North Catholic ends Bedford’s season
ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Bedford’s state championship hopes were put on ice, literally.
North Catholic scored twice in the second half and took a 2-0 win Tuesday night in a frigid PIAA Class 2A semifinal at the Mars Athletic Complex.
The victory put the Trojanettes (15-2-1) into the program’s first state championship match Saturday at 11 a.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.
“It’s wonderful. The girls have been talking about this since the first year we made the state playoffs,” North Catholic coach Emily Karr said. “Last year, we got close. So, this is something they’ve been talking about all year, as soon as we knew we were going to have a season.”
A snow squall came through the area about an hour before the match and covered the field with an inch of snow, which made playing conditions extremely difficult for both sides.
“Oh it was horrible. We couldn’t get an advantage,” Bedford coach Jeff Thomas said. “Defensively, offensively — it was tough connecting passes. It was tough for both sides. I just can’t believe we played a game in conditions like this. It’s crazy.”
With snow accumulated on the artificial turf, the surface became slippery, which hindered both teams’ approaches. The snow tailed off for most of the match, but picked back up toward the end of the second half.
“It just took us completely out of our game. You just have to keep blasting forward and hope you win the 50-50 balls and connect on a couple passes on the other side of it,” Thomas said. “You’re lucky to just keep the ball in play. It was tough to get footing.”
Bedford (14-1-0), making its third semifinal appearance in the last four years, had outscored its opponents, 110-2, entering the match. However, the Bisons didn’t register their first shot on goal until 23:24 into the contest when Sydney Taracatac put the ball on net from 40 yards out. They did not generate a quality scoring chance on the evening.
North Catholic got on the scoreboard 3:48 into the second half on a Jayden Sharpless goal. Streaking down the far side, Grace Billmann sent a cross in front of the Bedford goal. Sharpless was able to redirect the ball inside the far post, past goalkeeper Lindsay Mowry. It was just the third goal the Bisons conceded all season.
“All of the players that are very skilled on both teams struggled to strike a ball and struggled to take a first touch,” Karr said. “So, even if you’re coming from behind, now you can’t use your talents you usually rely on. You can put yourself in the proper position, but can’t take a good first touch just because of the conditions. So, the first goal was absolutely important.”
The Trojanettes added another goal with 42.4 seconds to play. Tori Michalski scored off a Billmann assist to secure the win.
It was the last match for Bedford seniors Jordan Brown, Robyn Casalena, Abby Donaldson, Alli Seager and Mowry.
“They can’t hang their heads,” Thomas said. “They have to keep their heads high.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Bedford 0 0 — 0
North Catholic 0 2 — 2
Second half: North Catholic–Jayden Sharpless (Grace Billmann), 3:48.
North Catholic–Tori Michalski(Billmann), 39:18.
Records: Bedford (14-1-0); North Catholic (15-2-1).