Kennard-Dale girls earn lacrosse title shot
RED LION — Coaches will often talk about how difficult it is to beat a good team more than once in a season.
That may be true to a degree, but there's also a kernel of truth in the fact that the winning side can often benefit by growing more confident.
Such was the case Tuesday evening at Horn Field in Red Lion, when rivals Susquehannock and Kennard-Dale squared off for the second time in five days.
The Rams cruised to a double-digit victory last week over the Warriors.
So would Coach Kelly Wetzel's side find it much tougher when the two sides met for a rematch in the York-Adams League girls' lacrosse playoff semifinals?
K-D took a quick lead 90 seconds into play on a pair of goals by Morgan Bowings. The Warriors closed within 3-2 a few moments later, but that was as close as they would get. The Rams scored a 13-8 triumph.
The K-D victory sets up another highly anticipated rematch against rival and York-Adams League regular-season champ York Catholic. The Irish were a 16-4 winner over Red Lion in the other semifinal Tuesday. The two rivals will meet in the finals Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Central York High School.
While the finals weighed heavily on the minds of the K-D players Tuesday, they remained focused and confident against a Susquehannock team that had a 15-game winning-streak snapped last week.
“It was a good start," said K-D standout Gillian Zimmerman. "I think we played good throughout.”
While her coach would disagree, Zimmerman felt that besting the Warriors last week did indeed work to her team's advantage.
“I wasn't really surprised (by the outcome)," said Zimmerman, who scored three goals. "I knew that we played well a few days ago and if we just played like that again that (the outcome) would be the same.”
Wetzel wasn't so sure. He pointed out a few adjustments that the Warriors made since Thursday's contest that made the game Tuesday a bit closer.
“If you lose, you figure out what you did well and what you didn't do well," he said. "They changed up their draws so they could prevent a fast-break and slowing us down in that aspect.”
Despite Susquehannock's best efforts, the Rams ran off a string of six straight goals to take a 9-2 lead early in the second half. By that time there was little the Warriors could do to get back into it.
As the clock counted down in the second half, the K-D girls started to grow more and more excited. While beating the Warriors — a team that has never beaten K-D in its history — was nice, the thought of getting a chance to take on York Catholic was the real prize from Tuesday's triumph.
“Getting another chance at Catholic," Zimmerman said, smiling, about the team's focus throughout the contest. "And beating them (Susquehannock) along the way was nice too.”
The Rams will get that chance Thursday. The Irish broke K-D's five-year unbeaten streak in league play with a 9-8 overtime victory last month. To get a chance to avenge that setback, the Rams are aware that they'll need to get off to a better start Thursday. They only led one time in the previous meeting while trailing the entire first half.
“We have to take control from the start of the game Thursday," Zimmerman said. "But I'm very excited to play them again.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.