FAWN GROVE — The weather so far this spring has certainly not helped any of the girls' lacrosse programs in the York-Adams League.
Having to practice inside more often than outside, many teams have struggled to get any consistency and improvement.
The schedule, too, offered little help. Many of the league’s perennial powers — namely Susquehannock, Kennard-Dale and York Catholic — have or will play each other before the midpoint of the regular season.
Fortunately, there have been one or two surprise teams that have stepped up into the spotlight for contention already. One of them — South Western — already defeated York Catholic while playing Susquehannock tough in defeat.
The Mustangs aimed to make more noise Thursday evening when they traveled to Fawn Grove to take on the defending league champion Rams.
Playing without their starting goalie as well as a couple of other key players, the visitors quickly discovered that playing with less than a full deck is a nearly impossible task against K-D. The Rams scored the first eight goals to all but seal an impressive 21-6 triumph.
“We saw their score against Susky (9-8) the other night, so we knew that we had play hard from the start,” K-D’s Megan Halczuk said of the Mustangs. “And they beat York Catholic (14-11), so that score kind of made us a little nervous.”
Dominating draw controls: Halczuk and teammate Morgan Bowings won 13 draw controls at midfield to help the Rams get off to the quick start. Halczuk led K-D with six goals, while Bowings added three more. Mackenzie Young chipped in four goals while Amelie Gamache also tallied three for the Rams.
“We’ve won the draw controls against everyone we’ve played so far,” K-D coach Kelly Wetzel said. “And that’s always significant.”
The Rams used the same recipe they cooked up in last year’s Y-A League semifinal to get past South Western. Halczuk, one of the area’s top draw control specialists, often got her team possession from the face-off circle, which led to fast-break opportunities for the Rams.
While the Rams claimed victory in a much easier fashion than even Wetzel could have expected, the veteran K-D coach believes that a potential rematch down the road in the league playoffs against the Mustangs (4-2, 3-2) will be a different story.
“If we see them again in counties I don’t think we’ll see that same team,” Wetzel said. “I think they’ll be better.”
Rams rounding into form: The Rams (6-1 overall, 5-1 Y-A), who made it all the way to the PIAA Class 2-A final a season ago, have now defeated both York Catholic and South Western, while falling by a goal in overtime to the rival Warriors.
This year’s squad is not nearly as senior laden as the one from last year, so Wetzel knows that his team has a lot of areas in which to grow. That’s why he’s scheduled out-of-league contests with Penn Manor, Kennett and Manheim Township to accelerate the growth process before the playoffs start next month.
Halczuk, a Winthrop recruit, feels like this year’s squad is already well on its way.
“We only have three or four seniors,” Halczuk said. “It’s just crazy how well we’re doing already with all these younger people playing. We’re mostly sophomores and juniors.”
Many of this year’s key players were able to gain valuable experience during last year’s history-making run. Blowouts like the one Thursday are not only good for taking the stress out of a potentially intense contest, but they also allow the reserves a chance to play meaningful minutes, often against the opponent’s top players.
“I had 25 girls on the varsity roster last year,” Wetzel said. “And many of my sophomore starters this year saw significant playing time last year. So they’ve been with us and they know what we want and expect.”
Susquehannock 18, New Oxford 4: At Glen Rock, Kenna Hancock (five goals, two assists), Emma Stiffler (three goals, five assists), Ariana Prediger (three goals) and Riley Roeder (three goals) powered the Warriors, who improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the York-Adams League.
Red Lion 13, Eastern York 7: At Red Lion, Peyton Shima led the Lions by scoring three goals and adding four assists. Also for the Lions, Sara Simms had four goals and two assists, while Samantha Collis scored four goals. For the Golden Knights, Addison Malone scored six goals.
West York 12, Carlisle 11: At West York, Sydney Sweitzer (four goals, assist), Makennah Hoffman (four goals) and Holly Detwiler (three goals, assist) led the Bulldogs to the narrow nonleague win.
York Suburban 10, Dover 5: At Dover, Kamille Wasilewski (three goals), Lulu Mooney (two goals, assist) Julia Stell (two goals) and Katherine Mooney (goal, assist) led Suburban. Paige Lantz (three goals, assist) paced Dover.
York Catholic 17, Spring Grove 1: At York Catholic, Peyton Feder (five goals), Ally Smith (goal, three assists), Carlin Mayer (two goals, assist), Sarah Mazzur (two goals), Ella Linthicum (two goals) and Natalie Neiman (goal, assist) were the Irish leaders.
Red Lion 11, Eastern York 7: At Wrightsville, Ben Hornberger (four goals, assist), Zach Mentzer (goal, two assists), Dylan Waskiewicz (two goals), Quinton Lyons (goal, assist), Coulson Bittner (goal, assist) and Nicolas Shultz (two assists) paced the Lions. Bryce Henise (two goals, assist), Gavin Evans (two goals) and Jake Crumling (goal, assist) led Eastern.
South Western 19, Kennard-Dale 0: At Hanover, Tyler Dunn (three goals, two assists) powered the Mustangs to the easy win.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.