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Greensburg Central girls soccer team wins PIAA Class A title

| Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 7:26 p.m.
Ron Cortes
Greensburg Central Catholic forward Malea Fabean (left) slams a header into the Conwell-Egan net with 34:04 remaining in regulation for what turned out to be the game-winning goal -- and the first of two she scored -- in the Centurions 5-1 victory over the Eagles in the PIAA Class A championship match at Hersheypark Stadium. ( Ron Cortes | Philadelphia Inquirer)

HERSHEY — Frannie Crouse and Malea Fabean have combined for 248 goals in their three years at Greensburg Central Catholic, but none were bigger than the ones they netted on Friday evening at Hersheypark Stadium.

Crouse and Fabean scored two goals apiece to lead Greensburg Central Catholic (23-1-0) to a 5-1 victory over District 12 champion Conwell-Egan (12-6-1) in the PIAA Class A girls soccer championship.

It was the first title for a WPIAL school in Class A since it was added in 2010.

This is also the first state girls' soccer title for Greensburg Central Catholic, which lost to Villa Joseph Marie in 2005 and South Williamsport in 2006 in the Class AA finals its only previous appearances. No Centurions team has won a PIAA-sanctioned team championship since the baseball team won Class A in 2002.

The title was the first by a girls team at GCC since basketball in 1997 (Class AA).

“It's awesome. They're very excited and they've put so much hard work into it and they absolutely deserve it,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Ashley Shasko said. “I think there were a little bit of jitters out there, which was to be expected, but we had to take advantage of the size of the field, which is enormous and I think we did a better job of that in the second half.”

What helped settle the team was a goal by Crouse, who scored her 141st career goal on a turnaround shot with 7:08 remaining in the first half to give Greensburg Central Catholic a 1-0 lead. Up until that time, the Centurions were controlling the play but had allowed a couple of transition shots to the Eagles.

GCC was in a position where it really needed a goal.

“It was actually a relief,” Crouse said. “After that first goal then everyone kind of settled down because the nerves were just horrible. After that goal, I think we all just settled down and started to play.”

Fabean scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal when she converted a corner kick from Megan Shearson into a header that beat Conwell-Egan goalkeeper Becky McCallister for No. 105 in her career with 34:04 remaining in regulation. She also closed out the scoring when she scored off a direct free kick from Crouse with 3:41 left.

“It means a lot and it's kind of exciting to score in a game like this,” Fabean, a Pitt recruit, said. “We've never won a state title before…and it means a lot to the whole school and gives us a lot of pride.”

Fabean didn't only put in two for Greensburg Central Catholic. The ball hit her in the face and went into her own net and was credited to Conwell-Egan's Grace McNamara for the only Eagles' lone goal.

“I scored for them, too when the ball went up in the lights and I couldn't see it and it went off my face and went in,” Fabean said. “It felt kind of awkward and I felt bad. I hoped that no one else noticed.”

Italia Biondi scored the team's third goal 14:23 into the second half and Crouse scored the fourth with 20:22 left. In the last 10 minutes, Greensburg Central Catholic cleared its bench and substituted freely to allow its players to all participate in the state championship match.

“It wasn't about clearing the bench, but it was about getting everyone a chance to finish their contribution on the season,” Shasko said. “It's been a team effort and we want to finish that way. You don't anticipate you're going to be able to do it, but you hope to do it.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kbarnes@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.

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