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GIRLS’ SOCCER: PCL Semifinal Round-Up, Lansdale Catholic & Archbishop Ryan Set to Face-off in the PCL Final

By Angelise Stuhl -photos by Kathy Leister, 10/29/17, 9:45PM EDT


FEASTERVILLE-TREVOSE, PA –  After a predicted wash-out this afternoon, the 2017 Philadelphia Catholic League Boys’ and Girls’ soccer finals have been moved to Monday, Oct. 30 at Northeast High School.

For the girls’, No. 1 seed Archbishop Ryan will kick-off the championship double header against No. 2 seed Lansdale Catholic at 5:00 p.m. The boys’ match-up between La Salle and Archbishop Wood will follow. 

SEMIFINAL GAME 1: (No. 2) Lansdale Catholic vs. (No. 4) Archbishop Wood

On Thursday evening, Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Wood took the field at the United German Hungarian Club in a re-match of last year’s PCL final.

This time it was the Crusaders who prevailed. 

Wood vs. LC - 20 Photos taken by Kathy Leister

Semifinal Highlight Video: LC vs. Wood

Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Wood fought goal for goal…literally.

Twenty-one minutes into the first half, Lansdale Catholic sophomore Kellie Gillen received a long pass from midfield and took a shot on goal to put the Crusaders up 1-0.

“I just turned it around with my right foot, and took the shot. I didn’t think it was going to go in, it looked like it was going wide, but it just rolled right into the corner,” said Gillen.

With one minute remaining in the half, Archbishop Wood sophomore Maggie Cliggett found the back of the goal to tie the game 1-1 off an assist from Kasey McCormick.

The second half became the Sarah Cooney show. The senior center tallied two goals to send her team back to the PCL final.

“There’s no other feeling like this,” said Cooney. “I’ve got to admit after the first half when it was tied 1-1, I was a little upset. All the momentum shifted to their side. My team helped me boost my morale. We came out faster and stronger in the second half.”

Cooney’s first goal came 8 minutes in to the second half. This goal was followed by a penalty kick from Archbishop Wood’s Leah Brzezicki, due to a Crusader’s handball penalty in the box.  

As the clock continued to run, overtime seemed imminent as both teams remained tied 2-2. 

Cue Cooney’s 74th minute strike. The senior tracked a loose ball and instinctively hooked it with her left foot right over Archbishop Wood junior goalie Molly Fleming’s head to give the Crusaders a 3-2 victory.

The Crusaders will play the Ragdolls of Archbishop Ryan tomorrow evening at 5:00 p.m. at Northeast HS. Earlier in the season, Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Ryan tied 1-1 after two overtimes. Cooney explained that the key to winning their first PCL title comes down to keeping their emotions on the backburner.

“No matter what happens, whether we get down a goal, up a goal or tie, we just have to keep playing. We can’t let our emotions get to us,” said Cooney.

As for the reigning PCL champions, one loss does not define a season. First year head coach Dan Finello lauded his team’s effort displayed in the semifinal.

Post Game Interview with Lansdale Catholic's Kellie Gillen & Sarah Cooney

Post Game Interview with Wood seniors: Erin Welsh, Caitlyn Cliggett & Kasey McCormick

“They left it all out there,” said Finello. “There was nothing more we could do.  We made an effort and we just missed.  Molly made a great save early on and kind of set the tone. They gave it their all. I’m very proud of them."

After the game, Wood’s senior co-captains Kasey McCormick, Caitlyn Cliggett and Erin Welsh were filled with emotion and were so proud over the way their team has bonded this past season.

“We have really come together as a family,” said Welsh.

“You make some of your best friends on sports teams in high school,” added Cliggett. “Being able to play for these girls the past four years has been the best four years of my life.”   

SEMIFINAL GAME 2: (No. 1) Archbishop Ryan vs. (No. 6) Conwell-Egan

The Ragdolls and the Eagles took the field at UGH after the match-up between Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Wood.

Archbishop Ryan came out on fire with some tricks up their sleeve. Senior co-captain Madison Taylor ignited the Ragdoll’s offense five minutes into the game and scored off a sneaky set play. 

Ryan vs. Conwell-Egan: 15 Photos taken by Kathy Leister

Semifinal Highlight Video: Ryan vs. CEC

“Our left-back, Lauren (McDonnell), she acted like she was going to take the corner,” said Taylor. “She touched it [the ball] and the other team didn’t know she touched it. So I went over and acted like I was going to kick it, but I dribbled it in and hit it off the back post.”

Sophomore center-midfielder, Ashley Pfeffer, received a pass from Emily Deluisi right in front of the goal, in which she kicked into the upper right corner to give the Ragdolls a 2-0 lead.

Ryan senior forward Kaitlyn Findlay knocked in the Ragdoll’s final goal of the game in the 49th minute to give her team the 3-0 victory.

Conwell-Egan’s goalie Maddy Terry is credited with 7 saves in the game. Terry and Egan’s defenders were able to stop Archbishop Ryan’s offensive attack for the remainder of the contest. The score could have been even more detrimental, as the Ragdolls had a total of 21 shots on goal. 

Looking ahead, the Ragdolls have one goal in mind, bringing the coveted PCL plaque back to Academy Road.  

“We want nothing more than to just bring the plaque back this year,” said Findlay. “I had faith in my team the entire time that we were going to come out on top.” 

As for the Eagles, making it to the PCL semifinal was a huge accomplishment in itself.

“This is the first time in a very long time that we made it here. It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish. We made it here and our season was not good in the beginning, but we made it here. Good things will come if you put the effort in,” said Conwell-Egan’s senior co-captain Carly Bonfig.

“I think beating St. Hubert’s 2-0 to get where we are today, it literally felt so good for our team. We did lose today, but it brought us closer together and our confidence level got really high,” added Bonfig.   

While Conwell-Egan’s run at the PCL title was cut short, the Eagle’s season in not over quite yet. Egan will play in the District 12 Class A Championship on November, 1.

“I think this loss is going to fire us up for districts and hopefully take us in to a long ride in states,” said Conwell-Egan senior co-captain Maddy Terry. 

Post Game Interview with Ryan's Madison Taylor, Ashley Pfeffer & Kaitlyn Findlay:

Post Game Interview with Conwell-Egan senior captains Carly Bonfig & Maddy Terry:

After the game, Conwell-Egan head coach Andrzej ‘Andy’ Adamiec expressed that he could not be more proud of his team’s success this season.

"I am always proud of our team, my girls are great kids. It’s a smaller program out of about 160 girls in the whole school, thirty-five are on my soccer team. They really are like a family,” said Andrzej, who is in his 10th year at the helm of the Eagle’s girls’ soccer program. “We had one bad week early on in the season. After that the girls woke up. We came this far. We are a single A school playing in a multi-level league.  We are very blessed with our team.”