One of the great benefits associated with being a member of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) is having a “second season” to look forward to, regardless of how you fared in your respective leagues.
Take, for instance, Neumann-Goretti High School. To many, it was a foregone conclusion that the girls would win the Catholic League championship, and, after amassing an undefeated record against league opponents (as did the girls), the Neumann-Goretti boys also appeared poised to capture a crown.
But Archbishop Wood’s girls, and Roman Catholic’s boys, had other ideas. Their respective championship wins at the Palestra on Feb. 22 supplied deep lamentation for both Goretti squads.
In years past, their season would be over. Thanks to the PIAA postseason, that has not been the case since 2009.
“I’m going to savor this championship and worry about states when the time comes,” Roman Catholic senior Tony Carr said after the Cahillites stunned Neumann-Goretti.
Well, that time has been here since the first round of states on March 4. Through two rounds, seven local Catholic schools remain alive, and all of them play in the quarterfinals this weekend.
On Friday, March 11, Class AA N-G’s girls (26-1), who seized the state title last year, take on Holy Redeemer at 7:30 at Freedom High School in Bethlehem while Class AAAA Cardinal O’Hara’s girls (24-3) meet local public school Garnet Valley at 7:30 at Spring-Ford High School in Royersford. Class AAA Neumann Goretti’s boys face local Lower Moreland 6 p.m. at Philadelphia University.
At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12, Class AAA Catholic League girls’ champion Archbishop Wood, a state finalist the past two years, faces a stiff challenge versus Catholic Academies League champ Gwynedd-Mercy Academy at Archbishop Ryan’s boys’ gym.
Class AAAA Roman Catholic will play Parkland, 1 p.m. at Council Rock High School. Simultaneously at the Geigle Complex in Reading, Class AA defending champ Conwell-Egan (17-9) faces Camp Hill.
“We were devastated that we didn’t win the Catholic League championship,” said N-G senior Alisha Keebe, the Catholic League’s Most Valuable Player. “We were very upset, but now we are focused on winning states again. That would be a great way for the seniors to go out.”
By late Saturday night, there will be eight teams – four of both genders – still in contention for a state title. Both the semifinals and finals will be played in Hershey.
John Knebels can be reached at email@example.com.