YORK, PA - The York College women's lacrosse team saw their season come to an abrupt end Sunday afternoon, suffering a 13-11 loss to visiting Villa Julie in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament. Despite the loss, York posts their best season record in the short history of the program by going 11-6 overall and 4-3 in league play. The Mustangs (12-4, 3-4 CAC) now move on to the semifinals where they will travel to Salisbury on Tuesday, April 22.
After what amounted to a substantial rain delay, the visitors jumped out on top first scoring the game's opening tally on a Kristyna Hnizda goal 3:08 into the contest. Lindsay Nixon (Westminster, Md./Westminster) would answer for the Spartans a minute and a half later as the score was knotted at one.
Villa Julie would go on to score the next four including three goals within 30 seconds between the 18:02 and 17:36 marks of the first frame.
Finding themselves down a quick 5-1, the Spartans embarked on a 6-1 run to take the lead. York notched the initial three tallies within 1:27 as Kaitlin Davis (Annapolis, Md./St.Mary's), Ali Napolitano (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Area Christian), and Jaclyn VanLuit (New Freedom, Pa./Susquehannock) added to their season totals.
After Villa Julie scored to go up 6-4, the green and white responded with three more consecutive goals. Davis recorded her second of the contest at the 12:22 mark while VanLuit tied the score at 6-6 with 8:27 left on the first half clock. Rachel Papsan (Baltimore, Md./North County) then gave the Spartans their first lead of the game with an unassisted tally with 4:34 to play in the opening half.
The stunned Mustangs then quickly swung momentum back to their side. Hnizda scored two minutes after Papsan, and brought the score line even at 7-7. Lisa Baker would rattle the Spartan cage two consecutive times as the Spartan 7-6 lead abruptly turned into a 9-7 advantage for the Mustangs.
Napolitano would close the first half scoring when she and VanLuit combined for Napolitano's second goal of the afternoon with only 36 seconds to play in the half. After the first 30 minutes of action the Mustangs held a slight 9-8 advantage.
Davis evened the score for the fourth time, officially registering her hat trick at the 26:40 mark. Unfortunately for the Spartan side, that is as close as they would get for the remainder of the game.
Villa Julie would record the game's next three goals to take a 12-9 lead with 14:22 to play. York cut the margin to two, at 12-10, on another Napolitano score with exactly 12 minutes remaining.
The Mustangs sufficiently ran the clock for the next ten minutes, not allowing the Spartans to come any closer. Baker's goal with only 2:06 showing on the clock put her squad up 13-10 and effectively solidified the win.
A testament to their resiliency, the Spartans showed a glimmer of comeback hope as Nixon scored with 1:32 to play on a Napolitano assist to cut the lead to 13-11. Villa Julie won the ensuing draw and effectively ran out the remaining time to advance to the semifinals.
On the day, the Mustangs out-shot the Spartans 34-24 while picking up three more ground balls than their hosts, 20-17. Villa Julie held a 17-9 bulge in draw controls, including a commanding 7-1 advantage in the second half.
Napolitano paced the Spartans on the offensive end, tallying three goals and two assists. The senior midfielder posted incredible numbers in 2008 with team-leading marks in goals (61), assists (24), and points (85). One of the top players to ever don the green and white, Napolitano also tied Kristy Powers (Westminster, Md./Westminster) with a team-best 40 ground balls while also winning 42 draw controls.
Davis' three scores gave her 41 for the season, ranking her third on the squad in that category. VanLuit, the team's second leading scorer this season, capped her senior campaign with two scores to give her 52 for the year. Nixon also scored twice while Papsan chipped in with one goal. VanLuit and Powers each had an assist with Powers contributing three ground balls. Megan Bell (Westminster, Md./Francis Scott Key) also added three ground balls to the Spartan total.
For the Mustangs, Baker led all scorers with four goals as she also added one helper. Lauren Zegowitz notched a trio of tallies, while Hnizda and Jamie Jones each scored twice. Cat Connelly and Megan Weiss also scored for the Mustangs. Mandi Carr was exceptional for the visitors by corralling six draw controls while Hnizda grabbed five.
Anne Feustle (Baltimore, Md./Catonsville) takes the loss in the Spartan net as she made 10 saves. Devan Malone captures the win in the Villa Julie cage making four stops while Kaitlin Brzozowski also made four saves in relief of Malone.
With the defeat, the Spartans bid adieu to their seven seniors: VanLuit, Napolitano, Nixon, Powers, Davis, Danielle Seling (Whiteford, Md./North Harford), and Nicole Starner (Aspers, Pa./Biglerville). The Spartan players, coaching staff, and administration wish these seven Spartans the best of luck in their future endeavors.
Ali Napolitano photo courtesy of Scott Guise