York, PA -
Locked in a battle with YAIAA Division II girls' lacrosse rival Kennard-Dale, York Catholic was done in by a familiar face, hidden by a mask.
The Fighting Irish battled back all game, until the final moments when Alána Pietra, who spent the last two seasons playing goalie for York Catholic, became a wall in the Rams net.
Pietra totaled 14 saves, 11 in the second half, but it was the four saves she made in the final two minutes of the game that preserved Kennard-Dale's 13-12 win against the host Irish.
Sarah Gabriele's second goal of the game with 2:18 left to play brought York Catholic to within one. The Irish had three shots after that, including a final one off a free position with three seconds remaining, but Pietra thwarted them all.
"It's really strange. I am friends with a lot of the girls and I talk to a lot of them," Pietra said of her former teammates. "It's awkward seeing them on the field, shooting on me. It was getting intense and I was like, 'I can not let any more in.' We can't afford to lose to them."
Kennard-Dale improved to 7-0 in the league and 14-1 overall. The Irish fell to 5-2, 10-3.
Morgan Day scored seven goals to lead the Rams offense. She notched three of those in a span of less than three minutes to put Kennard-Dale up, 13-10.
Day was a focal point after York Catholic clamped a second-half double team on LaSalle College-bound senior Nicole Black, who scored twice and had four assists before halftime.
"I definitely thought since Nicole is doubled, someone is open. It was me a lot of times, so I knew I had to cut down there and stream down the middle for the ball," Day said. "We needed more (scoring) and weren't going to stop pushing."
"That's the problem. There are certain teams you can faceguard or double team one player and effectively create turnovers and get the ball," Irish coach Rob Linthicum said. "You can't do that against them, they have too many horses. The first half we didn't do it, the second half we had nothing to lose."
After the Irish notched the first two goals of the game, the Rams scored seven of the next eight goals -- four from Day, two by Black and another by Taylor Davis -- for a 7-3 lead. Gabriele made it 7-4 at the break.
"Morgan has great off-ball cuts, Lindsey and Taylor, all three do," Kennard-Dale coach Kelly Wetzel said. "Their heads are always up looking and they know if Nicole is doubled, someone is open and they cut."
Wetzel said he expected York Catholic to play a patient offense, keying on long possessions and keeping the ball away from the dangerous Kennard-Dale players.
"They did that to us the first time they played us. The difference was when we got possession we were able to capitalize, not turn the ball over," he said. "Today, whether they forced us into errors or we had errors on our own, call it what you want, we had a lot of turnovers. They capitalized on ours, I am not sure we capitalized on theirs."
Davis put the Rams up 8-4, but the Irish scored four straight, two each by Shannon Moore and Jess Mazzur, knotting the score at 8 with 11:13 to play.
Duty gave Kennard-Dale made it 9-8 with 9:48 left, but the lead was short-lived as 63 seconds later Natalie Fiorenza evened things up again.
Duty and Day gave the Rams a two-goal edge again, but Alexis China made it 11-10 with her third of the day. China added a fourth goal that made it 13-11.
KENNARD-DALE 13, YORK CATHOLIC 12
Kennard-Dale 7 6 -- 13
York Catholic 4 8 -- 12
First Half -- 1. YC, Alexis China, 20:47. 2. YC, Megan Bittner (Natalie Fiorenza), 15:18. 3. KD, Morgan Day (Nicole Black), 15:07. 4. KD, Day (Black), 13:08. 5. KD, Black, 11:59. 6. A. China, 10:55. 7. KD, Black, 10:09. 8. KD, Day, 9:21. 9. KD, Day (Black), 1:18. 10. KD, Taylor Davis (Black), :27. 11. YC, Sarah Gabriele, :07.
Second Half -- 12. KD, Davis, 22:45. 13. YC, Shannon Moore, 18:22. 14. YC, Jess Mazzur, 16:35. 15. YC, Moore, 16:12. 16. YC, Mazzur (Gabriele), 11:13. 17. KD, Lyndsey Duty (Davis), 9:48. 18. YC, Fiorenza (Lindsay Givens), 8:45. 19. KD, Duty, 7:51. 20. KD, Day (Duty), 7:21. 21. YC, A. China, 5:43. 22. KD, Day, 5:18. 23. KD, Day (Davis), 4:32. 24. YC, A. China, 3:08. 25, YC, Gabriele, 2:18.
Shots -- Kennard-Dale 17, York Catholic 26
Goalies -- Kennard-Dale, Alána Pietra (14 saves); YC, Abby Figge (4 saves).