Jester, Lansdale Catholic best Cardinal O’Hara for first-ever PCL playoff win.

LANSDALE — It’s hard to tell with absolute certainty when exactly the last time the Lansdale Catholic girls lacrosse team won a playoff game but there was no denying it was long overdue. The Crusaders ended their playoff drought Monday afternoon by defeating Cardinal O’Hara 17-11 in the Philadelphia Catholic League first round.

Jacqui Jester controlled the game from beginning to end. Jester opened the game by scoring the first two goals, the first just 51 seconds in and the second just 12 seconds later. Jester scored four first-half goals including three of the Crusaders’ first four.

“Starting the game off, since it was hot out I was looking for us to get it right off the draw and if we can go to goal, go to goal,’ Jester said. “If we don’t get open (looks) just settle it down, swing it around and try our best to find an opening.’

Perhaps just as importantly as her scoring Jester was nearly unbeatable in the faceoff circle particularly in the first half where she was 13-4 and could have just as easily won all of them. Jester finished the game 21-8, 62 percent from the X.

“The more you get the draw you’ll get a better outcome with the game,’ she said. “I feel like you’ll have more chances to go down and score and set things up to get a point. Getting the draw is a very dominant key part of the game.’

After LC jumped out to a 3-0 lead O’Hara battled back cutting the Crusader lead down to 4-2 and eventually tied the game at five. After Lions tied the game at the 9:19 mark in the first, the Crusaders took over, scoring 10 of the next 11 goals to build a 15-6 lead. The Crusaders were able to build its lead with a steady and consistent offensive attack as they outshot the Lions 24-14 in the first half and 39-25 for the game.

Defensively, LC was good enough, limiting the amount of good looks O’Hara got at its cage while Crusaders keeper Helen Cooney made 13 saves. The best part of the LC defense was its speedsters, such as Hailey Gianoni, Rose Stella and Sarah Opdyke, as they routinely ran the ball through the midfield with ease.

“After they tied the game up that was a wakeup call for us that we need to keep going,’ Jester said. “Every time we finish our first half going into the second our coaches always say play like its 0-0, play like you’re down. So when it (was tied) it probably hit some of the girls like we better wake up.’

With a playoff win now notched for LC up next as it tries to make its run through the vaunted Catholic League playoffs a date with rival Archbishop Wood 4 p.m. Thursday at Neumann University. The Crusaders understand they’ll need to be even sharper to knock off the heavily favored Vikings in the next round especially after Wood beat them 21-7 early in the season.

“We played them earlier in the season, we actually did pretty (well) I thought,’ Jester said. “It was an early game. But in the next game I hope we take what we did today plus better things and bring them.’


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