YORK, Pa. – The York College women's soccer team saw their season come to an end Saturday afternoon as they fell 1-0 to the visiting Salisbury University in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament. The Spartans finish their 2010 campaign with a record of 7-11-1, while the Sea Gulls improve to 8-11 and advance to the CAC Semifinals.
Control shifted within minutes however, when Salisbury's Sarah Jessilonis received a penalty kick after a tackle from a Spartan defender inside the box with in the 11th minute of the first half. Jessilonis netted the game's only goal past diving Spartan goalkeeper Sarah Spanarkel to put the Sea Gulls up 1-0. The goal, which eventually turned out to be the game-winner, was Jessilonis' sixth of the season.
Salisbury set the pace of the second half with pressure in York's defensive third. The Sea Gulls' Casey Hafford took a shot from the top of the box, but Spanarkel was able to catch the ball and hold it for the save.
York's best opportunity to score came in the 80th minute when senior Ali Jones rebounded a scattered ball in front of the Sea Gull's net. Much to the dismay of the home squad however, her low corner attempt went begging as a kick save by Salisbury goalkeeper Melissa Orgera kept the Green and White off the board and the clean sheet intact.
Between the posts for the Green and White, Spanarkel saved five shots to cap an excellent campaign for the junior keeper.
Although coming off a late-season injury late, senior captain Stephanie Mergler was still able to log gritty minutes in what was her final game for York College.
"Our team has been through a lot this year. Twenty-five players from our 30-man roster were getting treatment this season for injuries," Mergler said. "We climbed up and we got knocked down. It was a rough road for us, but we never lacked heart. I would not trade this rough road with my 29 teammates for a season full of wins with another team."
This was the final game in a Spartan uniform for York's nine seniors as Bock, Jensen, Jones, Mergler, Desiree Halaka, Megan George, Ally Wivell, Brittany Nechay, and Erin Mummert made their final appearances with the program. These nine were members of the 2007 team that captured the Capital Athletic Conference Championship – a program first – and advanced to the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament's Sweet 16. Over the past four seasons, the Spartans have put together a 47-29-7 record including an outstanding 22-6-1 mark in CAC play.
In light off the tremendous success over their careers, the seniors did not walk off the field without knowing they made the best of the 2010 season.
"This year was especially tough with the losses we experienced, but our team never broke apart," Wivell noted. "We are friends on and off the field and truly respect one another for the dedication everyone gives to this team."
The camaraderie among the seniors was evident throughout their entire four years with the program, but it was not limited to only those nine, Wivell said.
"There has been three groups of girls before us and now three groups of girls below us, and we would never have gotten anywhere without of them."
York will return a talented group of juniors, sophomores and freshmen next season who have battled alongside this year's seniors, who have taught them the "never-give-up" style of the Green and White.
"Our team did everything we could to fight through all that was thrown our way," Mergler voiced. "We are strong players who went through a lot this year, and I couldn't be prouder to say I am a member of the 2010 York College women's soccer team."
Photo: Allie Jensen plays a ball Saturday in York's Capital Athletic Conference Tournament game against Salisbury - courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com
Game story written by Todd Shellock - York College Athletic Communications contributing writer.