FAWN GROVE — The York Catholic girls’ lacrosse team entered the 2016 season hungry.
Hungry to make amends for last year’s respectable, but disappointing 11-5 record.
Hungry to play up to their potential.
And most definitely hungry to beat rival Kennard-Dale.
In what was undoubtedly the best girls’ lacrosse game played so far during the York-Adams League regular season, the final two unbeaten squads squared off in an epic showdown under the lights at Kennard-Dale High School Tuesday night.
After the Irish stormed out to an early 2-0 lead a few minutes in, the contest shifted back and forth between the top two teams in the District 3 power ratings. The Irish gained an 8-7 lead late, only to see K-D’s Emmie Dressel even the score with three minutes remaining.
Neither team was able to score during the rest of regulation, although the Irish had a chance with under 10 seconds left. That led to a three-minute, sudden-victory overtime session. And after gaining possession of the ball behind the net, it was York Catholic standout Anna Linthicum who held off a defender, raised her stick high and shot the game-winning goal past standout K-D goalie Claire Boone.
Final score: York Catholic 9, Kennard-Dale 8.
“This is just incredible,” Linthicum said. “All day we had this feeling that we could do it. And all season we’ve been working our butts off. We’re playing like such a team this season … better than we ever have. And we all felt that if we played our best and played as a team that we could do it.”
K-D coach Kelly Wetzel agreed.
“You have to come out and play the games,” Wetzel said. “And today they were better than us.”
The "it" that Linthicum was referring to was defeating a Rams program that hadn’t dropped a York-Adams League regular-season contest since 2011. The Irish have come close before, including an overtime loss back in 2014. Coincidentally or not, that was also the season in which the Irish defeated K-D to claim the league playoff crown.
“Over the history, we’ve had like six one-goal games between us,” said York Catholic coach Rob Linthicum. “This was the second that went to overtime. We felt good coming into this, but we knew it was going to be a dog-fight.”
Coach Linthicum was a bit nervous during the opening draw of overtime. It appeared as if the Rams would gain possession, but a foul allowed the Irish to take control. After moving quickly into the offensive zone, the Irish eventually found Anna Linthicum behind the net.
After making a move in front of the net, Linthicum was blocked off by the K-D defense. But the Irish junior spun the other way toward the goal and got just enough room to extend her stick higher before firing a shot just over Boone’s stick.
“I felt like (that play) was working around the crease all night,” Coach Linthicum said.
The Irish sent a quick and early message to the Rams that they were ready. Lindsey China scored nearly 2 1/2 minutes into play to put the visitors up 1-0. A minute later, Lisa Casagrande scored to make it 2-0 in favor of York Catholic.
That prompted a timeout from a K-D side that isn’t used to playing from behind. The Rams responded shortly thereafter when Morgan Bowings cut the deficit in half.
The Irish regained their two-goal lead with just more than 12 minutes left in the first half when Kayleigh Pokrivka scored. That, however, would be the last time either team enjoyed a lead greater than a goal.
Trailing 4-3 at the intermission, the Rams scored the first two goals of the second half to take their only lead of the night at 5-4.
Neither side could earn a bigger cushion because of the play of the two goalies. York Catholic’s Kirsten Lake, a first-year starter, recorded nine saves. Boone, perhaps the best goalie in the league as a sophomore, finished with eight stops.
While Anna Linthicum led her team with three goals, she heaped a bunch of praise upon her goalie for helping make Tuesday’s victory a reality.
“All thanks to Kirsten,” said Anna Linthicum, who added an assist in the victory. “If she hadn’t stopped all of those shots that they had, they could have blown us out. But she did a great job in there.”
Dressel led the Rams with four goals, while Hannah Bracey tallied three goals for the home team.
York Catholic is now 12-0 overall and 9-0 in the York-Adams League. K-D fell to 11-1 and 6-1.
Susquehannock 23, York Suburban 1: At Glen Rock, Susquehannock got six goals from Gena Speights and a goal and 10 assists from Kayla Held. The Warriors improved to 13-1 overall and 10-1 in the York-Adams League.
West York 5, Eastern York 4: At Wrightsville, five different West York players scored single goals, while goalie Victoria Gross had 13 saves. Rylie Toomey scored three of Eastern’s four goals.
South Western 8, Dallastown 6: At Dallastown, Mollie Farace recorded a hat trick to help the Mustangs power past their hosts. Kaitlyn Baldwin scored a pair of goals to lead the Wildcats.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.