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Six games into a season is usually too soon to get an accurate read on how a team will fare throughout a long, grueling season.
Injuries might occur. A team no one saw coming might provide an unexpected challenge. A fluke play or a blown call might affect the outcome of a game.
However, after York's 1-0 win at home Thursday evening against perennial soccer power Chancellor, which returns 17 players from last year's team that lost to Jamestown in the Group 4A state semifinals, one thing appears certain: The Falcons are for real.
While Thursday's win against Chancellor does not guarantee York a district or conference championship, the win does provide evidence that attaining such goals is not out of the realm of possibility for the Falcons.
"[Chancellor is] a great team. They are legit and that's why we scheduled them, to replicate what we're going to hopefully see in the regional and state tournaments," York Coach Ryan Hagerty said.
The Falcons got all they could handle from Chancellor, which for long stretches of the game controlled possession and kept the Falcons playing on their heels.
After a back-and-forth first 20 minutes of play, York's players thought a scoreless tie was broken as Bailey McClure put the ball past Chancellor's goalkeeper. The goal was called off, however, because the play was deemed offside by a linesman.
Outside of the near goal, York's scoring opportunities were limited in the first half. With 15 minutes left in the opening half, Hagerty told his players to kill clock and try to enter halftime with the game tied.
The reason behind this strategy had to do with the wind, which was gusting at nearly 20 mph at times against the Falcons. Hagerty believed the Falcons would have a better chance at generating offense with the wind at their backs in the second half.
And he was right.
In the 55th minute of play, Longwood University commit Max Poelker intercepted a pass by Chancellor. Poelker then proceeded to play a ball over the top to Aaron Reyes, who volleyed the ball past the goalkeeper for the game's lone score.
"Initially I was going to shoot it, but I saw Aaron running in diagonally so I dinked it to him and luckily he finished it," Poelker said of York's goal.
The Falcons withstood some late scoring opportunities by Chancellor, which included corner kicks and long throws into the box from the sideline.
With the win, York (6-0) heads into spring break undefeated as players and coaches feel confident about the remainder of the regular season and, if things go well for the Falcons, postseason.
"I think last season, the reason we came up short is because we weren't playing [quality] teams in the beginning," Poelker said. "I think when the postseason comes around, we're going to be really experienced."
York will resume its season April 12 on the road against New Kent.
York 1, Chancellor 0
Goals: York (Reyes)
Assists: York (Poelker)