Mars, GCC teams lead WPIAL squads into PIAA tournament
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Of all the talented teams the WPIAL Class AA champion Mars girls soccer team competed against this season, few put up as much of a challenge as ... the Mars boys soccer team?
WPIAL boys soccer finalist Greensburg Central Catholic endured one of Class A's toughest schedules during the regular season. But who knew their toughest competition would come from ... the Centurions' girls soccer team?
Don't get the wrong idea — the Planets' boys and girls teams root for each other, and so do GCC's boys and girls soccer teams.
“They respect each other,” Mars girls coach Blair Gerlach said of the boys and girls soccer teams. “It's just a fun little competition.”
But the success throughout the athletic programs at both schools is no coincidence. At both Mars (Class AA) and Greensburg Central Catholic (Class A), the boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams all played in WPIAL championship games Saturday. At each school, the girls soccer and volleyball teams came away with WPIAL titles while the boys soccer team settled for being runner-up.
“That's absolutely phenomenal, and it definitely speaks to the culture of the school and the quality of the kids that go to GCC,” Centurions girls soccer coach Ashley Shasko said. “It's a driven group on and off the field, and they're successful in the classroom and successful in sports. It's a motivated collection of kids, and it's a great thing for the girls to be a part of.”
GCC boys soccer coach Tom Sochacki said the school's athletic department researched last week and determined that wins by all three Centurions teams Saturday would have marked the first time three teams from the same school won WPIAL championships on the same day — Mars, of course, had a chance to do the same thing.
“That speaks tremendously to the athletic program and to the kids we have,” Sochacki said. “It's not just us or just the girls, it's us two, the volleyball team, the football team, boys cross country, too. There's just one quality team after another. It's just a great place to be — a great place to play, and a great place to coach.
“It's not a competition, but everybody likes to keep up with everybody else. Obviously, the girls have kind of set the standard with winning back to back.”
The girls soccer program also has set the standard at Mars, where the Planets won their third consecutive WPIAL championship with a 2-1 shootout victory over Moon on Saturday.
Mars is also the defending PIAA champion. Regardless of whether they won or lost a WPIAL title game Saturday, all six of the Planets' and Centurions teams that participated for a championship qualified for the PIAA playoffs.
Be it the euphoric high from winning the district title or the dejection from getting so far and coming up just short, each team had only about 48 hours to put it behind them and focus on the PIAA playoffs. The PIAA tournaments for soccer and volleyball begin Tuesday night.
“We try to keep things as close as possible (to the regular-season routine),” Gerlach said. “This is a good group of kids, and we've been fortunate to be in this situation the past couple years. ... We don't take it for granted.”
Generally speaking, a common theme among all these successful programs at these two athletically prominent schools is they recognize when it's time to focus and work as hard as possible — and also when it's time to stay loose and trust in the fact that all that work and preparation will pay dividends.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Apollo Council, solicitor prepare vacancy ordinance
- Visual search still hampered by image issues
- Harrison rejects criticism of disorderly conduct ordinance
- Labor United Celebration draws 25,000 to Northmoreland Park
- Unlike years past, strength of 2014 Steelers could be offense
- Elizabeth Forward girls soccer looks to extend playoff streak
- Dorfman: Fat profit margins not always sign of star
- Steelers Lookahead: Previewing Sunday’s game vs. Cleveland
- If ‘evil’ doesn’t apply to ISIS, what does?
- Alle-Kiski soccer notebook: Area teams begin section play this week
- Dedicated California educator Hasbrouck dead at 62