Seniors play key role in Pine-Richland girls lacrosse’s return to championship form

Sunday, June 18, 2023 | 11:01 AM

The Pine-Richland girls lacrosse team received a pretty tough draw in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.

Not only were the Rams up against one of the best teams in the state in Penncrest, but they had to play the morning after seven seniors on the team had their graduation ceremony.

Add in the fact that they had to travel three and a half hours to Mechanicsburg for the game and the challenge became greater.

The Rams battled, but one of the best seasons in program history came to an end with a 21-12 loss.

“We knew ahead of time that if we made it to the second round, the game would be the day after graduation,” Rams coach Shannen Drennon said. “It was going to be a neutral site, so we were hoping for something a little closer to Pine-Richland, but sadly that didn’t work out.

“The nice thing, though, was they knew that it was going to be a quick turnaround, so they could mentally prepare, but hat’s off to Penncrest. They are a really good team. The drive the morning after graduation was tough, but the girls played hard and took it in stride. I wish it was a different outcome, but the girls played as hard as they could and that’s all I can ask for.”

Penncrest went on to win in the semifinals and were scheduled to play in the 3A state championship game against Owen J. Roberts on June 17.

Pine-Richland won its third district title this season, a 12-11 thriller over Mt. Lebanon and ended up winning a state playoff game for the second time in school history, joining the 2012 team. The Rams cruised past District 10 champ McDowell, 20-2, in the first round of states.

Getting the program back to championship form for the first time since 2018 was a strong final act for seniors Caroline Gentile, Hannah Young, Lily Hynds, Mary Dziubek, Emma Westerhoff, Kayla Karmanos and Mary Wymard.

“They are a special group of girls, those seven,” Drennon said. “They’re going to be missed greatly, and I’m nothing but thankful for them. I asked them to initiate the culture we have now in the program. If your seniors don’t buy in, then it’s hard to get the culture going through the program. The seniors are the ones everyone looks up to.

“Those seven are going to always hold a special place in my heart for what they’ve done for the program, their teammates and the coaches. I know they are going to do great things going forward. I’ll miss them, but I’m also confident they are ready to go on to whatever their future entails.”

Several key contributors return, including Cate Gentile, Kendyll Jerry, Madeline Mill, Taylor Wilkinson, Ashley Woodward and goalie Claire Dosch.

Woodward and Wilkinson are the only two players currently on the roster who will be seniors next year.

“It’s a smaller senior class next year, but those two girls are the type that if you ask them to do something, they are going to do it,” Drennon said. “We have a lot of threats coming back. It’s going to be a different team, but it’s still going to be a great team.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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