Kennard-Dale girls take back YAIAA lacrosse title
Lyndsey Duty wanted this one.
The Kennard-Dale senior had to watch her teammates lose last year's YAIAA girls' lacrosse championship game at Susquehannock. She stood like a statue in street clothes near her coaches, upset she couldn't go in because an ACL injury ended her season.
Duty didn't have to watch Thursday at Susquehannock.
She hardly left the field and led the Rams to their fourth league championship in program history with a 14-11 win against the Warriors, who played on their home turf despite the league's intention to use a neutral field.
Susquehannock has hosted the tournament finals since 2011, and Kennard-Dale (18-0) has been here for all of them. The Rams' only loss on this stage — last year to York Catholic — left a bitter taste that would not be relinquished without a win.
"If we would have gotten second place, I'm not sure we would have taken the medals with us," coach Kelly Wetzel said.
The memory of last year set in with Duty before Thursday's meeting, so she told her teammates, "This is something you have to look back on."
Duty needed 1 minute, 4 seconds to find Hannah Bracey for the first goal, but scoring was difficult in the first half of this meeting between the top two ranked teams in District 3. Susquehannock (16-2) will enter the district tournament as the No. 2 seed, having lost only to the top-seeded Rams. These two last met in early April at Susquehannock, when the Rams ran away in the second half for an 11-6 victory.
This meeting took a more dramatic turn with the Warriors' second-half run. They cut down a 9-4 deficit with an equalizer from Rachel Marshner and go-ahead score from Ashley Valway. Katelyn Welch found Valway to finish a 7-1 Susquehannock run with eight minutes remaining.
Valway and Welch supplied all of Susquehannock's offense for the first 32 minutes. By the game's conclusion, Valway scored a match-high five goals. Welch provided three goals and three assists, but her departure in the final four minutes came just after Morgan Day gave the lead back to Kennard-Dale.
Welch didn't return after limping off the field. She sat on the bench until the final siren, as Duty added two more goals for insurance. Susquehannock coach Steve Marshner quickly left after the game to attend a graduation, an assistant coach said, and could not confirm an injury to one of his three seniors.
Marshner did use a defensive strategy on Day, Pennsylvania's all-time leading scorer, to keep her a non-factor for most of the first half. Day rarely got her stick on the ball until the final 10 minutes of the half because of face-guarding implemented by the Warriors.
So the Rams required almost every bit of Duty's production.
"We didn't win last year, and I watched every single second of it," she said. "Watching on the sideline, you see everything, and I gave it all."
Day still finished with three goals, pushing her career total to 441. Bracey added a goal and two assists, while freshman goalkeeper Clare Boone stopped 11 shots for saves.
At times, Boone dominated.
"In my opinion, she is the best goalie in the league, flat-out," Wetzel said.
When Kennard-Dale left Susquehannock with a regular-season victory on April 2, Wetzel had similar praise for Warriors senior keeper Amber Orner. She had seven saves Thursday.
"We told our players, if you don't move her, you will not score," Wetzel said.
The intensity of the second half could be a District 3 title game preview, but history suggests it could be a difficult road. Kennard-Dale is the only YAIAA program to reach the District 3 title game, when it lost to Manheim Township in 2013.
The Blue Streaks have won every district title since 2009.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.
Kennard-Dale 14, Susquehannock 11
Susquehannock goals — Ashley Valway 5, Katelyn Welch 3, Gena Speights 2, Rachel Marshner.
Susquehannock assists — Welch 3, Kayla Held 2, Maddie Ellis, Morgan LeBlanc.
Kennard-Dale goals — Lyndsey Duty 4, Morgan Day 3, Emmie Dressel 2, Emily Livezy 2, Maddie Day 2, Hannah Bracey.
Kennard-Dale assists — Duty 2, Day 2, Bracey 2.
Shots on goal — Sus 22, KD 21.
Goalies — Sus, Amber Orner (7 saves). KD, Clare Boone (11 saves).