Friday, June 21, 2024

Fighting Irish Come Up a Goal Short in Lacrosse Championship Battles

Often the game of lacrosse is about numbers: How many ground balls do you recover, how many face-offs won, how many turnovers do you commit, how many saves can your goalie make and how much possession time can you rack up against a quality opponent. But, the number that beat the Fighting Irish of York Catholic in the District 3 Class 2A final under the lights at Landis Field in Harrisburg on May 25 was the number 22. That would be the jersey number of standout Twin Valley midfielder Anna Kaplan, whose stellar play on the offensive and defensive end of the field was the difference in the Raiders’ thrilling 14-13 win in the District 3 championship game.

Earlier in the regular season, York Catholic lost to Twin Valley, 17-7, in a one-sided affair that the Fighting Irish were hoping to avenge against their Berks County rival in the district final. After falling behind by three goals twice in the first half, each time the Fighting Irish masterfully responded with great offensive sets to take a 9-7 lead into halftime.

The Raiders, however, went on a nifty four-goal run paced by Kaplan to take the lead midway through the second half. In a superbly played and highly entertaining game,   York Catholic battled back to knot the score at 13 with less than two minutes left in regulation. After a face-off win, they were in business to hold and attack the cage with less than a minute to go in the game. Great teams deliver in crunch time, and it was the Raiders who delivered with a key defensive stop before Kaplan took over to score the winning goal with just seconds left.

“They have so many good players,” Irish head coach Rob Linthicum said of Twin Valley to the media after the game. “They are such a well-rounded team.”

It was a heartbreaking loss for the Fighting Irish, whose effort and intensity level had Twin Valley on their heels much of the night. But, in the end, it was the number 22 that doomed the Irish’s bid to win their third District 3 title in four years.

York Catholic lost another one-goal heartbreaker in the PIAA state quarterfinal game against Bishop Shanahan, and that loss marks the career end for a stellar senior class that has vaulted the Irish girls’ lacrosse program into a perennially strong District 3 and PIAA state championship contender.

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

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