Ward scores twice at Greensburg Central Catholic edges Brockway in PIAA first round
The response to an opponent's goal in a PIAA playoff is paramount.
Greensburg Central Catholic senior Sydney Ward scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal 22 seconds after Brockway had tied Tuesday's PIAA first-round playoff game at Moon High School.
Ward's goal, her second of the game, came off a pass from Samantha Felder moments after Leah Lindemuth had tied it.
“It definitely was a response, and I was proud of them for being able to do that,” GCC coach Ashley Davis said.
It looked like Greensburg Central might win its fourth consecutive 1-0 game, but Brockway tied the score on a breakaway by Channell Britton, who split two Centurions defenders. Britton had scored the game-tying goal against Ridgway in the District 9 title game with 23 seconds to go.
It was the first goal given up by the six-time WPIAL champion Centurions since the opening WPIAL playoff game, a 7-1 victory over Eden Christian.
Greensburg Central Catholic (16-3) will play District 5 champion Windber in the quarterfinals Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
Brockway, the District 9 runner-up after winning the title last season, finished at 15-3.
“It's always an experience for the girls to come down here and play a state game,” Brockway coach Jess Ledbetter said.
“They were really excited today, and I thought they played really well. We had a lot of great runs on the offensive side, and the defense played real well trying to keep them out.”
It didn't take long for Greensburg Central to get on the scoreboard.
Just 90 seconds into the match, Ward rolled a shot toward the right corner of the net off Ashley McWiliams' corner kick to put the Centurions in front.
“I've told the girls in almost every game, we need to score first and early,” Davis said. “We do that, we usually win. So it's really important for us to be on the board.”
Greensburg Central controlled the early play, though Rovers goalkeeper MacKenzie Overbeck made a good save on a solid shot by Brenna Springer.
Brockway freshman Morgan Lindemuth took a kick to the forehead from close range at midfield with 11:24 to go in the half. Lindemuth left under her own power, but returned in the second half.
The young Rovers, with just a single junior and senior on the team, couldn't get any sort of sustained attack after two early shots on Centurions goalkeeper Bella Skatell.
Leah Lindemuth got possession on a throw in deep in Greensburg Central territory, but McWilliams outmanuervered the Brockway senior.
“Greensburg's a really quick team,” Ledbetter said. “Just trying to keep up with them, usually we're the quick team.”
“I think our speed and the way we possessed the ball most of the game was the difference,” Davis said. “They were getting some quick breaks, and we were getting a little unorganized in the back.”
It looked momentarily like the Centurions would go up 3-1 with 30 minutes left in the contest. Alexa Schwerha fired a shot off Sara Orndoff's corner kick, but Overbeck made the stop.
A rebound shot was waved off because of an offsides call, keeping the score at 2-1.
A direct kick by Callie Barber with 19 minutes remaining was stopped by Skatell on a bounce to preserve the 3-2 advantage.
Chelsey Boyle stopped Britten with 10 minutes left to thwart another Brockway scoring opportunity.
It was the first time Greensburg Central gave up multiple goals since a 5-4 setback against Serra Catholic on Oct. 4.
George Guido is a freelance writer.