Related: Check out the past YAIAA girls' soccer tournament champions.
York, PA - Twice this girls' soccer season, Susquehannock (9-6-2) failed to beat York Suburban (13-4-2). A tie and a shutout loss were all the Warriors had to show from their previous two matchups with the Division II co-champion Trojans.
That did not bother Susquehannock goalkeeper Cayla Stiffler.
Especially not with a two-goal lead in their third meeting during Wednesday's YAIAA tournament semifinal at Susquehannock High School.
Stiffler was one of the busiest while the rain fell, turning away shot after shot and ultimately helping the Warriors finally get that win against Suburban, 4-3, and advancing to the tournament final Friday against Dallastown, 1-0 winners against West York, at Northeastern High School.
Wednesday's semifinal, though, was not much different than Susquehannock's 2-0 loss to Suburban three weeks ago. It rained, just like Wednesday, and Stiffler denied nearly every scoring chance, just like Wednesday.
"We knew that we could be competitive with Suburban because we tied them before," said Stiffler, who turned away 12 shots in the semifinal. "I think we knew we could score on them, and I think we were excited because this group of girls has never been to the finals."
Just a year ago, Stiffler was in net as a junior when the Warriors lost a 1-0 game to Red Lion at this point in the YAIAA tournament. They nearly suffered a similar fate this year against Suburban, when leads of 2-0 and 4-1 were dashed by goals from Trojans senior Mikala Kin.
Kin accounted for all three Suburban goals, and she could have had more. At least Trojans coach Tom Shugars thought so.
"They gave an extreme 40 minutes, and I thought we really were going to score," he said. "I'm shocked that we didn't."
Urgency from Shugars and the Suburban sideline mounted as minutes ticked off the clock in the second half. Kin's third goal pulled the Trojans within 4-3 with 26 minutes, 22 seconds remaining. After firing eight shots at Stiffler in the first half, seven more followed in the second. The Trojans even changed their formation to a 3-4-3 at one point, something Shugars said "we haven't practiced a lot, but they did well with it."
But every chance in a one-goal game could not manufacture the tying score. A game, which began physical, became that once again in the final 20 minutes. Rain began to fall a bit harder, and the encouragement from Suburban's sideline grew more intense.
"Seven minutes ladies, let's go," Shugars yelled at one point.
But the lead Susquehannock built early proved to be enough.
"We have not had a bad game, and that first 40 minutes we were bad," Shugars said.
In that first half, the Warriors had only five scoring chances. Suburban controlled the ball for most of the half, but Susquehannock still managed to get four goals on the scoreboard. Two of them came from Cassidy Mummert, a sophomore. Another came off a corner kick that junior Kristen Filsinger managed to capitalize on, and three of the goals were assisted by sophomore Katie Steines.
But it was the senior -- one of only three on the Susquehannock roster -- who sealed the Warriors' chance at a YAIAA tournament title.
Stiffler's play earned praise from her coach, Nick Schiffgens. "She's a beast," he said afterward.
"I told these girls at halftime to make it an easy game for her. I don't know if they listened to me too much," he said of the shots she faced, "but she was up to the task."
SUSQUEHANNOCK 4, YORK SUBURBAN 3
York Suburban -- 1 2 -- 3
Susquehannock -- 4 0 -- 4
First Half -- 1. Sus, Abbey Barnhart (assisted by Katie Steines), 32:05; 2. Sus, Cassidy Mummert (Steines), 28:14; 3. YS, Mikala Kin (Kara Bell), 25:41; 4. Sus, Kristen Filsinger (Mackenzie Bates), 11:20; 5. Sus, Mummert (Steines), 5:55.
Second Half -- 6. YS, Kin, 37:27; 7. YS, Kin (Bri Carr), 26:22.
Shots On Goal -- YS, 15; S, 9.
Corners -- YS, 2; S, 3.
Goalies -- YS, Paige Grossman 5 saves; S, Cayla Stiffler 12.