from Spring Grove close behind at 2-0. It won’t be long before Mahon, a former standout at Spring Grove, gets to see her old team in action. They are scheduled to square off Saturday at Horn Field.

“I built some really good relationships with the girls from Spring Grove,” she said. “And I coached some of them since they were (freshmen). So seeing them grow up and play will probably be a little bittersweet. But I’m now building relationships here at Red Lion and I have a bunch of great girls as well. So I’m pleased at this point.”

Central outshot the Lions, 8-7, for the contest.

OTHER

GIRLS' SOCCER

York Catholic 13, Hanover 0: At Hanover, the Fighting Irish scored nine first-half goals to rout the Hawkettes. Melanie Matthews had three goals and two assists to lead York Catholic. Eleven different Fighting Irish players recorded goals in the match.

Hershey 5, Dallastown 3: At Dallastown, the Wildcats surrendered three second-half goals to lose to the Trojans at home. Alyssa Larson scored two of the three goals for Dallastown, while Skylar Wilt had the other. Katie Cocco had a hat-trick for Hershey.

Cedar Cliff 5, Dover 1: At Camp Hill, Libby McKeaver scored the lone goal for the Eagles in the non-league contest.

Mechanicsburg 7, West York 0: At Mechanicsburg, Cati McCarty made 22 stops in goal for the Bulldogs in a losing cause.

Kennard-Dale 3, Bermudian Springs 1: At York Springs, the Rams led 2-1 at the half and went on to capture the victory. Brooke Rinehart led the Rams with two goals. Teammate Chloe Thoericht scored one goal and added one assist.

BOYS' SOCCER

Kennard-Dale 0, Bermudian Springs 0: At Fawn Grove, the two teams couldn't find the net. K-D had a 13-7 edge in shots on goal and a 5-2 edge in corners. Jacob Ingoe had seven saves for the Rams. The JV match also ended in a 0-0 tie.

York Catholic 7, Hanover 1: At Hanover, the visitors cruised to the win. No other details were reported.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.