Motivated York Catholic earns dominating win vs. South Western in girls' lacrosse showdown

ROB ROSE
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For some games, Rob Linthicum has to work a little harder to motivate his players.

The York Catholic High School girls’ lacrosse head coach leads a talented team that won a District 3 Class 2-A title in 2019 as a group of primarily freshmen and sophomores. So the average regular-season match is often a formality that results in the Fighting Irish as the easy winners.

The Irish preparation for Wednesday night’s contest was completely different though.

With undefeated South Western in town, Linthicum said his players practiced with a purpose on Tuesday and wanted to prove who is the top team in the York-Adams League.

“Playing against a good team that was undefeated was good for us because sometimes we have such an expectation to win that it’s hard to get them up for some games,” Linthicum said. “This game, they were up for it knowing that this is one of the games that’s going to determine the (league) championship. Yesterday at practice they were very motivated to play this game and it really showed because they came out ready to play right off the bat.”

Within 50 seconds of the first whistle, the Fighting Irish were up two goals. They wouldn’t be stopped until the final buzzer sounded. York Catholic claimed a 21-5 victory over South Western behind a dominant performance by one player.

South Western vs York Catholic during girls' lacrosse action at York Catholic High School in York City, Wednesday, April 28, 2021. York Catholic would win the game 21-5. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Junior midfielder Sydney Mentzer scored 11 goals and had a hat-trick eight minutes into the game. She added four more goals before halftime and another four after the break.

Ten minutes into the first half, York Catholic was up 7-0, led by Mentzer and senior attacker Ella Linthicum.

An unexpectedly easy win: Rob Linthicum and his players prepare to come out on top of each game, but even he didn’t anticipate such a big victory over an opponent that entered near the top of the District 3 Class 3-A power ratings.

“We go into every game expecting to win, but I expected the game to be a lot closer,” Linthicum said. “I was expecting it to be more of a battle, but we had the right game plan and it showed itself very early in the game. Once we got out to a lead, it probably knocked the wind out of their sails a little bit and discouraged whatever chance they thought they had to compete coming into the game.”

York Catholic's Grace Doyle, left, works to get the ball around South Western's Miranda Davis during girls' lacrosse action at York Catholic High School in York City, Wednesday, April 28, 2021. York Catholic would win the game 21-5. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The scheme York Catholic implemented started with stopping Ella Baker and Katie Yocum. Rob Linthicum is familiar with the pair, who play for his club team that also features several of the Fighting Irish standouts.

Baker scored a second-half goal, but without big production from two of their top players, the Mustangs’ offense struggled to put much pressure on the Fighting Irish and couldn’t cut into the large lead.

“They rely on those two an awful lot and when we took those two out of the game, we sensed that they seemed a little tentative on offense,” Linthicum said. “When that happens, it’s good for us because we get aggressive.”

Along with Mentzer’s 11 goals, Ella Linthicum scored five times and eight different York Catholic players found the back of the net.

Hoping to make noise in playoffs: Almost two years after the Fighting Irish lost in the PIAA playoffs as a new team without experience, the roster is filled with players ready to make noise again in the playoffs. They showed that on Wednesday and sent a message to the district and the state that the young team that lost in the 2019 PIAA playoffs has grown up and is ready to accomplish what their coach envisioned when they got together.

South Western vs York Catholic during girls' lacrosse action at York Catholic High School in York City, Wednesday, April 28, 2021. York Catholic would win the game 21-5. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“This is pretty much what I saw transpiring a couple years ago,” Linthicum said. “To have so many freshmen and sophomores on that district championship team and to have them all out here as juniors and seniors now, they’re tough to beat.”

York Catholic improved to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the York-Adams League. South Western dropped to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the league. Despite the big win, the Irish don't own first place in the league. That spot belongs to Susquehannock, which is 7-0 in Y-A competition. The Irish will visit Susquehannock on May 12.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.