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Rob Linthicum’s time as an attacker during his playing days has taught him how valuable a strong defense is.

His York Catholic teams have always been defense-oriented, and this 2016 squad showed that yet again with Tuesday's 16-4 win against Red Lion in the YAIAA semifinals.

“We always start with our defense and build forward,” Linthicum said. “We set out every year to hold our opponents under eight (goals). We always feel if we can hold them under eight, we can win games.”

The Fighting Irish defense riddled the typically high-scoring Red Lion offense, holding them scoreless for nearly 30 minutes between the first and second half. Alyssa Adams and Peyton Shima, who were both among the league’s top scorers for Red Lion, were held to one goal apiece.

On the offensive end, Anna Linthicum scored five times, Lauren China added four and Amanda Tufano recorded a hat trick.

The win sets up a rematch with Kennard-Dale in the YAIAA title game. The Irish won the first meeting, 9-8, in overtime, marking the first time Kennard-Dale had lost a regular season game since 2011.

“We know that they’re a good team and obviously we’re pretty evenly matched,” Linthicum said of the matchup with Kennard-Dale. “I’ve reminded my girls every day since then that it could’ve easily gone the other way…I don’t really agree with the position they took that on paper we should dominate. I’ve only got three seniors so I don’t know what their coach was really saying in their interviews. It doesn’t really make sense. But at any rate, we have to go out Thursday and that’s the game that counts.”

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