Given last season was erased by the pandemic, the Fighting Irish of York Catholic played their last District 3 championship game exactly 731 days ago when they won the school’s first ever district gold in lacrosse.
York Catholic won its second championship on a sun-drenched May 27 at Landis Field in Harrisburg with a convincing victory over upstart Twin Valley of Berks County, 14-8.
By no means a blowout win, Twin Valley, who started only one senior, was outmatched athletically, especially so in the mid-field where the Irish’s speed and ground ball pursuit was stellar. Another determining factor was York Catholic’s dominance in face-offs, where the Irish lost only three the entire game behind the solid play of juniors Sydney Mentzer and speedy Olivia Staples, who scooped up loose balls like a powerful deluxe vacuum cleaner.
Leading 7-4 at half, the Irish scored a couple of quick second-half goals to forge a lead the Raiders could not climb back from. Give Twin Valley credit though, as they made the Irish play all 50 minutes and if not for an excellent stall game with seven minutes left, the Raiders never let the Irish get comfortable with their lead.
The Irish were paced by Sydney Mentzer’s five goals, scored on a number of tic-tac-toe passes near the cage to doom the Raiders late in the first half. Twin Valley adjusted defensively, double teaming the Irish’s offensive threats, but the Irish’s experience, patience and athleticism gave them their successful District 3 title defense.
While there was no 2020 season, York Catholic is 41-2 spanning the last two seasons, and will begin the PIAA State playoffs in the western bracket where the going might be a little easier. Since girls’ lacrosse became a PIAA sport in 2009, every state champion has come out of District 1 (suburban Philadelphia) or District 12, which is the Philly city limits where great lacrosse programs live.
“We want to be state champions,” senior Ella Linthicum said after the game. “We all want it so bad. We want it more than anything.”
(Photos by Bob Chadderdon.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness