The goal for the Central York girls' lacrosse team is to ultimately join what head coach Matt Klinedinst calls “the big three.”
The "big three" is made up of the premier programs in the York-Adams League — Kennard-Dale, Susquehannock and York Catholic.
Klinedinst knows, however, that won’t happen overnight, and his immediate goals reflect such.
“The ultimate goal is to get to districts. We’ve been 8-8 the last two years,” Klinedinst said. “And it’s a winning season, and we don’t want to settle for anything less than getting to districts.”
The Panthers are off to a strong start, improving to 4-0 with Wednesday’s 19-5 victory over visiting Dover. They've now outscored their four foes, 73-29, and currently sit No. 1 in the latest District 3 Class 3-A power ratings.
As far as climbing up in the Y-A hierarchy, they’re starting to exhibit some traits similar to the tops teams. They’re scoring in bunches while taking care of business against teams they’ve already exceeded in the standings, such as York Suburban and the Eagles.
They’ve also picked up a win against Eastern York and started this week with a solid nonleague triumph over Conestoga Valley.
Central’s squad is built on speed, by Klinedinst’s estimation, and the Panthers’ quickness was on display Wednesday while overwhelming the Eagles early. Central scored 19 seconds into the game before adding another in the first two minutes. It was all part of an 11-4 first half.
Leading the way on the attack Wednesday night was Emily Kurland, who posted a four-goal, four-assist effort. Kurland’s night was complemented nicely by a standout midfield effort from Liz Rader, who registered a game-high five goals.
The Panthers, again like the programs they plan on competing with, feature a familiar bond that comes from the ever-increasing trend of year-round play in the area's burgeoning lacrosse scene.
“We have a lot of speed,” Klinedinst said. “And these girls have been playing together, a lot of them, year-round, playing club together. It’s just a great group of kids with a lot of positivity. They just stick together and don’t get down on each other when things go wrong.”
Despite being a team with only five seniors, the coach feels this group is starting to build momentum from the experiences of years past, and that this group is hungry to get the program over the hump.
The next step, according to Klinedinst, comes in starting to take down the teams that have been finishing above them in prior years.
The Panthers have a pair of local litmus tests on the horizon. They travel to Red Lion on Thursday and host York Catholic on Monday.
“We’re going to really have to play the teams that we know, the pivotal games, the Red Lions, the South Westerns. We really have to win those games and then really come to play against the big three,” Klinedinst said. “We have some things, some adjustments to make, and we’ve got to come back tomorrow and clean some things up. We got a little sloppy at times (Wednesday).”
Kennard-Dale 12, Red Lion 11 (OT): At Red Lion, Jenna Soukaseum found the back of the net with 0.5 seconds left in overtime to clinch the victory for the Rams. K-D was led by Megan Halczuk (four goals, two assists), Morgan Bowings (two goals, two assists), Amelie Gamache (two goals) and Maddie Day (two goals). For the Lions, Sara Simms (three goals, three assists) and Peyton Shima (three goals, one assist) led the way, while Kaitlyn Lower and Samantha Collis scored two goals apiece. It was the second OT thriller in two nights for the defending York-Adams League champion Rams, who lost 11-10 at Susquehannock on Wednesday.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.