York Catholic's MaCayla Welsh stood on the side of the field, waiting to check into the game late in the second half of Thursday's soccer match against Wyomissing. She turned and commented that she felt she had not been playing well in the District 3 Class A quarterfinal, which was tied.
After some encouraging words from a teammate nearby and from the score keeper, Welsh rushed onto the field at the next stoppage of play.
Roughly five minutes later, Welsh found herself at the right place at the right time to break the deadlock and score the eventual winning goal for the Fighting Irish, who earned a 3-2 victory.
Elizabeth Johnson -- who had scored twice already to lead York Catholic back from a 2-0 deficit -- was able to get inside the box and put a shot on goal. The Wyomissing keeper made the first save, but Welsh found the rebound and put it into the net.
"When I went in I just had to have my mind set that we need to win this because this is all wanted," Welsh said. "This is what we've played for this whole year. When that ball was in the air I crashed the goal as hard as I could."
Welsh's goal capped the comeback and sent York Catholic into a Monday semifinal matchup against Fairfield.
Wyomissing sped to a 2-0 lead midway through the first half off two goals by Elke Cacchione a little over 12 minutes apart. Cacchione got past the York Catholic defense and into the box at the 23:27 mark of the first half. Her shot from a tough angle hit the Irish keeper and ricocheted in. Cacchione's second goal came at 11:15 off a breakaway.
Johnson responded for the Irish rather quickly, streaking down the near side of the field and finding the back of the net. She tied the score midway through the second half, scoring on a set play off a free kick. Johnson dribbled the ball into the box and beat the keeper for the equalizer.
"(Johnson) knows that we follow her as far as our goals and opportunities," head coach Joe Nattans said of Johnson's performance. "She put a little bit too much pressure on herself in the first half and missed some goals she usually doesn't miss, but then she came back strong and never gave up."
Johnson noted that during her three previous seasons her team did not make it past the second round and this was the year they wanted to move further in the tournament.
"Coaches taught us throughout the season that we never give up," she said. "We knew when they scored it was fine and we would get right back in it. It was just the team comradery and we all love each other."
First half — 1. Wy, Elke Cacchione (unassisted), 23:27. 2. Wy Elke Cacchione (unassisted), 11:15. 3. Elizabeth Johnson (unassisted), 10:53.
Second half — 4. Elizabeth Johnson (unassisted), 22:00. 5. MaCayla Welsh (unassisted), 8:32.
Shots on goal — YC 5, Wyo 6; Corners — YC 2, Wyo 5; Goalies — YC, Amelia Strayer (4 saves). Wyo, Megan Masano (1 save), Sydney Noecker-Redner (1 save)