Defending league and district champion Kennard-Dale tops the list of the YAIAA's best programs in 2017. Jim Seip,


Here we go again.

The Kennard-Dale and York Catholic girls' lacrosse teams will once again play for the YAIAA championship after both teams won semifinals on Wednesday night.

Kennard-Dale will look to defend its 2016 championship after beating South Western, 23-11. York Catholic, meanwhile, advanced with an 11-5 win over Susquehannock.

It's a familiar spot for Kennard-Dale, which has won seven of the eight championships since the sport entered the YAIAA.

READ MORE:What's it take for lacrosse teams to become elite?

The championship match is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Central York. Follow live updates in GameTimePA's YAIAA playoffs liveblog.

This year's final is a bit different. Both teams have a reason to want that gold medal a little more than in previous years.

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Kennard-Dale has a chance to avenge its one blemish in league play, after playing York Catholic to a tie early in the year. 

“Our team gets really hype about it, whenever we play (York Catholic) it’s like the biggest game,” Kennard-Dale’s Emmie Dressel said.

York Catholic earned the chance to prove it’s the one team in the YAIAA capable of beating Kennard-Dale. After all, the Irish knocked off Kennard-Dale in double-overtime only to have the result changed to a tie because regular-season rules dictate all games end after one extra session.

“This time, our mood, our mentality it’s completely different,” Dressel said. “I think we’ve got it.”

Both teams want a different type of game in the rematch.

“To get back to play them is wonderful," York Catholic’s Anna Linthicum said.

"We're just so excited to be able to get that chance again, to be able to prove that we don't have to go into overtime. We can come out strong."

York Catholic led Susquehannock, 7-1, at halftime in the semifinal.

"We pride ourselves on defense,” York Catholic coach Rob Linthicum said. “Talk about it all the time. Everyone likes to see their name in the paper with the goals scored. But I've found throughout my career that the way to win in this league on a consistent basis is to play outstanding team defense. To me, that's what it was all about tonight."

Meeting up with Kennard-Dale, however, presents some challenges. The teams know each other so well.

“Personally, I’m friends with a lot of the girls on (York Catholic), because we play club together,” Dressel said. “So it’s different because we’re friends.”

Kennard-Dale coach Kelly Wetzel said: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior or a freshman. They have seen each other, and they know each other’s plays. There’s a lot of familiarity.”

It hasn’t stopped the competitive nature of the annual postseason meetings, though.

"It's a familiar scene for sure,” Rob Linthicum said. “Ever since there's been a county tournament, it seems like all but two years we've been up against them.

“We've had so many tied games, overtime games, one-goal games. It's just crazy, absolutely crazy how tight that is and what a matchup and rivalry (it is). It's great for the sport. It's great for the game. It's something everybody looks forward to on both sides. I'm sure they're happy to see us get in it and we're happy to see them. It's the two teams we want to see in the big game."

Teddy Feinberg contributed to this story.

YAIAA semifinal highlights

Kennard-Dale 23, South Western 11

Rams: Gillian Zimmerman 7 goals, Maddie Day 6 goals, Emmie Dressel 5 goals, Morgan Bowings 4 goals.

Mustangs: Caitlyn Coates 4 goals, Elizabeth Antoshak 3 goals, Hannah Huff 2 goals.

Quotable: “They work so well in transition,” South Western coach Randy Kavanaugh. “They get the draw and they make the outlet pass right away. And they drive to the goal so well. They all move at the same time.”

York Catholic 11, Susquehannock 5

Irish:  Anna Linthicum 5 goals, Sarah Mazzur 2 goals, Amanda Tufano 2 goals

Warriors: Rachel Marshner 2 goals, Riley Roeder 2 goals.

Quotable: “If we play like we did tonight, can we win?” York Catholic coach Rob Linthicum said. “Yeah, sure we can win. But it's going to be a close game I'm sure no matter what. Because they're good."

If you go

What: YAIAA girls' lacrosse championship 
Who: Kennard-Dale vs. York Catholic
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Central York High School

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