The Susquehannock girls' team and the York Catholic boys' squads reached the league championship games with semifinal victories. Warriors coach Steve Marshner and Irish coach Shane Harper discussed the wins and what lies ahead in their title games. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
Coming into Wednesday’s York-Adams League girls’ lacrosse semifinal, Susquehannock coach Steve Marshner figured York Catholic would do everything it could to stop the Warriors’ top weapon.
With the Irish making a point to face guard the league’s Attacker of the Year, Kenna Hancock, Marshner’s game plan freed things up for Emma Stiffler.
It’s usually Stiffler who is the main facilitator on the Warriors' attack, but Wednesday, she got a chance to display her own scoring touch, scoring three goals to lead Susquehannock to an 11-5 victory. She also did her usual thing and added three assists on the turf at Central York High.
“I think we played a really good game. We made adjustments along the way and our girls picked it up,” Marshner said. “… I’m pretty happy right now. Our girls did a really good job of keeping the ball in the second half and not turning it over.”
The victory moves the top-seeded Warriors into Friday’s league title game against Kennard-Dale at 5:30 p.m. on the turf at Red Lion High. Susquehannock collected a thrilling 11-10 overtime victory over the Rams when the two squads squared off early in the regular season.
With Catholic hot on the Warriors' heels at 4-3 late in a back-and-forth first half, Stiffler struck for her second goal and followed it up with her hat-trick tally less than 30 seconds later to create some separation for Susquehannock.
“Early on, they were face guarding Kenna and it gave the opportunity for Emma to take a different type of skill set into the game,” Marshner said. “And she capitalized on it. She did really good.”
Stiffler’s goals were part of a 6-0 run that was capped off with a nice goal from Riley Roeder with 7:19 left to play that made it 10-3. Roeder cut into the middle of the Irish defense before having to leap to collect a high pass. In the same motion, she fired home her second goal of the game.
The Irish game plan against Hancock wasn’t entirely effective. The all-league attacker still managed a pair of goals and a pair of assists.
Sarah Mazzur scored two goals to lead York Catholic. Natalie Neiman, Carlin Mayer and Ella Linthicum had one each.
K-D rolls: Shortly after K-D knocked off South Western during the regular season a month ago, the Rams players and coaches figured they would see the Mustangs down the road.
They figured, too, that the rematch would be a lot closer than the 16-goal victory that K-D enjoyed that night.
It turns out, the Rams were only half right.
The second-seeded Rams and third-seeded Mustangs did meet again in the Y-A semifinals on Wednesday. The result, however, was remarkably similar.
Playing on the turf at Susquehannock High, the defending league champions decimated South Western, 22-7.
“I didn't expect it would be this way at all," K-D standout Morgan Bowings said. "We thought it would be harder on us and we knew that we had to be ready and push harder because we were afraid that they would come out even stronger.”
Clearly the Rams have grown quite a bit since suffering their only league loss of the season to the Warriors. Many of the younger players have made giant strides, according to K-D coach Kelly Wetzel.
“I'm not sure that we anticipated being as good as we've become," he said. "I know when we looked back at last year when we graduated eight seniors that we looked at what was coming up and ... we were a little nervous. You never know until you put them into the fire what they are going to do and they've done very well.”
Bowings, Amelie Gamache and Autumn Kraemer each scored four goals for K-D, while Y-A Player of the Year Megan Halczuk finished with three. Of those four, only Bowings is a senior, while Halczuk and Kraemer are juniors. Gamache is a sophomore.
“We're starting to play pretty good lacrosse," Wetzel said. "Today in the first half we only had one turnover. We executed well and we were focused. They looked like they were all on point when they were warming up. I'm not sure we had much of a better game than we had right here.”
The Rams, chasing their fourth-straight league title, will now have a day to get ready for their backyard rival. The K-D/Susquehannock showdowns have become more intense ever since the Warriors knocked off the Rams in the District 3 2-A finals last May. After Susquehannock's April 3 win over K-D, the K-D girls are eager for some payback.
“That (loss) was so rough," Bowings said. "I know that we want to come out stronger. I know that we're ready and we're really excited.”
This story was updated to make corrections.