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WRIGHTSVILLE — The York Catholic girls’ lacrosse team is a tight-knit group.

The players get along like one big family.

That isn't just a bunch of talk, either. The Irish literally had a big "family" dinner at a player's house Wednesday evening.

What did they have to eat?

“Chicken parm,” said York Catholic senior defender Maura Palandro, with a smile. “It was good and it was fun.”

The Irish are having a lot of fun these days.

While they didn’t play up to Coach Rob Linthicum’s expectations Thursday night against Eastern York, the York Catholic girls nevertheless improved to 4-0 on the season after a convincing 15-6 victory.

“We’re feeling good,” Palandro said. “We’re coming out strong, playing as a team, and it’s nice to see that all of the hard work we did in the preseason pay off for us.”

Most the Irish return from last year’s club that finished with an atypical 11-5 mark. So far this year they’ve already defeated a pair of teams expected to contend for the York-Adams League title in Susquehannock and West York.

Up-and-coming clubs such as New Oxford and Red Lion, as well as the traditional rivalry game against perennial champion Kennard-Dale, remain ahead. But a number of games against lesser quality teams also remain, providing Linthicum’s team with a challenge to maintain its focus.

“The challenge is that we never want to fall down or take our foot off the gas,” Palandro said. “It’s always a dangerous time after you start to win a couple of games and you can get high on yourself, but we know that it’s a good and sobering experience to play (these types of games) and know that we still have some work to do.”

The Irish stormed out to a 9-2 lead by intermission against the Golden Knights Thursday, but Linthicum wasn’t pleased with his team’s play over the final half, even though the Irish outscored the home team 6-4.

“There are some ups and downs playing the competition,” Linthicum said. “You can go from playing a very good team to playing one that is lesser experienced. Sometimes you can get those big leads at halftime and we don’t try to run up the score, and then, next thing you know, you’re taking your foot off the gas pedal a little bit. And then you get a little sloppy and you’re not playing your game.”

Linthicum was referencing the fact that the Irish were called for a number of fouls in the second half. While it didn’t hurt them Thursday, it’s not the type of thing he wants to see become habit-forming.

“Yeah, that’s definitely one of the things that we have to work on,” he said.

One of the big areas of concern heading into the season was with the goalie position. Last year’s starter decided not to play this year, leaving the Irish with a question mark between the pipes.

So far, however, the concern has been muted by the play of Sam McGuire and Kristin Lake. McGuire, a freshman, started and made four saves in the first half, while Lake finished with three in the second half.

“I think that my sophomore goalie (Lake) has been outplaying my freshman goalie up until today,” Linthicum said. “But I think that Sam played a really good game tonight.”

Part of the reason for the solid play of the goalies so far can be attributed to a defense that is led by Palandro.

“Yeah, I think it’s going good,” Palandro said. “Fortunately we have a lot of returning starters on defense. So we have a strong defensive base to kind of help the goalies feel comfortable. But they both have amazing talent and they work hard in practice and on the field, which makes it easy to help us defend for them.”

Offensively, the Irish are well-balanced. While Anna Linthicum led the team with five goals against Eastern, eight other players scored as well.

“We probably have 10 strong offensive players,” Coach Linthicum said. “So at any given time, all seven of them are capable of putting the ball in the net. We’ve even had one game where we had 14 different girls score. But the top seven-to-10 are all very capable of getting at least a hat trick on any given day.”

While it’s still early, Palandro and her teammates have to be pleased with where they are.

More "family" get-togethers probably wouldn’t hurt either.

“Exactly,” she said with a laugh. “Chicken parm always does the trick.”

OTHER GIRLS' LACROSSE

Red Lion 14, West York 8: At Red Lion, Peyton Shima led the Lions by scoring five goals and adding one assist. Also for Red Lion, Alyssa Adams picked up three goals, Emily Harrington had two goals and one assist and Josie Raver scored two goals. For the Bulldogs, Ally Williams scored five goals, while teammate Holly Detwiler scored two goals.

New Oxford 17, York Suburban 5: At Suburban, Braxtin Reddinger led the Colonials by scoring six goals. Teammate Raleigh Bateman scored four goals. For the Trojans, Katherine Mooney scored two goals.

BOYS' LACROSSE

York Suburban 17, New Oxford 6: At Suburban, Collin Mailman led the Trojans by scoring six goals and adding two assists. Also for Suburban, Mike Sipes had five goals and one assist, Riley Purcell scored four goals and Matthew LeCates had one goal and one assist. For the Colonials, John Wilson and Alex Clabaugh each scored one goal and added two assists.

Dallastown 10, Spring Grove 5: At Spring Grove, the Wildcats got a big solo performance from Ryan Dodson to earn the road win over the Rockets. Dodson finished the night with six goals for Dallastown, while Cade Gold was the only other team member to record a multi-goal game with two goals. Spring Grove got two goals from Grant Sterner and Tanner Bolton. Bolton also had two assists.

Susquehannock 18, Kennard-Dale 1: At Glen Rock, Dorian Faster led the Warriors by scoring three goals and adding one assist. Also for the winners, Aidan Kirkendall and Ethan Daviau each scored three goals, Anthony DeVincent scored one goal and added seven assists and Zachary Buchanan and Michael Weaver each scored two goals and added one assist.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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