York Continues to Impress in Win Over Nazareth
York wasn’t sure what to expect just over two weeks ago. Coming off a 10-9 record in 2015 — with a roster that included 18 freshmen — coach Brandon Childs said he knew his team had to learn through a tough first few weeks.
The Spartans faced their first test and come out unscathed, controlling No. 9 Roanoke 12-6 on March 2. Then came a 9-7 win over No. 6 Gettysburg on March 9 — another indicator of their potential.
Still, senior attackman Andrew Gamble wasn’t convinced.
“At first, we were kind of iffy,” Gamble said. “We were like ‘well, what if the teams we beat weren’t that good?’ We just had to play our game, day-in and day-out.”
No. 6 York picked up another big win on Saturday, fighting through three close quarters before breaking the game open for a 13-8 victory over No. 9 Nazareth in the Green Turtle Classic at Stevenson. The Spartans finished the game on a 6-1 run to move to 7-0 on the year.
“Compared to last year, it’s like day and night,” Gamble said. “This year, we’re kind of surprised by the amount of talent we have. It gives us a lot of confidence being out on the field. We can beat any team and so far, it’s working out for us.”
It helps that York returned three of its top four scorers from last season — Gamble, sophomore attackman Dillon Hannah and senior midfielder Matt Whitcher — all of which had multiple goals to lead an offense that pounded Nazareth with 40 shots.
York got goals from eight different players, five of which were underclassmen. Childs said he’s happy to see his younger players make an impact on a team already with a wealth of offensive talent.
“I look at our stat sheet and I think ‘Man, that guy doesn’t have more goals than that?’” Childs said “I think it’s a testament to the kind of depth that we have, to be able to play a lot of guys.”
That depth helped the Spartans control possession for much of the game, grabbing 30 ground balls and holding Nazareth to 19. Jake Katchmark helped the Spartans win the faceoff battle 15-10 over the Golden Flyers —a 60 percent clip — up from their season average of 53.7 percent.
Katchmark went 14-for-23 against Nazareth’s Seth DeLisle, including 4-for-4 in the fourth quarter, allowing York to hold a small lead throughout the final period. Nazareth managed just one goal in the final 25:04 of the game compared six goals from York.
“That’s a great team we just played with some really good attackmen with some high IQ,” Childs said. “… Against a good team like Nazareth, the best defense is to get the ball. We did a really good job on the wings of the faceoff to secure possessions for us.”
York was strong on the defense end, as well, holding Nazareth to 26 shots and forcing 12 turnovers. Troy Haefele, Nazareth’s leading scorer entering Saturday, was held scoreless and committed four turnovers.
York goalie Caleb Abney had five saves to help preserve the late lead. For Nazareth, Scott Brown had 10 saves, but it wasn’t enough to stop an efficient Spartans offense.
“We had 12 turnovers,” said Nazareth coach Rob Randall. “You can sometimes get away with turnovers, but they had six and they have a lot of athletes that are going to goal and scoring. They kind of kept us out of our sticks and then all of a sudden we’re pressing a bit.”
Hunter Burdick and Luke Wooters led the way for the Golden Flyers offense. Each had two goals and Wooters added four assists to the losing effort.
Both teams are back in action on Day 2 of the Greene Turtle Classic on Saturday. York will face No. 17 Lynchburg at 3 p.m. and Nazareth battle with No. 11 Denison.
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