York County teams flood girls' lacrosse semis
Watch highlights from the 2017 YAIAA girls' lacrosse title game, featuring Kennard-Dale vs York Catholic. Chris Dunn, GameTimePA.com
The York-Adams league crowned a girls' lacrosse tournament champion earlier this month, but the three best teams from York County continue to bump into each other in the postseason.
Three of the semifinalists in the District 3 Class 2A tournament are from York County, and all three — Kennard-Dale, Susquehannock and York Catholic — have punched their tickets to the state tournament.
Two are chasing history, with Susquehannock and York Catholic playing for the right to play in their programs' first district championship game, while Kennard-Dale will attempt to defend its district crown.
Here's a breakdown of Monday's showdowns:
No. 2 Kennard-Dale (16-1-1) vs. No. 3 York Catholic (15-2-1)
6 p.m. at Susquehannock H.S.
This rivalry tends to elevate the play of both teams.
"It tends to bring out the best in us," York Catholic coach Rob Linthicum said. "I don’t think we’re quite at the level of talent they are, but it brings my girls to their top level."
Something will need to give in this game. Kennard-Dale is ranked as the top offense in central Pennsylvania by LaxPower.com, averaging 20 goals per game; York Catholic is ranked second in defense, allowing an average of 6.42 goals per game.
Despite significant losses to graduation, the Irish have managed to remain among the region's top teams. A key has been York Catholic's senior class, some of whom played minor roles as freshmen when the Irish defeated Kennard-Dale for the YAIAA title in 2014.
"I think they are playing with a lot of determination and heart," Linthicum said. "Four years ago, they remember that game as freshmen. For their next two years they weren’t able to get back to that level, and I think it weighs on them.
"Now they want to do it again."
To do so, they will have to knock off a Rams team that has combined to score 50 goals in their first two district playoff game, including a District 3 record 29 goals in the opening round.
Emmie Dressel noted before the league title game that Kennard-Dale always plays York Catholic like it's the most important game of the season. And if there is one thing York Catholic would like to avoid, it's seeing an inspired Dressel in the district tournament.
Dressel has been on another level, recording 18 goals and 18 assists in two games.
No. 1 Susquehannock (18-3) vs. No. 4 Hershey (16-3)
5 p.m. at Penn Manor SD, Millersville
Susquehannock's seniors called a team meeting after a first-round loss in the league tournament. What happened next has been impressive.
If there's been a team that can rival Kennard-Dale for offensive firepower in this bracket, look at what the Warriors have done: They outscored their two opponents by a combined 50-14 margin.
The Warriors committed three turnovers in their quarterfinal win against Cocalico, including just one turnover during the first three quarters.
Coach Steve Marshner and his club also seemed to have solved any defensive questions. Haley Martinez, a GameTimePA first-team all-star last year, has struggled with injuries this season and is not expected to return this year.
"Defense has been our issue," Marshner said. "We've had a ton of injuries using four or five defenders. We've been mixing and matching all season long, and just when we have it right another injury happened."
Rachel Marshner, Gena Speights and Kayla Held have all put up big numbers this year, but don't overlook sophomore Kenna Hancock and midfielder Riley Roeder. Both are hovering around 50 goals.
And the team will attempt to set a school record by winning its 19th game of the season.
"We’re trying to say we need to bring our best and be consistent," Marshner said. "Everything else takes care of itself."