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Lansdale Catholic tops Lower Moreland in District 1/12 AA regional final

NEWTOWN >> Noah Saba had never put a corner kick service directly into the net in a game before.

So when he saw Lower Moreland’s goalkeeper off his line in the second half of the District 1/12 Class AA regional final, the Lansdale Catholic senior captain went for it. Saba’s curling service tucked neatly inside the far post for an Olimpico, a fine cap to a solid afternoon.

LC controlled the game and won its third straight game by topping the Lions 2-1 Saturday afternoon at Council Rock North.

Bob Raines--Digital First Media Zach Firko (Lower Moreland) and Matt McDonald (Lansdale Catholic) battle for possession Nov. 5, 2016.

Lower Moreland’s Zach Firko and Lansdale Catholic’s Matt McDonald battle for possession during the District 1-/12 Class AA regional final on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

“Josh (Yurastis) and I, we go to Christopher Dock’s field and practice free kicks and things like that,” Saba said. “It paid off today.”

The first half saw few chances either way and LC continued its trend of not being able to score when it had the ball right in front of the net. Yurastis pushed a shot wide with an open net and Saba twice fired high on balls in the box.

But, LC was generating the chances. Neither team had to win the game, as both were already in states, but a victory would assure a much shorter trip on Tuesday.

LC was also hoping to stay hot since falling to Roman Catholic in overtime during the Philadelphia Catholic League quarterfinals.

“I’m very proud of the boys today, their intensity was really strong and they were very determined to play our game,” LC coach Joe Wilson said. “We kept pulling them in to play a short possession game. The plays were being built up but when got in the 18, (Lower Moreland) kept finding a way to get the ball from us.”

The Lions had just one shot at the half and had trouble against the many taller players LC had across the formation.

LC wasn’t discouraged by a lack of a goal at half and started the second half by generating set piece chances. The Crusaders’ second corner kick of the half would pay off, and do a little to convince Wilson the bad luck he believes has encircled his team may have be lifting.

Bob Raines--Digital First Media Derek Mitchell (Lower Moreland) dribbles up field with  Matthew Noti (Lansdale Catholic) keeping pace Nov. 5, 2016.

Lower Moreland’s  Derek Mitchell dribbles up field with Lansdale Catholic’s Matthew Noti keeping pace during the District 1/12 Class AA final on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Yurastis found central defender Ryan Crosby, who fired toward net. Crosby’s take hit a Lower Moreland defender and shot into the net for a Lions own goal with 36:29 left.

“That’s the first time all year (Crosby) got all the way up there,” Wilson said. “Maybe he is the luck we’re looking for.”

Saba followed with his Olimpico 11 minutes later and from there, the Crusaders were able to keep Lower Moreland in check and see out the contest.

“We kept pressing and kept going hard,” Saba said. “We knew our defense was not going to let in a goal this game.”

LC will face Biglerville, the Class AA runner-up out of District 3, on Tuesday. Lower Moreland will face the District 3 champ, Tulpehocken.

After running the gauntlet of PCL teams, almost all bigger schools, the Crusaders have found a niche playing other AA competition. In the state tournament for the fourth straight year, the Crusaders have a lot of confidence heading into the last leg of the campaign.

“We are playing our best soccer all year,” Saba said. “We should be a feared team going into states because the last three years of experience and we feel like this is our year to do something.”

Top Photo: Lansdale Catholic’s Matthew Noti jumps in front of Lower Moreland’s Matt Turetsky during the District 1/12 Class AA final on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

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