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Lansdale Catholic handles Archbishop Wood to reach PCL semifinals

The Lansdale Catholic girls lacrosse team rallies before returning to the field in the PCL playoffs against Archbishop Wood on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Andrew Robinson/MediaNews Group)

LANSDALE >> Despite a big win the first time around, Keira Trainer and the Lansdale Catholic girls lacrosse team wasn’t overlooking Archbishop Wood.

An early goal by the visiting No. 6 Vikings only reinforced that, but the No. 3 Crusaders weren’t shaken. Instead, they responded by sharing the ball and going on a big run then never let their energy waver.

LC topped Wood 19-4, sending the program to uncommon territory with a date in Wednesday’s PCL semifinals.

“Honestly, it was all about confidence,” Trainer said. “For me personally, I think I can speak on behalf of everyone else, we know it’s hard to beat a team twice so we went in not to be too overly confident we got ahead of ourselves but with enough confidence to step on the field with our heads high and get the win.”

Trainer set the tone with three goals and four assists, the first coming on the game’s opening goal by Emily Simpson. Wood’s Grace Hoeger scored on the next possession, drawing the game level and showing the Crusaders the Vikings wanted some payback for that big loss in the regular season.

LC responded with three straight goals, all from different scorers, before Grace Picozzi just took over the game. The Crusaders forward, who netted her 100th career goal in that first meeting, ripped off five straight scores that put the hosts up 9-1.

“It was a wake-up call,” Trainer said. “We got our stuff together, started scoring and went on to get the win.”

Lansdale Catholic is back in the semifinals for the first time since back-to-back appearances in 2016 and 2017. The Crusaders lost in the first round in 2018 and didn’t qualify for the playoffs in 2019 before losing last season to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this will be the first time in the final four for most of the team’s players.

Trainer credited much of the team’s success to first-year coach Jamie McCarney, a 2015 William Tennent graduate and 2019 graduate of Gwynedd Mercy University where she was a team captain as a senior on the women’s lacrosse team.

“Something we’ve worked on just as much a stick skills during the season is bringing our energy,” Trainer said. “I could not thank this team enough and Jamie, she’s the best coach I’ve ever had, no doubt about it. It means the world to us coming from last year and not having a season, it means a lot to me to have a win like this.”

McCarney has stressed communication and Trainer felt that’s what helped get the team’s scoring up. The junior, whose older brothers Liam and Dillon were standout football and lacrosse players at La Salle College High School and now play football at Delaware, showed it with three first half assists before burying an eight-meter shot just before the horn as LC took an 11-2 halftime lead.

“I’m always looking for cutters but my teammates do a really good job of looking for the ball,” Trainer said. “We’re really quick with our passing so if you see someone’s open, you hit them right away and they’ll get the goal.”

Picozzi, a junior, finished with seven goals and two assists to lead LC’s offense. Simpson had a hat trick and assist while Sam Beyerle and Ava Mercier both scored two goals.

Hoeger led Wood with two goals while the Vikings got markers from Martha Meister and senior Haley Lawler, who gamely played through a couple of injuries.

LC, which went 8-2 in PCL games, will find itself in a similar position to the one Wood was in Monday. The Crusaders will face No. 2 Cardinal O’Hara, a yearly power in the league and PIAA postseason, after falling to the Lions in a one-sided game during the regular season.

Trainer and her teammates know they’ll have a big task ahead of them Wednesday and it will start with their preparation before even stepping on the field.

“We just need to keep our heads up and play with confidence,” Trainer said. “Teams like that, sometimes it’s hard to go into playing them with that mindset but I know we have the capability of going in with a good mindset, keeping our heads up and not letting bad plays stop us but the good plays keeping our confidence high.”


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