South Western got the better of Central York for a majority of Thursday’s YAIAA boys’ lacrosse matchup, but the Panthers dominated the first eight minutes and the final six minutes of the match, and that was enough for Central to come away with a 7-6 victory.
With the match even at 6-6, Central called timeout with 34 seconds to go, setting up a chance for Ryan Fahs to give his squad the lead. Fahs’ shot at the 15-second mark was denied by South Western keeper Kameron Shaffner, but the ball got loose behind the net. It was scooped up by Ryan Kilgour, who slipped a pass to Jimmy Kohr for the go-ahead tally with 10 seconds to go.
“We’ve got a lot of three-year starters on the team and they’ve played in a lot of tight, tough games during that time,” Central head coach Ryan Muller said. “That experience paid off for us today. We got behind, but our guys never panicked.”
Central (11-2, 9-2) won the ensuing faceoff and ran out the clock.
“Our keeper made a great stop and then an unlucky bounce beat us,” South Western head coach Brady Slater said. “We were hoping to get a last-second shot, but unfortunately, we didn’t.”
Central jumped out to a 4-0 lead less than eight minutes into the match as the Panthers went full bore from the opening whistle, while the Mustangs appeared a little unsure of themselves.
A goal by Fahs just 90 seconds into the match got the visitors going, and tallies by Kohr, Kade Bricker and Matt Hawksworth wrapped up the run.
South Western (9-3, 8-3) dented the scoreboard for the first time when Jacob Bollinger scored with 11:12 to go until the half and the deficit was sliced in half when Sean Quinn netted one two minutes later.
Central carried a 5-3 lead into the break.
“We had to believe in ourselves and I don’t think we did at the start of the match today,” Slater said. “Once we got a few defensive stops, we started to believe.”
South Western pulled to within 5-4 with 8:55 to go in the third quarter when Bollinger setup Quinn for a nifty goal, then Jacob Mertz’s marker with 2:29 to play in the frame leveled things.
An early fourth quarter strike by Bollinger gave the hosts their first lead of the match, but the Panthers came right back on the attack, looking for the equalizer.
“We stopped playing our game and tried to play hero ball after we built our lead,” Muller said. “We finally got back to doing the right thing and running our offense, when we got behind.”
Fahs evened the match with a man-up goal off an assist from Drake Little with 3:28 left. Fahs appeared to put his team in front with 1:48 remaining, but Muller had called for timeout just before Fahs’ shot.
South Western didn’t get the result it was looking for, but the Mustangs’ goal of qualifying for the YAIAA tournament for the first time since 2004 is still right in front of them.
“We’ve got two division matches left (Spring Grove and Eastern York),” Slater said. “We win those and we go to counties. That’s the goal and we’d love to get another shot at Central, too.”
Central led in shots, 34-29, while the Mustangs held an 11-7 edge in faceoffs.
The Mustangs finish the regular season with three matches in four days beginning Monday. They’re at Elizabethtown on Monday and Spring Grove on Tuesday before hosting Eastern on Thursday.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Central York 4 1 0 2 - 7
South Western 0 3 2 1 - 6
Goals: CY-Ryan Fahs 2, Jimmy Kohr 2, Matt Hawksworth 2, Kade Bricker; SW-Jacob Bollinger 2, Sean Quinn 2, Shay Davidson, Jacob Mertz. Assists: CY-Ryan Kilgour 3, Drake Little; SW-Bollinger. Shots: CY-34; SW-29. Faceoffs: CY-7; SW-11. Saves: CY-Blaze Hake 5; SW-Kameron Shaffner 7