SPRINGFIELD, PA--The Lady Lions are heading back to the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship. After coming up short in last year’s final against defending champs Archbishop Carroll, Cardinal O’Hara will have another shot at the title thanks to their 3-0 victory over Lansdale Catholic Wednesday.
O’Hara, who remained undefeated in league play all season, hosted 4th seed Lansdale Catholic in the semifinal match.
“Kids have been wanting to get back to where we were last year and that has been a goal of theirs from the beginning of the season, to get back to the finals,” said Cardinal O’Hara head coach, Bill Collins. “Hopefully, we’re going to have a different outcome than last year.”
The Lady Lions came out strong in the opening set, winning 25-15. They were able to go on a six-score run early in the set and never looked back. However, the Crusaders would not make it easy the rest of the way for O'Hara.
The second set took more of a back-and-forth pace. O’Hara took the early lead, but Lansdale was never far behind. Anytime it seemed like the Lady Lions were about to pull away with it, Lansdale would battle back and pull within one. Ultimately, O’Hara would win the set 25-21.
The third set was a testament to Lansdale’s perseverance and ability to keep fighting. O’Hara was able to take a 21-14 lead and looked to be moments away from another trip to the finals. Then the score was 21-16. Then 21-18. And then 21-20. Then, almost in a blink, the Crusaders had pulled off the unthinkable and tied the set at 23-23. The atmosphere was electric. O’Hara would need to call two timeouts over the course of the run to collect themselves.
“I give them a lot of credit. They’re down 2-0, down 21-14, I would say 99.9% of teams would’ve said, ‘ya know what? We’re done.’ and all of a sudden you look up and it’s 23-23,” said Collins. “That's a credit to (Holly) Arnow as a captain leading that team and Julie (Stocklos) does a great job with that team.”
Eventually, O’Hara would prevail winning the set 25-23, sealing their second consecutive trip to the PCL Championship. It was disappointing to come so close and lose, but Lansdale head coach, Julie Stocklos, was happy to see her girls battle to the end.
“They battled big. They wanted it. We were two away and it came down to the last point,” said Stocklos. “It was a wonderful play in the last game, I’m glad we ended on that play.”
O’Hara now has the opportunity to capture something that has eluded them for the past ten years. Collins has taken plenty of teams to the PCL finals, but he believes this year’s group has what it takes to bring home the plaque.
“It’s been ten years since we’ve won a catholic league title and we’ve been to the finals six time since then, but I think this team is one of the more well-rounded teams we’ve had in the last ten years,” said Collins. “We’ve had some really good teams, but this one is well rounded, and they believe in themselves and really trust each other.”
The Lady Lions will meet Archbishop Carroll once again in the PCL Championship this Sunday at Neumann University.
Carroll, whose only loss was to O’Hara earlier in the season, will be vying for their 4th consecutive title after beating Archbishop Wood in the semifinal round 3-1.
Gametime is set for 6 p.m. and guarantees to be a match you won't want to miss.