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*This story was written by Lower Dauphin junior Victoria Kutz. Part of FAN’s mission is to offer opportunities to youth who are interested in sports reporting.*
Seconds after the first face off in Tuesday’s girls lacrosse game between Palmyra and Red Land, the Cougars scored their first goal.
That score set the tempo for the undefeated host team, which went on to win 19-12. It was the Patriots’ first loss of the spring season. Both Mid-Penn Conference teams play in District 3.
Palmyra is 8-0 and Red Land is 5-1.
“I think this win, specifically, gives us a little more confidence going into games against (Lower Dauphin) and Hershey,” senior Katie Lintz said.
Palmyra’s experience showed, but both coach and players said they demand more out of themselves. The Cougars haven’t been able to upset Red Land for at least four years.
“It wasn’t our best team game,” Lintz said. “We can play better than we did…and that just keeps inspiring us for those next games.”
The Patriots found themselves behind an 6-0 score before Red Land’s Olivia Glinski (senior) was able to put one in the net. Red Land then began a momentous rally toward the end of the first half and at the beginning of the second, which chipped away at the Cougar’s lead.
But, the scoring spree wasn’t enough to catch up.
“We started slow, picked it up, and then finished slow,” Red Land head coach Jess Stetler said. “We graduated a lot of our leaders last year. This year, I knew it was going to be tough. But, we’ve done a lot better than, I think, most of us expected, including (Palmyra). We knew tonight was going to be hard.”
Red Land boasted one of its strongest defenses last season, Stetler said.
“We moved two girls up from (junior varsity),” she said. “This year, we have a girl on defense, who has never touched a lacrosse stick. So, that makes it difficult as well. I think overall, this year, we’re gelling more as a team. And, I think that’s helping us. It doesn’t make up for the inexperience that we have on the team. We have a couple girls on the team that start, who have never touched a lacrosse stick either this year.”
Going up against Palmyra was the Patriots “first real competition,” she said.
“I wasn’t expecting to beat Trinity, then we came out and pulled off the win,” she said. “This one I knew was going to be tough. They’ve been pulling out win, after win, after win. We did well for what we could do. We took advantage when we could. The only time I’ll harp on them is the two cards, and we didn’t take advantage.”
Palmyra played one girl down two times during the competition. The cards didn’t change the final score.
“We struggled there for a little while,” Palmyra coach Nikki Lloyd said. “We started off the game strong and ended the game off strong. Moving forward, we need to be putting a whole game together. That’s going to determine if we beat teams equal to or better than us.”
Sideline participation has increased this season, Lloyd said.
“I think our sideline brings it together,” she said. “We have a lot of cheering on the sideline. That’s one thing we’ve changed from last year because it was very, like lackadaisical. We were sitting, we were talking. But this year we’re really cheering for each other because that translate on the field. Even if they make a mistake they move forward and they are getting better as they go. I think the girls on the sideline carry our team.”
Palmyra’s defense played a large part in the win against Red Land.
“Personally, I think we’re stronger defensively,” Lloyd said. “I think we have a rock-solid defense. And, I mean, I thought tonight we struggled a little bit on defense from what we’ve been playing. Trinity and Red Land are the first teams to give us a challenge on defense. Bringing up shot options. I don’t think we used our arsenal very well. I think we tried to force things that weren’t there. Especially driving in specific areas of the field. We tried it too many times. They caught on. And, we thought it was going to work, but obviously, it didn’t. I think we used everybody toward the end and that’s what we need to see.”
Palmyra: 11-8 (19)
Red Land: 5-7 (12)