Without top scorer, GCC putting even more emphasis on defense
TribLIVE Sports Videos
While acknowledging being without its top offensive threat is a “big loss” that has been “very difficult,” the Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer team strives to transform a temporary hardship into an eventual advantage.
Centurions senior forward Jack Fagan suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason that figures to keep the team's returning leading scorer out at least a couple more weeks.
While missing his primary finisher has caused Greensburg Central Catholic coach Tom Sochacki to tweak the team's scheme, the Centurions have long adhered to a defense-first philosophy. Playing without Fagan has only strengthened that resolve.
The hope is that will pay dividends when the full complement of hands is on deck.
“We've kept everything largely the same just so everybody understands what we're doing,” Sochacki said. “I'm not going to adjust certain things, but with Jack out now, we are changing formations a little bit.
“With an extra guy back deep, we'll see how that works and try that out for a while, and if it works out well, it's going to help even more when Jack's back, sliding him back in up top.”
Fagan, who scored 17 goals in 2011, had an MRI scheduled for today. Sochacki said the team is hoping to have him back in two weeks but has the luxury of waiting. In the meantime, Greensburg Central Catholic will focus on doing what it does best: Shutting down opponent's offenses.
The Centurions allowed only 15 goals in 18 regular-season games last year. Under Sochacki, the team aims for no more than 15 goals against for each full season.
“That's one of our main goals we have this year,” Fagan said. “Scoring a lot of goals in one game is nice, but to give up one or two goals in the same game is pointless.”
Allowing 15 goals or fewer in a season establishes quite a target. An equally lofty goal of Fagan and his teammates is continuing an unbeaten streak for section games that has persevered for almost seven years.
The most recent section game Greensburg Central Catholic did not win was Oct. 15, 2007, a 1-1 tie against East Allegheny. The Centurions' most recent loss in section play was Oct. 6, 2005.
“Our section win streak is one of my more personal goals along with the other seniors,” Fagan said. “We don't want to be that class to give that up.”
Among the Centurions other senior leaders are midfielders Dakota Randolph and Justin Nolfi and sweeper Devon Nguyen.
Other top returnees from last season's WPIAL Class A semifinalists include sophomore forward Adam Tucker, senior midfielder Dan Seamans and junior backer Mychal Pedder. Freshman Riley Slike and junior Frank Fratto have moved into prominent roles in the middle.
“It is always tough to rebound for a better season, but the team is stepping up and coming together to fill the roles of last year's seniors,” Nguyen said.
The standard has been set: Over the past three seasons, Greensburg Central Catholic has taken WPIAL Class A gold and silver.
“We still have a lot of things to work on,” Sochacki said, “but I thought defense would be a strong point — and it has been. Our expectations are pretty high, but I expect a lot out of our group, and they see it the same way.”
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.
- Arrest made in June homicide in Hill District
- Steelers’ prime-time games shrink attendance at Heinz Field
- Ferrante told wife’s cousin that she died of ‘chemical storm’
- Ramps reopen from East Ohio and Heinz streets to northbound Route 28
- Court validates Highmark Medicare plan that excludes UPMC
- State trooper struck by SUV in Westmoreland faces more surgery, long recovery
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Woman’s body found in Adams home
- City Theatre hires James McNeel as new managing director
- Greensburg torture killer seeks reduction in sentence
- Menino, Boston’s longest-serving mayor, dies at 71