DALLASTOWN — There’s never a need to get either side excited when the Dallastown and Central York boys’ soccer teams square off.
Often the marquee match-up of the York-Adams League Division I season, the two programs have great respect for each other.
That isn’t to say, however, that the teams don't look at the rivalry games as an opportunity to earn a statement victory. That may be especially true for the Wildcats, who haven’t defeated the Panthers in the past five seasons.
Tuesday marked the first clash of the two Y-A powers at Wildcat Stadium. The hosts were riding high after winning each of their first six contests, including an impressive triumph over two-time defending PIAA Class 3-A champion Lower Dauphin.
The visitors, on the other hand, have not performed up to their recent standards. The Panthers came into this battle at 3-3-1 overall, which is a rather pedestrian mark given the program's recent history, which includes five straight D-I crowns.
Turns out those records didn’t matter much.
Some new tactics: The Panthers changed up some things offensively in their attack, which proved to be effective. Central struck twice in a 61-second span late in the first half and never looked back en route to a 3-1 triumph.
“We put together some new things over the past few days,” Panthers coach Frank Lenno said. “And the boys bought in. (Dallastown) is a talented team, but we knew what our strengths are and we put our team in a position to succeed.”
Those changes included a tactic that the Wildcats saw just last week by a Spring Grove side that put more players behind the ball. While that didn’t work out for the Rockets, Central was able to be more effective, largely due to the Panthers' speed and skill.
“We changed up our formation,” said Central York’s Alex McNair, who claimed his team’s wrestling belt after being named the player of the game for his one-goal, one-assist effort. “They obviously scouted for our old formation and they (had trouble) with what was coming.”
Dallastown was able to take some momentum into the half after Mitch Groh scored with just 88 seconds left in the first half to make it a 2-1 contest.
Ponce strong in goal: The Wildcats, however, were unable to get anything by Panther goalie Bryan Ponce after that. Ponce, who was pretty vocal with his defense throughout the game, made a big save with under two minutes left in regulation to keep his team ahead by two goals.
“I knew I had some big shoes to fill coming into this year,” Ponce said. “It’s just a really good feeling to win.”
Tuesday’s showdown was more of a must-win for the Panthers, who have dropped games against Lewistown, Susquehannock and Red Lion and stand at 3-1-1 in D-I.
Another big game looms for Dallastown: The Wildcats (4-1 in D-I), meanwhile, will have to put this setback behind them quickly. Dallastown has another big showdown Thursday against a Red Lion side that could take a big grip on the Division I helm by knocking off their backyard rivals.
“Red Lion plays some nice soccer,” Dallastown coach Matt Zimmerman said. “Coach Watt knows what he’s doing. It’ll be fun to play against them.”
Handling adversity: Zimmerman, who quickly proclaimed that his team was never going to go through the entire season unbeaten, is eager to see how his team handles their first taste of adversity this year.
“I told (my team) afterwards that everything’s roses when it’s all wins and everyone’s all happy,” he said. “But now we got our first little thing so it’s now ‘how are we going to deal with it?’ We’ll get back and focus Wednesday and train and get ready for Red Lion.”
Evan Smeltzer and Zack Mummert scored goals for Central, while Ponce was big in net with eight saves.
Susquehannock 5, York Suburban 1: At Glen Rock, Nolan Holloway led the Warriors to the home victory by scoring one goal and adding two assists. Also for Susquehannock, Nick Holloway and David Muriel-Diaz each scored one goal and added one assist, while Mason Kaifer and Nathan Weldon each scored one goal. The Warriors improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in York-Adams Division II. For the Trojans, Nate Bowman scored a lone goal. Susquehannock won the JV match, 1-0.
Red Lion 2, Northeastern 1, 2-OT: At Manchester, the Lions improved to 5-0 in York-Adams Division I behind goals from Michael Moffit and Ethan Stough. Stough's goal came in the last minute of double overtime. Noah Hartzfeld scored for Northeastern.
York Catholic 3, Fairfield 0: At Fairfield, the Irish rolled behind two goals from Bryan Bullen and a goal and two assists from Ben Bullen. Jon Yinger added an assist for the Irish. Ethan Higgins made two saves to get the shutout in goal.
Central York 1, Dallastown 0, 2-OT: At Central, the Panthers took over sole possession of first place in York-Adams Division I with the showdown triumph. The Panthers improved to 6-1-1 overall and 5-0 in the division. Dallastown dropped to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in D-I. Britlyn Higgins scored with one minute left in the second overtime period with an assist from Sydney Koncsol. Dallastown's Ashley Wakeling made four saves. Rachel Szczypinski and Morgan Wood combined for 10 Central saves. Central won the JV match, 2-0.
West York 5, Eastern York 4: At West York, the Bulldogs led 4-1 at the half and hung on for the home victory. Allie Becker led the Bulldogs by scoring one goal and adding two assists. Also for West York, Alyssa Narber scored two goals, while Brionna Smith and Alexis Miller each scored one goal. Gabby Smith and Lily Yanick each picked up one assist. For the Golden Knights, Cassidy Shetler and McKenna Sutherland each scored two goals.
Dover 3, Gettysburg 2: At Dover, Malone Tracey scored two goals and Kylie Firestone added one to pace the Eagles. Dover's Cierra Miller made 10 second-half saves. Dover improved to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in York-Adams Division II. Gettysburg is 6-3 and 4-2.