SOUTH WHITEHALL>> Lansdale Catholic’s opponent on Saturday was a team that began the season 17-0-2 and would trail only once all year.
However, the Crusaders jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Salisbury and never let the Falcons up off the mat.
“Coming into this game, I said we should be the most feared team in the state,” LC senior captain Noah Saba said, “and we just keep proving that every game we play.”
Against a fine opponent in District 11 Champion Salisbury, the Crusaders controlled things from start to finish, earning a commanding 5-1 victory that sends LC into the state semifinals for the first time since 2000.
“At the start of the season, I would never have imagined this. It’s awesome,” Saba said after the Class AA quarterfinal victory on the turf at Parkland High School.
The Crusaders will take on District Four Champ Lewisburg, a 2-1 winner over Lower Moreland in overtime.
Lansdale Catholic scored at the midway point of the first half then added another goal six minutes later.
“Real big first half,” Saba said. “Great goal from Josh (Yurasits) and then I got one off of his free kick.
“Josh played a great game,” Saba said of his fellow senior captain. “We’ve been playing together since eighth grade and he’s one of my best friends so it’s just been great experiencing this with him.”
Saba wasn’t done. He scored again less than nine minutes into the second half then added a PK to make it 4-0 LC with 22:45 left to play.
On his penalty kick, Saba drilled a hard ground ball to the left of keeper Tyler Keller, who got a piece of the ball but could not stop it from finding the corner. And seemingly nothing could stop Saba, who notched himself another hat trick.
“Second game in a row,” he said with a smile. “I just wanna keep working hard. My team has been playing great, the defense has been playing great. Gotta keep finding the back of the net.”
In the first half, Lansdale Catholic gained an edge. In the second half, the Crusaders were in total control.
“At the half we started talking about things we needed to do,” Crusader coach Joe Wilson said. “We wanted to possess the ball more, take our time and get exactly what we wanted so we could get a few more goals, and the guys did a great job.”
Salisbury got a PK from James Hadinger and then Yurasits had one of his own at the other end, completing the scoring for the District 12 champs with a little over 13 minutes to go.
It marked the end of a tremendous season for Salisbury (22-2-2).
“It was a great season and a great four years — that’s what I was just telling the boys,” Falcons coach Mark Allinson said. “We made it to three district finals and this was our breakthrough year.
“I certainly appreciate all of their efforts, particularly out of the senior class. We got beat by a better team today. We certainly wish them well as they advance.”