The first round of the District 3 Class AAA field hockey playoffs have not been kind to Dallastown in recent years.
The Wildcats had not won their first game in the tourney since 2010.
Junior Molly Lohss and a bend-but-not-break Wildcats defense put an end to that streak of bad luck on Thursday evening in a 1-0 win over Manheim Township at Dover High School.
"We put our hearts out there," Lohss said. "We worked our butts off."
Dallastown (19-2) now meets No. 5 Hershey on Saturday. Hershey shutout Conestoga Valley on Thursday. Dallastown lost, 2-1, at Hershey back on Sept. 26.
"I feel like we began clicking as a team right after the Hershey game," Lohss said. "We've had some really good games since then."
Lohss scored a goal with 10:20 remaining on Dallastown's only shot of the match.
"When it left my stick, I thought 'I know this is a good hit,'" Lohss said. "When I got the ball, I was like 'Just hit it.' I just have to hope it goes in or somebody tips it."
Manheim Township attempted 10 shots and 11 penalty corners in the match, but the Dallastown defense anchored by junior goalie Syd Terroso kept the Blue Streaks from scoring.
"Everybody on defense had at least one fantastic save," Dallastown coach Jeri Myers said. "Syd is a major part of our defense, but you have to have other people around you too. That's what makes it or breaks it. We've been on the flip side of this kind of game many, many times. For once, we are on the other side. We'll take it."
That defense has helped Dallastown win by shutout in 17 of its 19 victories this fall. In the two other wins, the Wildcats allowed just single goals against Bermudian Springs and at South Western.
"I love Syd," Lohss said. "I'm so glad we have her for another year yet. She is an amazing goalie and knows how to direct the defense. That is key."
Entering the District 3 playoffs, Dallastown had outscored its opponents by a 65-5 margin. Six times the Wildcats have tallied six or more goals in a game.
Dallastown has been the elite program within the YAIAA, where it has captured three of the past four league tourneys and owned at least a piece of the Division I crown for 12 of the past 13 seasons. Red Lion's title in 2011 and a co-championship with Central York in 2007 are the only blemishes in that span.
Districts have been a different story of late.
Four years ago, the Wildcats were seeded 17th and dropped the play-in game against Red Lion for the right to meet then-top-seeded Lower Dauphin. Three seasons ago, Dallastown entered the playoffs unbeaten and with the No. 2 seed and promptly saw a 15th-seeded Hershey team that had to win a play-in game three days earlier stun the Wildcats.
Two years ago, the then-No. 4 seeded Wildcats were bounced from the tourney by 13th-seeded Ephrata. Last fall, the then-fifth-seeds saw Division I foe Central York -- a 12th-seeded team they had defeated twice during the regular season -- eliminate them.
"This (Dallastown) team has bought into it that they are not done yet," Myers said. "That attitude makes all the difference in the world."
No. 13 seed Manheim Township (12-8) had advanced to meet Dallastown by defeating Lampeter-Strasburg in a play-in game on Saturday.
A Dallastown win Saturday would give the Wildcats a 20-win season, which was only accomplished once before in school history. In 1998, the Dallastown squad that reached the state semifinals achieved that mark.
Second half — 1. Dt, Molly Lohss (unassisted), 10:20.
Shots — MT 11, Dt 1
Corners — MT 10, Dt 3
Saves — MT, Jordan Crispeno (0 saves). Dt, Syd Terroso (11 saves).