UNION DEPOSIT — It was just under two weeks ago when the York Catholic girls’ lacrosse team suffered a heart-breaking loss to rival Kennard-Dale in the York-Adams League playoff championship contest.
A number of the YC players left the stadium at Eastern York High School with tears in their eyes.
Getting a chance to avenge that bitter setback was certainly on top of the Irish girls' to-do list on Wednesday evening when they got a rematch against the Rams in the District 3 Class 2-A final.
After falling behind early, the Irish put together an impressive run of goals that left the Y-A League playoff champs in their wake. As expected, however, the K-D girls made a run in the second half, but it was too little, too late. The Irish won the program’s first-ever district crown with an 12-9 victory at Central Dauphin Middle School.
“This is your moment,” a smiling YC coach Rob Linthicum said to his team afterward.
Pivotal run: Indeed it was. The Irish (21-1) scored an impressive eight consecutive goals after trailing 2-0 to take a lead they would not relinquish.
“We’ve done that a little bit against them both times that we played them this year,” Linthicum said. “After they jumped out (to a 2-0 lead) it was just like ‘don’t panic, keep playing.’ I think we played a really good first half.”
The K-D girls were clearly disappointed about entering the intermission down by six goals (11-5). Rams coach Kelly Wetzel scolded his team, saying "you’re better than that" with his team huddled around him.
The K-D coach threw out a question to his team shortly thereafter.
“We have six goals to make up,” he said. “Can we do it?”
Rams close gap: The Rams nearly did just that. After a first half that saw 16 goals scored, neither team was able to find the net over the first 11 minutes of the second half. The Rams, however, finally did score on a goal by Jenna Soukaseum. Two more K-D goals followed to make it 11-8 with just under 10 minutes left.
Another goal cut the deficit to just two with 8:35 remaining, but YC’s Grace Doyle scored what turned out to be the only goal of the half for the Irish with 4:52 left. It was also the last goal of the game.
A great defensive stop on a K-D restart helped give York Catholic possession and they were able to hang on as the final seconds of the contest ticked off the clock.
Big celebration: A big celebration on the bench quickly turned into one on the field. The Irish had finally realized a dream of theirs.
“We’re young, so I don’t think it’s really setting in right now,” YC freshman Sydney Mentzer said. “But I know tomorrow when we walk into school with our heads held high that the whole school is going to be knowing that this (winning a district title) is going to be happening for the next couple of years.”
Mentzer (three goals, two assists), Natalie Neiman (goal, four assists), Olivia Staples (four goals) and Ella Linthicum (two goals) led the Irish. K-D (17-5) was paced by Megan Halczuk (four goals), Amelie Gamache (goal, two assists) and Soukaseum (two goals).
Both teams advance to the PIAA 2-A playoffs. In the first-round of the state playoffs on Tuesday, York Catholic will meet the District 7 runner-up. K-D will face the third-place team from District 1.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.