April 7, 2009

Spartans Record Program's First Shutout

YORK, PA – Defense proved to be all-the-rage Tuesday afternoon as the York College men’s lacrosse team shutout visiting Susquehanna 9-0. The clean sheet is the first Spartan shutout in the ten-year history of the program. With the non-conference triumph, York improves to 7-6 on the year while the Crusaders fall to 5-7.
     The Spartans used a total team effort to blank their guests. York’s offense controlled the ball for a majority of the contest, totaling an impressive 56 shots to Susquehanna’s eight. Defensively, York did not allow their counterparts from Selinsgrove a single shot in fourth quarter and only surrendered five attempts on goal throughout the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Chris Collins (Westminster, Md./Westminster) made all five Spartan saves over his 54:25 of work before Rob Kreider (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) and Mike Karwoski (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville) polished off the final 5:35.
     Freshman Bradford Blaker (West Chester, Pa./Henderson) and sophomore Josh Gamble (Easton, Md./Easton) led the way for the Spartans offensively as they each tallied six points. Blaker posted four goals and two assists to up his season totals to 21 and five, respectively. Either he or Gamble had a hand in each of the Spartan’s first eight goals, including a four-goal stretch were one scored and the other assisted.
     In what amounted to a light first half, Gamble, who recorded three goals and three assists, notched what proved to be the game-winning score with 7:34 remaining on the first quarter clock.
     Blaker then put the Spartans up by a pair with 9:32 to go in the second period on a Mike LaRoque (Arnold, Md./DeMatha) helper. Those two tallies would be the only scores either side could manage over the first 30 minutes as York took the 2-0 lead into the halftime break.
     Despite the low-output, the Spartans did rattle off 22 shots in the first half and forced Crusader goalkeeper Anthony Maiorella to make 12 of his 18 saves in the first 30 minutes, including several quality stops.
     The Spartans opened their margin to four in the third period. Gamble began the scoring with his second of the day at the 12:52 mark before assisting Blaker for the rookie’s 19th of the year with 11:30 to play.
     The Gamble, Blaker theme would continue into the fourth quarter as the tandem combined on the next three scores. Blaker went back-to-back at the 12:47 and 10:37 marks respectively, before returning the favor to Gamble with 9:06 remaining in the contest. The sophomore’s 25th of the season opened a wide 7-0 margin.
     Blaker added his sixth point on an assist to Russell Tutt (Colorado Springs, Colo./Parkville) as the Green and White led 8-0 with 8:28 left.
     York’s final tally came from the crosse of senior midfielder Brian O’Neill (Lititz, Pa./Manheim Township) who, on an assist from Adam Cooper (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air), unleashed a man-advantage notch with 1:36 remaining to seal the game’s scoring.
     York controlled every facet of the game against the Crusaders. Aside from their impressive shot total, the Spartans collected 38 ground balls to Susquehanna’s 15, while winning 7-of-13 face-offs. The Green and White made it difficult for their guests to complete clear attempts as the Spartans forced the Crusaders into a mere 19-of-28 performance. The Crusaders also turned the ball over 31 times, 17 of which were forced by the Spartans.
     Including the goalkeeping unit, the Spartan defense played an exceptional 60 minutes. Senior Dan Wood (Montauk, N.Y./East Hampton) notched a team-high six ground balls while causing a pair of turnovers. O’Neill, Josh Muskin (Union Bridge, Md./Francis Scott Key), Dan Sadler (Arnold, Md./Broadneck), and James Greenwood (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) joined Wood as they each caused two Crusader turnovers. Senior defenseman Steve Mersinger (Westminster, Md./Westminster) added five ground balls while Gamble chipped in with four.
     The Green and White nearly tabbed shutouts in two contests before today’s result. York only surrendered one goal in a February 2004 contest against Alvernia (25-1) and then gave up two to Capital Athletic Conference foe Hood on March 2 of last season (20-2).
     The Spartans will look to take their late-season momentum next week’s CAC tournament which begins Monday, April 13. Complete tournament information will be available on York’s athletics website, www.ycpspartans.com.

GAME BOX

Mike LaRoque photo courtesy of Scott Guise