LOWER ALLEN TWP. — They had been here before.
An enthusiastic scream of “We’ve been here before!” echoed off the Trinity Shamrocks’ bench as the scoreboard read 12-10 in favor of No. 12 Eastern York (12-7) in the quarterfinals of the District 3 Class 2A Championships.
A goal by Lance Smith with 3:18 to go at COBO Field Thursday night meant the No. 4 Shamrocks (13-6) were in a familiar situation — one where head coach Dave Heisey knew his guys could get out of.
However, the Golden Knights stacked the defense and shut down one last offensive push from the Shamrocks to keep the final at 12-10.
It was a disappointing finish for a squad that looked like it was about to book a trip to the semifinals during the first half.
“I think we let off the gas at 6-2,” Heisey said. “We had them right where we wanted; we had them exhausted and we gave them new life by letting them back in. We told them what (Eastern York was) gonna do on film and we let them do it. When they started that comeback, out of all the teams in York, those guys are like junkyard dogs — they don’t quit and they keep coming back.”
Trinity racked up a 7-3 lead before the end of the first half, and that’s when Eastern York rallied. The Golden Knights held the Shamrocks to just three goals in the second half in a spectacular defensive performance.
“We wanted to get quicker rotation on the ball and we talked about that at half time, we talked about that at the end of the third quarter,” Heisey said. “With a defense like this I wanted an off quicker motion redirect to try and get them out of the play and get a cut opposite the ball. We just weren’t doing it.”
Although this one will sting for Trinity, they can still qualify for the PIAA tournament, which begins May 31. The Shamrocks face off against No. 8 Cocalico (12-8), which lost 14-3 to Palmyra, in the first round of consolations on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. A win there sends them to the fifth-place game. District 3 sends five in Class 2A.
“It’s disappointing to lose here like this with the seniors, and this was definitely going to be their last game here (at COBO Field),” Heisey said. “Very atypical for us, we had some guys that just looked like they didn’t want it that bad. That’s not typically the way our team looks on the field.
“We gotta go back to basics. We gotta talk about our slide packages and... going back to stuff we talked about at the beginning of the season.”
Going back to playing Trinity lacrosse will be the goal before Tuesday’s elimination game.
“We’re not where we wanna be and we’re not having as much fun as we can,” said Steve Hergenroeder who notched two goals in the loss. “That’s what really got us there — having fun and playing hard. I don’t know if it was having four hours waiting around for the game, but I’m sure our guys can turn it around.
“We have to focus every single day at practice, every single hour, every single drill. We just have to get close with each other again. We just have to get our heads mentally back in the game.”
Eastern York, who is the first YAIAA team to qualify for the state tournament in history, will face off against No. 1 Palmyra in the semifinals on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.