GLEN ROCK — It was a classic.
For 50 minutes on Thursday, Kennard-Dale and Susquehannock exchanged scoring runs in the York-Adams League girls' lacrosse championship match at Susquehannock High School.
The winner would be decided by which team would strike last.
Trailing 11-10 with just more than seven minutes to play, it was the Rams who had the final answer, scoring four unanswered goals to cap off a wild, 14-11 victory over the Warriors, capturing their fourth league crown in the five years of the tournament's existence.
"I'll be honest," K-D coach Kelly Wetzel said, "if we would've gotten second place, I'm not sure we would've taken our medals with us. We would've left them here. That's how much we wanted this."
Trailing 11-10, it was time for the Rams' best players to come up big — and they did.
Over the final seven minutes, seniors Morgan Day and Lyndsey Duty carried their team, scoring the final three goals for K-D to give it the lead and then build some insurance. Combined, at least one of those two had a hand in the final four goals the Rams scored.
"(This game) means everything because I sat on the sideline last year," Duty said. "I told the girls before the game: 'This is something that you have to look back on and this is something that, not only me, but the rest of the (senior) players, this is our last chance.'"
A loss would've meant a second straight title game loss for K-D after winning the first three tournament titles in league history. Instead, by mounting a late-game comeback, the Rams are back on top and, again, the class of the league.
But the victory didn't come without its hardships.
After taking a 5-2 lead into the half, K-D came out of the break hot, scoring five of the first seven goals of the second half to open up a 9-4 advantage. The onslaught came so quickly — the Rams scored three straight goals in 47 seconds — that once they established the sizable lead, it looked like it was going to be another runaway. But, there were still a couple twists to occur.
Susquehannock storms back: Warrior seniors Ashley Valway and Katelyn Welch wouldn't let their team go down easily. Together, the two combined to score five of the game's next eight goals — seven of which were scored by Susquehannock — to quickly change the momentum and give the Warriors their first and only lead of the game at 11-10 with 8 minutes, 6 seconds remaining.
"They were using their best players," Wetzel said. "They were using Ashley and Katelyn to attack, and in girls' lacrosse, especially in the high school level, there's little to no contact and it's really hard to stop that."
The duo constantly worked low to high, getting the ball behind the cage and passing out front to the cutting player for the easy goal. After allowing his players to try to work through the tough stretch, Wetzel was finally forced to call a timeout once K-D fell behind. What he said in that break got through to his players and changed the direction of the game one last time.
"He said: 'Calm down, take a breath, get some water and go out there and do what you did when you went into the second half,'" Duty said.
The win was not only special for the Rams because it erased the bad memory of last year's championship loss to York Catholic, but it also came in a game in which they were considered the home team but played in a true road environment. Not only was the game played on Susquehannock's home field, but the Warrior fans were sitting in the grandstands directly behind the benches, creating a loud and vibrant atmosphere that K-D had to deal with.
"We had to tell our players: 'Don't pay them attention. The moment you look back, they win. They'll take you out of your game. Focus on your game,'" Wetzel said.
Duty led all Rams players with four goals and two assists for six points, while Day, despite being face guarded for the entire first half, still managed to score three goals and added two assists. Emily Livezy, Emmie Dressel and Maddie Day each scored twice for K-D, while Hannah Bracey scored once, but had two assists. In goal, freshman Clare Boone didn't let the moment get to her, coming away with 11 saves.
For Susquehannock, Valway led the way with five goals, while Welch added three goals and three assists. Gena Speights chipped in with two goals and Rachel Marshner scored one, but made it a big one, tying the game at 10-10. Senior Amber Orner made seven saves in goal.
The next step for both teams is the District 3 playoffs, where the Rams will enter as the top seed and the Warriors will be seeded No. 2.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org