EMIGSVILLE— Ask his players, and they would likely agree that much of the credit for the recent success of the Central York boys’ soccer program belongs to Panthers' head coach Frank Lenno.
Much of that praise for Lenno doesn't stem from his X’s and O’s knowledge of the game, though that is substantial. Rather, it's more about how Lenno has built a camaraderie among a diverse group of high school athletes. The boys that Lenno coaches love playing for him, and Lenno loves to coach them.
To his players, the team is more than a program, it's a family. Just like a lot of families, Lenno, who has coached at Central since 2006, has instituted some traditions that bring pride to his team.
The latest tradition started this year and seems to be a big hit with the squad. After every victory, Lenno and his coaching staff pick a player who they feel best helped the team earn that victory. That player is given a replica WWE title belt to wear after the game, as well as to school the next day.
On Tuesday, Sept. 26, that player was senior goalie Kameron Stoll. Stoll came up with a big save early for the Panthers against South Western, a stop that Lenno proclaimed to be the difference maker in his team’s 3-0 triumph in a battle of York-Adams Division I leaders.
“We gave it to Kameron because he made an unbelievable save,” Lenno said. “That pretty much, in my opinion, was the difference in the game. If they bury that ball it’s a totally different game.”
For Stoll, earning the "Man of the Match" belt was especially gratifying. It was the first time all year that he won it. The smile on his face said it all.
“It’s something that we all look forward to,” Stoll said. “And this is my first time with it so it’s really exciting. It’s really an honor to win it for this game.”
Having fun: Along with uniforms that feature a European-style logo patch emblazoned on the upper left chest, the "Man of the Match" belt is another hit by Lenno.
“Every year we’ve all always had a fun time,” Stoll said. “But this year, out of all the years, I just think that we’re having the most fun. We’re having some really good success and everyone is having a really good time together. There’s no outliers here at all. It’s just everyone together.”
Lenno, who has coached the team to the PIAA playoffs a handful of times over his tenure, knows he’s got a good thing going. It shows not only in games but in practices, both before and during the season.
“I just like the effort,” he said. “The effort is there for 80 minutes and we’re very passionate about the game and passionate about playing with each other. We have a lot of players that are versatile and we have a couple of guys that have stepped it up and are burying a couple of balls for us.”
Tuesday those guys included Danny Horner, Zach Mummert and Carter Mummert. All three of the goals came in an eight-plus minute stretch midway through the first half that all but put the game away.
Injury puts damper on game: While the victory was satisfying for the Panthers, an unfortunate leg injury suffered by South Western defender Casey Slater put a damper on the emotions. With nearly seven minutes gone in the second half, Slater made a play for the ball that resulted in a serious leg injury.
“You never want to see anything like that,” Lenno said. “Ever. It kind of took the spirit out of the game after that. He’s a good player and a good kid.”
Stoll, who had a good view of the incident, felt bad about Slater’s injury.
“We all know him,” Stoll said. “We all never want to see anything like that happen and we all wish him a fast recovery. Hopefully he can be back on the field again soon.”
Central improved to 10-1 overall and 6-0 in the division. South Western fell to 7-4 and 5-2.
Susquehannock 4, Gettysburg 0: At Gettysburg, in a battle of York-Adams Division II unbeatens, the York County Warriors beat the Adams County Warriors. Susquehannock improved to 5-0 in the division and 9-1 overall. Gettysburg fell to 5-1 in the division and 7-1-1 overall. Jason Weger, Dylan Burke and Ben Wilson scored for Susquehannock. Gettysburg also gave up an own goal.
West York 3, Eastern York 1: At Wrightsville, Jason Bruder scored twice and Aidan Clark added a goal and two assists to lead the Bulldogs. Dalton Leik scored for Eastern off an assist from Zach Goss.
Northeastern 2, Red Lion 0: At Manchester, the Bobcats received one goal apiece from Kevin Torres and Noah Hartzfeld. Teammates D.J. Hamilton and Joel Afata each had one assist.
Northeastern 3, Red Lion 0: At Manchester, Amanda Bentz led the Bobcats by scoring one goal and adding two assists. Chaney Golden and Amanda Leisses each scored one goal apiece.
Kennard-Dale 2, York Suburban 0: At Fawn Grove, Jamie Georgief scored off an assist from Kora Klinger. Suburban also gave up an own goal.
Gettysburg 3, Susquehannock 2: At Glen Rock, the York County Warriors received one goal apiece from Carly Attig and Taylor Tannura. Teammate Ashlynn Weger picked up one assist.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org