The YAIAA division structure will have a whole new look for field hockey this season.
Starting this fall, the YAIAA will have four divisions in field hockey, each of five teams. The winners of each division will qualify for the YAIAA championship tournament.
In previous years, the YAIAA utilized a three-division format with eight teams in Division I and six teams in the two other divisions. The top two teams from Division I qualified for the league tournament, along with the champions of the other divisions.
Every team will play the other four schools in its division twice, accounting for eight of its 16 games. In previous years, divisional games accounted for 10 to 14 games on the schedule, so the new format gives teams more flexibility to play out-of-league games or play in tournaments.
“Maybe it will be nice to play some different teams,” Central York coach Lori Livingston said. “We’re playing everybody in our division twice and everybody in Division II once … so that might make it more interesting.”
The new divisions, aligned by school size, actually group two of the three defending division champions into one division. Bermudian Springs, which has won nine straight Division III titles, remains in Division III and will be joined by Gettysburg, which won the Division II title in both seasons since joining the league in 2014.
“I think that has a potential to be really, really good for us," Gettysburg coach Janelle Ebaugh said. "We’ve always known Bermudian to be a strong program, that was one of the games that our girls got excited for (in the YAIAA).”
The top four placers in Division I last season — Dallastown, New Oxford, Central York and Red Lion — all remain in Division I.
The new Division IV will include every team in the previous Division III except for Bermudian Springs.
“You’ll have a smaller school that gets an opportunity and a chance to see some of those games," Ebaugh said. "I think it puts the competitiveness at even level in each division. It’s good for the sport when you can share all of that. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
YAIAA field hockey alignment