Ailing Bishop Canevin girls soccer team still able to find wins
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It seemed the Bishop Canevin girls soccer team was getting a lesson in Murphy's Law — anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
The Lady Crusaders had five starters suffer injuries or illness that kept them on the sidelines for a number of games, including a concussion, ACL, stress fracture, an ankle sprain and mono.
But despite the setbacks, Bishop Canevin recorded two of its biggest wins this season to claim the top spot in Section 3-A and improve to 11-2-1.
“Even when I was coaching club soccer, we would have injuries here or there,” first-year coach Jared Steigerwald said. “To lose the number of girls we did in such a short period of time is almost unbelievable. But what is truly amazing is how the team came together through it.”
On Wednesday, Bishop Canevin recorded a 1-0 double overtime win over Avonworth. The Antelopes came into the game battling Bishop Canevin for the lead in Section 3-A and holding an advantage in the series after defeating the Crusaders, 2-1, on Sept. 16.
After 80 minutes of regulation and a 10-minute overtime period, the teams battled in front of the net during a second overtime when an Avonworth player was called for a handball. The call occurred in the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick.
Steigerwald sent Julianne Hart up for the kick, and the senior made the most of the opportunity.
“All four years of my high school career, Avonworth has been the big game,” Hart said. “After the first half, we knew we had to keep playing them hard. Our coach was really encouraging us at halftime. We felt really good going into overtime with them.
“We knew coming in it would be difficult with five starters out. I am really proud with how we played.”
Less than 24 hours later, Bishop Canevin knocked off Vincentian, 1-0, in overtime as Becca Mox scored with just more than a minute remaining. Mox's goal came thanks to a Sam Vanek cross from the outside that was deflected by Elise White. Sophomore goalie Caroline Clarke made nine saves in the win.
“She played all of last year, so she's experienced,” Steigerwald said. “She is a rock back there. Earlier in the season she may not have faced as many situations due to the success of our defense. But when we need a save, she comes up big.”
The loss of players has been a growing experience for the team. Several underclassmen such as sophomores Alexis Pilch and Kayla Rogers have been forced to step up. Others have switched positions, such as Mox — the team's backup goalie — moving to outside mid.
“I am so proud of these girls,” Hart said. “They are stepping up and working hard. We are working as a team better. We can only keep progressing.”
The Crusaders are expecting to have all but one of their injured players back in time for playoffs. But several of the players filling the void are gaining experience that could be invaluable in the WPIAL playoffs.
“The energy we are creating and the way we are coming together is only going to make us stronger,” Steigerwald said.
Bishop Canevin has two home games remaining before postseason play gets underway: an 11.am. showdown with Eden Christian Saturday and a 7:30 p.m. start against Vincentian on Monday.
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