Judge, Lansdale move to final

Kevin Ceno (9) is mobbed after scoring the first goal early in the second half against Archbishop Ryan in Father Judge's 2-0 win. Usually a substitute midfielder, Ceno started at forward in the Catholic League semifinal.
Kevin Ceno (9) is mobbed after scoring the first goal early in the second half against Archbishop Ryan in Father Judge's 2-0 win. Usually a substitute midfielder, Ceno started at forward in the Catholic League semifinal. (LOU RABITO / Staff)
Posted: October 28, 2013

As Kevin Ceno waited on the sideline for the referee's signal to reenter in the second half, a fan called his last name.

Ceno spun his head around, winked at his admirer, and then jogged onto the field. He had earned the flourish.

Usually a substitute midfielder, Ceno got the start at forward for Father Judge in Saturday's Catholic League soccer semifinal at Archbishop Ryan's George J. Todt Field.

Not long into the second half, he showed why. Ceno's turnaround, line-drive shot from outside the box put Father Judge ahead for good in a 2-0 win over Archbishop Ryan.

The Crusaders, the top seed in the playoffs and The Inquirer's top-ranked team in Southeastern Pennsylvania, will play Lansdale Catholic in Tuesday's final at Ryan.

Father Judge possessed the ball for much of the first half, but couldn't crack the seventh-seeded Raiders, who had allowed just three goals in their last five games and were playing tight man coverage.

The Crusaders countered by moving up Ceno, a speedy sophomore, to show a three-forward look.

"We like to possess the ball, and on this day, we had to play long ball," Judge coach John Dunlop said. "So we went with speed up top with Ceno."

Ceno turned past his defender on the left side of the field and fired a low, hard shot to the far post past Ryan goalkeeper Jared Ott, who was excellent in making six saves.

"I knew I had to shoot it low and hard because the goalie was 8 feet tall," Ceno said.

After the goal, things opened up for Judge.

Ryan Nork added an insurance goal on a diving header of a Joe Hansen free kick from outside the 18. Hansen told Nork to go backdoor because no one was covering it.

"It does get frustrating eventually when you're the better team and you can't put one away," Nork said. "But after you do put the one away . . . it lets it [the pressure] all go."

Crusaders goalie Danny Sulpizio needed to make just two saves for his 11th shutout of the season. Ryan's best chance was a header over the bar early in the second half.

Judge has allowed just eight goals all season, and two in its last eight games.

The Crusaders (18-1) won their first 16 games of the season, setting up a title-game-or-bust mentality. They last won the league title in 2009.

"Anything less than this would be a 100 percent disappointment," Nork said. We knew since sixth grade we wanted this. It's time for us to get it."

They'll get their chance Tuesday night.

Father Judge 0 2 – 2

Archbishop Ryan 0 0 – 0

Goals: FJ-Kevin Ceno, Ryan Nork.

Saves: FJ-Danny Sulpizio 2; AR-Jared Ott 6.

Lansdale Catholic 1, Roman Catholic 0 (OT) - Michael Lewis finished a through ball from Jake Saba 7 minutes, 30 seconds into overtime to send the Crusaders to their first Catholic League final.

Saba's setup from the right side mirrored the play the Crusaders used to beat Roman in another 1-0 overtime win in September.

Before the OT, coach Joe Wilson reminded his Crusaders of the play and asked them to finish it the same way.

"It was like clockwork," Wilson said.

Lansdale Catholic 0 0 1 – 1

Roman Catholic 0 0 0 – 0

Goal: LC-Michael Lewis.

Saves: LC-Jack Kane 5; RC-Mark Tobin 5.


tmcmanus@philly.com

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