THURSDAY'S DISTRICT 3 CLASS 3-A LACROSSE: South Western's title dreams dashed by Wilson

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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South Western's Savannah Long, left, looks to get the ball past Wilson's Lindsey Fox during PIAA District 3, Class 3-A girls' lacrosse championship action on Landis Field at Speed Ebersole Stadium at Central Dauphin Middle School in Harrisburg, Thursday, May 27, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

HARRISBURG – The journey to the District 3 Class 3-A girls’ lacrosse title match was both thrilling and unexpected for South Western.

Having won just three total games in the district playoffs combined before this year, the Mustangs doubled that total with a trio of victories in 2021 to advance to the program’s first-ever district title contest.

Thursday evening at Landis Field against Wilson, the South Western girls had their high hopes for a championship dashed.

The Bulldogs raced out to score the game’s first three goals while holding the Mustangs to just one tally in a dominating 12-1 first-half.

While the South Western girls played better in the second half, the first-half hole was too big to escape. Wilson claimed an 18-6 triumph.

“We got out-hustled up and down the field,” said South Western coach Randy Kavanaugh. “They won the draws and the draws are the key. You don’t win the draws, you don’t score. They’re a good team and have a lot of speed.”

A trio of strong performances against Warwick (14-8 win), No. 4 seed Governor Mifflin (17-12 win) and unbeaten No. 1 seed Hershey (18-9 win) positioned the fifth-seeded Mustangs for a chance to make history in the title game.

Those dreams, however, were dashed by a Wilson team that took the wind out of South Western’s sails early.

South Western's Maddie Zier, left, moves the ball down the field while Wilson's Kayla Wilkes defends Lindsey Fox during PIAA District 3, Class 3-A girls' lacrosse championship action on Landis Field at Speed Ebersole Stadium at Central Dauphin Middle School in Harrisburg, Thursday, May 27, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“We did well to get here,” Kavanaugh said. “They were the quickest team we played. I don’t think the seeding means a lot. (Wilson came in as the No. 3 seed). They’re the fastest team. They were much faster than Hershey, much faster than Governor Mifflin. Much faster. They had girls on the sideline that were quick.”

Despite a better overall performance in the second half in which the Mustangs scored five times, it was too little, too late.

“It’s hard to fight back like that,” Kavanaugh said. “A few years ago against Cumberland Valley we fought back, but fell one short. It’s hard.”

South Western’s season will continue next Tuesday in the PIAA 3-A playoffs. Despite entering the draw as the District 3 runner-up, the Mustangs will face a big test in the form of District 1 power Radnor.

Radnor, which defeated Kennard-Dale in the 2-A state title game in 2018, finished third in the District 1 tournament.

Katie Yocum and Lexi Plesic both finished with two goals each for South Western, while goalie Morgan Melluci finished with 17 saves.

South Western dropped to 17-3. Wilson is 17-4.

DISTRICT 3 CLASS 3-A BOYS' LACROSSE

Central York 6, Cumberland Valley 1: At Eagle Valley Middle School, the Panthers won a low-scoring affair in the District 3 Class 3-A third-place match. Both teams had already qualified for the state playoffs. No. 1 seed Central improved to 19-1. CV fell to 17-3. The state playoffs start Tuesday.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.