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GMA offense goes to work in District 1/12-A semis win over Lansdale Catholic

PHILADELPHIA >> The turf at Benjamin Johnston Memorial Stadium serving as the perfect venue to exercise its improved passing, Gwynedd Mercy was both smooth and overwhelming, running away to a 10-2 victory over Lansdale Catholic in a District 1/12 Class A Regional Semifinal.

“We wanted to keep the intensity up the whole game,” said sophomore Alden Boccella, who scored a game-high four goals and assisted on two others, “be on the ball and rebound as much as possible.”

The victory advances the Monarchs to Thursday’s final for a rematch with New Hope-Solebury, a 2-0 winner over Lower Moreland. New Hope defeated Gwynedd 3-0 in the District 1-A final 3-0 this past Friday.

The Monarchs, who captured the District 1/12 title a year ago, have also advanced to states for the second straight year. LC still has a shot to grab the third and final spot when it takes on Lower Moreland on Thursday.

“It’s really exciting. Last year we made it to the first round (of states) but we hope to make it further this year,” Bocella said.

The Monarchs kept firing away in a dominant first half, finishing on six of their 19 shots. Boccella got it all started when she scored eight minutes in, and then Lily Gilmore — right out in front — put away a nice pass from Boccella to double the lead to 2-0 on a windy afternoon at the Germantown Supersite.

“We’ve been working on our passing a lot so that was one of our main focuses,” Boccella said of the Monarchs, who kept connecting all afternoon.

The Crusaders got on the board when Hailey Gianoni showed some nifty stickwork, weaving through and all the way in for a score, cutting the margin to 2-1.

But then the rest of the first half was all Gwynedd.

Hanna Saxon battled for a loose ball and scored and Boccella put back a rebound to make it 4-1. Boccella scored off a pass from Saxon and then Saxon set up Flynn Casey, making it a 6-1 gap at the break.

“We have to keep the intensity up,” Bocella said of the Monarchs moving forward, “and if we keep the intensity up, we’ll keep winning, if we play like we did today.”

Gwynedd intensity spilled into the second half, with Boccella and Gilmore each scoring again to make it 8-1, and then Alex Wentz and Sarah Makenzie each added tallies.

Meg McLean had a goal for LC, which has already gone deeper into the postseason than it did a year ago, when it reached the first round of districts.

“I’m so proud of these girls,” Crusader coach Alexis Setley said. “This is the first time we had played Gwynedd so it’s one of those games where you play hard and whatever happens happens.

“We have another game on Thursday so you just just have to shake this off.”

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