Lansdale Catholic girls’ soccer wins Catholic League title
Lansdale Catholic girls claim Philadelphia Catholic League soccer title with an overtime victory over Archbishop Ryan.
The Philadelphia Catholic League girls' soccer title game turned out to be a game of inches Sunday afternoon at Northeast High School.
In a scoreless game with 30 seconds left, Archbishop Ryan's Emily Deluisi took a shot from about 20 yards out that hit square off the crossbar.
Lansdale Catholic took advantage of the missed opportunity.
After a Taylor Connelly free kick went in front of the net, a massive scrum ensued. Sarah Fitzpatrick ended up tapping the ball in after Caroline Cleary's bicycle kick sent her the ball and Crusaders upended the Ragdolls in overtime, 1-0, to win the Catholic league title for the first time in school history.
"[Archbishop Ryan] was trying to clear it out [from the goal line]," Cleary said, "and someone got a foot on it and the ball came over my head. I knew I had to get a touch on it, so I bicycle kicked it. I wasn't even facing the net when we scored."
The close call before the end of regulation was used as a wake-up call for the Crusaders.
"I think a situation like that is what motivates you to come back and win it," first-year coach Bree Benedict said. "That really rallied us going into overtime."
This was Lansdale Catholic's fourth straight year in the Catholic league final. They came up empty the last three years, including last year's final against Archbishop Ryan.
The seniors, who were apart of the previous three years, weren't going to go down for a fourth straight year.
"When that free kick happened, we just knew that this was our opportunity to score," Fitzpatrick said
Both teams were very evenly matched. Lansdale's best chance in regulation came eight minutes into the game when Kristina Finkelstein headed a Julia Bocella corner just wide of the net. Archbishop Ryan had the aforementioned shot late in the game as its best chance.
But that last play came down to one thing for Benedict.
"Truthfully, a situation like that comes down to heart," Benedict said. "I think all year long we talked about it's not just playing really good soccer, it's about playing for each other. I think you could see in front of the goal they were going to whatever it took to put that ball in the back of the net."
The Crusaders will have a quick turnaround as they'll play Masterman in the District 12 title on Tuesday.