Kennard-Dale girls' lacrosse falls in state final
Scott Swegon, who was admitted to the hospital earlier this week, was able to travel and cheer on his daughter in the Pennsylvania state championship lacrosse game Saturday, June 10, 2017. Jim Seip, YDR
WEST CHESTER – The history-setting run for Kennard-Dale girls’ lacrosse ended just short of the ultimate prize.
Julianne Puckette and District 1 powerhouse Radnor proved to be too much, running away with a 20-8 victory in the PIAA Class 2A championship at Harold Zimmerman Stadium at West Chester East High School.
Even in defeat, however, there was a sense of accomplishment.
After all, Kennard-Dale became the first team outside the Philadelphia suburbs to reach the girls’ lacrosse state championship. The girls from southern York County didn’t hang their heads, many of them proudly wearing the silver medals as they left the stadium for the team bus.
“Honestly, they were just the better team,” Kennard-Dale senior Emmie Dressel said. “There was nothing we could do.
“They were just so much more athletic than us. There was just no competing with them. We tried our best, we really did, but they were just the better team.”
Radnor held a 14-5 lead at halftime, and Radnor’s goal in the opening seconds of the second half started a running clock.
It marked the ninth consecutive year a District 1 (Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties) team won a girls' lacrosse state championship. But Kennard-Dale left its mark on the PIAA record book.
The Rams kept it somewhat close early, winning draw controls and trailing 3-1 after five minutes of play.
Megan Halczuk became the first player outside of District 1 to score in a girls’ lacrosse state championship game. But Radnor scored five of the next six goals. Then in the final 4:30 before halftime, Radnor added four unanswered goals.
Puckette, a Lehigh commit, led all players with nine goals.
The Rams committed uncharacteristic mistakes against Radnor. Easy clearing and outlet passes the Rams had made all season were snagged out of the air by sprinting Radnor players. Radnor had nine girls sign letters of intent in November to play college lacrosse next season.
The Rams made 15 first-half turnovers, and the state finalists from a year ago picked up their program’s third state title.
“It is a big deal, don’t get me wrong, I just would have liked a better showing,” Kennard-Dale coach Kelly Wetzel said. “But we played a team that was very hot. They executed and they didn’t make many mistakes today.
“We thought they would be more mistake-prone than what they were, but they ended up capitalizing on our mistakes.”
Kennard-Dale then started to lose the draw control game, and the Rams struggled to even get the ball into the hands of its best players, including Dressel.
“This is what you get out of District 1, they hustle and they are fundamentally strong,” Wetzel said.
Kennard-Dale seniors Calie Swegon and Dressel each recorded two goals and one assist. And the loss didn't sour a senior-laden team on what they accomplished.
“It really does mean the world to us,” Swegon said. " I can’t believe we got this far.
“I’m just so proud of my entire team for getting here.”
RADNOR 20, KENNARD-DALE 8
First half: 1. Rad, Julianne Puckette (Cate Cox) 23:59; 2. Rad, Ellie Mueller 22:36; 3. KD, Megan Halczuk 21:46; 4. Rad, Puckette 20:14; 5. Rad, Puckette 19:30; 6. KD, Morgan Bowings 18:31; 7. Rad, Reilly Jacobs 17:06; 8. Rad, Cox (Cat Belveal) 15:47; 9. Rad, Mueller 15:08; 10. Rad, Puckette 12:58; 11. KD, Calie Swegon (Emmie Dressel) 12:38; 12. KD, Dressel 11:27; 13. Rad, Belveal (Allison Lanzone) 9:50; 14. Rad, Puckette (Cox) 6:57; 15. KD, Maddie Day (Swegon) 4:34; 16. Rad, Cox 4:09; 17. Rad, Lanzone 2:12; 18. Rad, Puckette (Nicole Massimino) 1:39; 19. Rad, Cox :29.
Second half: 1. Rad, Puckette 24:32; 2. Rad, Mueller 20:20; 3. Rad, Puckette 17:25; 4. KD, Swegon 16:22; 5. Rad, Puckette 14:00; 6. Rad, Belveal (Lanzone) 9:55; 7. KD, Eden Sterner 7:27; 8. Rad, Eliza Azzarano 4:38; 9. KD, Dressel (Day) 2:22.