Soccer notes: Dallastown, West York get ready for a rematch
If it seems like a strange situation, well, it is.
On Saturday night, the boys' soccer teams from Dallastown and West York met in the YAIAA tournament championship game at Northeastern High School. Dallastown won, 3-0, thanks to a pair of long-range goals by Shane Campbell.
On Thursday, the two teams will play again, this time in a District 3 Class AAA first-round playoff contest. One team will move on. The other will see its season end.
It's certainly an odd arrangement, made even odder by the fact that team that has dominated this series -- Dallastown, the Division I winners -- will be the visiting side. The Division II champion Bulldogs are the higher seed (No. 7, compared to the Wildcats' No. 10) and will host the match.
Regardless, it presents a unique challenge for the two squads. Both must put Saturday's game behind them.
"When district seeding came out, I cringed at the fact we were going to see them twice," West York coach Brett Maxwell said. "But now that we’ve lost to them, now it’s a positive. It’s a chance for us to get another shot at them. Especially the seniors. "
Those seniors have had plenty of cracks at Dallastown. The two teams met in last year's YAIAA title game, which the Wildcats won, 4-1. Dallastown beat West York by that same score this past regular season.
Then, add to the mix last night's three-goal defeat.
"Since they were little, (Dallastown has) been beating up on them," Maxwell said. "That’s the team that every year, it seemed they couldn’t get over the hump. For these seniors, this Thursday will be their last opportunity to get away with a win here."
So the Bulldogs will have plenty of motivation. But that can only go so far. They need to score goals -- and keep Dallastown's versatile attack from doing the same. In three YAIAA tournament games, the Wildcats piled in 12 goals, the result of a versatile offense that can produce goals from just about anywhere. Campbell is a consistent contributor, but so are forwards Brent Batory and Jonathan Dadeboe and midfielders Ben Johnston, Andy Murray and Bryce Cregan.
Those players have had to take on greater roles with last year's sparkplug, Christian Kaschak, sidelined all season with a stress fracture in his foot. Kaschak scored 29 goals and assisted on 15 more last season.
"We started out the year with some injuries besides Christian," Dallastown coach Mitch Groh said. "Little things here and there. We were just trying to find the right combination of guys. I really think it was our senior night at the end of September that we found the right group. Things started to come together for us. "
Still, West York showed some flashes of quality play on Saturday. It forced a few chances in the second half, although much of them occurred after the Bulldogs were already three goals down.
They'll need to turn those opportunities into goals on Thursday.
"At times we’ve shown that we can play with these guys and we can beat them any given day," Maxwell said.
Some other District 3 seeding notes...
A lot of YAIAA teams near the top of the Class A rankings. York Catholic is the No. 1 seed, and will play 16th-seeded New Covenant Christian in the first round Wednesday. The Fighting Irish have qualified for the last two district finals, but lost both times.
Meanwhile, Biglerville (2) and Fairfield (4) are also positioned to make a run.
In Class AA, both Susquehannock (5) and York Suburban (7) avoided the play-in round. The Warriors play Berks Catholic on Wednesday, while the Trojans host Bishop McDevitt. Kennard-Dale (19) travels to Pequea Valley for a play-in game on Monday.
Only one Class AAA team other than Dallastown and West York qualified for the the postseason; Central York (13) will host Ephrata in a play-in game Monday at 6:30.
The winner of that Dallastown-West York clash has a rough road to the final four. It will likely play No. 2 seed Central Dauphin in the quarterfinals. Only the top four teams from District 3 Class AAA qualify for states.
Shane Campbell estimates he and Christian Kaschak have played soccer together since they were 6 years old. It looks like they'll play with each other beyond this season, too.
Campbell said Saturday that he recently issued a verbal commitment to play soccer next fall at Penn State -- the same school Kaschak has also committed to. Campbell had 17 goals last year for the Wildcats, and is once again one of the team's most reliable producers.
The senior midfielder plays high-level club soccer when he's not with Dallastown -- he's on the developmental team for Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union -- and as such, had many suitors for his services. Originally, Campbell said, Old Dominion and Virginia topped his list of choices. But Penn State began showing interest last spring, and soon vaulted to the top of his list of schools.
"I had a bit of a rocky recruiting process," Campbell said, "but I’m happy to be going to Penn State."
Campbell and Kaschak cannot sign their official letters of intent until February.