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Lansdale Catholic edged by Lower Daupin in rain-soaked PIAA-3A 1st round contest

Lansdale Catholic's Kate Henesey (right) fends off several members of the Lower Dauphin team as the rain pours down during their PIAA-3A first round game on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Rachel Wisniewski/For Digital First Media)

PHILADELPHIA >> A slow start to the second half wiped out Lansdale Catholic girls soccer team’s PIAA tournament run at its start on a rainy, cold Tuesday night.

Mayson Light broke a 1-1 tie in the second minute after halftime and Lower Dauphin held off the Crusaders the rest of regulation, the District 3 third-place Falcons edging the District 12 champs 2-1 in the state Class 3A first round at the South Philadelphia Super Site.

“I don’t know what happened. The half started without us almost,” LC coach Tom O’Donnell said. “And that’s unfortunate because they ride that all the way in the end.”

Senior Kate Henesey gave Lansdale Catholic a 1-0 advantage 1:28 into the rain-soaked contest and the Crusaders had the better of the first half, but went into the break tied with the Falcons after Sylvana Gregg’s tally at 18:06.

Lansdale Catholic junior Kristina Finkelston (left) manages to break away with the ball despite being closely guarded by Lower Dauphin senior Adeline Gesford during their PIAA-3A first round game on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Rachel Wisniewski/For Digital First Media)

Lower Dauphin came out quickly in the second half, collecting the go-ahead strike at 38:34 — Light getting a run at the goal from the right side of the 18-yard box and put a shot past LC goalkeeper Lauren Crim at the right near post.

“They had a free run for about five-eight minutes there to start the second half and I’m not sure what happened at our end that we stopped doing the things that we were so good at in the first half,” O’Donnell said. “I don’t really understand. We didn’t start the second half the way we started the game. And it certainly wasn’t how we wanted to play the game.”

Lower Dauphin, which qualified for PIAA play for the first time since 2012, earned their first state win since that season. The Falcons advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals to face either District 4 champ Selinsgrove or District 11 winner Blue Mountain.

Lansdale Catholic’s Kate Henesey is hugged by teammates after scoring a goal within the first five minutes of the Crusaders’ PIAA-3A first round game against Lower Dauphin on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Rachel Wisniewski/For Digital First Media)

Lansdale Catholic finishes its season 17-5-1.

“It’s a tough way to end the season, not for the whole team but us seniors and Coach O,” said Henesey, a Bucknell commit who is LC’s all-time leading scorer. “And just disappointing because we set these goals in the beginning of the season and we weren’t able to fully reach them.”

Lansdale Catholic came up just short of the program’s first Philadelphia Catholic League title, falling 1-0 to Archbishop Ryan in LC’s third straight league final appearance.

The Crusaders bounced back by winning the District 12 crown but their effort to reach the state quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons was denied Tuesday night.

“This year and last year, I thought we were the better team in the PCL last year and I thought the difference this year in winning a championship is Kate hits the crossbar and their kid skims the inside and it rolls in for a goal and a 1-0 them,” O’Donnell said. “Then we come down here, we really had our run of the play in the first half and then somehow it gets away from us.”

Lansdale Catholic junior Colleen Viereck and Lower Dauphin freshman Morgan Roth battle to gain control over the ball during their PIAA-3A 1st round game on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Rachel Wisniewski/For Digital First Media)

Henesey put the Crusaders up 1-0 at 38:52 in the opening half as Rose Stella sent a ball through the air into the box to Henesey, who knocked the ball into the right corner of the goal.

“She just had an excellent first-time cross and I was in the right place, right time and was able to tap it in,” Henesey said.

Lower Dauphin, however, scored the equalizer at 18:06 as the Falcons got the ball down the right sideline and Rachel Clouser slid a cross into the box to Gregg, who sent a shot into the far left corner.

After Light put Lower Dauphin ahead, Lansdale Catholic’s best chance to pull level came off a free kick, as a loose ball in the box was corralled by Henesey, but her shot was blocked by an LD defender.

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