GLEN ROCK — Kennard-Dale girls' lacrosse coach Kelly Wetzel knew York Catholic would make a run at some point.
He just had to make sure his team was ready for it.
The moment finally came after the Rams jumped out to a 7-1 lead and forced Irish head coach Rob Linthicum to call a timeout. Out of the break, York Catholic scored the game's next four goals to suddenly make it a game. But, it wold never get closer than two goals the rest of the way. K-D weathered the Irish's best shots and kept pushing forward, dispatching its York-Adams League rivals in the quarterfinals of the District 3 tournament, 16-12, ending the Irish season at 11-5.
"They know lacrosse is a game of runs," Wetzel said. "You just have to sustain it. (York Catholic) called a timeout, we knew they were going to come out fired up, but you just have to sustain and keep doing what you're doing."
The Rams, who entered the District 3 tournament as the No. 1 seed, will take on No. 5 Manheim Township at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals at Hershey High School. Manheim Township beat No. 4 seed Lancaster Country Day on Thursday, 12-7. Manheim Township has won every District 3 girls' lacrosse title since the tournament started in 2009.
Fast start: Kennard-Dale (19-0) never trailed, opening the scoring 3 1/2 minutes into the contest. The Rams didn't give the Irish much chance early on. Historically, the two foes play each other tough, so when the Rams opened up the 7-1 lead in the first half, it came as a bit of a surprise.
Even with the late-half surge, the Irish trailed 9-6 at halftime and then found all their hard work at the end of the first half basically erased early in the second half when K-D scored three of the half's first four goals. At that point, with the game well in hand, the Rams were more focused on chewing up clock than running up the score. York Catholic's frustration started to mount and it found itself down two girls at once for unsportsmanlike penalties.
Boone shines for K-D: If the steady flow of goals coming from the sticks of the K-D attack was causing headaches on defense for the Irish, then goalie Clare Boone was just as troublesome as the other end.
Despite giving up 12 goals, it was the freshman's play in the cage that helped the Rams jump out to the early lead and then sustain it throughout.
"She's done an enormous job all year," Wetzel said about Boone. "There are times the defense has done a lot for her, pushing the shooters into weak shots, but there have been a lot of times when she's had some point-blank ones and one-on-ones and she's done a tremendous job."
Boone made 18 saves, including stopping the first five shots she faced. While Wetzel wasn't afraid to talk up his goalie's performance, she was quick to point out that her job is made much easier thanks to a strong supporting cast.
"I know that, if I mess up, then they'll have my back and vice-versa," Boone said. "(My team) always counts on me to make saves when they put them on the eight-yard circle and I count on them to keep (the opposition) out. We just work great together."
Strong attack: At the other end of the field, the high-scoring K-D attack was at it again. Led by seniors Morgan Day and Lyndsey Duty, the Rams picked apart the York Catholic defense.
"When people get rattled, they look for some of our senior leadership," Wetzel said about Day and Duty. "And they're there. You throw them a bad pass, chances are, you know they're going to get it. They're going to be in the right place when you need it."
Together, the tandem combined to score 10 goals. They were two of five K-D players to record at least two goals, accompanied by junior Hannah Bracey, sophomore Emmie Dressel and freshman Maddie Day, who each scored twice. The Rams have always been a program that possesses a lot of depth and balance, but what's helped this year's club maintain its undefeated mark is the closeness the girls have off the field.
"We work together well on and off the field," Morgan Day said. "So, when you have a close team, I think it definitely benefits on the field."
For the Irish, they got four goals from Lisa Casagrande, while Lindsey China, Shannon Moore and Amanada Tufano added two each. Anna Linthicum and Sarah Mazzur each scored once. In goal, Domenica Shellenberger finished with nine saves.
Day closing in on record: For the last few weeks, with every goal the senior Day scores, she's been moving her way closer and closer to the national high school scoring record of 459.
With her seven-goal effort against York Catholic, she now sits only three goals from tying the mark and four from holding the top spot all to herself. However, even with the individual accomplishment of being the all-time leading scorer in the nation hanging in the balance in K-D's next game, she's still managing to put the team's goals first and trying not to focus on that 460th tally.
"I have no idea, when I'm on the field, what is happening with (the record)," Day said. "I have no idea how many goals I have because, when I'm on the field, I'm not focused about that. I'd rather have my team win and progress in districts than ever achieve that goal. I want the most for our team and want us to succeed over scoring that goal."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org