South Western s Callie Kavanaugh, left, and Sydney Szparaga (10) battle York Catholic s Jess Mazzur (15) and Katie Linthicum (35) for the ball during
South Western s Callie Kavanaugh, left, and Sydney Szparaga (10) battle York Catholic s Jess Mazzur (15) and Katie Linthicum (35) for the ball during Tuesday s YAIAA girls lacrosse tournament semifinal game at Central York High School. (THE EVENING SUN -- CLARE BECKER)
York Catholic girls' lacrosse coach Rob Linthicum had seen this before. His team held a lead on YAIAA Division I champion South Western.

The Fighting Irish (14-3) were in this spot to open the season and again Tuesday in the league tournament semifinals.

With more than 11 minutes to go and a three-goal lead, he called timeout. He wanted his players to hold possession and kill as much time as they could from the clock.

They exceeded his expectation, shaving seven minutes until Alex China scored with 4:19 left to seal a 10-6 win against the Mustangs (16-2) at Central York High School.

"I kept watching the time on the scoreboard. 'Come on, just keep going,'" said China, whose two goals closed both halves.

The York Catholic senior knew how good South Western can be when it has the ball. The Mustangs scored twice within 20 seconds during the final minutes of their season opener to beat York Catholic by one. Now, the Irish advance to Thursday's YAIAA championship game against a Kennard-Dale club that also beat them by one.

To get there, York Catholic reeled off four straight goals to close the first half before controlling the ball and second half. It wasn't easy, though. Just as it did before, South Western cut a 7-4 York Catholic lead down to one early in the second half with two goals in a little more than a minute.

York Catholic's Megan Bittner and Emily Robbins pushed the advantage back up to three goals with about 12:27 left.

The advantage also took pressure off senior goalie Abby Figge, who has started all season after former netminder Alána Pietra transferred back to Kennard-Dale. Figge, who Linthicum says has increased her save percentage from the 30s to the 60s in the last few games, wasn't comfortable despite only having to watch for seven to eight minutes.

South Western s Braxtin Reddinger, right, looks to pass as she is defended by York Catholic s Jess Mazzur during Tuesday s YAIAA girls  lacrosse tournament
South Western s Braxtin Reddinger, right, looks to pass as she is defended by York Catholic s Jess Mazzur during Tuesday s YAIAA girls lacrosse tournament semifinal game at Central York High School. (THE EVENING SUN -- CLARE BECKER )

"I'm pulling my hair," she said.

But in the final two minutes, she faced three shots and blocked them all. First, it was a clear look from Sydney Szparaga. Then back-to-back shots on that same possession were denied. A minute later, Figge's teammates jubilantly ran to her as the clock expired.

Despite a lopsided final score in the other semifinal, Kennard-Dale had to call a timeout when Red Lion took the lead in the first half of the game played at Susquehannock.

Ram senior Taylor Davis knew what was coming when coach Kelly Wetzel signaled time out.

"We definitely had a feeling it was coming. We didn't have our heads in it yet. We were not playing our game at all," Davis said.

"You lose and you go home," Wetzel said to his group during the break. The Rams responded in grand style.

Kennard-Dale (18-1) scored the next five goals and later opened the second half with a 10-goal run en route to a 23-7 victory over the Lions (7-10).

Nicole Black scored four goals, including the first three after the pivotal timeout, which gave the Rams a 6-4 lead. The senior added nine assists, and Morgan Day scored nine goals to lead the way.

"At this time of year you can't go in on a low. The last week and a half we have not played our best lacrosse," Wetzel said. "I said all year we are not going to win games with just finesse. We are going to have to dig. We have to be aggressive and keep playing our game."

Lyndsey Duty and Davis scored four times each for Kennard-Dale. Duty had four assists as well. Jenny Smith scored four times for Red Lion.
@mgoul; 771-2045
@stevenavaroli; 771-2060
  
YORK CATHOLIC 10, SOUTH WESTERN 6
York Catholic   7  3 -- 10
South Western   4  2 --   6
   First Half -- 1. YC, Maura Palandro, 21:27. 2. SW, Callie Kavanaugh (Sydney Szparaga), 20:46. 3. YC, Lindsay Givens (Palandro), 20:23. 4. SW, Alyx May (Amy Spigelmyer), 20:08. 5. SW, Braxtin Reddinger, 17:32. 6. YC, Sarah Gabriele (Alexis China), 7:55. 7. SW, Madison Plunkert (Kavanaugh), 5:18. 8. YC, Natalie Fiorenza, 3:41. 9. YC, Gabriele, 1:31. 10. YC, Givens, 0:44. 11. China (Shannon Moore), 0:10.
   Second Half -- 11. SW, Reddinger, 22:55. 12. SW, Kavanaugh (Szparaga), 21:34. 13. YC, Megan Bittner, 17:38. 14. YC, Emily Robbins, 12:27. 15, YC, China, 4:19.
   Shots -- YC 15; SW 11.
   Goalies -- YC, Abby Figge (7 saves); SW, Laura Silver (14 saves).

KENNARD-DALE 23, RED LION 7
Red Lion   5  2 -- 7
Kennard-Dale   10  13 -- 23
   First Half -- 1. KD, Hannah Bracey (Nicole Black), 23:05. 2. KD, Morgan Day (Black), 21:46. 3. RL, Jenny Smith, 20:55. 4. RL, Smith, 18:27. 5. KD, Taylor Davis (Black), 17:54. 6. RL, Gaby Harrison (Sierra Donovan), 17:38. 7. RL, Donovan, 16:43. 8. KD, Black, 9:31. 9. KD, Black (Lyndsey Duty), 8:47. 10. KD, Black, 6:17. 11. KD, Day (Davis), 4:34. 12. KD, Day (Black), 4:20. 13. RL, Smith , 2:51. 14. KD, Bracey (Black), 1:33. 15. Duty (Black), :28.
   Second Half -- 16. KD, Duty, 24:44. 17. KD, Black, 24:05. 18. KD, Davis (Black), 22:37. 19. KD, Duty, 21:58. 20. KD. Day (Duty), 19:59. 21. KD, Day, 18:07. 22. KD, Duty (Black), 13:26. 23. KD, Day (Black), 9:56. 24. KD, Day, 8:23. 25. KD, Day, 7:32. 26. RL, Raquel Rich (Smith), 6:17. 27. RL, Rich, 4:54. 28. KD, Davis (Duty), 3:18. 29. KD, Day, 2:01. 30. KD, Davis, :21.
   Shots -- Red Lion 12, Kennard-Dale 30
   Goalies -- Red Lion, Josie Raver (7 saves); Kennard-Dale, Emily Deaver (5 saves).