By JEFF KERR
SOUDERTON -- All Linnea Faccenda needed was 22 seconds to make an impact for Downingtown East. She just needed the opportunity to do so.
"I knew this was going to be a tough game,' Faccenda said. "(Central Bucks East) is such a good team and we were going to get pressured the whole game. I had to score.'
That's exactly what Faccenda did.
Faccenda scored her first goal of the game in the opening minute to lead Downingtown East to the District 1 Class AAA championship match with a 3-0 victory over Central Bucks East at Souderton High School Wednesday.
The senior scored all three of the Cougars' goals in a dominant performance on the district's biggest stage. She has 35 for the season, just one year removed after missing last fall with an ACL injury.
Madison Baxter's touch pass set Faccenda up with her first tally. From there, the Cougars knew they were in for a challenge.
The Patriots dominated possession from the 10th minute on and constantly had plenty of opportunities for the equalizer before halftime.
Their closest opportunity was off a header from Emma Loving, which just went over the crossbar in the 38th minute. Downingtown East went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
C.B. East continued to add pressure early in the second half, but keeper Kaelyn Johns was there to preserve the lead.
In the 48th minute, Annie Avenroth connected on a beautiful cross to Shaun Kane, but Johns was in perfect position. She punched the ball just over the crossbar to end the Patriots scoring threat.
Like a veteran athlete, the intensity of the moment did not faze Johns as the junior finished with 13 saves to earn the shutout in net.
"Right after we scored the first goal, it was so crucial to keep that zero on the scoreboard,' Johns said. "My defense was going to be there for me if I made any mistakes. (C.B. East) was coming after us.'
The Patriots were unable to score the equalizer, but Faccenda was not satisfied with just one goal.
Faccenda took a pass from Brenna Warren and placed it past Paige Marcmkowski to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead in the 61st minute.
Five minutes later, Faccenda scored her third goal on a breakaway and sent the Downingtown East crowd in an uproar with a 3-0 lead that C.B. East could not overcome.
Through it all, Faccenda is willing to take Downingtown East to the pinnacle of District 1. After this semifinal victory, the Cougars are one win away from winning the school's second district title in five years.
"I'm ecstatic because winning the district has been a goal of this team since my freshman year,' Faccenda said. "This whole thing has been amazing and something we really wanted.'
The Cougars face Neshaminy, a 1-0 winner over Boyertown in the other semifinal, on Saturday at 7 p.m. The championship will be played at Souderton H.S.
"We wanted Neshaminy all along,' Johns said. We finally got them in the finals. This is exactly what we wanted.'
Downingtown East 3, C.B. East 0
C.B. East 0 0—0
Downingtown East 1 2—3
Downingtown East goals: Faccenda 3.
C.B. East goals: None.
Goalie saves: Johns (DE) 13; Marcmkowski (CBE) 5.