By: John Knebels
With about one quarter of the season completed and with each team having played three games, the compartmentalized Philadelphia Catholic League boys’ soccer standings offer an anomaly.
Of the12 squads, three remain undefeated, three stand at 2-1, three situate at 1-2, and three have yet to celebrate a victory.
As part of a Saturday afternoon showcase in which three games took place at La Salle while another three occurred at Conwell-Egan, La Salle edged Roman Catholic, 2-1, and extended its PCL streak to 17 over the past three seasons.
“The win was huge for the team and I was glad I could contribute,” said La Salle senior Eddie Donovan, who broke a halftime scoreless deadlock with two goals over the final 26 minutes. “We knew the chances would come in the second half, and we remained patient and focused on playing our game.
“It’s always important to pick up three points against Roman, especially this early in the season. They are a top team in the PCL that we know we could end up seeing again later on in the season.”
A goal by Roman junior Ben Macleod with one minute remaining quashed the shutout bid.
“We went toe to toe with them,” said Macleod. “A different bounce here or there and we could be talking about a draw or win. It was that kind of a match.
“There’s a natural tendency to get up for some of the bigger teams in the league, especially La Salle. And it’s easy to get a good mindset going into the playoffs because it’s win or go home. I think collectively for us, we came to play and show everyone we belong in that discussion with the better teams. We hear the talk.”
While peppering the net with 19 goals, St. Joseph’s Prep has yet to surrender a goal. In their latest triumph against Archbishop Carroll, boots by senior Julian Faust, senior RJ Carlucci, and sophomore Connor Kryst on a penalty kick, lifted the Hawks to a 3-0 win.
“There was a loose ball that I got possession of and took a touch forward,” said Faust. “I had a one-on-one, beat the defender, and put the ball into the bottom corner.
“It sounds simple, but we really focused on being patient and possessing the ball. Our coach (Joe Coyle) really emphasized this and did not want us to force anything out of the back when we had time. This is why we dominated the game.”
In Archbishop Wood’s 3-1 success against Father Judge, senior Dom Petruzzelli, senior Braeden Kehan, and sophomore Logan Savage supplied the offense.
“It was a good win for us against a good team,” said Wood coach Hugh Kelly. “They certainly factor right in the mix with the rest of the league. We are definitely a work in progress. The boys are working hard.”
After giving La Salle everything they had in a 3-2 loss, Archbishop Ryan responded by edging Lansdale Catholic, 1-0. The league defeat was the Raiders’ first since 2019.
Senior Mike Kropilak scored the lone goal with 22 minutes left off a corner kick. Junior Tim Cliggett was credited with the assist.
“Frankie Monaco (sophomore) went up for a header and connected with it,” said Kropilak. “Most likely it would have been a goal for him, but Tim was right in front and it deflected off him. The ball rolled right in front of me, so I just took my opportunity, shot it, and it went in.
“It doesn’t matter who scores. As long as we walk off the field with a win, we are satisfied.”
In addition to junior goalie Joey Phillips, Cliggett offered a loud shout out to Ryan defensemen such as the aforementioned Kropilak, senior Jimmy McDonnell, junior Jarrett Lalli, and sophomore Owen Stock.
Certainly like all of his teammates and opponents, Cliggett is happy to just be playing soccer.
“It’s different than last year, but very similar to my freshman year,” said Cliggett. “We can finally play every team and have a shot to play in the PCL championship game.”
Father Judge dropped a 3-1 decision against Archbishop Wood. The Crusaders will embark on a brutal eight-day stretch from September 28 to October 5 with road contests versus Roman Catholic, Archbishop Ryan, and La Salle.
Devon Prep senior Chris Walton now knows what it’s like when a baseball player experiences a walk-off hit. Just two minutes before necessitating overtime, Walton severed a scoreless tie to give the Tide a 1-0 win over a distraught Conwell-Egan.
Next up: Roman Catholic and a visit to La Salle.
“It was pretty evenly matched the whole game,” said Walton. “They had a lot of chances in the first half but our goalie, Jack Ferry, had a lot of good saves and our defense had a lot of stops. It was pretty back and forth in the second half, and then I scored on a header from (senior) Deaglan Slattery on a free kick.
“As it started to get later and later in the second half, you could kinda tell that the first one to score was probably going to have the only goal and win. There were just so many stops and saves, and by the time we scored, there was so little time remaining.
“But that didn’t change after the goal. We knew we had to play our best defense till the game ended because they were still pushing for that goal to tie it.”
hough they lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to Father Judge and Archbishop Ryan sandwiched around an 8-0 victory over Cardinal O’Hara, the Crusaders of Lansdale Catholic couldn’t discount their overall effort against two the PCL’s elite.
“We knew going into the game that Archbishop Ryan was going to be a tough, gritty opponent,” said Lansdale senior Alex Kulp. “We have several players injured or returning from injuries, and I’m very proud of the way we battled through the whole game.
“Although obviously it’s not the result that we wanted, I think it gives us a lot of motivation to continue to fight hard in these upcoming PCL games.”
Bonner-Prendergast notched its first win, defeating Cardinal O’Hara, 5-2. The Friars needed it big-time, with Archbishop Ryan, Father Judge, La Salle, and Roman Catholic slated over the next two weeks.
Senior Gio Karasavas netted a hat trick while junior Abdul Mahamadou and senior Enoc Lisaint added single goals.
“The win felt great,” said Lisaint. “We beat our rivals and were able to score five goals collectively. Winning games brings a team confidence into the next one.”
Tag(s): Home Schools Philadelphia Catholic Soccer Boys Soccer Philadelphia Catholic League Arch. Carroll Boys Soccer Arch. Ryan Boys Soccer Arch. Wood Boys Soccer Bonner & Prendie Boys Soccer Cardinal O'Hara Boys Soccer Conwell-Egan Boys Soccer Father Judge Soccer La Salle Soccer Lansdale Cath. Boys Soccer Roman Catholic Soccer Saint Joseph's Prep Soccer Devon Prep