Roman Catholic strikes early, shuts out Lansdale Catholic in PCL quarterfinals

LANSDALE — An early one-two punch from Roman Catholic knocked the Lansdale Catholic boys soccer team from the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs Tuesday afternoon.

Just minutes in their quarterfinal contest with the fifth-seeded Cahilites, the No. 4 Crusaders found themselves in a 2-0 hole after a fantastic free kick from Patrick Madgey and Brandon Gutekunst putting a loose ball off a corner kick into the net.

“From there it’s just a mental struggle at that point,’ Lansdale Catholic coach Joe Wilson said. “So once we lost the mentality, you can’t lose the mentality against a team that comes at you that fast. Every time we had the ball, there were three players on us. So, that’s really hard to make an uphill climb after that.’

Roman added another goal later in the first half and Lansdale Catholic was unable to take advantage of the pair of chances to get back in the contest as the Cahillites avenged their semifinal loss from last season with a 3-0 victory.

“We weren’t really too afraid at that point because we had the whole game ahead of us. We just kind of got out from playing our game,’ Crusaders senior forward Jacob Saba said. “And kind of went down and played their game.’

The win advances Roman Catholic to the PCL semifinals to face top-seeded La Salle, which rolled to a 4-1 win over Bonner-Prendergast Tuesday.

Lansdale Catholic’s season still continues as Archbishop Carroll’s loss to Father Judge Tuesday night put the Crusaders in the District 12-AA championship Oct. 30 at Northeast High School in Philadelphia.

“Disappointed we’re not going back to the PCL finals again,’ that’s OK, we’re going to regroup, we’re going to the districts,’ Wilson said. “We’re going to represent the PCL in the District 12 championship game. So, we got nine days to figure that one out.’

Lansdale Catholic won the District 12-AA crown in 2013 with a 2-1 victory over Franklin Towne Charter to reach its first PIAA Tournament since 2000.

The Crusaders beat Roman Catholic 1-0 in overtime to reach the program’s first league final last season, but Tuesday’s playoff rematch needed about two minutes before the opening goal was tallied. The Cahillites were award a free kick at the top of LC’s 18-yard box and Madgey put a perfect shot over the LC wall off the top corner crossbar and in.

“They really wanted it today,’ said Saba of Roman. “Give all credit to them, they really came out here and took it from us. There’s thing we could of done different, there’s things we could of corrected, but hindsight (is) 20/20.’

The Cahillites double their advantage a few minutes later on Billy Stermel’s corner kick from the right of goal. His inswinger was sent towards the net and LC keeper Jack Kane was unable to hold onto the ball in traffic. Gutekunst was at the right place to get the ball over the goal line.

“We end up giving them a corner and they hit the beautiful corner kick and it just comes in and our goalie gets his hands on it, but at the same time he’s colliding with other players and it goes in the net,’ Wilson said.

Roman Catholic made it 3-0 off a counter attack after an LC free kick, as a breaking Madgey found Jerry Conard to his right with Conrad rolling a shot neatly into the goal’s lower left corner.

“There’s no way that Roman’s sitting back with a 2-0 lead,’ Wilson said. “They want to put you under and they don’t want to worry about you and they did a great job getting that last goal.’

Lansdale Catholic had a chance to cut into the deficit before the half as the ball took a bounce away from outgoing Roman keeper Mark Tobin and right to Luke Godzieba. The freshman midfielder, however, did not get off a clean shot and pushed his attempted wide left.

Tobin came up with a stellar save to keep LC off the board in the second half. Jacob Yurasits’ header off a Dan Kelly cross looked certain to reach the top corner, but Tobin got a finger on the ball to deflect it out for a corner.

“The second half, we come back, we’re composed, we’re trying to do the things that we needed to do but we still kept making the mistakes,’ Wilson said. “We were able to keep them out of the back of the net but we weren’t able to find the net.’

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