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Kennard-Dale girls' lacrosse reaches state final

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Even on this night, a night of firsts for York County girls' lacrosse teams, the love for family and the love for a teammate overshadowed everything that happened at Papermakers Stadium in Spring Grove. 

Kennard-Dale girls' lacrosse secured a spot in the the PIAA Class 2A state championship and a piece of history with a 15-7 victory over Susquehannock Tuesday. 

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Kennard-Dale senior Emmie Dressel whipped the ball down the field and then ran into the arms of teammate Calie Swegon.

The two are best friends.

"It's like they were separated at birth," Kennard-Dale coach Kelly Wetzel joked after the game.  

More: Susquehannock rallies to win district lacrosse title

Using an inspired first half, Kennard-Dale built an insurmountable lead to defeat Susquehannock in the first girls' lacrosse state semifinal to feature two YAIAA teams. 

The victory allowed Kennard-Dale to become the first District 3 team and the first York County team to reach a girls' lacrosse state final. 

Before this season, no team outside of District 1 had played in a girls' lacrosse state championship game. 

"This has been our goal, this is all we've ever wanted this whole entire season," Kennard-Dale senior Emmie Dressel said. "It's our Plan A. We've wanted to make it to states so bad." 

Yet, that wasn't what caused Dressel to break down in tears a moment later. She and her teammates had something bigger on their minds all day long, all game long.

More: Susquehannock girls' lacrosse reaches PIAA semifinal

On this night, Dressel said, the girls played for the chance to allow a father to watch his daughter play one more game.

The Kennard-Dale girls were playing for more than just a chance to knock off the team that defeated the Rams in the District 3 title game. The girls played for the father of teammate Calie Swegon. 

Scott Swegon is battling cancer.   

"He had emergency surgery last night," Dressel said.

"We played for him tonight. ... I really hope he knows we did this so he could be at our state championship game on Saturday." 

The Rams will face District 1's Radnor, the state runner-up from a season ago, in the 2A title game at 10 a.m. Saturday at West Chester East High School's Harold Zimmerman Stadium.  

"We wanted to support and play this game for her and her family, because (her father) wasn't able to make it to this game," sophomore Megan Halczuk said. "We wanted to make sure he could make it to the last game of the season."

More: Kennard-Dale, Susquehannock to play in final

Unbeknownst to coaches, Kennard-Dale players had written "Swegon Strong" on their wrists.

"We didn't find out until after they did it," Wetzel said. ""They played for each other and it showed today." 

The emotional tribute overshadowed what had been a banner day for York County lacrosse. 

For a sport that has been dominated by District 1 teams since the PIAA sanctioned the sport in 2009, the game marked a high point for District 3 lacrosse. 

"The game was awesome," Susquehannock coach Steve Marshner said. "The crowd, everything was fantastic.

"We got respect, the fact we got two teams into the Final Four, I think District 3 has a lot of respect from the standpoint of lacrosse and what we mean to the state."

Dressel was the biggest difference in the first half. She assisted or scored on Kennard-Dale's first four goals. Kennard-Dale took its first lead just under seven minutes into the game, and it remained in control for the remainder of the game. 

It built a seven-goal advantage by going on an eight-goal run while holding Susquehannock scoreless for 16:05.  

Dressel recorded two goals and five assists. Megan Halczuk, Maddie Day and Gillian Zimmerman each recorded three goals and one assist.

"It's amazing, it's history," Halczuk said of the state semifinal victory.

Morgan Bowings added three goals and had a fourth waved off. 

"We tried to work on our draws," Bowings said about improving after a 13-12 loss to Susquehannock in the District 3 championship game.

Halczuk had a team-high six draw controls, and Bowings recorded four. The two switched off in taking draw controls in part so Susquehannock's Gena Speights wouldn't feel comfortable, Halczuk said. 

"It's so awesome, I have no words for it," Bowings said about the win.

Susquehannock's Rachel Marshner did not play in the second half after the Warriors' playmaker re-injured an ankle injury that has plagued her since the District 3 semifinals. 

Susquehannock's Kayla Held led the Warriors with three goals and an assist, while Speights scored twice. 

"It's a very cool feeling," Wetzel said. "We made history today with two teams from the same league, from the same district.

"It was like, 'Wow, let's do this again.'"


First half: 1. Sus,  Kayla Held 24:26; 2. KD, Hannah Dandy (Emmie Dressel) 20:19; 3. Sus, Gena Speights 19:42; 4. KD, Dressel 19:06; 5. KD, Maddie Day (Dressel) 18:08; 6. KD, Dressel 17:08; 7. KD, Megan Halczuk (Day) 16:04; 8. KD, Halczuk 14:47; 9. KD, Morgan Bowings (Calie Swegon) 13:00; 10. KD, Bowings 11:49; 11. KD, Swegon 10:16; 12. Sus, Kenna Hancock 3:37; 13. Sus, Held (Hancock) 1:15; 14. KD, Swegon (Dressel) :56.
Second half: 1. Sus, Speights (Held) 22:09; 2. KD, Day (Halczuk) 22:01; 3. Sus, Held 21:24; 4. KD, Halczuk 16:34; 5. KD, Gillian Zimmerman (Dressel) 14:51; 6. KD, Bowings 12:29; 7. KD, Day (Dressel) 10:25; 8. Sus, Emma Siffler 5:53.