YORK, Pa. - The York College women's soccer team defeated St. Mary's (Md.) 2-0 Saturday afternoon in a Capital Athletic Conference match at Graham Field in York. With the victory, the Spartans improve to 2-6 overall while remaining undefeated against conference opponents (2-0). The Seahawks drop to 4-2 overall and suffer their first loss in CAC play this season (1-1).
York seemed to be in control of the match for the majority of the first 45 minutes of play however, neither team was able to put the ball in the net in the first half. Despite that fact, the Spartans certainly had their share of opportunities. Sophomore Dale Mason and freshman Taylor Folk both had shots saved by St. Mary's goalkeeper Kelsey Wirtz in the 7th and 14th minutes, respectively. Senior Stephanie Rice and junior Jena Arnister both had their shots blocked in the 14th minute as well, while Folk's second attempt sailed high and freshman Beth Bunn hit a shot that pushed wide. The Spartans' attack slowed toward the latter half of the first period, but their defense remained solid as the Seahawks were unable to record a shot on goal throughout the opening stanza.
York came out firing in the second half as Arnister and sophomore Jordan Snook each hit attempts within the first three minutes of action.
On the other end, the visiting Seahawks nearly took a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute when Bridget McGovern knocked a header off a free kick. That attempt however was quickly cleared off the line by a hustling and alert Megan Phillips to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.
The Spartans drew first blood in the 64th minute as Rice scored the eventual game-winner on her first goal of the season. Sophomore Megan Arther launched a remarkable cross from the right side of the field to Lauren Ward who was in perfect position on the back post. Ward's initial attempt was saved by Wirtz, but Rice promptly fired the rebound into the back of the net to capture the lead for the home team.
York was unrelenting in their attack as they nearly scored again just a few minutes later when Snook played a dangerous ball to Ward in front of the net. Ward launched a shot over the goal which would have given the Spartans a 2-0 advantage. In the 74th minute, Mason fired an unbelievable shot from 30 yards out which was deflected over the net by Wirtz, who recorded ten saves on the day.
The solid play of goalkeeper Sarah Spanarkel and the rest of the Spartan defense, somewhat overshadowed by their respectable offensive effort, should not be understated. The Green and White did an outstanding job frequently clearing the ball for Spanarkel, who recorded her second shutout of the season.
York quelled any hope of a Seahawk comeback when junior Jackie Gibat found the back of the net in the 88th minute. Snook lofted the ball over the head of the oncoming goalkeeper, while Gibat maneuvered through a slew of Seahawk defenders for the finish.
Throughout the contest York outshot St. Mary's by a count of 25-9 as they put 12 shots on goal, compared to just two for the Seahawks.
The Spartans will attempt to build on this victory as they turn their attention to Wednesday's CAC matchup with Hood College at 4:30 pm in Frederick, Maryland.
Stephanie Rice photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com