Spartan Incumbents March on to CAC Championship Match

SALISBURY, MD – The York College women’s soccer squad advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference championship match Tuesday afternoon as the green and white outlasted top-seeded Salisbury 3-1 in penalty kicks after the two squads played to a 1-1 tie in 110 minutes of action. The result moves the Spartan record to 11-6-2 while Salisbury ends their season with an 8-4-5 mark.
     After the 90 minutes of regulation play and two scoreless ten minute overtime periods the score was knotted at one, forcing the tied CAC semifinal into a penalty kick shootout. Each squad’s shooters tallied their initial attempts with York’s Sam Shultz (Stewartstown, Pa./Kennard-Dale) setting the tone for the Spartans slotting home her first attempt. Round two went the Spartans’ way as Salisbury pushed the attempt wide right while sophomore Steph Mergler (Street, Md./North Harford) added York’s second notch to the scoreboard. The third cycle saw the Sea Gulls’ attempt sail wide right once again before freshman Rachel Allen (York, Pa./Christian School of York) stepped up and buried number three for the green and white. Now up 3-1, York’s sophomore goalkeeper Desiree Halaka (Southampton, N.Y./Southampton), inserted specifically for the shootout, made a brilliant sprawling stop on Salisbury’s fourth shooter to send the Spartans into the conference final.
     After a scoreless first half of play, the home squad posted the match’s first tally less than five minutes into the second stanza. Sea Gull Katie Marshall lofted a service from the right side of the pitch to the left side of the Spartan six-yard box. Sarah Jessilonis redirected the service with a header back across the face of goal that clanged off the inside of the right post before slipping across the goal line.
     Now facing a 1-0 deficit, the Spartans pressed for the equalizer deep into the second frame. With only 6:26 showing on the second half clock, Mergler found the back of net for the fourth time this season.  The Spartans swung the ball inside the Sea Gull 18-yard box. An errant clearance came directly to Mergler who one-timed her right-footed shot to the far right post to notch the game’s tying score.
     Both overtime periods would go scoreless as neither side was able to break through for the game winner, setting up the penalty kick shootout which moved the Spartans into the CAC title game.
     For the match, York held a 27-9 bulge in shots and a 13-2 margin in corner kicks.
     Freshman goalkeeper Sarah Spanarkel (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) played all 110 minutes in net for the green and white registering a trio of saves including two big stops in overtime. Halaka replaced Spanarkel for the shootout and made the huge save to send the Spartans into the final. Gena Goodson played the entire match for the Sea Gulls, making six saves over her 110 minutes.
     York now focuses their attention on Saturday seeking to defend last season’s CAC tournament title. The Spartans travel to St. Mary’s College of Maryland for a date with the Seahawks who advanced to the final via a 2-0 victory over Hood. The championship tilt from St. Mary’s City, Md. begins at 1:30 pm.


Steph Mergler photo courtesy of Steve Doemland