February 26, 2014

Dominant Defense Lifts Spartans to 13-5 Win at F&M

LANCASTER, PA – The York College men's lacrosse squad picked up an impressive 13-5 non-conference win at Franklin & Marshall College on a brisk and sunny Wednesday afternoon in Lancaster, PA. The Spartans dominated the second 30 minutes of play as they outscored F&M 7-1 in the second half.

The Spartans have won two straight as they improve to 2-1 overall while the Diplomats fall to 0-2 with the loss.

York opened the scoring with a pretty James Lowe (Monrovia, Md./Urbana) goal at the 12:28 mark of the first quarter. The goal came after the Diplomats won the opening face off and made the Spartan defense fend them off for the first two and a half minutes of the game. York raced down the field, cleared the ball and scored when Andrew Gamble (Easton, Md./Easton) found Lowe streaking into the middle as the senior captain finished off the chance for the early lead.

York All-American Tyler Hutson (Westminster, Md./Winter Mills) put the Spartans up 2-0 with 5:04 left in the first quarter. The Diplomats answered with three straight goals over the final 4:25 of the first quarter including a goal with less than three seconds left in the quarter to take a 3-2 lead after the first 15 minutes of play.

The Spartans tied the game on a Gamble goal 1:37 into the second quarter before the Diplomats' Will Ballantyne put F&M up 4-3 just 2:20 after Gamble's goal. Spartan Chris Varela (Easton, Pa./Easton) retied the game 1:03 later as he scored off a feed from Dakota Randall (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa). The Spartans' Taylor Tolbert (Chambersburg, Pa./Chambersburg) gave the Spartans the lead for good when he took the feed on the clear and bulled his way through the Diplomat defense to drill a shot past F&M goalie Cameron Setian for the 5-4 Spartan lead.

York got a huge break right before the half as Spartan netminder Caleb Abney (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) recorded a save off a John Barney shot, cleared the ball quickly as the ball found the stick of Hutson with the clock ticking down. Hutson found a streaking Gamble who blasted a shot past Setian for the 6-4 Spartan lead 12 second before the break.

The third quarter began with something that usually doesn't happen to York as the Diplomats scored with 6:37 left in the period, cutting York's lead to 6-5. It was only the second goal York has surrendered in the third quarter in three games this year. That would also be the last Diplomat goal as Hutson went on a three-goal tear over the final 3:51 of the quarter, pushing York's lead to 9-5.

The Spartans closed out the scoring with four more goals in the fourth quarter to earn the seven-goal win. The fourth quarter goals including a ridiculous behind the back goal from freshman Jamie Lilly (Davidsonville, Md./St. Mary's Annapolis) shortly after he entered the game in the later stages of the fourth. Lilly's goal came on his first career shot as a Spartan.

Hutson led the Spartans with a five-point day as the junior captain tallied four goals while he also had an assist. Lowe contributed four points on two goals and two assists while the reigning CAC Offensive Player of the Week, Gamble, had two goals and an assist. Randall and Tyler Davis (Finksburg, Md./Westminster) each added three points. Randall had a goal and two assists while Davis had three assists in the win.

Freshman Tyler Fields (Catonsville, Md./Mount Saint Joseph) led a strong defensive effort for the Spartans as he collected a team-high four ground balls. Andrew Thomas (Limerick, Pa./Spring-Ford) forced two turnovers while he also had a ground ball for YCP. Freshman Jake Katchmark (Centreville, Va./Westfield) went 11-for-19 at the X while he also had two ground balls for York.

The defense was key for the win according to Spartan head coach Brandon Childs.

"We have some really good short stick defensemen and we left those guys on an island today and they played great," said Childs. "F&M has a bunch of guys with slick sticks and high lacrosse IQ's so we just wanted to defend the inside first. When you don't have to slide, it's a little easier to defend the inside. It really starts there for the close defense and they did a great job of talking. I thought Josh Kluver (Abington, Pa./Abington) did a great job on their best player. I thought Tyler Fields was the difference in the middle of the field today. He stepped up huge for us."

Abney notched his second win of the year as he registered 12 saves in his 60 minutes of work. Abney allowed five goals but kept the Diplomats off the board in the final 21:37 of the game.

Setian allowed all 13 Spartan goals as he made five saves as he falls to 0-2 with the setback.

The Diplomats got all five goals from different players. Barney and Ballantyne each had a goal and an assist for two points for the Dips. Defender Carolos Pelaez registered three caused turnovers while Nick Wells had a team-high four ground balls. Mike Sanzone won 7-of-11 face offs for the hosts.

The Spartans were outshot 38-28 but the Spartans were highly efficient as 18 of their 28 shots were on target. York also had ten assists on their 13 goals.

Childs believes continuity is the key to the effective Spartan offense.

"We have a lot of continuity on offense. These guys have been playing together for awhile now," said Childs. "As long as we are patient and don't try to do to much too fast, we are pretty good. It means the first quarter is always going to be close because we are going to feel the first quarter out with our patience. Once we figure it out, I am confident with the guys on that end of the field."

The key to the win came on the defensive end of the field as the Green and White limited the Diplomats to just one goal on their 15 second half shots. The Spartans have now outscored their three opponents 13-2 in the second half this year.

"Our guys do a great job of getting refocused in the second half," says Childs. "We have five key points in every game. Today, we spent the entire half talking about ground balls. I thought the difference in the second half was our ability to get the ground balls, especially off the face offs."

The Diplomats had a 28-22 advantage in ground balls but both teams had 11 in the second half after F&M had a 17-11 advantage in the opening half.

For the first time this year, the Spartans won the face off battle as York went 12-for-22 at the X. The Spartans were also very good again on the man-up as York converted 2-of-3 extra man opportunities. The Green and White is now 9-of-15 (60%) on extra man chances in three games this year.

The Spartans make their long awaited home debut on Saturday afternoon as they continue their tour of the Centennial Conference with a match against McDaniel. First face off is scheduled for 12:00 pm at Kinsley Field.

Tyler Fields photo courtesy of Scott Guise - Director of Athletic Communications