ST. MARY’S CITY, MD – The York
College women’s soccer season came to an abrupt end Saturday
afternoon as the Spartans fell 1-0 at St. Mary’s College of
Maryland in the Capital Athletic Conference championship match.
York ends the season with an 11-7-2 record while the Seahawks march
on to the NCAA tournament with a 12-2-3 mark.
With the league title on the line, both squads came out strong early as each team pushed the pace making for quick play throughout the rain-soaked pitch. The Spartans seemed to have the slightly better play over the game’s first 20 minutes but were unable to break the Seahawk defense for the game’s first tally.
Midway through the first frame, York had what would turn out to be their best chance of the afternoon. Forward Steph Mergler (Street, Md./North Harford) collected the ball nearly 30 yards from the St. Mary’s goal. The sophomore ripped a left-footed missile that seemed destined for pay dirt. Seahawk goalkeeper Marie Oben stepped back to her goal line, leapt straight up, and parried Mergler’s attempt over the crossbar. The ensuing corner kick went for naught and the score line stayed 0-0 into the half.
After a blistering first half, pace slowed significantly to start the second. St. Mary’s got the better of the play early and put the Spartans under pressure to begin the period. York absorbed the pressure for a time and evened out the play slightly as each side pushed for the opening score.
Unfortunately for the green and white, the Seahawks’ push resulted in the eventual game-winner. With 24 minutes remaining in the contest, St. Mary’s Kaitlin Boswell collected the ball on the right side of the Spartan 18-yard box. The speedy junior dribbled toward the endline before hitting a shot that lifted just over the outstretched arms of freshman goalkeeper Sarah Spanarkel (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) and into the Spartan net to break the 0-0 deadlock.
Down 1-0, the Spartans pressed hard for the tying score deep into the match. York’s best opportunity in the closing minutes came when a loose ball just to the side of the Seahawk net found the foot of sophomore Ali Jones (Riva, Md./Archbishop Spalding). The forward put her left-footed shot on frame but Oben was equal to the task and recorded the stop.
York’s final attacks went begging and St. Mary’s grabbed the CAC crown with the 1-0 result.
For the match, York held a 12-9 advantage in shots and a 9-3 margin in corner kicks
Spanarkel takes the loss in the Spartan net making four saves and cutting off numerous Seahawk through-balls. Oben captures the victory with five stops including her exceptional save on Mergler’s attempt.
With the loss the Spartans bid farewell to their five seniors. Caitlin Allen (Langhorne, Pa./Council Rock South), Meagan Cahill (Crofton, Md/Arundel),Kali Macgregor (Rockville, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross), Sam Shultz (Stewartstown, Pa./Kennard-Dale), and Jill Stanley (Stewartstown, Pa./Kennard-Dale) aided the Spartans to a strong 53-23-9 record over the past four years including York’s first CAC championship and NCAA appearance in 2007.
Kali Macgregor photo courtesy of Steve Doemland