Previewing the YAIAA soccer championship
When we looked at the bracket for the YAIAA soccer tournament, this is the final most of us saw materializing. Dallastown vs. West York. The Division I champs vs. the Division II champs. A team that has plowed through opponents against a team with two of the top players in the entire YAIAA. It doesn't get much better than that. The two squads will square off at 7 p.m. tonight at Northeastern. Dallastown (19-1) appears to be the total package, capable of outscoring opponents or grinding out victories. The Wildcats have scored 103 goals this season, and have allowed just 12. Only four of those goals given up have been against YAIAA competition. Three of them were scored by Central York, who the Wildcats toppled 3-1 in Wednesday's semifinal. Dallastown's biggest offensive threat is Christian Kaschak (pictured above), a speedy and skilled midfielder who is constantly making runs, constantly putting pressure on the defense. But Dallastown has several players capable of scoring, and typically their goals seem to be the result of great team play more so than individual brilliance. West York, of course, has plenty star power. There's Alex Shinsky, the former U.S. U-17 midfielder and Maryland commit, who has made a quick return to the lineup after minor knee surgery earlier this month. He has formed a tight partnership with Fred Lucas, a senior midfielder, who has scored a team-high 30 goals this year. I wrote a big feature for Friday's paper on Lucas, who grew in Costa Rica. You can read that story here. The Bulldogs (17-2), who beat Biglerville in the semis, are going for the program's first YAIAA championship. These two teams met on Oct. 2, with Dallastown holding off West York, 1-0. But the Bulldogs played most of that game without Shinsky, who hurt his knee in the opening minutes. Shinsky figures to be in the lineup this time. These two teams both earned high rankings is in the District 3, Class AAA tournament, which will begin next week. Sixth-seeded West York will host Garden Spot Thursday at 4 p.m., while second-seeded Dallastown will play either Wilson or Manheim Township on Thursday. First, these two will meet tonight with a bit of hardware on the line.