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PCL Field Hockey Roundup: Lansdale Catholic Advances to Semifinals by Overcoming Early Deficit

By Mark Zimmaro (Photos by Mark Zimmaro), 10/22/23, 3:15PM EDT


And Reporter Mark Zimmaro's "Ask Me Anything Segment" Ends on a Scary Note: Well, Not That Scary!

By Mark Zimmaro

LANSDALE - Last year, they might have folded. 

The Lansdale Catholic High School field hockey team has shown a substantial amount of growth over the past 12 months. And on Friday, when it found itself down by a goal in the first half of a home playoff game, the Crusaders let loose instead of staying frozen.

“Our strategy (this year) is just kind of let it go,” senior defender Sienna Greeley said. “Never put your heads down. That’s what our coaches always said. After every goal for every game, keep your heads up. You got it. We’re just the most positive team out there.”

The Crusaders erased an early deficit and scored six straight goals, including a hat trick my Maura Johnson, to capture a 7-2 victory over Conwell-Egan in the quarterfinal round of the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs.

Lansdale Catholic marches off the field after a 7-2 PCL quarterfinal win over Conwell-Egan. Photo by Mark Zimmaro

Lansdale Catholic cashed in early as the Crusaders received a penalty stroke just 3:15 into the game, which put two-time First Team All-Catholic selection Anna Cusumano in a pressure situation to put her team ahead. 

Lansdale Catholic's Anna Cusumano Scores twice in win

“I actually missed a stroke in my last game so I was really nervous,” said Cusumano, a Catholic University commit. “But we actually worked on strokes (Thursday) in practice. “So it was good. I knew what to do. Put it in the cage.”

Cusumano did just that and the Crusaders led, 1-0. But Conwell-Egan, which has now made back-to-back playoff appearances after a 16 year drought, wasn’t ready to pack it in. Senior Dakota Poland scored twice, which both came on transitional fast breaks and the Eagles jumped in front with a pair of second quarter goals to lead 2-1 with 7:11 before halftime.

But as Greeley said, the Crusaders shook it off. Lansdale Catholic evened the score quickly as Cusumano drilled home a shot on a penalty corner two minutes later and the teams reached the break in a tie game.

In the second half, the floodgates broke open. Ella Ruffels put the Crusaders ahead early, then Maura Johnson finished off a pass from Kate Fredrickson. Johnson scored twice more in the fourth quarter to complete her hat trick.

Lansdale Catholic's Maura Johnson recorded a hat trick

“It felt amazing,” said Johnson, a junior. “But I would just like to thank my teammates for giving me the ball. It’s not all me, it’s my teammates really.”

Lauren Brady topped off the scoring with the sixth straight Crusaders’ tally and the fifth of the second half to give Lansdale Catholic some extra momentum heading into a semifinal matchup with Archbishop Carroll on Wednesday.

“This is just so emotional,” coach Karen Dowd said, failing to hold back tears. “I love this team. They have worked so hard all year and I believe in them, but they had to believe in themselves. The first half was a little rocky for us, but the second half, they came out like gangbusters.”

The playoff victory was Lansdale Catholic’s first since 2019. There was no tournament in 2020 and the Crusaders were defeated by Bonner & Prendie in the quarterfinals the last two years, including a heartbreaking shootout defeat last year. 

This year was different.

“It feels pretty awesome,” Greeley said. “Last year we lost (in the first round). It was rough but we knew how it felt. There was a lot of pressure on this game too but we wanted it a lot more. This year we only had four seniors and last year was a big difference. We had 11. I feel like this year, we just worked as a team more.”


Bonner & Prendie will visit Archbishop Wood in the other quarterfinal match on Monday. Wood defeated the Pandas, 2-1, in the regular season matchup on Oct. 9 on goals by Kiara Espejell and Katie McGowan. 

The Vikings are hosting a quarterfinal for the third straight year. They defeated Archbishop Ryan in 2021 and lost to Conwell-Egan last year. 

As No. 3 seed Lansdale Catholic already advanced in the bracket, the winner of the Wood-Bonner & Prendie game will travel to top-seeded Cardinal O’Hara on Wednesday for the semifinals. Lansdale Catholic will face No. 2 seed Archbishop Carroll at the Proving Grounds in the other semifinal. Carroll won that regular season meeting by a 6-2 margin last week.

EXTRA Time with the Cruasders

When asked, Lansdale Catholic’s Maura Johnson didn’t know exactly how many goals she has scored this year, but they all seem to be of the same nature. There’s not many with a better nose for the net for Johnson who doesn’t do a whole lot of ball-handling. She just gets position on a defender and waits for the set up in front of the cage.

“She has stepped up so much this year,” Crusaders coach Karen Dowd said. “I told her how much of an improvement she’s made this year. One hundred percent. He gets mad at herself when she can’t get the ball and we’ll work on it. But Anna (Cusumano) will slam it and she just needs to get her stick there for it.”

Lansdale Catholic's Sienna Greeley on being last man back

One Crusader you won’t find scoring many goals is senior center back Sienna Greeley. And that’s exactly how the Crusaders draw it up. Greeley doesn’t often cross the center line as she’s asked to stay back in the defensive zone and clean up any possible defensive mistakes.

“Sienna is hidden back there on defense,” Dowd said. “But when a play comes and we need a big stop, Sienna is right there. That’s where I like her to be. She just knows how to get the ball out of there and she just sneaks up on you.”

Greeley doesn’t mind not being involved offensively but she enjoys denying the opposition the same privilege, even if it comes with a little added stress.

“It’s kind of stressful when you see it’s just you and the girl with the ball,” Greeley said. “It’s life or death like they could score there. But me and the coaches have worked on keeping the stick down, lock in and don’t back up and take the ball. By the time you take the ball, people will drop back and fill in for you and work together off of that.”


Need a last-minute Halloween costume idea?

We got you covered. This week I reveal the best or most creative Halloween costumes put together by some of the best field hockey players in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

Special thanks to players from Archbishop Carroll, Archbishop Wood, Bonner & Prendie, Cardinal O’Hara, Conwell-Egan and Lansdale Catholic for sharing their best (and not so scary) Halloween ideas!

Ask Me Anything - Halloween Costumes

FINAL PCL Standings 

Cardinal O’Hara 8-0

Archbishop Carroll 7-1

Lansdale Catholic 6-2

Archbishop Wood 5-3

Bonner & Prendie 4-4

Conwell-Egan 3-5

St. Hubert 2-6

Archbishop Ryan 1-7

Little Flower 0-8

Top six teams qualify for the PCL Playoffs.