Irish, Panthers roll into YAIAA final
Central York, York Catholic, Red Lion and Dallastown compete for league title. (Teddy Feinberg/GameTimePA.com)
The York Catholic Fighting Irish are clicking on all cylinders. Now the question becomes, can they give Central York a run for its money in the YAIAA championship?
The No. 2-seeded Irish tore through No. 3 Red Lion in Wednesday’s boys' semifinal, beating the Lions 17-10. The game was played at Dallastown Area High School.
In the other semifinal, No. 4 Dallastown was no match for top-seeded Central York, as the Panthers rolled to a 17-3 victory at Red Lion Area High School.
That pits the Irish against the Panthers in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. title game at Central York. It marks a rematch from an early-season contest that Central York won, 17-10. Granted, that was against a drastically different York Catholic team.
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The Irish are now winners of nine straight games, and appear to be locked in at the right time. Wednesday saw them whip the ball around offensively, with top players finishing near the net. Eli Doyle led the way with seven goals, while Chandler Hake and Steven Nigro each had three. Dimitri Amalfitano had two goals and Ian Schlough and Kyle Dormer each added one apiece.
"Everyone’s improving, everyone’s looking to help their teammate out,” said Irish head coach Shane Harper. “We’re just coming together as a team at the right time, right now.”
Central York had no trouble Wednesday, either, improving to 14-0 in YAIAA play this season.
The Panthers outscored Dallastown 8-0 in the third period and tallied 11 unanswered goals to run away with the game.
Ryan Kilgour scored five goals, TJ Ross had four and Alex Kilgour added three. Ryan Fahs and Connor Hoch also scored two apiece for the Panthers.
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“They've been together a long time,” Central York head coach Tom Mayne said of his players. “They're young, sprinkled in with older, somewhat more seasoned guys. We've obviously got a good faceoff guy. We've got really good ball handlers at every position across the field.”
Now they get the Irish, a hot team that’s been taking the field with a spirited attitude in recent weeks.
York Catholic players said the turning point of the year was a 13-12 loss at Spring Grove on April 12. The defending YAIAA champs – who lost a ton of senior production from a season ago – said they rallied together following that contest and haven’t lost since.
“We really came together as a team and started to play like a team,” Hake said.
Doyle said a key to Friday’s title game will be faceoffs, where York Catholic’s Drew Snelbaker will go head-to-head against the YAIAA's elite faceoff man, Kollin Vaught.
While Harper didn’t disagree with that analysis, the head coach pointed to another key element that’s sure to come to a tipping point Friday.
“It’s going to start with faceoffs, but it’s going to end with the attack on both sides of the ball,” Harper said. “We’ve got the two best offensive players in the league, head-to-head: Eli Doyle, TJ Ross. It doesn’t get any better than that, in a championship game.”
Jim Seip contributed to this report.
If you go
What: YAIAA boys' lacrosse championship game
Who: Central York vs. York Catholic
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Central York High School