5 unheralded YAIAA teams in 2015-16
Yes, Northeastern volleyball won states. And yes, Spring Grove basketball and Hanover football each had seasons to remember.
With that being said, here's five other teams that made their mark on the year that was:
Kennard-Dale girls' lacrosse: The Rams accomplished something that no other York County lacrosse team had in the sport’s young history: bringing a district 3 title back to Kennard-Dale and ending Manheim Township’s reign of seven straight championships.
Led by do-it-all midfielder Emmie Dressel, stout goaltending courtesy of Clare Boone and a high-powered offense, the Rams knocked off Manheim Township in a dramatic come-from-behind semifinal appearance. Then they had their way with Exeter Township in the title game at Hersheypark Stadium, leading by as many as eight goals in the second half.
The Rams had come close before, including four district semifinal appearances and a loss in the 2013 district title game to Manheim Township, which had won every championship before this season.
"It feels so good, finally," sophomore Maddie Day said afterward. "I feel like we really deserved it this year."
Northeastern football: The Bobcats put together their best season in program history, going 9-3 and recording their first-ever district playoff win.
Anu Johnson ran for 230 yards in a 48-12 district win over Northern Lebanon that helped prove Northeastern’s dominant season hadn’t been a fluke.
"It's awesome," head coach Jon Scepanski said after the win. "These guys deserve it. The playoffs were our goal from preseason.”
The Bobcats would eventually lose to Susquehanna Township in districts, but what a stellar season it was.
The Bobcats started the season 5-0, held opponents to single digits in six games and outscored opponents by more than 170 points combined.
Fred Mulbah, Shamari Young and Fernando Flores were named to the GameTimePA first-team all-star list for their outstanding play on defense.
York Country Day boys’ basketball: One of, if not the, smallest schools in the district burst onto the hoops scene this season. Led by head coach Corey Stiles and an uber-athletic duo of DeAireus Brown (who transferred from Northeastern) and Jordan Ray, the Greyhounds took Class A by storm and cruised to a district title – the first in program history.
"I will tell you, my freshman year, I never thought we would be here," Ray said after the title win. "I never thought that we would win a district championship. We stuck together as a team."
The Greyhounds went undefeated in the regular season, winning a majority of their games by 15-plus points and took the No. 1 seed in District 3.
"Winning the district title as a coach is 100 times better than as a player," said Stiles, who won a title as a player for York Catholic. "Don't get me wrong, even when I won it as a player, it's surreal. This feeling right now, I don't think it compares. Those guys deserve the credit. They can hold onto this forever."
Gettysburg boys' soccer: The Warriors started the year with a 22-0 record and finished the season with a 23-2 overall mark.
Gettysburg started the season with championship aspirations and lost a playoff heartbreaker — a 2-0 loss to Northwestern Lehigh in the PIAA semifinals where the go-ahead goal was scored with 7:40 remainining in the contest.
"It's awesome being able to play with your best friends and win all those games," said senior captain Drew Riggle said. "The coaches love us, and we love them. We never won 19 in a row, never won a conference championship, and we did all those things this year. We were a little unfortunate in two games, but it was still a great season."
The team was anchored by two top-shelf goal scorers — brothers Adam and Matt Yingling, who combined to net 98 goals during their high school careers. Adam, a senior, finished his career with 57 tallies, which ranks No. 3 on the school's all-time list. Matt, a junior, has 41 career markers to his name, which ranks seventh in Gettysburg history.
York Catholic girls' basketball: Yes, the Irish's run of District 3 championship victories came to an end this year, but the team still reached the district title game and finished the year with a 21-7 record.
And, yes, the Irish make this list in part because of their history and making it back to the district championship yet again. Their 10 straight titles are the most any team has won consecutively in the district, male or female, and the team again qualified for the state tournament in 2015-16.
“I’m very proud of it," head coach Bankos said of his team's district run following their 54-40 loss to top-seeded Camp Hill in the title game. "I don’t mean to play it off. It’s an amazing feat. I don’t know if anyone else will be able to do it.”