MANCHESTER — Kellie Gillen tallied two goals to lead the Lansdale Catholic Crusaders to a 2-1 win over the Elco Raiders in the PIAA Class 2A girls soccer quarterfinals at Northeastern High School on Saturday.
Lansdale Catholic will move on to the state final four against Lake-Lehman, a 1-0 winner over Northwestern Lehigh on Saturday.
“We had definitely had our chances but unfortunately, sometimes things don't go your way,” Raiders coach Derek Fulk said. “(Gillen) is a really nice player, and she was the one player we needed to be concerned about. We didn't want to see her get the ball. We responded to that goal and had chances.”
Lansdale Catholic (11-3-1) picked up an early goal as Gillen beat Elco goalie Madi Bailey to the short corner less than five minutes in. She fielded a ball on the left flank and spun around a defender and beat Bailey from about 12 yards for the 1-0 lead.
“The first goal was kind of fluky — we kind of overcommitted instead of playing contain, and she made a move. I think the shot kind of caught our keeper off-guard,” Fulk said.
Elco (17-5-2) had several opportunities as it played through Katelyn Rueppel. She had a feed that was ticked wide and later one that was headed off the cross bar.
With just under five minutes to play in the opening half, Rueppel finally capitalized on a free kick from about 25 yards. Her rip ducked under the cross bar and the goal seemed to energize her team.
Elco dominated the play for the next 30 minutes. Rueppel created several more chances — one shot bounded just wide and two crosses were just a step ahead of her teammates, allowing the keeper to come out and field.
She also had a restart bounce off the post and a header glanced off the crossbar and another sailed right to the Crusaders’ keeper.
Gillen made a really nice cut in the final 10 minutes and was able to make a play. She cut the ball back and beat Bailey to the near corner for the game-winning goal.
“Kellie does a great job of cutting with the ball and put herself in the position to score,” Crusaders coach Bree Benedict said.