York Catholic battles past Susquehannock, earns berth in District 3 2-A girls' lacrosse final

York Catholic's Olivia Staples, front, carries the ball down the field while Susquehannock's Sienna Kopp defends during PIAA District 3, Class 2-A girls' lacrosse semifinal action at York Catholic High School in York City, Monday, May 23, 2022. York Catholic would win the game 8-5. Dawn J. Sagert photo

There’s an old saying in sports that it’s hard to beat a good team three times.

That certainly rang true Monday evening.

For the third time this season, the York Catholic girls’ lacrosse team squared off with rival Susquehannock. The latest confrontation came in the semifinals of the District 3 Class 2-A Tournament.

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Despite 10- and 11-goal victories over the Warriors in the previous meetings, the Irish had no illusions that Round 3 would yield a similar result.

And it didn’t.

After racing out to an early lead after scoring the first five goals of the contest, the York-Adams League champions found it difficult to continue that pace.

So, on a night when the Irish offense was unable to get to double digits on the scoreboard, the home team relied on its defense, as well as sophomore goalie Amanda Reed.

Reed came up with a big stop just before halftime to cut off some Susquehannock momentum. Despite outscoring the Irish 5-3 over the final 35-plus minutes of action, the Warriors were stymied time and time again by Reed, who was officially credited with five saves to lead York Catholic to an 8-5 triumph.

The victory by No. 2 seed YC sends the Irish (21-1) to their third straight District 3 2-A final, where they will get a meeting vs. top-seeded Twin Valley in the final at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Central Dauphin. Twin Valley (19-1), who fell to the Irish in last year’s title contest, rolled to a 20-4 triumph over Red Land in the other semifinal Monday.

No. 3 seed Susquehannock (16-3) will take on No. 4 seed Red Land (17-3) in the third-place game to determine the third-and-final berth from the district into the PIAA 2-A bracket. That game is set for 7 p.m. at Dallastown High School.

“(Reed) had some really good saves tonight,” Susquehannock coach Kristen Kunaniec said. “She had one there where I had to yell out ‘great save.’ She’s a great goalie and I’m actually going to coach her this year in club.”

For the first time in the three showdowns, the Warriors were able to get stops and scores. But the early 5-0 deficit, as well as Reed’s prowess, prevented the Susky girls from getting closer than three goals.

Reed, however, said it was anything but easy.

“They would hold the ball for long periods of time, which can make it stressful out there,” Reed said. “It was hard to keep track of the ball. I knew I just had to look for the yellow ball in their stick and focus and talk to my defense.”

Susquehannock attacker Sydney Marusko scored three of her team’s five goals, including two straight scores near the end of the first half. But late in the first half, Reed came up with a big save that spurred a counter-attack that led to a goal to make it 6-2 at the break.

In the previous two clashes, the Irish relied on their prolific offense to stay ahead. Sydney Mentzer, who eclipsed the 300-goal mark for her career last week, scored four times, but only once in the second half.

“We were able to run away the first two times, but I wasn’t expecting it again tonight,” York Catholic coach Rob Linthicum said. “I think maybe we slowed the ball down a little too much in the second half, but, hey, it worked out.”

Twin Valley offers major challenge: Taking their foot off the gas will not be in cards if the Irish are hoping to win a third district title in the last four years (the 2020 season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic). That’s because Twin Valley will likely present the biggest challenge of the season so far for Linthicum’s squad.

The two sides faced off back on March 30, with Twin Valley dominating en route to a 17-7 triumph. That contest marked the only other time this season that the YC girls were held to under 10 goals.

“Hopefully we’ve come far enough where we can give them a better game,” Linthicum said.

Reed is just as hopeful. She pointed out that the Irish defense has come a long way since that contest.

“Our defense is communicating much better than we did earlier in the year,” Reed said. “I think we’ve really evolved since we played (Twin Valley). Our freshmen were really timid in that game.”

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.