Greensburg Central rallies to land spot in PIAA final
Greensburg Central Catholic freshman Colby Crouse has been in her share of pressure situations, but never before did she have so much riding on her right foot.
A goal would not only mean a win over Section 4 rival Shady Side Academy, but it would assure the Centurions of their first appearance in the state finals in six years.
“I was worried,” Crouse said. “It was the heat of the moment and it was nerve-wracking. So nerve-wracking.”
In the end, Crouse put her nerves aside and Greensburg Central Catholic (22-1-) into the PIAA Class A championship game as she beat Shady Side Academy (17-6-1) goalkeeper Olivia Cochran to complete a furious comeback and give the Centurions a 4-3 (5-4 in penalty kicks) victory over the Indians at Hampton.
Greensburg Central Catholic will play District 12 champion Conwell Egan (11-6-1) in the finals at 5 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.
“I honestly just went with the flow it was so last minute,” Crouse said. “Our team has worked so hard to get here and we have the will to win and we've done so well to get there.”
Greensburg Central Catholic never had to work as hard all season as it did against Shady Side Academy, a team it had beaten in three previous meetings this season including in the WPIAL Class A semifinals. The Centurions trailed 1-0 at the intermission and 3-1 midway through the second half and were on the precipice of losing in the state semifinals to a section opponent for the second consecutive season.
In 2011, Greensburg Central Catholic also won the WPIAL title, but lost a 2-0 heartbreaker to Springdale.
“That's what champions are made of and that's what we said to them at halftime,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Ashley Shasko said. “This is where you show how good you are and this is where you show how resilient you are, how hard you can work and how bad you want it, because that's what matters in a game like this.”
Instead of collapsing, Greensburg Central Catholic went on the attack as junior Malea Fabean scored her second goal of the game to get the team back within one, then sophomore midfielder Domenique Stauffer threw a shot at the net that deflected off a Shady Side Academy defender and into the net to tie the game with 7:32 remaining in regulation.
“It was stressful and we kind of had our heads down, but we stayed in it,” Fabean, a Pitt recruit, said. “We believed we were still in it and we could come back.”
For Shady Side Academy, it was a devastating loss that left the team disappointed knowing how close it had come to its first ever state finals berth. Indians junior forward Maggie Scott, who scored two goals in regulation, hit the crossbar on the first penalty kick attempt for what turned out to be the only miss for either team.
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.