YORK, Pa. – The York College men's lacrosse team (10-3, 5-1 CAC) defeated the visiting Captains of Christopher Newport (5-6) by a score of 11-5, on an afternoon in which the squad's senior student-athletes were spotlighted for their dedication to the program.
"I can't give them [the senior players] enough praise for what they've given," head coach Jim Griffin stated. "York is in their blood. They bleed green."
On a cloudy afternoon the Spartans reciprocated the dedication and hard work of senior players Bryce Johnston, Adam Cooper, Pat Raymond, Jason Underwood, Bob Braun, Pat Coppinger, Josh Gamble, Brendan McLaughlin, Travis Atwell, Kevin Carlson, Russell Tutt and John Silverio, by garnering the team's tenth win of the season, even though the Green and White may not have put forth their best performance.
"Today was a little ugly," Gamble stated. "We got the win but did not really do what we were looking to do. We weren't really clicking and came out a little soft at the beginning."
After Christopher Newport won the opening face-off, York was able to force a turnover that resulted in a fast break where Gamble was able to feed sophomore Justin Aita, who netted the contest's first goal. The Captains answered back on a goal with 10:52 remaining, however the game did not stay tied for long as James Lowe, John Dubois, and Cooper all notched tallies to give the Spartans a 4-1 advantage. Spartan junior John Powell finished off a pretty York goal later in the first before Christopher Newport cut the Green and White advantage to three at 5-2 before the end of the first.
The Captains came out for the second quarter firing, putting up two goals in the first five minutes to inch within one of York's lead. With 8:21 remaining in the first half, Dubois was able to gain enough room to allow him to absolutely rip a whip shot from the top of the box for his 21st goal of the season and give the Spartans a bit more breathing room. The goal by Dubois was followed by Aita's second on the day a mere 20 seconds later to give the Green and White a solid 7-4 lead. The Captains would eventually answer back with a dramatic score as time expired in the second quarter, however the Spartan defense proved exceptionally reliable from there on out as that would be the last goal Christopher Newport would score for the remainder of the game.
The third quarter began slightly sluggish, and only one goal was netted throughout the entire 15 minutes of play. With 10:46 remaining, junior Jimmy Langton lit up the scoreboard for his 26th goal of the 2011 campaign, giving York an 8-5 lead. Although Langton's goal was the lone strike by any team during the quarter, the game began to get a little rough following a vicious hit on Aita in front of the Christopher Newport goal. In addition to a second penalty during the play York was given a man-up advantage for roughly three minutes, but could not gather themselves to even put up a shot on goal during that span.
"It was a little uneasy to get accustomed to," Griffin stated about the three-minutes of man-up play. "We have not been in that situation at all this season so it was a process of putting things into place. Though, when you have a lead you're not trying to force anything and we wanted to be more patient."
The fourth quarter was all York, highlighted by goals scored by Gamble, Lowe and Aita, the first two of which were assisted by Underwood and Cooper, respectively.
With 2:40 to play, the crowd really got loud as the Spartans' seniors trotted onto the field, seeing quality action for the remainder of the contest.
Even though the team was not overly thrilled with how today's game, Lowe remained philosophically optimistic about the afternoon stating, "You learn more obviously when you do not play your best."
Looking forward, the Green and White will continue singing Lowe's optimistic tune as they host Stevenson in a CAC match-up on Tuesday, April 12, a contest that Cooper knows York will come out playing with their usual fast-paced, high-octane offense.
PHOTO: Senior Adam Cooper cradles the ball during York's 11-5 senior day triumph over Christopher Newport on Saturday. Courtesy of Theresa Dark - York College athletic communications praticum student
Game story written by Matt Pucci - York College athletic communications contributing writer