There was no celebration when the girls' lacrosse players from South Western walked off the field Thursday at Dallastown.
Their 18-2 win against the Wildcats (5-7-1, 4-3) clinched at least a share of the YAIAA Division I championship. It's the fifth straight time South Western (11-3, 7-0) has won the title, but coach Jim Kopenhaver admitted he was not paying much attention to standings.
"We're really focusing on the league," Kopenhaver said. "We really want to beat the two teams that are ahead of us in the semis and the finals."
Those two teams, Kennard-Dale and York Catholic, will meet Monday in a critical match to decide their YAIAA Division II race. The loser could wind up facing South Western in the league semifinals, a spot where Kopenhaver saw an experienced Mustangs squad fall in defeat last year to York Catholic.
By clinching a share of its division title, South Western guarantees itself a return to those playoffs. The setting is a familiar one to senior Callie Kavanaugh, whose four goals and two assists helped the Mustangs assert themselves early Thursday against Dallastown.
"It's always special to know we're the best in our division, but we don't want to get a big head about it and think that we're better than we are," Kavanaugh said. "We obviously can be beaten."
Sophomores Braxtin Reddinger and Laura Silver remember that feeling from a 10-6 setback vs. the Irish in last year's semifinals. They were the only freshmen to start on a team that sent multiple seniors on to college.
This year, three freshmen — Maddie Lazzelle, Taylor Bull and Allison Bently — are in front of Silver on the defense.
"I think they're holding their own," Silver said.
Thursday's match served as proof against Dallastown, which entered the day second to South Western in the Division I standings. In their first meeting at South Western, the Wildcats battled much closer, 17-11.
That changed in the rematch, as the Mustangs bolted to an 8-0 lead. They were up by 10 goals at 11-1, which initiated a running clock only 40 seconds into the second half.
Much of South Western's success on this day had to do with its control of the ball. The Mustangs fired 35 shots at Dallastown goalie Mary Eckert, who managed to save 17 of them. By comparison, Silver faced just six shots. She saved four of them.
"She is quick to the ball," said Reddinger, whose match-high six goals provided support. "She doesn't hesitate to do anything."
Kopenhaver said Silver is so quick she could play in the field. However, he has no other true goalie.
Silver even played the first half of the JV game against Dallastown, which followed their division title-clinching varsity win. Reddinger followed suit by putting on the big helmet to stand in goal for the second half of the JV match.
Kopenhaver acknowledged his team this season isn't as deep as others in South Western's five-year run. He no longer has his daughter, Jess, who is now at Rollins College in Florida, or Sydney Szparaga, who graduated on to Siena.
He does still have Kavanaugh, another college-bound player who will attend Millersville. Even Reddinger already gave a verbal commitment to University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
While it might be easy for them to lose track of division titles, such a feat is still appreciated with three remaining regular-season games.
"It's just awesome to know we can do that and accomplish big things," Reddinger said. "It's pretty cool."
South Western 18, Dallastown 2
South Western goals — Braxtin Reddinger 6, Callie Kavanaugh 4, Erin Brown 4, Lauren Schmidt 3, Jenna Moser.
Dallastown goals — Bryna Cook, Kayla Thomas.
South Western assists — Schmidt 2, Kavanaugh 2, Gabriella Di Rienzo, Brown, Reddinger, Moser.
Dallastown assists — Amber Dubois.
Shots on goal — SW 35, Dt 6.
Goalies — SW, Laura Silver (4 saves). Dallastown, Mary Eckert (17).
JV score — Dallastown 10, South Western 10.