Susquehannock girls' lacrosse earns pivotal victory over York Catholic

The Warriors stayed in the thick of the county playoff race with the 11-5 victory.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

GLEN ROCK — If anyone thought the race for the York-Adams League girls' lacrosse playoffs would be settled, they were sorely mistaken.

On a Thursday in which Dallastown defeated early-season favorite South Western in the afternoon, reigning league champion York Catholic visited Susquehannock in another game with massive significance in the evening. With the Irish handing South Western its first loss of the season last week, the hosts could ill-afford to fall further behind the teams at the top of the standings.

From the opening whistle, the Susky girls played as focused and as complete a game as they have all season. The Warriors quickly raced out to a 5-1 advantage before extending it to 9-1 by the intermission. While that pace slowed down considerably in the second half, the Susquehannock girls put the clamps down on the Irish defensively, limiting YC to just six shots on goal en route to a much-needed 11-5 triumph.

Susquehannock's Sienna Kopp, right, controls the ball against York Catholic's Jessica Daugherty, left, and Dulaney Staples, back right, during PIAA District 3, Class 2-A girls' lacrosse semifinal action at York Catholic High School in York City, Monday, May 23, 2022. York Catholic would win the game 8-5. Dawn J. Sagert photo

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Combined with Dallastown’s 11-9 victory over the Mustangs, the Warriors (7-2) joined a gang of two-losses teams — South Western (7-2), York Catholic (6-2), Kennard-Dale (6-2) and Dallastown (4-2) — just behind the first-place Lions, who are 7-1 in the league. Red Lion already owns victories over York Catholic, Susquehannock and Dallastown this season with its only loss coming against South Western.

“This was big,” Warriors coach Kristen Kunaniec said. “I know that we haven’t beaten (York Catholic) since I’ve been here and I don’t think any of the girls have either, so this was nice.”

Susquehannock attacker Bella Kachick found the next four times while adding a trio of assists in the victory. Rachel Stiffler added three goals, as did Mackenzie Dryden. Sarah Perry led the Irish with a goal and an assist.

While the Susquehannock offense was hot in the first half, the Warriors' defense played a bit of an unheralded role in the triumph. The hosts were able to force turnovers and limited the shots on goal by the high-flying Irish throughout the night.

Susquehannock's Bella Kachik controls the ball during PIAA District 3, Class 2-A girls' lacrosse semifinal action at York Catholic High School in York City, Monday, May 23, 2022. York Catholic would win the game 8-5. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“I didn’t realize until there was about six minutes left that we only had five shots on goal,” York Catholic coach Jim Mullen said. “And we had four goals. It’s pretty simple — if you’re not shooting, you can’t score goals.”

That became crystal clear over the final minutes of the contest. Trying to rally from an 11-4 deficit, the Irish scored and won the ensuing faceoff but failed to attack offensively with urgency before Susquehannock's Sienna Kopp forced a turnover that allowed the Warriors to run out the clock.

“At our practices recently, we’ve been working really hard on trying to come out and play our best,” Kunaniec said. “We’re a team with a lot of big personalities, which is super awesome, but we sometimes fail to focus and lock it in so (that extra focus) was really what I think helped us tonight.”

Kopp, a senior captain as well as a York-Adams first team all-star a season ago, couldn’t have been happier with how the team performed, as well as getting some much-needed payback on the Irish.

“It was a great experience,” Kopp said. “We were coming off a few tough losses, so we’ve been pushing it in games and getting the win, especially against them, was awesome. Last year, against them, it didn’t work out to well for us.”

Kopp echoed her coach in pointing to the focus and intensity the Warriors had Thursday.

“We were locked-in and focused,” Kopp said. “We’re all playing together as a team and doing what we are supposed to be doing.”