It's been a gradual climb for York Catholic girls' lacrosse coach Rob Linthicum.
Four years ago, when the York-Adams League had its inaugural lacrosse campaign, Linthicum took the reins of the Fighting Irish girls' program with athletes who mostly hadn't played the sport before.
"They didn't have the fundamentals, at least that I try to teach," Linthicum said. "And there were a lot of bad habits that I had trouble correcting for some girls, who had been playing under a different coaching style."
The Fighting Irish went 1-13 overall the first year. Since then, though, the Irish haven't experienced a losing season. In Year 2 and Year 3, respectively, the Irish improved to 9-7 and then 12-5 overall.
This past season, York Catholic would experience its best season to date, going 13-2 in league play and 16-4 overall. It marked the most wins in a season for the Irish, who finished the regular season as the Division II runner-up to Kennard-Dale. In the postseason, York Catholic fell to the Rams, 11-10, in the York-Adams League Tournament title game before later winning its first-ever District 3 Tournament game with a 13-6 first-round victory over Susquehannock.
For his efforts, the York-Adams League girls' lacrosse coaches have selected Linthicum as this year's Coach of the Year.
Linthicum credits York Catholic's success to the players learning his coaching style over the last four years, both at the varsity level and middle school level.
"I have a good friend, Dan China, who is now coaching our middle school club team. That gives us a good consistency," Linthicum said. "We've only had that club team for three years. Of course everybody else is doing the same thing, but in general it should help across all levels."
Honored players: China's daughter, Alexis, is one of four York Catholic players selected to the York-Adams League All-Star Team, which ties Kennard-Dale for the most all-star players among
Kennard-Dale junior Nicole Black has been named the league's Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Attack. Black led the Rams in goals (59), assists (116), groundballs (94) and turnovers (20).
"Nicole is one of those girls that will give you everything she has until she collapses," Kennard-Dale coach Kelly Wetzel said. "We ran sprints at the end of practice and she would be the first in line ready to go and one of the first three to cross the finish line."
The three remaining awards went to York Catholic players Lindsay Ingram (Most Outstanding Midfielder), Lainey Elliott (Most Outstanding Defender) and Alana Pietra (Most Outstanding Goalie).
Ingram, who will play for NCAA Division I St. Francis (Pa.) University next spring, was second on the team in goals (54), assists (23) and ground balls (52) and first in turnovers (31). Elliott had 34 draw controls and 33 ground balls. Pietra had 179 saves with a 56.1 save percentage.
Ingram is one of three York-Adams League lacrosse players who will play at the NCAA Division I level next season. South Western All-Star attack Katie Wherley and Kennard-Dale attack Katie Fonte, who earned an honorable mention, will play at LaSalle University.
"That's a goal of ours just to get (players) recognized and get them an opportunity at the collegiate level," Linthicum said of York-Adams League lacrosse coaches. "Most colleges are used to going to Delaware and New York to recruit. Our area is kind of overlooked. With three players going D-I, it's great."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2012 YORK-ADAMS LEAGUE GIRLS' LA CROSSE COACHES ALL-STARS
Most Outstanding Player: Nicole Black, Kennard-Dale.
Coach of the Year: Rob Linthicum, York Catholic.
Most Outstanding Attack: Nicole Black, Kennard-Dale.
Most Outstanding Midfielder: Lindsay Ingram, York Catholic.
Most Outstanding Defender: Lainey Elliott, York Catholic.
Most Outstanding Goalie: Alana Pietra, York Catholic.
Nicole Black, Kennard-Dale.
Katie Wherley, South Western.
Alexis China, York Catholic.
Brooke Clasing, Susquehannock.
Lindsay Ingram, York Catholic.
Gabe Greco, York Suburban.
Allee Ilgenfritz, West York.
Haley Romoser, Kennard-Dale.
Lainey Elliott, York Catholic.
Taylor Davis, Kennard-Dale.
Kiyanna Brown, West York.
Brianna Logana, Kennard-Dale.
Alana Pietra, York Catholic.
Bri Boyer, Susquehannock.
Karli Breeden, West York.
Sara Sweitzer, West York.
Katie Fonte, Kennard-Dale.
Callie Kavanaugh, South Western.
Breann Young, Dallastown.
Sydney Szparaga, South Western.
Shannon Moore, York Catholic.
Summer Walter, New Oxford.
Carly Van Luit, Susquehannock.
Shelby Walter, Spring Grove.
Kasie Mahorney, South Western.
Kristen Rabenstein, Spring Grove.
Katie Linthicum, York Catholic.
Anastazia Johnson, West York.
Kelly Dreher, Susquehannock.
Becca Silver, South Western.
Sarah Gardner, New Oxford.