Central York and West York needed overtime to decide the YAIAA championship last year, and both are in prime position to contend again for a league crown.
Here is a team-by-team look at the YAIAA boys' lacrosse season:
Defending league champion Central York (16-4, 10-0 in 2013) returns multiple standout players but will have a new head coach on the sideline. Tom Mayne takes over for Wade Noonan, but Mayne is more than familiar with these Panthers. He served as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator the last two seasons. In those two years, the Panthers produced the fourth- and sixth-best offenses in District 3.
That attack should be strong again with seniors Max Haldeman and Ian Desenberg. Both were first-team all-stars in the YAIAA, and Haldeman was voted a player of the year. Both also plan to play college lacrosse: Haldeman with University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Desenberg with Ursinus.
Senior midfielder Colin George committed to Frostburg for lacrosse and is one of six starters back for Central. Shane Walker also returns in goal.
Dallastown (13-7, 8-2) also has a new coach. Phill Bates takes over for Chris Andrews and had been on Andrews' staff the last five years.
Seven starters return for the Wildcats, including senior captain Ryan Conroy, junior Addison Quinones and junior Frankie Marquet. Quinones and Marquet both specialize as defenders and long-stick midfielders. Sophomore Jack Marks is back in goal as all four give the Wildcats a tough defense. Offensively, second-leading scorer Tanner Ierley is back for his senior year.
Red Lion (6-9, 4-5) also welcomes back its goalie in senior Dom Francisco. He will be supported by returning defenders Jesse Collins and Matt Wanbaugh, both seniors. Offensively, senior leading scorer Hayden Jennings returns with junior attacker Tanner Reif, who was injured in Red Lion's second game last year and was lost for the season. Junior long-stick midfielder Joe Dashler also returns for second-year coach Stefan Striffler.
Eight starters return for New Oxford (2-13, 1-8), including midfielder Stephen Clabaugh and goalie Joe Zero. The Colonials look to challenge South Western (2-14, 1-8) and Spring Grove (8-10, 6-4) to improve in the division.
West York (17-4, 9-1) has several players already committed to college programs, but it starts with Division I Monmouth recruit Nick Wilker.
The senior midfielder is one of seven starters back for coach Rodney Tamblin. The offensive trio of senior Seth Clauser and juniors Hunter Betz and Devyn Roehm also return with senior goalie Jordan Lombardo. Clauser racked up 69 goals last year, while Roehm had 51 and Betz added 47.
Kennard-Dale (14-6, 7-3) was the last team to play last season, advancing to the second round of districts. Co-player of the year Jesse Schonbrunner and attacker Freddy Seitz return for the senior season.
Susquehannock (9-7, 7-3) returns junior goalie Shane Silk, who was one of many sophomores to earn playing time last season. The Warriors weren't shy about using freshmen in their lineup last year, and the returning experience should pay dividends.
In its first season as a varsity team in 2013, Eastern York (7-11, 3-6) quickly shed the club tag and returns an experienced squad for Year 2. Junior midfielder Conrad Rhein was the YAIAA's assist leader (33) and finished in the top 10 with 113 ground balls. Senior Jon Witman, a second-team all-league selection, produced 44 goals. Senior Christian Buser, a 6-foot-5 standout on the basketball team, returns after a 33-goal season and is joined by senior attacker Justin Keller (34 goals in 2013).
York Suburban (5-11, 3-7) and York Catholic (3-12, 1-9) round out the division.
Preseason top five
1. West York
2. Central York
Save the date
Monday, April 14 >> West York visits Central for a rematch of last year's title match.