South Western girls' lacrosse surges late for 7-6 rivalry win at Susquehannock

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

GLEN ROCK — The last four times the South Western girls’ lacrosse team squared off against rival Susquehannock, the outcome was “one”-sided. Not one-sided in terms of goal differential, as each contest came down to the wire, but in the fact that the Warriors won all four contests by a single goal each time.

It appeared that streak was about to continue on Thursday evening, as the hosts used a 5-1 run midway through the second half to go up 6-4 with 4:33 left on the clock.

Perhaps in years past, that situation would have resulted in the same old story for the Mustangs. But not this year.

Led by strong draw controls, solid execution and a big save from goalie Cam Storey, the visitors erased the demons of yesteryear with a comeback for the ages. Lexi Plesic got her team within a goal with 1:50 left before teammate Leah Leonard evened it up just 10 seconds later. A big draw control win by Morgan Kaiser then set the Mustangs up with possession in the final minute before Plesic got a free position shot to give her team the lead.

After Kaiser won another draw, the Mustangs ran the clock down before a turnover gave the Warriors life. With under 20 seconds left, the Susky girls made their way up the field before Mackenzie Dryden was fed a pass with under two seconds left. Dryden wristed a shot, but her attempt was snuffed out by Storey as the final horn sounded, giving the South Western girls a very satisfying 7-6 victory.

South Western's Lexi Plesic drives past Warwick defender Tanner Armstrong in a District 3 Class 3-A girls' lacrosse match at South Western Tuesday, May 18, 2021. South Western earned a 14-8 win in the match. Bill Kalina photo

“Unbelievable,” South Western coach Randy Kavanaugh said. “Susky is a great team with a great coach. We lost four times in a row by one goal, so tonight we got that monkey off our back.”

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While Plesic and Leonard paced the Mustangs' attack with two goals each, the happy ending “Storey” for the Warriors came down to a sophomore goalie in her first season on varsity against the best attacker for the home team in Dryden, who finished with three goals and an assist. Much like she did most of the night, the South Western keeper stymied Susky’s last-second shot.

“She really stepped up for us at the end,” Kavanaugh said. “She made the big play at the end. It could have very easily been tied and we’re headed to overtime, but she stepped up. I’m really proud of her.”

With the scoreboard to her back, Storey (eight saves) was spared the distraction of knowing just how much — or little — time was left on the clock as the Warriors raced up the field. That afforded Storey to pay full attention to everything that was in front of her, which included Dryden, who cut left towards to goal before receiving the final pass.

“It was crazy,” Storey said. “I was just kind of waiting for the timer to go off and I saw the cutter (Dryden) and I just went for it.”

Storey got her stick on the shot, deflecting it away as time expired before she was swarmed over by her teammates in the crease.

“I’m still in shock,” said Storey, whose team improved to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the York-Adams League. “I’m kind of still freaking out … and I’m shaking.”

Storey’s big save allowed her team to finally shake off the pesky Warriors (3-3, 3-2) from their recent winning-streak against South Western. It also drove a bit of a dagger in a Warriors side that now has lost three-straight closes contests — a two-goal setback against Wyomissing Saturday followed by a one-goal heart-breaker against Red Lion Tuesday.

“I was disappointed in how we played (against Wyomissing and Red Lion), but I was very proud of how we played today,” Susquehannock coach Kristen Kunaniec said. “This just shows how good both teams are, and we’ve been going back and forth with one-goal wins for years, so they finally got us.”

If there’s any good news from Thursday’s outcome for Susky, it's that there's a chance the two programs will meet up in again the league playoffs. The top four teams in the standings make the county tournament, and the Warriors, who are currently in fifth place, still have showdowns with a pair of teams ahead of them — York Catholic (6-1, 4-0) and Dallastown (6-0, 3-0).