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Steinbach scores hat trick, Lansdale Catholic cruises past Masterman for District 12-2A title

Lansdale Catholic's Megan Steinbach (5) drives upfield against Masterman during the District 12-2A final on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022 at Ukrainian American Sport Center. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

HORSHAM >> The Lansdale Catholic girls soccer team secured the District 12 Class 2A with little trouble Wednesday afternoon. But that did not mean the accomplishment was any less meaningful for the Crusaders.

“We haven’t been in this game since our freshman year,” LC senior Emily Simpson said. “So it was exciting to be back here today to have this great team win.”

Megan Steinbach scored the opening two goals in the contest with Masterman and finished with a hat trick in the first half at Ukrainian American Sport Center. Simpson added two goals to give Lansdale Catholic a 5-0 lead at the break as the Crusaders cruised to a 9-1 victory for their first district title since 2019.

“We haven’t been able to get to this game the last couple of years, I’m really proud of our seniors that have kind of rebuilt the program from when they won the state title,” LC coach Bree Benedict said. “So I think this is kind of a full-circle moment of ‘You guys put us back on the map.’”

The Lansdale Catholic girls soccer team poses for a team photo after winning the District 12-2A championship with a 9-1 victory over Masterman on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022 at Ukrainian American Sport Center. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

Four different players found the back of the net in the second half for the Crusaders, who built an 8-0 advantage before Sophia Brunelli tallied the lone goal for the Blue Dragons.

“I love when multiple people on the team score and getting everyone in,” Simpson said. “And I think it’s great and it really shows how as a program we do have a lot of talent all around, all players on the bench and everything.”

Lansdale Catholic (13-5-1) advances to face District 1 champ Nazareth Academy in the District 1/12 regional final 5:30 p.m. Friday at Bristol Municipal Park. Winner takes on the District 3 runner-up – either Trinity or Wyomissing – in the first round of the PIAA-2A tournament Tuesday.

“We’re definitely fired up for Friday,” Simpson said. ”We know it’s going to be a tough game, they’re a good team but we’re definitely ready and confident in our players and our team to score and win that game.”

Lansdale Catholic’s Natalie Oliveri (24) jumps over the challenge of Masterman’s Ella Berman (11) during the District 12-2A final on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022 at Ukrainian American Sport Center.

The Crusaders’ first try for a title last Saturday ended in disappointment. Lansdale Catholic took a 1-0 lead in the Philadelphia Catholic League final on a Steinbach goal with 26 minutes remaining but Archbishop Wood tied the game with 5:21 left then scored in overtime to edge LC 2-1 at Northeast High School.

After rolling to the District 12 crown Wednesday, Lansdale Catholic has its sights on getting back into PIAAs for the first time since winning the state 2A championship in 2019.

“I think we’re kind of on to the next,” Benedict said. “It was a tough one Saturday the way that we dropped it with five minutes left but I think all along our goal has always been state, so that might be the little bit of CB West in me that’s get them like ‘Nobody cares about a league, you got to go win the state title otherwise it doesn’t matter.’ But that’s probably me giving them that attitude.”

Steinbach, a Rhode Island verbal commit, put the Crusaders up 1-0 with a run down the middle of the field then sending a shot into the lower right corner. Steinbach doubled the lead by taking a pass from Simpson, charging into the 18-yard box and scoring her second of the afternoon.

“I think Megan has really grown this year in that she’s not hitting the goalie, hitting the post as much as the other years,” said Benedict of Steinbach. “I think she’s really embraced her leadership role this year as a senior and especially as we’ve gotten towards the tail end of this season. And she had the goal in the PCL final, she had the two goals in the semifinal, I mean she’s really stepped up and she’s leading this team.”

Simpson scored her first on a corner kick – Casey Sabolsky’s header sending the ball towards the goal with Simpson proceeding to head it inside the right post.

Lansdale Catholic’s Miki Tarsi (30) drives down the field as Masterman’s Rory Gonzales (10) defends during the District 12-2A final on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022 at Ukrainian American Sport Center. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

“In the box I definitely try to use my height to my advantage,” said Simpson, who has verbally committed to Bloomsburg for lacrosse. “I feel I am aggressive too in the box to get after those balls so that’s just what I did. And Casey too was able to keep it alive with that first header.”

After Steinbach recorded her hat trick for a 4-0 lead, Simpson collected her second goal by capping the Crusaders’ connective play down the left side. Delaney King slid a pass into the box for Holly Wunder, who sent a low cross in front to Simpson, the senior putting a shot into the net to make it 5-0.

“It was kind of like exactly our shooting drill, what we do in the warmups,” Simpson said. “Like a cross on the ground from the outside into the box and then just a nice, easy finish in.”

Lansdale Catholic celebrates after Molly Norbury’s second-half goal against Masterman in the District 12-2A final on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022 at Ukrainian American Sport Center. (Mike Cabrey/MediaNews Group)

King posted the first goal after halftime with Molly Norbury and Mia Norbury each scoring as LC extend its lead to 8-0.

“We have a banner at our field that says ‘2019 state champions’ and I tell them every day you don’t get to compete for this every day, you’re not going to get to compete for this every year but every day you can have a state championship attitude,” Benedict said. “So we told them at halftime everyone’s going to go in and your attitude needs to be “I’m playing for a championship,’ and you have to protect the program and what we’ve built.

“So I think they came out and played well in the second half and were able to connect passes and play soccer in a way that we don’t always get a chance to do.”

Brunelli put Masterman on the scoreboard before the Crusaders’ Miki Tarsi tallied the contest’s final goal.

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