Delone Catholic boys' lacrosse coach Neil Myers and senior Alec Mason talk about the team's confidence after its win over Dover Monday. Matt Allibone
The Squires beat the Eagles 13-12 in overtime Monday. Both programs will be making the jump to varsity next season.
Alec Mason saw his shot hit the back of the net and barely had time to react before being engulfed by his teammates.
The Delone Catholic senior had just scored the game-winning goal in the Squires 13-12 overtime road win on Monday. Having won just twice previously since they became a team last spring, the Squires were eager to celebrate.
As he watched his players joyfully mob each other on the field, Delone head coach Neil Myers could only think one thing.
"Don't hurt anybody, seriously," Myers said.
Once he realized none of his players had sustained an injury celebrating, Myers was able to enjoy the win too. While Delone Catholic, like Dover, is still a year away from making the jump to varsity, Myers said that each win still matters because many of the Squires are still just learning the sport.
"It think it helps a lot, I really do, for them to get a win like this," Myers said. "I love these kids like they're all my own and its one of the best groups of kids I've ever been around."
Monday's game was an interesting one for both upstart lacrosse teams. While the Squires and Eagles are used to playing the JV squads of established programs, Monday was an opportunity for the two teams to play an opponent in a similar position. Dover is in its first year as a program while Delone is in its second.
Despite their team's similarities, both coaches said they didn't go into the contest with a different mindset than usual.
According to Dover head coach Jeff Barker, the Eagles enter every game just focused on improving because they're still inexperienced. He added that he likes to use the best teams in the YAIAA as a measuring stick instead of the programs that are also just getting started.
"We face everybody the same way, because they had a six-game season last year and this is our first year," Barker said. "As far as how I measure us, knowing the other teams in our area, (Delone) is not who we have to worry about. We have to worry about Dallastown, Red Lion, West York, the big powerhouses that we're going to be playing next year."
Myers also said that he went into Monday with his normal mindset of helping the Squires get better and learn from their mistakes. Still, he said Dover was a good test for them because of its similar program history.
"Every game is a building block, we have to take what we see on the field, take it to practice and turn it around," Myers said. "We knew they were going to be about the same as we are experience-wise, so we wanted to go at them."
But both teams were able to take valuable lessons away from Monday's game. For Dover, the lesson was learning to not "play sloppy and get out-hustled," according to Barker. The Eagles led 8-4 early in the second half but gave up three straight goals and allowed the Squires to tie the game late in regulation.
For Delone, Monday was a chance to play from behind and deal with the pressure of overtime. According to Mason, the Squires' younger players will benefit greatly from the win.
"The confidence level just went up tenfold," Mason said. "We've got so many players, freshmen, sophomores who have never picked up a stick before this year. With the seniors graduating next year, I know they're nervous about next year and being on their own. I know that this game really helps relieve that stress."