Kennard-Dale rallies late to win third straight YAIAA championship
Watch highlights from the 2017 YAIAA girls' lacrosse title game, featuring Kennard-Dale vs York Catholic. Chris Dunn, GameTimePA.com
With less than five minutes to play in Friday's YAIAA girls' lacrosse championship, things didn't look good for Kennard-Dale's bid to repeat as champions.
The Rams trailed York Catholic by two goals with 4:47 to play.
But in lacrosse, momentum can swing very quickly, and the last swing of this contest favored the Rams.
Kennard-Dale scored the game's final four goals to come away with a 12-10 victory in the back-and-forth game played at a rainy and chilly Central York High School.
"Even being down, we kind of knew we had it. We were in a strong mindset," Rams senior Emmie Dressel said of those final five minutes. "We just needed to get our heads in the game and not make any stupid mistakes."
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Morgan Bowings took a pass from Megan Halczuk and scored with 4:08 to play. That was followed by Calie Swegon's tying goal with 3:27 to go.
Dressel recorded her final goal of the night with 2:59 to play, beating Irish keeper Kirsten Lake low, giving the Rams the 11-10 lead. Dressel finished with three goals and three assists.
"Those young ladies are very resilient," Kennard-Dale head coach Kelly Wetzel said. "They found a way to win."
Maddie Day threw in the final goal of the contest with 1:07 to give the Rams (15-1-1) some breathing room.
Catholic's (13-3-1) last great offensive chance came with 14 seconds to play, but Rams keeper Maria Schneider ended up with the ball and ran the clock down as the celebration started on the Rams sideline.
The contest lived up to its billing as the two programs have combined to play some outstanding games over the past years.
"Both teams have talent and are well coached," Wetzel said. "We are familiar with each other and know the games are going to be tight."
The Rams have won eight of the nine championships since the sport entered the YAIAA.
"Every year, it's like we have to win again. My freshman or sophomore year, when we lost, it was the worst feeling," Dressel said. "We never wanted to feel like that again."
Kennard-Dale jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, but the Irish battled back and tied the game at 3 with 8:39 to play in the first half. The Irish took a 7-4 lead into halftime and held that two-goal advantage late in the fourth quarter before seeing it quickly disappear.
"It was turnovers," Irish head coach Rob Linthicum said of the waning minutes of Friday's game. "They are good at the draw and won the majority of the draw. We kind of beat ourselves."
Coming into Friday's game, the Rams ranked as the top offensive team in the Central PA region according to laxpower.com with 19.88 goals per game and the Irish were the top defensive team allowing just 5.88 goals
"They have always been very prolific offensively," Linthicum said. "The way we approach it for sure is through defense and that's why we can play with them is because we can keep them under 12 goals. We pride ourselves in trying keep our opponents under eight goals a game."
Morgan Bowings scored three goals for the Rams, who open District 3 Class 2A play on Monday against No. 15 seeded Harrisburg Christian. Schneider made six saves.
For the Irish, Amanda Tufano scored three goals and assisted on one. Lauren China added two goals and Lake make seven saves. Catholic opens district play against No. 14 Berks Catholic on Monday.
Kennard-Dale 12, York Catholic 10
Kennard-Dale 4 8 — 12
York Catholic 7 3 — 10
Kennard-Dale goals (assists) — Emmie Dressel 3 (3), Morgan Bowings 3, Calie Swegon 2, Megan Halczuk 1 (1), Hannah Dandy 1, Gillian Zimmerman 1 (1), Maddie Day 1.
York Catholic goals (assists) — Amanda Tufano 3 (1), Lauren China 2, Sarah Mazzur 2, Carlin Mayer 1, Anna Linthicum 1, Kayleigh Pokrivka 1.
Shots on goal — Kennard-Dale 23, York Catholic 16
Goalie Saves — Kennard-Dale, Maria Schneider 6. York Catholic Kirsten Lake 7.