The Eastern York girls' lacrosse team is still a relatively new program in the York-Adams League.
In just their fifth season in the league, the Golden Knights have yet to taste real success, never finishing above .500 in their previous four years. Off to an undefeated start this year, Eastern looked like it finally turned the corner and could be considered one of the league's top teams.
However, head coach Jim Deppen knew that some of the team's early winning ways could be attributed to a schedule that had been void of most of the perennial league heavyweights. So, Tuesday's game at York Catholic was one of the Knights' first real tests of the season. Unfortunately for Eastern, the game showed that the Knights still have a ways to go. The Fighting Irish used one major scoring run in the first half to grab control and cruised to a 16-4 win, improving to 5-2-1 overall and 5-1-1 in league play. Eastern fell to 10-1 and 6-1.
"We didn't come into this game expecting to blow them out of the water," Deppen said. "Over the years, we're just hoping to narrow the range of the score. Four years ago, it was 22-1. Three years ago, it's 20-3. So, we're slowly just trying to get closer and closer to what we would like to see."
Early on, it looked like the Knights were going to give Catholic all it could handle, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead within the first four minutes and barely letting the Irish even get a stick on the ball. Then, in quick fashion, Catholic worked itself back into the game and showed why it's been one of the top teams in the Y-A League over the past several seasons.
The 2-0 Knights' lead was short-lived. The Irish not only erased the deficit, but then went up big, using an 8-0 run to take control. They held Eastern off the board for more than 20 minutes before the Knights scored with two seconds left in the opening half to trail 8-3 at the break.
"I thought we played a pretty sharp game, other than the first five minutes," York Catholic coach Rob Linthicum said.
The key to it all was draw control. After losing the first two of the game, which led to the early Eastern scores, the Irish dominated at the face-off dot. Catholic would score and then regain possession right off the bat to keep the momentum going and prevent the Knights' offense from having any real shot of slowing the run.
The same thing played out in the second half. The Irish scored the first four goals out of the break to push its lead to 12-3 before Eastern finally stopped that run midway through the half. Catholic closed the game on another 4-0 run to put a stamp on its convincing victory.
"I think we started getting energy off the draw controls," Linthicum said. "I think the girls realized pretty quick I was going to give them one more (Eastern goal) and then I was going to call a timeout and let them know about it. But, they figured it out pretty quick on their own that they were just getting beat off the circle on the draw control and they stepped it up."
What's more impressive is the Irish didn't even start their go-to lineup. Linthicum relegated his daughter, Anna, to the bench to open the game after she showed up late to a practice on Monday. Yet, she and others still made their presence felt. Sarah Mazzur had a team-high four goals to lead Catholic, while Linthicum and Amanda Tufano each netted three. Linthicum added an assist, while Tufano had two assists to lead the team with five points.
"Amanda Burns, she was one of the starters ... and she did so well," Anna Linthicum said. "I think it was nice to get that out there and showcase what our other players have to offer."
Addy Malone scored the first two goals for the Knights, while Briana Pfeiffer had the final two. Chelsea Forsyth contributed two assists.
Now, Eastern must use this loss as a learning experience and not dwell on its first setback.
"This is a demonstration of their character and what they do with it," Deppen said. "Do they tuck their heads and run, or do they say, 'All right, that's what intensity looks like, and that's what we need to look like to be successful.'"
Red Lion 21, York Suburban 7: At Red Lion, Peyton Shima led the Lions with six goals and one assist. Emily Harrington scored six goals for the Lions, while Sara Simms and Alyssa Adams each scored two goals and added three assists. Samantha Collis had one goal and four assists. For the Trojans, Eryn McBride scored three goals.
Kennard-Dale 22, New Oxford 2: At Fawn Grove, Emmie Dressel led K-D, scoring five goals and adding four assists, while Maddie Day matched her with five goals and Morgan Bowings and Megan Halczuk each netted three.
Susquehannock 19, Central York 6: At Glen Rock, Kenna Hancock scored a game-high four goals and Gena Speights and Rachel Marshner each recorded a hat trick for the Warriors. Central was led by a three-goal effort from Abby McFerren.
South Western 9, West York 8: At West York, the Mustangs rallied from a three-goal deficit at halftime. Sydney Sweitzer had four goals and an assist to lead West York, while goalie Reilly Dearolf had 13 saves.
Dallastown 15, Spring Grove 5: At Dallastown, Olivia Jackson led Dallastown with three goals. Cassidy Patchel and Sam Richards each scored twice for Spring Grove.
Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com.