By: John Knebels
Photos/Videos: Kathy Leister, Kevin Murphy, Geneva Heffernan & James Williamson
PHILADELPHIA -Soccer addicts must have had a grand time on Sunday.
At two different locations, 12 of the 13 teams in the Catholic League participated in the “Catholic League Showcase”. The Father Judge venue featured the host Crusaders taking on Archbishop Carroll, Lansdale Catholic facing Conwell-Egan, and Archbishop Wood meeting Bishop McDevitt.
A few miles away at Archbishop Ryan, the host Raiders welcomed Roman Catholic. Also on the menu was St. Joseph’s Prep versus Bonner-Prendergast, and Devon Prep squaring off with Cardinal O’Hara. Defending champion La Salle had the day off.
“I really liked the idea of this Catholic Showcase, even on a Sunday,” said St. Joseph’s Prep senior goalie Aidan Hartey. “I always love playing in the Ryan environment because it really has that northeast atmosphere that I grew up playing in. I think it gave our league great exposure.”
Father Judge wins the award for most dramatic triumph.
Junior Mike Martin was the hero, scoring four minutes into overtime to lift the Crusaders to a 3-2 win over Archbishop Carroll sophomore Aidan McShane assisted on Martin’s first-ever overtime tally.
“It was a great pass by Aiden,” said Martin. “He dropped it to my right foot, where I was able to place it in the net.
“It was an unbelievable moment scoring and then turning around to see all your teammates running towards you. I will never forget it. This was really just a great buildup play from the team. It couldn’t have been possible without them.”
Judge junior Brendan McCarthy gave the Crusaders a 1-0 lead on a successful penalty shot in the first half. Carroll, however, seized momentum with a pair of goals in the second half. Senior Owen Ovecka tied the game at 2-2.
“It really felt great to get the win,” said McCarthy. “It was a big game for us. We knew we needed a win. To get one in sudden death was amazing. We were all thrilled.”
Performance of the day belongs to two players – Devon Prep senior Nick Bello and Lansdale Catholic senior Matt McDonald.
Devon Prep continued to soar in a new environment. Fresh off a nail-biting, 4-3 overtime win over upset-minded Bishop McDevitt on Friday thanks to a goal by junior Aidan Ringiewicz, the Tide defeated Cardinal O’Hara, 3-2.
Bello, who had assisted on the overtime goal, established a school record when he scored three goals against O’Hara, giving him 52 career goals, eclipsing the previous mark of 50.
Bello was humbled by his record-setting experience, but winning games remains paramount.
“We’ve been able to grow as a team and we believe that will help us for our games in the future,” said Bello. “It’s very exciting to set the record. I never could have imagined setting the record when I was a freshman or sophomore, but as I got to junior year, it was certainly one of my goals that I’m thrilled I was able to achieve.”
Second-year Devon Prep coach Brian McKinney was thrilled for Bello and proud of his team.
“It’s been exciting for us to witness Nick score so many goals,” said McKinney. “All of us at Devon are really happy for him to break the record. He’s a great goal scorer, a really nice kid, and is still far from done. He’s having a strong season.
“We are trying to stay focused, but are also enjoying the challenges. A lot of games to play.”
Back to Lansdale Catholic’s McDonald.
In the Crusaders’ 3-1 win over Conwell-Egan, McDonald scored all three goals. His first-ever hat trick could not have come at a better time.
“It was a very good game,” said McDonald. “Everyone played well, contributed, and made an impact. It was a much-needed win and a very big confidence boost going into the rest of the season. It was a great showing and glimpse of what's to come”
St. Joseph’s Prep edged Bonner-Prendergast, 1-0, on a goal by senior captain Evan Filak with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Aforementioned goalie Aidan Hartey and a staunch defense kept the Friars off the board.
“It was a great win for our team and a great way to bounce back after a loss to Roman, when we knew we didn’t produce like we’re capable of,” said Hartey. “Every game is a hard-fought win in this league, so we hope to carry momentum forward.”
Senior Pat Diviny agreed.
“We played together as a team and built our offense up with constant support from our defense,” said Diviny. “The win was extremely important because it gives us the confidence boost as a team in the beginning of the season.”
Roman Catholic blanked Archbishop Ryan, 3-0. Senior Jared Dillon scored twice and junior Sebastian Gonzalez added another. Junior Kevin Tobin netted a shutout.
“We were slow the first half, but we got it together going into the second half,” said Roman senior Kieran Boyle.
On Friday night under the lights at Temple University, Roman Catholic secured a 2-0 victory against St. Joseph’s Prep.
Freshman Joe Lodise scored his first career goal as a Cahillite off an assist from Dillion. Senior Eric Williams netted Roman’s second goal to seal the win against the Hawks.
Archbishop Wood received goals from five different players in a 5-0 victory over Bishop McDevitt. Seniors Sean Kerchak, Christian Petro, Koty Taylor, and Sean O'Donnell joined sophomore Shane Collier on the scoring ledger.
“It was a solid team performance overall and a good win,” said Wood senior goalie Connor Ford. “Everyone on the back line stepped up to limit McDevitt’s opportunities and keep possession.”
Despite the defeat, McDevitt emerged in good spirits. Two days earlier, the Lancers had forced upstart division newcomer Devon Prep into overtime before losing, 4-3.
McDevitt senior Matt Duddy said the loss to Wood was not affected by the disappointment of having come so close against Devon.
“I don’t believe it was a letdown because in my opinion Wood is one of strongest, if not the strongest, team in the Catholic League,” said Duddy, who lauded the efforts of senior Austin Alcorn and sophomore goalie Regan Loughney. “Our team fought hard for the entire game and showed a great defensive effort.”
On Friday, Archbishop Carroll hosted Archbishop Ryan in another close PCL match-up. Carroll emerged victorious, 2-1, on a game-winning penalty kick scored by senior Nick Frederick.
Frederick lauded his team’s tenacity to outlast Ryan in the second half to come away with the win.
“We haven’t played a second half that strong in a long time. Us scoring two goals to get back from a 1-0 deficit, that says a lot about this team,” said Frederick.
Tag(s): Home Schools Philadelphia Catholic Soccer Boys Soccer Philadelphia Catholic League Arch. Carroll Boys Soccer Arch. Ryan Boys Soccer Arch. Wood Boys Soccer Bishop McDevitt 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 Neumann/Goretti Boys Socce Roman Catholic Soccer Saint Joseph's Prep Soccer