23rd seed Cardinal Gibbons ends Cinderella’s run with the 4A state title, beats Ardrey Kell in PKs

– When 110 minutes of soccer wasn’t enough and Cardinal Gibbons and Ardry Kell headed to select kicks to decide the NCAA 4A Championship on Saturday, the Crusaders were all too confident in Ryan Lawrence.

Lawrence, the budding basketball player turned mid-season goalkeeper. Lawrence, who saved a penalty in three consecutive games earlier during Gibbons’ post-season run.

As has been the case for a while now, Lawrence rose to the occasion and made two massive breaststrokes as Gibbons beat Ardrey Kell 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to claim his third girls’ soccer title in program history and first at a 4A level.

As a result of her heroic deeds, Lawrence received the highest honors for players.

“My coach told me to just guess, and if it went in the right direction, I would go in the right direction,” said Lawrence, who denied Elle Richman and Elle Newman of Ardrey Kell. “But I started looking in their eyes and they were looking to one side, and I noticed they would always go to the other side.”

The tournament was the final chapter of an unexpected playoff round for the 23rd seed Crusader Championship which featured victories over the third seed (Chapel Hill), 1st (Hoggard) and 2nd (Adre Kell).

Six of the Gibbons’ 16 wins on the season (16-6-2) came during post-season play, and the Crusaders were under 0.500 as recently as April 25 before closing out the year in 11 consecutive games.

Gibbons coach Brian Morgan said: “We had some tough losses early in the season, and I think they played a huge role in how they dealt with adversity and tough moments in the playoffs. It was great seeing them persevere, overcoming some challenges and claiming the state championship.”

Ardrey Kell, a 4A runner-up in 2008, 2009 and 2011, was making his fourth state title appearance. The Knights finished the year at 25-2-1.

Early in the first half, both teams stretched as they put the opponent under duress in the 18-yard box, and Gibbons had a good look at the goal in the 10th minute when striker Nia Falk put an effort on goal.

By the time the halftime whistle blew, Ardrey Kell had a better argument as the team closest to scoring thanks to a pair of excellent efforts from young defender Kylie Newman. In the 22nd minute, Newman grabbed the ball from a throw-in and opened herself up with a shot that seemed committed and headed toward the upper right corner until Lawrence Gibbons scored her jump perfectly, throwing the ball over the crossbar. .

Newman once again bafflingly came close to opening the scoring before the break in the 38th minute. In a similar situation as her last shot, Newman, from outside the area, fired a low shot to the ground that peeked down the right post.

But regardless of the Knights’ close goals, the second half started with nothing separating the two sides. As the second half progressed, the Knights and the Crusaders took turns pressing the other but did pretty much nothing in the final third.

With nothing separating the two teams and both sides struggling to break through the opposing defense line, Gibbons midfielder Lily Bryzwanski took matters into her own hands and opened the scoring in the 67th minute with a goal seemingly out of nowhere.

Having secured a pass from Ardrey Kell, Pryzwansky had time to take a few touches and then fired a perfectly high shot that flew into the back of the net, just under the crossbar. The trajectory of the shot left goalkeeper Ardrey Kell helpless Emily Casey, despite her best saving effort.

But Ardrey Kell has remained calm and has continued to climb onto the pitch as the time in his season progressed. In the 79th minute, the knights’ perseverance was rewarded. Striker Taylor Suarez hit a shot from the left flank, and hit a shot from close range to net his 18th goal of the season, no bigger than this goal.

Neither side really threatened during the 30 minutes of overtime, although Suarez put a pair of hits into the frame which Lawrence tackled.

When it was time for instant kicks to decide the title, the Crusaders held firm. Pryzwansky, Sydney Hennesen, Hailey Juhasz, and Lauren Doyle all kicked the Crusaders, who had great help from Lawrence.