It may be hard to get a gauge as to where Coughlin stands against District 3 third-place team Hempfield before they take the field at Emmaus this afternoon.
Five District 3 squads made the 16-team PIAA Class 3A field. All five reached the quarterfinals. Coughlin is the only team left on its half of the bracket from outside of that district.
And the Black Knights aren't just any opponent -- they are the defending state 3A champions. They beat Warwick 2-1 in overtime last year, fending off a whopping 22 shots and 32 penalty corners in the state final.
But Coughlin isn't conceding anything.
I've been waiting for this since my freshman year, said Madysen Jones, who scored the game-winner for the Crusaders on Tuesday.
The Crusaders seniors have been hoping for a second chance at state tournament action since their one-and-done in 2009.
Coughlin was dominant against Stroudsburg in its state tourney opener, holding decided edges in all statistical categories and keeping play. An exceptional team played one of its most complete games of the season.
The Crusaders had kept the ball on the Stroudsburg side of the field for six consecutive minutes leading up to the game-winning goal by Jones, set up by smart plays by Caitlin Wood and Katie Colleran.
This group just has a sense now of where they are, Coughlin coach Colleen Wood said of her squad reaching for goals set back before practice started in August. They've gotten better as they got used to each other as the season has gone on.
Coughlin has won its last four games, and seven of its last eight.