YORK, PA – The York College men's lacrosse team earned their first-ever berth in the Capital Athletic Conference championship game as they defeated a very talented University of Mary Washington squad 13-9 in the tournament semifinals on Saturday in York.
The Spartans, who are ranked 15th in the nation, improve to 15-3 overall. The Eagles, who are ranked 13th in the nation, fall to 14-3 with the loss, their second to the Spartans this year.
The 15 wins for York establishes a new school record for victories in a season. It is also their eighth straight win, which is also a new school record.
The Spartans got off to a great start in the game as senior James Lowe (Monrovia, Md./Urbana) fired the first salvo with a goal off a pass from Joseph Joseph (Hollywood, Md./St. Mary's Ryken) 1:31 into the game. The Eagles tied the game four minutes later but York responded with goals from Andrew Gamble (Easton, Md./Easton) and Joseph to take a 3-1 lead with 7:08 left in the quarter.
The Eagles wasted little time in tying the game as Luke Dick and Greg Smith notched goals less than a minute apart. York took the lead for good when Gamble scored his 46th goal of the year off a pass from Tyler Hutson (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill). Spartan faceoff man Jake Katchmark (Centreville, Va./Westfield) then gave York a huge jolt as he won the ensuing face off, raced towards the net and fired a shot past Zack DelGrosso for the goal. Katchmark's tally came seven seconds after Gamble's goal.
The Spartan run continued in the second quarter as York ripped off five straight goals to push the lead to 10-3 late in the period. Hutson and Gamble had two goals during the run while Joseph had the other tally as the Green and White took a stranglehold on the game.
The Eagles got a Griffin Burke man advantage goal with just 12 seconds left in the first half as UMW took a 10-4 deficit to the half.
Mary Washington opened the second half with another man-up goal from Burke and a Dick goal at the 4:48 mark, cutting the York lead to 10-6. Tyler Davis (Finksburg, Md./Westminster) stopped the Eagle run with a goal at the 3:24 mark but Mary Washington finished the quarter strong with a Chip Pittard tally with only 35 seconds left in the third.
Dick began the fourth quarter with an unassisted goal 32 seconds into the period, trimming York's lead to 11-8. Gamble picked up his fifth goal of the game with 10:46 left in the game to push the Spartan advantage to 12-8. The two teams would trade goals over the final 4:26 of the game as York secured the four-goal win.
Spartan head coach Brandon Childs thought it was a true team effort for the Green and White on Saturday.
"I think everyone, whether they were on the field or on the sideline with me, was really focused on doing their role," said Childs. "It was 40 people making good plays, not one person making the great play. I think that's the temptation when you get to playoff time is players want to make a great play. We harped on that all week. Just make the good play and if all 40 players do that, we will make great plays. I thought our guys on the sideline were great all day. The guys on the scout team did a great job all week of simulating Mary Washington and getting the guys prepared. It was a team win. Top to bottom and all the way through the entire team."
Gamble finished the day with six points on five goals and one assist. Gamble tallied his five goals on a mere seven shots. He also had a ground ball in the win. Lowe contributed two goals and two assists for four points. Joseph and Hutson each notched three points on two goals and an assist. Senior Seth Krolus (Westminster, Md./Loyola Blakefield) collected a season-high nine ground balls while he also had an assist and a caused turnover.
Katchmark finished the game winning 17-of-25 face offs while he also had eight ground balls and his first collegiate goal. Sophomore defender Josh Kluver (Abington, Pa./Abington) caused four Eagle turnovers while he also notched three ground balls.
Dick led the Eagles with six points on three goals and three assists. John Bohlinger added three points on a goal and two assists while Burke recorded a pair of man-up goals for UMW. Smith was the other Eagle with multiple points as he contributed a goal and an assist.
Childs has nothing but respect for the talented Eagle squad.
"I think Mary Washington is a very good team. They have just three losses all year. It's a big deal for us to have two wins over this team. I think they are well coached and are a very good squad."
The Spartans finished the game with a 41-22 edge in total shots while they also held a 42-26 margin in ground balls. The Spartans were great at the X, winning 17 faceoffs for the day. The Spartans had 13 turnovers while the Eagles committed 17. Mary Washington failed on seven of their 18 clear attempts.
Spartan goalie Caleb Abney (Forest Hill, Md./Fallston) earned the win as he recorded four saves in his 54:42 of work. James Anderson (Pasadena, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) notched three saves in his 5:18 of work. Anderson allowed two goals.
DelGrosso was brilliant for the Eagles as he made 14 saves in his 60 minutes of work.
Childs believes his offense is peaking at the right time of year.
"I think offensively we were clicking. Their goalie made some unbelievable saves. I feel like we are really hitting our stride at that end of the field."
The Spartans will head to top-seeded Salisbury next Saturday for their first appearance in the league title tilt. The Sea Gulls knocked off the Spartans 11-8 in their March 22 regular season meeting. Game time for the contest will be determined on Monday.