HUMMELSTOWN — The moment could not have been more perfect for Kennard-Dale's Morgan Day.
The senior scored her 460th career goal, breaking the national girls' lacrosse high school record, against York-Adams League rival Susquehannock on Thursday, in a win-or-go-home game. To top it off, it was her younger sister, Maddie, who made the pass.
"It wasn't anything we planned out like that," Morgan said. "But, knowing that it was my sibling, it was pretty cool to have it be a sister-to-sister type of deal."
Day entered the evening tied for the national record at 459 goals with North Carolina's Megan Shortt, who set the mark last season. Even though it was all but inevitable that she would break the mark, there was added pressure to her setting the record because each game from here on out could potentially be her last.
Thanks to her six-goal game on Thursday and another strong team effort by the Rams, they defeated the Warriors, 15-11, to earn a berth into the PIAA state tournament, while ending the season for their league rival.
"I just think it's the simple fact that it's fun to watch her play," K-D coach Kelly Wetzel said about Day's record. "She's a great teammate. She's just as happy giving assists as she is receiving them to get the opportunity to score. It's been fun."
Day's record-breaking goal came with 14 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the first half and provided the Rams with a 5-1 lead. It was a lead that K-D never relinquished. The Rams (21-1) cruised back into the state tournament after a one-year absence in 2014. For Day, who's always spoken about how the record takes a backseat to the ultimate team goal of advancing as far as possible, the win made it even sweeter.
"Today was a huge win for us," she said. "Not only because it's the game that gets us back to states, but because it was against Susky, who's absolutely a huge rival for us. Third time we played them this season and it was, like always, an intense game. It's a great feeling knowing we're back in states again."
Even after setting the record, Day didn't waste any time distancing herself from second place. She would score five of her team's next 10 goals to help the Rams open up a six-goal advantage with just more than five minutes remaining. It would be the third time in three meetings that the Rams defeated Susquehannock (18-4) this season — not an easy task, especially against a good team.
"It's very, very tough," Wetzel said. "There's no secrets. We knew what they were going to do and do our best to stop it and move on from there."
Along with Day's big day, in which she also added an assist, K-D got a five-goal game from sophomore Emmie Dressel, a three-goal performance from freshman Maddie Day and one goal from junior Hannah Bracey. In goal, freshman Clare Boone finished with eight saves.
Valway shines for Warriors: For the Warriors, senior Ashley Valway capped off her strong career with a five-goal night, including a run of four straight goals for Susquehannock. Sophomore Gena Speights had two goals, while junior Maddie Ellis and sophomores Kate LeBlanc, Rachel Marshner and Kayla Held each had one goal. Senior Amber Orner finished her career with an eight-save effort in goal.
Coming on the heels of their first loss of the season to Manheim Township on Tuesday, the Rams had no trouble bouncing back to earn their state berth. K-D jumped out to an 8-3 halftime lead and led by as many as seven goals on a couple occasions.
"I think they knew where they wanted to go," Wetzel said. "No matter how far we can get to, this is a road. They knew they were better (than Susquehannock). They felt they were better."
The Rams will now face the District 1 champion (Great Valley or Harriton) in a first-round state contest on Wednesday.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com.