Lansdale Catholic edged in PKs by Trinity in PIAA-2A first round

PHILADELPHIA >> Lansdale Catholic’s season came to an end in the first round of the PIAA-2A state playoffs Tuesday afternoon. The Crusaders lost to Trinity, 3-2, after surrendering a one-goal lead in the final 10 minutes of regulation and losing in penalty kicks, 6-5, at Ramp Playground.

The teams were tied after each side took five successful penalty kicks. (3-2) Trinity made their sixth shot and saved (12-1) Lansdale Catholic’s to advance to a quarterfinal matchup against (4-1) Central Columbia Saturday.

“I’m really proud of what they did,” LC coach Bree Benedict said. “I really felt like we gave everything we could in that game and it’s just unfortunate that they got a tying goal with eight minutes left, but that’s the way that soccer is and we’ve been on the other end of that. You understand you’ll take it when you’re on that side of it and it hurts when you’re on this side of it, but that’s the way the game is.”

“We gave it our all,” LC senior Nicole Mezzatesta said. “In the end, God has a plan. There’s nothing we can do to change it. I’m proud of how we all played and we all gave our best we could.”

Lansdale Catholic built a 2-1 lead by scoring twice in a 7:05 span late in the first half.

Holly Wunder netted the first goal when an LC shot went off the crossbar. Another shot was saved before Wunder got the ball behind the keeper and knocked it in to tie the game, 1-1, in the 32nd minute.

In the 39th minute, Wunder sent a cross into the box. The ball bounced over the head of Molly Norbury, but Natalie Oliveri was there to head it in for a 2-1 lead.

The one-goal advantage stood for more than 33 minutes, but Trinity got the equalizer. In the 72nd minute, the Shamrocks were fouled 35 yards from the goal. They grabbed the ball quickly and played it immediately. The initial shot bounced off the crossbar and the rebound was finished to tie the game, 2-2.

“They’re good at winning the ball in the air,” LC senior Casey Sabolsky said. “It hurt us a little bit not being able to get back and get on our marks.”

“We were obviously struggling with our legs towards the end of that game,” Benedict said. “I felt like there were some fouls that weren’t called in the other direction, so it’s tough when you give up a set-piece like that and you don’t get the ones that you felt you deserved. It’s tough. Credit to them they found a way to come back and tie the game, but I do think it’s tough when you’re not getting the calls, especially someone like a Megan (Steinbach) who gets mugged 20 times a game and doesn’t get the calls that she deserves.”

LC goalie Cassidy Saulino and defender Olivia Boccella both made big defensive plays in overtime while Steinbach generated some offensive opportunities. After two 15-minute extra sessions, the game went to penalty kicks. Trinity won the shootout, 6-5.

“We’ve struggled with penalty kicks all year long,” Benedict said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the fact that we put five into the back of the net. Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with the save or something like that, but I’m really proud of them. I’m really proud of our goalkeeper for hanging tough in there.”

Lansdale Catholic accomplished plenty in 2022. The PCL runner-up won a District 12 championship while qualifying for the state playoffs.

“I’m really proud of this season,” Mezzatesta said. “We beat every team in the PCL except for Wood. I think we gave every team a hard game and all the girls on our team wanted it a lot. We just love each other. I’m really proud of how we fought throughout the whole season.”

Trinity 3, Lansdale Catholic 2 (Penalty kicks)

Trinity 1 1 0 0 6

Lansdale Catholic 2 0 0 0 5

Goals: T: Caroline Cunningham, Frances Maury. LC: Holly Wunder, Natalie Oliveri.

Assists: T: Frances Maury, Grace Notarfrancesco. LC: Holly Wunder.

Saves: T: Julianna Prokop 6. LC: Cassidy Saulino 6.

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