Cardiac Kids

Cathedral Prep soccer strikes gold in Mechanicsburg
Cardiac Kids

Cathedral Prep knows how to win; it’s a way of life. The Prep boys soccer team made history on Nov. 18, clinching their first-ever outright state championship in a thrilling match against Springfield Township of Erdenheim, Pa. Although Prep won a state championship in 2001, that title was shared with Strath Haven due to no overtime rules.

The team’s journey to this triumphant moment was marked by exceptional performances, with notable contributions from players like Noah Handzel, James DiSanza, and Dylan Danch.

The journey began with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over Montour in the first round of the playoffs. Noah Handzel scored the game-winner off a great pass off of Dylan Danch, setting the stage for an intense and competitive postseason. Prep then completed the sweep over Pittsburgh teams with a 2-0 win against South Fayette. In a remarkable twist of fate, Cathedral Prep faced Hershey, the reigning state champions and the team who had defeated Prep in the same game last season. Once again, the boys triumphed in overtime, with Handzel scoring off of a Danch assist, overcoming Hershey and advancing to the championship match.

Down 1-0 coming out of the half, Handzel set the tone for the second half of the championship game by scoring the tying goal, showcasing the team’s determination.

“I knew that I had to be the one to step up and score to help get my team back into the game,” Noah said. “I felt amazing once I ran past the goalie and slotted the ball into the net, but I knew the job wasn’t finished. We still had 30 minutes left, and I knew that goal was just the kickstart of what we were about to do.”

Senior Noah Handzel (Photo credit: Evan Cashman)

After dominating possession for the entire second half, Springfield Township scored against the run of play with five minutes left in the game, which was a shock to the Ramblers.

“When they scored the second goal, I was kind of in disbelief and like, wow, I can’t believe that we have barely any time left,” Noah said. “I knew, though, that we had to score quickly. We were in that position too many times to be unable to sort it out. So I knew we all had to step up for the last 5 minutes as soon as they scored. I was a little nervous but knew we could do this and strive through adversity.”

The match reached a tense moment with only 3 minutes left when James DiSanza dramatically tied the game at 2-2, sending waves of excitement through Eagle View Stadium.

“When I scored, I was shocked and knew we would not lose after that goal,” James said. “All I wanted to do was celebrate, but I knew we still had a game to win.”

Freshman James DiSanza (Photo credit: Manny Rodriguez)

In the second half of overtime, Dylan Danch buried a rebound from Handzel’s shot to win the game. There was bedlam throughout the stands.

“When I scored, I felt like nothing could stop me like. I was on cloud nine and could do whatever I wanted. All I wanted to do was celebrate and enjoy the moment with everyone I love,” Dylan said.

Senior Dylan Danch (Photo credit: Manny Rodriguez)

This victory was especially sweet for the team, given their challenging path to the state championship. The boys secured three consecutive wins in overtime, demonstrating skill and resilience.

“This team means everything to me, especially the seniors. All the seniors are my best friends, and I couldn’t picture achieving with another group of guys,” Noah said. “I still can’t believe my high school career is over, but I’m so happy I could end the way we did, especially with this group of guys.”

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