Kennard-Dale vs. York Catholic is the one match every year that highlights the York-Adams girls' lacrosse schedule.
Together, the two sides have won the first six Y-A Tournament titles, with the Rams capturing the first five, before being dethroned by the Irish last season.
So, when the two clubs met again on Tuesday — the first time since York Catholic upset K-D in last year's playoff final — it was no surprise that the game would come down to the very end. This time, however, the Rams (11-0 overall, 9-0 league) avenged last season's loss, defeating the Irish (7-3, 6-2), 16-14, on the road.
"I saw it as a game that was going to be tough because of the familiarity," K-D coach Kelly Wetzel said. "But, I knew that we were going to have to play well, and there were times we did and times we didn't."
During those times that the Rams played well, they went on large scoring runs that helped them not only overcome an early 2-0 hole, but open up sizable leads. A 4-0 run and then a 4-1 run in the first half proved to be the major difference in the first 25-minute frame, when K-D opened up a 4-2 advantage and then took an 8-4 lead into the half.
"I felt like we beat ourselves a little bit in the first half," York Catholic coach Rob Linthicum said. "...I think if we would've played the whole game like we played the second half, I think we probably could've pulled something out there."
The Irish came out in the second half on a tear and scored the half's first three goals, trimming the Rams' lead to 8-7. However, the story of the game came down to this: K-D would always put a halt to York Catholic's scoring runs just before the Irish could come all the way back.
The Rams answered that early second-half spurt by the Irish with another 4-0 run of their own to open up a 12-7 advantage. K-D's final 4-1 run late in the game, which opened up a 16-11 lead, proved to be the back-breaker for York Catholic.
"Lacrosse is a game of runs," Wetzel said. "And who can sustain it longest and not get discouraged when you mess up — they're high school girls and high school kids make mistakes every day — so it's just a matter of weathering the storm, but anticipating that there's going to be a storm and be ready to react to it."
Key aspects: But it wasn't just countering Irish runs with longer ones of their own where the Rams owned a big advantage. In the two other major aspects of the game — player-up situations and free positions — K-D won those battles as well.
With both teams receiving one yellow card, warranting a two-minute player-up advantage, the Rams scored two crucial goals on their advantage in the first half to tie the game at 2-2. Meanwhile, when York Catholic earned its player advantage late in the second half, it came in a critical juncture of the contest, with K-D ahead 13-10. But, the Irish only managed a single goal, squandering an opportunity to get within one, or even tie the game, and put real pressure on the Rams in the final minutes.
On free positions, it wasn't so much a team effort that helped K-D come out on top, but rather, the play of freshman goalie Clare Boone. Of her 10 saves, six came in free position situations, meaning that in a two-goal win, her performance in those pressure-packed situations proved to be the biggest difference maker.
"She has a very good reaction and very quick hands," Wetzel said of Boone. "She does very well. She did the same thing against Kennett (Square High School) and she's done the same thing against other teams, so it's really nice to see."
In goal for York Catholic, freshman Kirsten Lake made six saves in her third straight start in place of injured Domenica Shellenberger. Offensively, the Irish got a strong contribution from their lone senior, Shannon Moore, who registered a team-high five goals and two assists.
"Obviously, Shannon's the leader of our ball club, being the only senior," Linthicum said. "She's been playing a long time and the girls look up to her. She's the typical sports team captain. ... She's been a big-time player, a key player whenever we need something all year."
Offensively for the Rams, sophomore Emmie Dressel stole the show, scoring a game-high six goals, despite going up against a lot of her club teammates on the other side.
"It's just so fun playing against these girls," she said. "But, it's difficult because they know all my weaknesses and strengths, but it's fun."
It took senior Morgan Day nearly the entire first half to finally score a goal, but despite her late contribution to the game, she still tallied three goals and two assists. Her career goal total now stands at 397, only 34 away from breaking the state record, held by West Chester Henderson's Katie O'Donnell at 430, which would also place her second all-time in the nation.
OTHER GIRLS' LACROSSE
Red Lion 23, Central York 9: The host Lions were led by an outstanding eight-goal, seven-assist effort from Emily Robbins. Red Lion also received a five-goal, two-assist game from Peyton Shima. Sam Collis added four goals to the winning cause. Central York was led by Addison Billings' four goals. Alexa Glatfelter scored three goals for the Panthers.
Susquehannock 15, York Suburban 2: At Suburban, the visitors improved to 10-1 overall and 8-1 in the York-Adams League. Ashley Valway (five goals), Katelyn Welch (two goals, three assists), Morgan LeBlanc (two goals, assist), Kate LeBlanc (three goals), Gena Speights (two goals) and Kayla Held (goal, assist) led the Warriors. Karlee Wasilewski and Rachael Garrett scored for Suburban. Laura Sinkovitz had nine saves in a losing cause. Amber Orner made four saves to get the win in goal.
South Western 14, Dallastown 1: At Hanover, the home team rolled behind big offensive games from Lauren Schmidt (four goals, three assists), Erin Brown (four goals, assist), Elizabeth Antoshak (four goals) and Gabriella DiRienzo (two goals, assist). Laura Silver made nine saves to get the win goal.
New Oxford 17, Harrisburg Christian 0: At New Oxford, the Colonials were led by Braxtin Reddinger (three goals, four assists), Raleigh Bateman (four goals), Olivia Woodward (two goals, assist), Lauren Slonaker (two goals, one assist) and Ellie Arthur (two goals, assist). Harrisburg Christian did not get a shot on goal.
West York 13, Eastern York 6: West York, the home team triumphed behind big games from Kelley Dietz (four goals), Ally Williams (three goals), Lakyn Brenneman (two goals) and Tori Gross (seven saves). Riley Toomey (three goals, assist) led Eastern.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com