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HARRISBURG>> After a week and a half away from competition, there was little doubt whether the Palmyra girls lacrosse team would have enough in the tank to play 50 solid minutes Tuesday at Central Dauphin. Instead, the prevailing pregame question was whether the Cougars could keep pace with the Rams' steady attack.

Down one after a back-and-forth opening half, it appeared that question had been answered. But as 10 of the next dozen goals went the way of Central Dauphin, that certainty, as well as the chance of a road upset, was gone.

Playing its first game since April 11, Palmyra fell, 16-8, to the Rams in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division matchup. Hanah Soucy and Cheyenne Sprecher recorded hat tricks for the Cougars (5-7, 3-4 Mid-Penn), as Peyten Lyons added two scores. Central Dauphin (6-4, 6-2) was propelled by 10 different goal scorers, including Hailey Rineer, who fired off four goals and two assists.

"That score does not reflect how they played today. I thought they played great," Palmyra coach Jenn Porter said. "We just have to work on maintaining possession and taking smarter shots. That was the difference between the first and second half."

Following six-plus minutes of deadlock that opened the second half, Cougars goalie Riley Cook (11 saves) surrendered goals to Rams sophomore Jolynn Harper and attack Alyssa Guarneschelli in a 30-second span. Next, trailing by three, Soucy responded by taking the ensuing draw control and racing downfield for her second score.

"She's very, very quick," Porter said. "And they were trying to double-team her, but she was too fast."

But Rineer would soon wipe out Soucy's goal with one of her own, circling around the net and losing her defender in time for a clean look.

And as Rineer and Co. continued to deposit scores, Central Dauphin goalie Jordan Vereb staved off multiple Palmyra shots on net, eventually tallying 11 post-intermission. This put pressure back on the Cougars defense, which allowed free-position opportunities to the Rams, who rarely missed on such occasions.

Soucy managed to complete her hat trick in the final minutes, as Lexi Stuck was credited with her second of two assists on the day.

Palmyra will continue with Mid-Penn Keystone competition Thursday when it hosts division leader Hershey at 4:15 p.m.

"I just told them to keep their head up," Porter said of her post-game message. "We've got a big game coming up against Hershey on Thursday. We're fine ... and we're peaking at the right time."

Central Dauphin 16, Palmyra 8

Palmyra53—8C. Dauphin610—16

Goals— CD: Haley Rineer 4, Hannah Carroll 2, Alyssa Guarneschelli 2, Blair Schuyler, Gabi Flamm, Brooke Frey, JoLynn Harper, Sam Kough, Abby Orons, Kate Strickler. P: Hanah Soucy 3, Cheyenne Sprecher 3, Peyten Lyons 2.

Assists— CD: Rineer 2, Frey. P: Lexi Stuck 2, Katelyn Mark.

Shots on goal— CD: 29, P: 24.

Goalies— CD: Jordan Vereb (11 saves), Emily Reichelderfer (6). P: Cook (11).

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