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The Kennard-Dale girls' and York Catholic boys' lacrosse teams won York-Adams League tournament titles Friday, May 11, at Red Lion High School. The Rams' Morgan Bowings and the Irish's Chandler Hake discussed their team's victories. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch

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York Catholic’s exciting York-Adams League boys’ lacrosse championship win Friday night was the latest case of the league putting one foot in front of the other on its ever-continuing journey to prominence.

Each year, the league continues to show signs of growth, reaching the natural benchmarks indicative of a flourishing scene.

Since becoming a league sport in 2009, the fledgling conference has expanded to feature a full and entertaining regular-season schedule, that each week is littered with meaningful match-ups.

That slate now gives way to an exciting annual league tournament full of parity. With their 13-12 overtime triumph Friday over Central York, the Irish became the third program with two tourney titles since the event began in 2011.

The York area is also producing top talents that are among the best in the state statistically and committed to play collegiately at high levels. 

As the District 3 playoffs get underway this week, the league looks poised to make even more progress.

Solid 2-A representation: The Y-A League can perhaps best further its reputation this season in the Class 2-A ranks, where it’s represented by its champion and a fair amount of its notable firepower.

The district began crowning a boys’ lacrosse champion in 2011, and went to its current two-class system in 2017. Already, the area has established a foothold on the 2-A scene, sending seven teams to districts last year and six this season, the most of any qualifying conference.

Eastern York made history for the area a year ago by becoming the first Y-A boys’ team to qualify for the PIAA tournament with a surprise run to a third-place finish in 2-A. With the top five teams in the class earning PIAA berths this season, there’s a real possibility the league doubles its participation this year.

The fourth-seeded Irish (14-4) enter with some serious momentum, having won their last eight on their way to claiming the Y-A crown. That included avenging their only two league losses of the year by beating Susquehannock in the league semifinals before knocking off the previously unbeaten Panthers for the title.

After knocking off the Panthers, the top seed in the 3-A field, as well as having played No. 2 Trinity (14-2) to a 12-11 loss earlier this year, the Irish look to be a tough out in 2-A. The Irish play host to No. 13 West York (8-7) at 5 p.m. Monday in their district opener.

Susquehannock (13-4) enters the district event as the No. 3 seed and will host No. 14 Lower Dauphin (6-10) at 7 p.m. Monday.

Also in the 2-A field from the Y-A League is No. 8 South Western (11-5), which hosts No. 9 York Suburban (10-6) in another all Y-A game. And No. 12 Spring Grove (10-7) will travel to No. Hershey (11-6). Both games are Monday at 7 p.m.

Boys' 3-A: In the 3-A bracket, the league will be represented by the same three squads who entered the original event in 2017.

Leading the way is Central. The Panthers went through the regular season undefeated at 16-0 and that earned them the top seed for the 3-A tourney. Central just missed a PIAA berth last season by finishing fourth in the district.

After a first-round bye, the Panthers (17-1) will begin their 2018 run through the tournament on Wednesday by hosting either No. 8 Governor Mifflin (12-5) or No. 9 Penn Manor (12-5).

Central is looking to become the first Y-A program to earn a PIAA 3-A spot.

A major question for the Panthers over the next few days will be the status of the league’s Offensive Player of the Year Kollin Vaught.

The top face-off, get-off specialist in the area, Vaught was injured in Friday's league final with an apparent lower-body injury. Vaught’s penchant for winning draws is a major factor in the Panthers' offensive success.

To the Panthers’ credit, Vaught’s younger brother, Brady, filled his shoes admirably by managing to win four the 10 face-offs he took vs. the Irish. And those were no easy victories, considering he was facing second-team all-league FOGO Drew Snelbaker.

Brady Vaught won the OT face-off Friday before a huge save from Irish goalie Jarred Kohl eventually led to Chandler Hake’s winning score.

Dallastown (12-4) and Red Lion (10-7) are also in the mix in 3-A. The Wildcats are no stranger to District 3 play. Dallastown is the only league team to have qualified for the District 3 event every year since the district began awarding championships in 2011.

The Lions have qualified for districts for the fourth straight season and fifth overall.

The No. 6 Wildcats host No. 11 Central Dauphin (11-7) on Monday at 7 p.m. The winner will travel to No. 3 Wilson (16-2) on Wednesday. The No. 10 Lions travel to No. 7 Warwick (12-4) Monday for a 7 p.m. start. That winner heads to No. 2 Manheim Township (14-1) on Wednesday.

Girls' side: Speaking of signs of solid growth, the area girls’ squads have already given the league plenty.

Kennard-Dale was the first Y-A club to break through, reaching the District 3 title game in 2013 before becoming the first York County lacrosse team to win a district gold in 2016.

Susquehannock followed with a District 3 2-A title the next year in the first season for a two-class district system. The Warriors captured that title vs. the Rams.

York Catholic is the third team that has helped this area establish a measure of 2-A success, finishing third in the district a season ago. The Rams and Irish have qualified for districts every year since the organization began a tournament in 2011.

With the Warriors, Rams and Irish all earning PIAA bids for their efforts, the league later recorded its first PIAA finalist when K-D got revenge on Susquehannock in the state semifinals.

Partly a by-product of having edged the Rams early in the regular season, the Warriors (16-3) are the top seed in 2-A and will host league foe No. 16 West York (7-9) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The league-champion Rams (16-2), who earned that title by winning the rematch with the Warriors on Friday 9-8, are the third seed and host No. 14 Berks Catholic (7-10) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

York Catholic (10-6) is the No. 7 seed and hosts No. 10 Palmyra (10-7) at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Also from the Y-A league, No. 11 Eastern York (8-8) travels to No. 6 Lancaster Country Day (12-5) for a 5 p.m. Tuesday match.

Girls' 3-A: In the 3-A event, the league gains another milestone in seeing Central York reach the district tournament for the first time in school history. Making the matter sweeter, the No. 6 Panthers (11-5) will host their first game when No. 11 Carlisle (9-8) comes to town Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Also in 3-A, No. 4 South Western (12-4) will play Thursday in the quarterfinals after a first-round bye. The Mustangs (12-4) will face the winner of No. 5 Cumberland Valley (12-6) and No. 12 Red Lion (8-7), who play Tuesday at 7 p.m.

— Reach Elijah Armold at earmold@yorkdispatch.com

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