Success for the Fighting Irish of York Catholic girls’ lacrosse program has long been tradition, but never have they been able to capture that elusive Class 2A district trophy – not until 2019 that is.
After losing a one-goal game to Kennard-Dale in the York Area league final two weeks prior, the Fighting Irish were all but guaranteed a rematch with their rival in the District 3 final at Central Dauphin’s Landis Field, Harrisburg, under the lights on May 22.
Given the Fighting Irish mostly field all freshmen and sophomores, playing poorly in a big game like a district final would be understandable. The Fighting Irish played poorly for exactly 63 seconds, giving up two quick strike Ram goals to trail early. After that, York Catholic did what very good lacrosse teams do no matter what experience they have – they won face-offs and fought for hard-to-win groundballs. A team that wins the groundball battle in lacrosse wins 85 percent of lacrosse games played at any level. And the Fighting Irish scored six unanswered goals by winning key possessions off of loose groundballs.
Leading 11-5 at half, the Fighting Irish seemed to be in complete control. But with that big lead, York Catholic stopped attacking the cage and momentum swung back to the Rams as they held the Fighting Irish scoreless for nearly 20 minutes in the second half. As good as York Catholic was on offense in the first half, they were equally solid on defense in the second half as the Rams scored three times to close the gap, 11-9, with eight minutes left. York Catholic’s Grace Doyle scored a huge goal, the Irish’s only second-half goal, with five minutes left to make it 12-9, and that tally took the steam out of the furious Ram comeback.
After the game and medal presentations, both teams gathered for a combined team photo. It was a touching moment for all lacrosse fans there, as it put on display the deep respect these two rival lacrosse programs have for one another. And it also showed the true sportsmanship spirit that marks competitive lacrosse that dates back some 400 years when Native Americans first played the game. That enduring spirit is clearly alive and well in York County.
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness