By: John Knebels
Photos by: Mike Nance, Patty Morgan & James Beaver
SPRINGFIELD, PA-- In Catholic League girls’ soccer, nothing ever seems to change – at least in this current decade.
From 2010 through 2018, three programs – Archbishop Ryan with five, Archbishop Wood with three, and Lansdale Catholic with one – have captured the Catholic League championship. Of the teams that lost in those nine years, the same three are joined by Little Flower, which lost in the 2011 final.
So get this. With more than 60 percent of the season finished and the schedule next resuming on September 30, the top four squads in the Catholic League standings are . . . Archbishop Ryan, Archbishop Wood, Lansdale Catholic, and Little Flower.
The best of the league was on full display on September 22 at Cardinal O’Hara High School when the Catholic League engineered a rare five-game event. The spectators received their money’s worth, as two games were decided by double overtime.
The marquee match – defending champion Lansdale Catholic facing defending runner-up Archbishop Ryan – resulted in a 3-1 Ryan victory. The Ragdolls are a perfect 7-0 and have outscored their opponents by 23-5.
“It was a big win for us,” said Ryan senior Gianna Monaco, whose seven-game scoring streak came to an end. “A little bit of redemption for last season. Our team played really well and had some big saves from our keeper (junior Emma Joyce) when needed.”
Goals by junior Kiersten Montag, junior Emily Delusi, and sophomore Keri Gontz were more than enough to support the goaltending of Joyce.
Lansdale Catholic, which has been plagued by key injuries recently – including both goalies (junior Brynne U’Selis will return to face Conwell-Egan on September 30) – is now tied for second place with Archbishop Wood at 5-1.
“Ryan played a really physical game that took us out of our passing game plan, so ‘well played’ to them,” said LC coach Bree Benedict.
“We took on some injuries during the game to players on each line, which prevented us from finding any consistency on the field.
“In the later stages of the game, I think we started to win some set pieces. Had we done that earlier, it would have been more of a game. We are hopeful to get some of our starters back in time for playoffs.”
Archbishop Wood toppled Little Flower, 2-1, in double overtime on a goal by sophomore Alyssa DeGeorge, with an assist credited to junior Leighann Kafel. Sophomores Bella Diodato and Natalie Gablein shared goaltending duties. Little Flower fell to 4-2.
“Our season came with a tough start,” said Wood senior defender Emily Branchide. “Most of our starting lineup from last year were seniors, and we had a challenging preseason schedule.
Archbishop Wood vs. Little Flower (photos by Patty Morgan for PSD). For more game day photos click here:
“I’m proud of what we have accomplished as a team so far. We are learning from each game and getting better as the season goes on. Our goal is to finish in a good spot in the PCL standings and chase after the title. I’m optimistic that our goals can be achieved, as long as we continue to work hard and together as a team. It’s hard to believe that it’s my last season and I want to make it the best one yet.”
St. Hubert (4-3) notched a pair of shutouts (over Bonner-Prendergast on September 22 and Conwell-Egan on September 26) around a 2-1 loss to Archbishop Carroll (4-3) on September 24.
“We have a really hard-working team this year,” said Hubert senior Tori Wolstenholme. “The Carroll loss was a hard-fought game that went back and forth. Against Conwell-Egan, we had four different goal scorers and our goalie (junior Kaitlyn Lepkowski) made some great saves, including a penalty kick.
St. Huberts vs. Bonner-Prendergast (photos by James Beaver for PSD). For more game day photos click here:
“We’ve been hit with a lot of injuries this year, but it looks like we will be getting a couple of players back in the next couple days, which will help with our push for the playoffs.”
Senior teammate Caitlin Coll describes the Bambies as a “hard-working team that is looking forward to the playoffs.” She admitted that winning games in the Catholic League isn’t easy.
“Very challenging for the most part,” said Coll. “In order for us to win, we have to play to our full potential every game.”
Conwell-Egan stunned Archbishop Carroll, 2-1, on an overtime tally by senior Alex Chalmers. The Eagles had gone in front earlier on a goal by junior Olivia Gentile.
“That win was so important to us because we needed to show that Egan girls’ soccer will always compete to the end,” said junior Gia Brennan.
“We came into the game with a winning mentality and we worked so hard to get to where we are today. We want set an example for incoming Egan students and create a legacy for future incoming Eagle girls’ soccer team.”
Conwell-Egan vs. Archbishop Carroll (photos by James Beaver for PSD). For more game day photos click here:
John W. Hallahan stopped Cardinal O’Hara, 2-0, and improved to 2-4 while dropping the Lions to 2-5.
“We went into the game knowing that we needed to battle,” said senior Grace Scally. “We knew this had to be a must win.”
Goals by sophomore Emma Drum and junior Rylee Kanagie paced the offense. Sophomore goalie Morgan Jenkins thwarted the Lions.
“This game was so important because we are the underdogs and we think teams see as just Hallahan,” said Scally. “We have to prove to other teams that we are Hallahan and we are here to battle.
John W. Hallahan vs. Cardinal O'Hara (photos by Patty Morgan for PSD). For more game day photos click here:
“Also with our head coach (Pat Cain) passing this year (on June 14), he would have been so proud of us for winning this game because we haven’t beat O’Hara since 2015. The whole team thought of him as a grandfather.
“We were lucky enough to have talented freshmen this year. I am happy I get to play the game I love with my sister (Faith) on the field as a freshman.
“If we didn’t win this past game, our chance of getting into the playoff was very slim. Now that we beat a hard team, we are confident we can beat anyone."
Catholic League Standings
(Through September 29)
7-0 Archbishop Ryan
5-1 Lansdale Catholic
5-1 Archbishop Wood
4-2 Little Flower
4-3 Archbishop Carroll
4-3 St. Hubert
2-4 John W. Hallahan
2-5 Cardinal O’Hara
0-6 Bishop McDevitt
Archbishop Wood at Bonner-Prendergast
Archbishop Carroll at Little Flower
Lansdale Catholic at Conwell-Egan
St. Hubert at Cardinal O’Hara
John W. Hallahan at Bishop McDevitt
Tag(s): Home Schools Philadelphia Catholic Girls Soccer Philadelphia Catholic League Arch. Carroll Girls Soccer Arch. Ryan Girls Soccer Arch. Wood Girls Soccer Bonner & Prendie Girls Soccer Cardinal O'Hara Girls Soccer Conwell-Egan Girls Soccer John W. Hallahan Soccer Lansdale Cath. Girls Soccer Little Flower Soccer Saint Hubert Soccer