Ryan beats LC for fourth straight PCL title

Stepping off the bus Lansdale Catholic thought it had a chance to beat Archbishop Ryan in Saturday afternoon’s Philadelphia Catholic League final.
The Crusader played the Ragdolls tough, in fact a lot tougher than the 3-0 final score suggests, however by the time most little kids were gearing up to go trick-or-treating Saturday night Ryan led by Jules Blank won the Catholic League title for the fourth consecutive year.
“It wasn’t that far of a difference in the game, the scoreboard just kept slipping away,” LC coach Tom O’Donnell said. “We had chances, corner kicks, and plays but they were sharper. Give them credit they were sharper. We made unforced errors they did not.”
Blank made her impact felt all game long and it took only 1:59 for her to make her first mark on game as she took pass from Erin McIntyre and buried the shot giving Ryan a 1-0 lead almost instantly.
“She is their All-American and I thought we did great to keep her at one in the first half,” O’Donnell said. “You keep giving them more and more chances that’s what’s going to happen. She’s a star.”
Just over 10 minutes later Plank then set up Taylor Woods to put Ryan up 2-0. The 2-0 lead would hold until halftime.
“Anytime you’re losing to a defending champion and you’re on their field you’re already in the hole,” O’Donnell said. “So whether we’re down one, two or three we realized we got problems.”
Throughout the game LC was able to generate some offensive chances. In the first half the Crusaders had two corner opportunities and responded really well after Ryan put in its first goal.
“(Ryan) did a nice job finishing, they didn’t miss too many shots,” O’Donnell said.
It was just little miscues that hurt LC through the duration of the game. A missed pass, a stumble or an errant shot seemed to consistently derail quality Crusader opportunities.
“I told the kids at halftime we did get a couple good scoring chances at our end,” O’Donnell said. “You stub your toe, you squib the shot, you hit it high and wide and that’s really the difference. And that’s always the difference between winning and losing.”
As the Crusaders kept trying to mount a second-half Blank put the finishing touches on what she started as netted a penalty kick with 22:42. The penalty kick was actually Blank’s second of the half, in fact the other came less than two minutes earlier.
“You’re giving a first-class shooter two chances with in two minutes,” O’Donnell said. “She just missed one and then you get her right back like ‘here try it again.’”
Although LC will not get to lift the Catholic League Championship plaque the good news for the Catholic League runner-ups is the loss does not end its season.
The Crusaders will prepare for the District 12 Class AA championship against the Philadelphia Public League winner on Wednesday for a chance to the got the PIAA Class AA state playoffs.
“I think from this one we might have assumed some things about ourselves,” O’Donnell said. “Some of my best players weren’t as sharp as they needed to be. You can’t just show up and say it you have to actually do it.”

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