FAWN GROVE — Rarely in a playoff tournament does the top overall seed fall in the opening round.
Tuesday's District 3 girls' lacrosse first-round contest between No. 1 seed Kennard-Dale and No. 16 Wilson was no exception.
Looking every bit the part of the top team in the tournament, the undefeated Rams (18-0) smothered the Bulldogs (10-9) early before cruising to a 20-8 home triumph.
With the win, K-D advances to face York-Adams rival York Catholic in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Thursday at Susquehannock. The Irish advanced courtesy of Tuesday's 11-6 victory against Berks Catholic.
"You never know what to expect," K-D coach Kelly Wetzel said. "We assumed they would be athletic and they were, very athletic. We were just able to win the draws and gave a great effort. I'm very proud of the way (the Rams) played today."
Also typical for top teams who take care of business early, standout players led the way for the victors.
Morgan Day led the Rams' offensive onslaught with eight goals and two assists. Teammate Emmie Dressel added five goals and an assist. And Morgan's younger sister, Maddie, had a three-goal, two-assist performance of her own.
Already the career prep scoring leader in Pennsylvania, Morgan Day's goal total now sits at 449, just 10 behind the national career record of 459, held by North Carolina prep star Megan Shortt (2011-2014). At this point though, the only person not paying attention to Day's pursuit of history is Day herself.
"Oh, really?" Morgan Day said of moving into second place. "I don't really worry about it too much. After the game it's something that's in the back of my mind. On the field, it's something that can't be on my mind. Just winning the game, working with my teammates and the score is the goal. Not individual achievement."
The Bulldogs' defensive strategy was to shadow the elder Day in an attempt to limit her opportunities with the ball.
That only opened up the center of the offensive zone for the Rams to exploit with timely cuts through the middle and crisp passes that found open players. K-D spent much of the game's early play in their offensive zone, resulting in a 8-0 run by the Rams during the game's first nine minutes.
"They face guarded Morgan, trying to deny her the ball, and it opened up the lanes with fewer defenders in there," Wetzel said. "It made things a little easier on our offense and the others stepped up and did really well. It's not just Lyndsey (Duty) and it's not just Morgan."
Wilson's plan only served to slow Day temporarily.
The St. Francis-bound senior scored the final three goals of that run, the third giving her second place alone nationally at 444.
Dressel scored two of her five markers during the span.
The Bulldogs got on the board for the first time with Carly Pandit's goal, making it 8-1 Rams with 15:55 left in the first half. Smaller, two- and three-goal runs for the Rams were laced with Wilson tallies, ultimately resulting in a 15-3 halftime lead for the hosts.
Wilson threatened to make it a game early in the second half. The Bulldogs went on a run of their own, scoring four unanswered goals to make the score 16-7 with 14:10 remaining in the second half.
"We just got sloppy at the end," Wetzel said. "We came out flat in the second half and they didn't. So a lot of credit to them."
Having seen enough, Morgan Day put the Bulldogs away for good with a scoring spree of her own, matching Wilson by scoring the game's next four goals over a five-minute span.
"As a team, we were completely ready to go and that really helped out in the beginning," Morgan Day said. "I had a slow first half. We knew we had to pick it back up there toward the end and get some goals."
Maddie Klee led the Bulldogs with three goals. Julie Gehman added a goal and an assist for Wilson.
OTHER GIRLS' LACROSSE
York Catholic 11, Berks Catholic 6: At York, the Irish trailed at the half, 3-2, only to storm back in the second half with a 9-3 surge to earn the District 3 first-round triumph. Eighth-seeded York Catholic improved to 11-4, while ninth-seeded Berks Catholic finished at 15-4. York Catholic now faces rival Kennard-Dale in the quarterfinals on Thursday. K-D edged York Catholic in the regular season, 16-14. Lisa Casagrande (four goals, assist), Shannon Moore (three goals, assist) and Amanda Tufano (three goals, two assists) led the York Catholic offense. Domenica Shellenberger had six saves to get the win in goal.
Hempfield 18, South Western 6: At Hempfield, Lauren Schmidt had four goals and Erin Brown and Gabriela DiRienzo each had a goal and an assist, but it wasn't enough for the 14th-seeded Mustangs in their District 3 first-round loss to No. 3 seed Hempfield (16-3). South Western ends the season at 10-6.
— Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org