MILLERSVILLE — A slow, methodical offense isn’t particularly entertaining to watch, but it had gotten the Exeter Township girls’ lacrosse team into the District 3 quarterfinals.
And for the most part, the approach worked against Kennard-Dale on Thursday night under the lights in Millersville at Penn Manor’s Comet Field in Lancaster County.
The top-seeded Rams, aiming to get past the district quarterfinals for the first time in program history, trailed No. 9 Exeter by a goal at intermission, and later were down by a score with 17 minutes, 52 seconds remaining.
K-D had only seen an offense like Exeter’s twice earlier this season when the Rams faced York Catholic.
“The (last) York Catholic game they stalled us for four minutes waiting for that perfect pass,” Rams’ head coach Kelly Wetzel said. “But you have to be patient and realize it’ll happen. You have to rely on the goalie to make the save and your team to make the correct slides and correct reads and go from there.”
K-D remained patient Thursday and kept attacking, tying it up for the fourth time in the contest with 15:29 left. Rams’ sophomore Morgan Day scored less than a minute later to put K-D up for good.
The Rams eventually escaped with a 10-8 victory over Exeter (17-5), the Berks League champion, to move on to the district semifinals for the first time in program history.
“I knew we could beat this team,” Day said. “Of course there’s a little bit of doubt in your head like ‘Oh, they’re up by one.’ Since I’ve been on the team we haven’t won in the second round of districts, but I have faith in my team and I knew we could do it.”
With Rams’ leading scorer Nicole Black, a La Salle recruit, being held to two goals and one assist, Day stepped up with a team-high four goals and a game-high two assists. All four of Day’s scores were unassisted. She notched the game’s final goal with 4:44 to play to put K-D (21-1) up by two scores.
“I never started driving that much until this year,” Day said. “I was more (scoring) off of feeds. I know today once they (Exeter) started pressuring outside, and you see that lane open, you gotta go for it.”
Although K-D defenders switched match-ups throughout the game, Day and sophomore Lyndsey Duty (two goals) did a nice job of defending Exeter’s leading scorers, Hailey Leister (four goals, one assist) and Morgan Stump (three goals, assist).
Rams’ goalie Alana Pietra, who had to glare into the sun in the first half, made six stops. Exeter keeper Gabryele Pochron had an even more impressive game with 11 saves, including seven in the first half.
“It is (a relief to win), but I told the girls every team from here on out is gonna have a hot goalie,” Wetzel said. “You can’t get this far and continue unless you have one. They took advantage of Alana in the first half with the sun.”
Next game: K-D next faces No. 5 Hempfield (16-4) on Tuesday at Hershey High School at 7 p.m.
Hempfield will also be making its first appearance in the district semifinals after beating No. 4 Lancaster Country Day, 17-10, on Thursday.
PENN MANOR 12, SOUTH WESTERN 11: At Central York, the Mustangs stormed back from a 9-4 second-half deficit to send the District 3 quarterfinal into overtime, but the Mustangs suffered the loss in the extra session.
A goal by Mckenna Edwards with 1:34 left in the OT gave No. 6 seed Penn Manor (17-5) the win over No. 3 seed South Western, which finished the season at 17-3. It was Edwards’ seventh goal of the night.
Sydney Szparaga (five goals), Callie Kavanaugh (four goals, assist) and Alyx May (goal, assist) led the Mustangs.
HERSHEY 19, KENNARD-DALE 8: At Lower Dauphin, the Rams’ season ended with a District 3 quarterfinal loss.
The 12th-seeded Rams finished at 14-6, while No. 4 seed Hershey improved to 19-2.
Jesse Schonbrunner led K-D with three goals and an assist. Freddy Seitz added two goals, while Dave Wallace added a goal and two assists.
–Reach John Walk at email@example.com.