Walsh’s 4 goals help Lansdale Catholic edge Archbishop Carroll in PCL 1st round

RADNOR >> The Lansdale Catholic boys lacrosse team has savored a victory in the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs just once. But after a six-year wait, the Crusaders finally got another chance to celebrate in the postseason.

Joe Walsh broke an 8-8 tie with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter and sixth-seeded Lansdale Catholic held on to upset host No. 3 Archbishop Carroll 10-8 in a tight, tough PCL first round contest Wednesday afternoon.

“I can’t be happier with my team, they played their hearts out for us,” LC’s Nick Heiler said. “We’re out there, our goalie (Bob Bausman) played a huge game for us, I think we won most of the ground balls. I’m very happy right now.”

Walsh finished with a team-high four goals — scoring twice in the final minute of the second quarter to give the Crusaders a 5-4 halftime lead  — Phil White added three goals and three assists while Heiler found the back of the net twice and Bausman made 15 saves as Lansdale Catholic earned its first postseason win since defeating Archbishop Wood in PCL first round in 2010.  A loss to St. Joseph’s Prep in that year’s semifinals was LC’s last playoff game before Wednesday.

“It took 100 percent of our effort and time,” Walsh said. “We put in so much effort over this season, some much practice, it takes a lot.”

The contest was close throughout with seven ties and five lead changes, the last coming when the Crusaders turned a missed Carroll pass into a fast break, which ultimately ended when White found Walsh at the post for a 9-8 advantage.

“Got to the net and somebody sees me. And just get the ball in the next, that’s all I’m thinking,” Walsh said.

The Patriots never got a chance to equalizer and LC maintained possession in the final minutes with Mike Basilii effecting cementing the victory with his tally at 1:32.

“It’s a huge win. From going 1-9 in the Catholic League last year to have a playoff victory this year is truly incredible,” LC first-year coach Thomas Nace said. “Doing it all with three seniors. We had a huge injury to Andrew Huggins, number 51 on Saturday at practice and so we had a freshman Jesse Brown step in, fill his shoes and there was no drop off. We had Max Norton, number 25, his first game of the year was today — got hurt in the preseason, came back today, it was awesome to see him on the field.”

Lansdale Catholic advances to face top-seeded La Salle in the PCL semifinals Friday at La Salle.

“We got to play like we did today,” Heiler said. “Win ground ball battle, Bob’s got to play like he did, we got to score, outplay them. We can do it.”

Adam Ritter paced Archbishop Carroll with four goals and also handed out an assist while Brendan George scored three times and had three assists.

“Real nicely coached team over there, they were just a little bit better than us today,” Patriots coach Luke Wiles said. “I thought we fought hard. I thought we exceeded expectations all season and, you know, we just came up a little bit short today. They outworked us just a little bit on some positions. We’ll learn from that and grow in the future.

Archbishop Carroll scored the final two goals of the first quarter to lead 3-2 after 12 minutes then went up two at 5:31 in the second when Ritter scored off a George assist.

Heiler ended the 3-0 Patriots run when White found him for a goal at 3:33. Walsh then ripped in a pair of shots in the half’s final minute — scoring at 57.1 to knot the matchup 4-4 and again at 5.1 to send LC into the break up a goal.

“Joey Walsh, it’s been a interesting year for him,” Nace said. “There’s was a point where he was having trouble possessing the ball, toward the start didn’t get a lot of playing time. We had him at the end carrying the ball to bury the clock, he changed that much. He worked hard, he’s worked harder than a lot of the kids just to prove me wrong. I told him you’re wrong, you’re going to start today in a playoff game.

“He just wants it. He’s a natural competitor and probably the most emotional kid on the field every game regardless of his contributions. Just love that kid.”

Ritter scored off a drive to get Archbishop Carroll back level at 8:35 in the third, then gave the Patriots a 6-5 lead off a pass from Conor O’Brien.

White slammed in a ball from Walsh to make it 6-6 at 6:19 with Walsh picking up a loose ball near the net and scoring to have LC regain the advantage at 5:52. George, however, sent the teams into the fourth even 7-7 by completing his hat trick at 1:47.

“We have a really resilient team. I’m very proud of the guys for the effort that they put forth this season,” Wiles said. “I really think that we put our school on the map to at least be a competitive program in the Catholic League.”

Heiler made it 8-7 Crusaders 32 seconds into the last quarter, corralling a ground ball and letting go a low shot that found its way into the net.

“I think a pass hit one of their sticks and it rolled right to me. The goalie was shielded, so I shot it low and it went in, front bottom corner.”

Ritter’s fourth goal of the game tied things with 8:16 remaining, but with Carroll looking for the go-ahead score, an off-target pass jump-started an LC transition that ended with Walsh’s game-deciding strike at 5:30.

As the Crusaders ran down the clock, Basilii made a run from behind the net to score from close range to make it a two-goal margin with 1:32 left.

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