HANOVER — For a few moments early on, it seemed as if Wednesday’s York-Adams League girls’ lacrosse semifinal between Kennard-Dale and Central York would be intriguing.
The Panthers, the No. 3 seed in the draw, scored several quick goals to take an early lead.
Slowly and surely, however, the high-powered Rams got things going. Led by big nights from Megan Halczuk (six goals, three assists) and Mackenzie Young (four goals, two assists) No. 2 seed Kennard-Dale survived the early scare before fending off the Panthers, 19-10, at South Western High School.
The Rams (14-4 overall) move on to the finals Friday at Eastern York High School against regular-season champ York Catholic (17-0). The Irish cashed their ticket to the title game with a 15-4 triumph over No. 4 seed Susquehannock (10-6).
“They are a very good team,” K-D coach Kelly Wetzel said of the Panthers (14-4). “Matt (Klinedinst) and Allie (Ilgenfritz) have done a tremendous job with them. They really have. And they’re really young and they played well. They have a really good team.”
What the Panthers lack is the type of NCAA Division I talent that the Rams possess. Both Halczuk and Young are headed to the University of Maryland Baltimore County next year and both had terrific nights.
Scary moment for Halczuk: Halczuk, who was recently named the Y-A MVP by the league's coaches, helped rally her team from the early deficit by helping to control the draws and finding the net. She even paid a price to put the Rams up 7-4 with just more than 10 minutes left in the first half when she was fouled before scoring. She took a few minutes to clear her head and catch her breath from the collision, but returned to play a few minutes later.
“I think that raced everyone’s heart a little bit,” Wetzel said. “She’s a very good player and you never want to see anyone get hurt. I certainly wouldn’t wish that upon any player. This is just a game and you want your kids to be safe and healthy and I don’t want us to lose track of that.”
Unlike the first meeting between the two sides in the regular season, which K-D won 14-10, the Rams were able to create more separation the second time around.
“They’re very fast,” Wetzel said of CY. “But this time we were able to eventually capitalize on some of the mistakes that they made. And we did a better job with the controls and the ground balls then we did in the regular season.”
Another clash with York Catholic: The victory sets up another clash with rival York Catholic. The Irish, who are unbeaten at 17-0, were able to pull out a 10-9 victory way back in the second game of the season on March 26.
Despite that loss, Wetzel is confident that his team has what it takes to knock off the top seed come Friday.
“I think we’re starting to hit our stride if we’re not there already,” Wetzel said. “We look forward to the rematch and we hoped that we would get the opportunity for it.”
Chloe Fornoff and Amalie Gamache each added three goals for the Rams. Maddy Kurland had four goals while Liz Rader finished with three tallies to pace Central York.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.