For all the experience the South Western girls' lacrosse team has, it was a pair of freshman who helped secure Friday's YAIAA crossover game at West York.
Braxtin Reddinger led the Mustangs offense with three goals and an assist. The freshman's goal, followed 25 seconds later by her assist on Alyx May's marker gave South Western what looked to be a comfortable three-goal lead.
Of course, the advantage was anything but safe as the Bulldogs rallied. However, goalkeeper and fellow frosh Laura Silver made a couple of huge saves down the stretch, helping the Mustangs hold off West York, 14-13.
Nearly a minute after May put the visitors up 14-11, Sara Sweitzer connected on her game-high fourth goal of the contest, bringing the Bulldogs within two with 4:46 left to play.
With a minute and a half left, Silver robbed West York's Allee Ilgenfritz, who was awarded a free position. A short while later, Silver came up even bigger, stonewalling Brittany Armpriester from point-blank range.
"When it comes down to the last few minutes and it's that close, I usually am on it," Silver said. "I see those shots and I move to them so much better. I realized if they scored the game can completely change. I just tried my best to stop it, there was nothing else I could do."
"I really thought she saved us big time. If we didn't have her, I don't know where we would have been," Reddinger said of Silver. "We all played sloppy and got lucky with that win."
Those stops proved to be even more clutch when Gina Welch scored with 31 seconds left, bringing the Bulldogs within 14-13.
However, South Western's Amy Spigelmyer corralled a loose ball off the ensuing draw, and the Mustangs ran out the clock on the narrowest of victories, improving to 10-1 on the season.
"I am very pleased with the effort. Obviously I am not comfortable with the outcome. We don't get to redeem ourselves and play them again," first-year West York coach Rachel Klado said after her team slipped to 8-3 overall.
"My girls stepped up and made the goals when they needed to be made. Whenever you score 13 goals against a good team, you can't be too mad about it."
Both teams scored in bunches early. After South Western ran off to a quick 4-2 lead, West York ran off five straight goals, with Armpriester netting two of her three goals during that stretch.
Trailing 7-4, the Mustangs scored the final five goals of the first half -- from five players, including Spigelmyer, who picked up a loose ball and fired it in with 13 seconds left before halftime.
Mustang Callie Kavanaugh scored three times in the first half. Sydney Szparaga also netted a hat trick, the third of which came on a splendid run and shot from the right side that gave South Western an 11-8 lead. A little more than a minute later, Spigelmyer did the same thing from the left side for a 12-8 lead.
"I feel really comfortable. I just go out, put my head in the game and play," Reddinger said of her place in the Mustang offense. "We really want to get the goals, so we all stack up and rely on each other."
Silver said that West York is a team on the rise.
"I think coming in, I underestimated them. When it came to the second half, my adrenaline picked up," she said. "I think they are going to be one of the teams like York Catholic, South Western or Kennard-Dale. I think they are really going to come up in a little bit."
During postgame handshakes, South Western coach Jim Kopenhaver could be heard telling the Bulldogs how much they outplayed his squad.
"I have a great group of girls. It's just getting them to work together and not just rely on one girl," Klado said. "We are meshing at the end of the season, we have Kennard-Dale again, Susquehannock again and York Catholic."
SOUTH WESTERN 14, WEST YORK 13
South Western 9 5 -- 14
West York 7 6 -- 13
First Half -- 1. SW, Callie Kavanaugh, 24:17. 2. SW, Sydney Szparaga, 23:37. 3. WY, Allee Ilgenfritz (Sara Sweitzer), 21:53. 4. SW, Lauren Schmidt, 21:18. 5. WY, Sweitzer, 20:12. 6. SW, Kavanaugh, 19:30. 7. WY, Sweitzer, 18:17. 8. WY, Gina Welch (Sweitzer), 15:38. 9. WY, Brittany Armpriester (Ally Williams), 13:35. 10. WY, Ilgenfritz, 13:16. 11. WY, Armpriester (Ilgenfritz), 10:11. 12. SW, Braxtin Reddinger, 6:42. 13. SW, Szparaga, 6:00. 14. SW, Kavanaugh, 3:58. 15. SW, Alyx May (Schmidt). 16. SW, Amy Spigelmyer, :13.
Second Half -- 17. SW, Reddinger (Jessica Kopenhaver), 22:49. 18. WY, Britney Stottlemyer, 19:47; 19. SW, Szparaga, 17:51. 20. SW Amy Spigelmyer, 16.30. 21. WY, Armpriester (Sweitzer), 15:50. 22. WY, Williams, 11:28. 23. WY, Sweitzer, 10:24. 24. SW, Reddinger (Kopenhaver), 6:09. 25. SW, A. May (Reddinger), 5:44. 26. WY, Sweitzer, 4:46. 27. WY, Welch, :31.
Shots on goal -- South Western 21, West York 22
Goalies -- South Western, Laura Silver (9 saves); West York, Abby Cox (6 saves), Leah McIntire (1 save).