YORK — Nora Happny tends to get a little excited sometimes, especially when she has good news for her York High field hockey players.

So when she discovered that the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory Wednesday afternoon over Lake Region had lifted the Wildcats to the top spot in the Class B South Heal point rankings, she could barely contain herself.

“We’re No. 1,” she shouted, as her players were breaking up from their postgame huddle. “We’re No. 1.”

Being in first means a lot to the Wildcats – who have held that distinction entering the regional tournament for at least the last five years. Happny is in her first year has head coach after taking over from Barb Marois, who led the Wildcats to 12 regional titles in the previous 14 seasons.

“Every year we’ve finished first,” said senior midfielder Emlyn Patry. “We want to maintain that composure. We want to continue what York field hockey is, and obviously we did that by finishing in first.”

York, which finished the regular season with a 10-3-1 record, was pushed throughout by the Lakers, who finished 9-5.

The difference was an early second-half rebound goal by freshman Sage Works and a stifling defensive effort by the Wildcats that limited Lake Region to two shots. Lake Region freshman goalie Katie Keenan played a very strong game with 10 saves.

“That might have been the biggest difference, their defensive sticks instead of ours,” said Lake Region Coach Pauline Webb. “Every time we play them, every year, we give them a good game. And that’s what I wanted today, to give them a good game.”

For the most part, the game was played between the 25s, as York’s defense, led by Patry and fellow seniors Katie Donovan and Hannah Gennaro, made it difficult for the Lakers to work the ball upfield.

“Across the board (the defense) has been really good for our team,” said senior goalie Julianna Kiklis. “Everyone really works well together.”

Early in the second half, Addy Fagan got a long pass at the top of the circle and went in alone on Keenan, who made a nice blocker save. But the rebound dropped down, and Works – who always played defense until this year – was there to knock it in.

“Honestly, when I hit it, I thought the goalie saved it,” said Works, who has six goals and five assists this season. “But then it was in the back of the goal.”

Works said she was initially against moving to the forward line, but she has provided a big boost to the Wildcats.

“I told the girls from the get-go that this was going to be a different year for them and it’s a lot of new things for me,” said Happny. “So I’ve tried to just step in and keep it positive and keep them going forward.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

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