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Henesey’s 2 goals help Lansdale Catholic beat Archbishop Carroll in PCL quarters

LANSDALE >> For a moment in the first half, the one thing the Lansdale Catholic girls soccer team could not let happen what on the brink of happening.

The Crusaders had controlled Thursday afternoon’s Philadelphia Catholic League quarterfinal with Archbishop Carroll, but still found itself in a scoreless tie with the Patriots.

And then a ball got behind the LC backline and Paige Mastripolito was racing towards the goal.

“That would have been our worst nightmare,” LC coach Tom O’Donnell said. “To give up an early goal to a team who’s not going to try to come forward, they’re going to defend the whole 80 minutes.”

Crusaders goalkeeper Lauren Crim made sure O’Donnell’s fears never came to pass. Mastripolito let go a shot just before the reaching the 18-yard box that look poised to go the top left corner, but Crim reached up and batted the ball away.

“I think that was eye-opening for us,” LC senior Kate Henesey said. “We realized to the extent that they are a much better team this time around and we have to play our game.”

After defending a pair of corner kicks, Lansdale Catholic was out of danger. Henesey put the Crusaders up before halftime then added another goal and an assist as second-seed LC scored three times in the second half to pull away for a 4-0 win over the No. 7 Patriots.

“So that was huge for Crim and then in the second half I think really a little bit of the talent showed through,” O’Donnell said. “And I think maybe they were running out of gas at that point and I’m able to go deeper into the bench than some of the other guys.”

Sarah Fitzpatrick finished with a goal and an assist while Emily Schall also scored for the Crusaders (15-3-1), who continued their streak of reaching the PCL semifinals every season since starting play in the league in 2008.

LC faces No. 4 Archbishop Wood – a 3-0 winner over Cardinal O’Hara – 5 p.m. Tuesday at the United German Hungarians Club in Bensalem Township. LC lost in overtime to Wood in the league final last season.

“LC was the better team. We tried to sit in, play a little defensively in that first half. Almost got the first goal,” Carroll coach Frank Olszewski said. “It seemed to be kind of working, we were absorbing pressure but hats off to LC, they broke through and we wish them luck in the playoffs.”

The Patriots made Lansdale Catholic work a little harder that the teams’ first meeting – an 8-1 LC win Sept. 18 –  but the result stayed the same as Carroll could much on offense, Mastripolito’s shot its best chance of the day.

“The first game that we played them we didn’t man-mark Kate Henesey and she lit us up for five goals,” Olszewski said. “Today was only two, so I’d like to think we improved.”

In the first half, Henesey put a couple efforts on goal – hitting the left post on one, with Schall knocking the rebound off the crossbar – before finally put the Crusaders up 1-0. On an out-swinging corner kick, Caroline Cleary lofted a ball towards the end line, where Fitzpatrick tapped it back to Henesey for a chip into the net.

“We figured that in the regular season that was an unusual result and we know it was going to be a completely different team, we knew we had to come out, play just as hard,” Henesey said. “And going into this game, we didn’t take anything off, kept pushing.

After halftime, the Crusaders could not find the second goal until Henesey turned facilitator. Getting a ball from Fitzpatrick on the left edge of the Patriots’ box, Henesey crossed to an open Schall at the opposite post for a header and the 2-0 lead.

“It was still 1-0, my goalkeeper, we pulled our main goalkeeper (Grace Gallagher) cause she’s also good on the field. And she was good on the field but, look, in order to get (a) reward, you got to risk,” Olszewski said. “We had to take a big risk to get back in. You know, we gambled, we lost.”

Fitzpatrick pushed the LC advantage to 3-0. Taking a pass from Sarah Cooney, Fitzpatrick touched the ball into the left corner of the box then lofted a shot into the net.

Henesey capped the day’s scoring by running onto Taylor Connelly’s corner kick and smashing in a right-footed volley.

“We do practice that, we really do with Taylor (Connelly) taking it and Sarah Cooney and Kate as the primary runners in front of the goal. And they do understand clearing out for the other player,” O’Donnell said. “And we’re actually scoring on corner kicks this year where in so many previous years it was almost a waste of time.”

Henesey, LC’s all-time leading scorer, gave her side a bit of a scare after getting knocked down hard by a Carroll defender who charged in to block her shot. But Henesey got up, took the free kick and then was substituted off – her day done as the Crusaders’ trip to the semis was already sealed.

“That’s the hardest hit I’ve taken all season,” she said. “So, that was something.”

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