HUMMELSTOWN — Cumberland Valley needed to do some scrambling to get equipment and uniforms thanks to an elimination game moved up two hours from its original start time because of possible thunderstorms.
But coach Matt Healey’s worries were all for naught as the Eagles came out and blasted Central York in the opening half en route to a 16-8 victory in the District 3 Class 3A third-place game at Lower Dauphin Middle School on Thursday evening.
The win moves the Eagles to the PIAA Class 3A tournament for the third straight year Tuesday against Avon Grove, a 14-12 loser to Conestoga, at a site to be determined. Central York bows out of the tournament.
“I wasn’t sure how the kids would react when you move a game up two hours,” Healey said. “We had to send some home from school early to get equipment, but we came out quickly and played very well in the first half. Max Seeber, Evan Schneeberger, Jared Plessinger and Jake Palmer all did a nice job in the midfield, on face-offs and making things happen by forcing turnovers.”
“I was one of the kids who had to race home from school to get my stuff so I could make the bus,” Clayton Miller said. “We had to leave school early and get back, but I felt on the ride down that our team knew what we needed to do and came out and did it early.
We came out focused and forcing mistakes. We just need to go out next week, focus, have fun and take our chances.”
Cumberland Valley (18-4) beat Central York 10-6 two weeks ago so it had a decent scouting report on the Panthers. Unfortunately, that same Panthers team didn’t show up in the opening half. On its first four possessions, CY got off two weak shots and turned the ball over three times.
On the other hand, the Eagles came out on all cylinders and midfielder Max Seeber forced two turnovers. It sparked an offense that tallied three goals, including a goal with 7.1 seconds left in the opening stanza by Grant Travis.
“Our defense knew what they needed to do and they really forced them into the alleys, rather than the middle and the crease,” goalie Alex Dudziak said. “We had an idea what they were going to do, but we didn’t allow them to get shots off. We forced a lot of ground balls from our midfielders and our defense picked a lot of them up. This defense is very good, but I know we can play even better next week.”
Goals by Devon Heckman, Miller, long pole Chase Young and Stevie Peters gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead in the second quarter before Miller scored a goal by throwing it behind his back.
Central York (18-3) finally spun the scoreboard, on a pair of goals separated by just seven seconds, including one from face-off-get-off man Kollin Vaught. But all it did was make it an 8-2 halftime deficit.
Miller and Travis scored early in the third and the Eagles led 10-2.
The Eagles appeared to let off the gas and the Panthers again tallied two quick goals, one on a power play, but the Eagles got late goals from Miller and Mitch Schalles to maintain an eight-goal advantage.
Central York got within 13-8 but the Eagles settled down and scored the final three goals for the 16-8 victory.