Head, heart, hustle.
Those are the words chanted by the Dallastown lacrosse team each time the Wildcats huddle up.
The team adopted the motto this season to remind them to play smart, leave it all on the field and hustle on every play.
The Wildcats have been living that motto this year. They won their eighth straight game on Thursday, defeating South Western, 15-5.
"I think we are peaking at the right time for us," Dallastown head coach Phil Bates said. "Early in the season we weren't outside much, and now our offense is starting to peak and stay with our defense. Our guys are really working well together. They are like a family."
No where was that more evident than with the Wildcats three leading scorers, Bailey Haines (29 goals), Tanner Ierley (29) and Dominick Gurreri (14). The threesome finished the game with 13 goals and five assists. All five assists were on goals scored by one of the three.
"They are clicking very well as a unit," Bates said. "Usually one of them is having a good game, but now we are starting to get two or three of them having good games together. When they are all moving together well, it takes pressure off our middies and start drawing them more into the offense."
"Bailey is pretty good," Gurreri added. "He always looks for that extra pass. Our attack in general does that. We try and spread it around between the three of us."
South Western got the scoring started when Cam Sanders juked past a defender and found the upper right hand corner of the net to give the Mustangs the early lead. Haines and Gurreri scored back-to-back goals before both team's defenses took over.
"I felt like we came out with a good effort in the first quarter," South Western head coach Gary Hartsock said. "We were able to settle down on offense and get some good looks. On the defensive side of the ball, we did a good job of communicating and being in the right position."
Ahead 4-2 midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats offense exploded for five straight goals to take a 9-2 lead into the half.
At the half, Hartsock talked to his team about taking it one possession at a time, and the Mustangs responded. They outscored Dallastown, 3-1, in the third quarter to cut the Wildcat lead to 10-5.
The fourth quarter, as with the second, was all Dallastown and the three leaders.
"I am proud of our team," Hartsock said. "They played hard, but Dallastown is bigger, stronger, and faster."
Sanders finished the game with four goals for the Mustangs.
Hartsock also mentioned that of the players that saw playing time Thursday, 67 percent of them were freshmen and sophomores.
Dallastown, on the other hand, has a handful of players who have played together since they were 8 years old.
"It is definitely an advantage we have on other teams," Haines said. "Most of us are juniors so we have another year to do it. Pretty much all of our starting offense and most of our second line has played together that long."
The win improves the Wildcats to 12-2 overall and 6-1 in the YAIAA Division I. They remain in a battle for first place with Central York.
Dallastown 15, South Western 5
Dallastown goals — Dom Gurreri 5, Bailey Haines 5, Cade Gold, Andrew Kvasnovsky, Tanner Ierley 3,
Dallastown assists — Gurreri, Ierley 2, Haines 2, Frank Marquet
South Western goals — Cam Sanders 4, Ryan Delea
South Western assists — Delea
Shots on goal — Dt, 45. SW 16
Goalies — Dt, Jack Marks (5 saves). SW, Nick Raynor (17 saves)