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Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer moves past sizable turnover

| Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, 6:15 p.m.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Sydney Ward heads a corner kick as she jumps over Vincentian Academy's Keely Aiken #9 in their WPIAL Class A Girl's Soccer Semifinal at Elizabeth Forward High School on Saturday Oct. 29, 2016, in Elizabeth. Greensburg Central Catholic shut out Vincentian Academy 5-0.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Sydney Ward heads a corner kick as she jumps over Vincentian Academy's Keely Aiken #9 in their WPIAL Class A Girl's Soccer Semifinal at Elizabeth Forward High School on Saturday Oct. 29, 2016, in Elizabeth. Greensburg Central Catholic shut out Vincentian Academy 5-0.

This season is bound to be different from the last few for the Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer team.

After all, Bailey Cartwright has graduated and moved on to Notre Dame after setting WPIAL benchmarks for career goals scored (230) and total assists (159).

However, first-year coach Ashley Davis, who is taking over from Bryan Cartwright, is excited to see what the departure of last year's senior class will mean for this year's roster. For her, the roster turnover is more of an opportunity then a loss.

“I don't think it leaves a hole. I think it opens the door,” Davis said.

“It opens the door for some of the other girls, like Sydney Ward, to step up and maybe play a different position. Last year and in the previous years, they had Bailey. So they had one person that could score 13 goals in a game. But I believe I have 11 solid players, and they can all contribute and they can all put goals in the back of the net. That's what we're going for more this year: more of a group effort.”

While the Centurions graduated eight girls from last year's 16-player roster, the team benefits from having plenty of WPIAL playoff experience from the past few seasons.

There are just 14 players on this year's roster, but plenty will be expected of the 2017-18 senior class that is led by Ward and also features Alexa Schwerha and Isabella Pellis.

“The seniors have been great, and Sydney Ward, she is phenomenal,” Davis said. “ I'm going to really try to utilize her in the middle of the field this year. I know they used her a lot on defense last year, and that's not to say she's never going to see time on defense, but I think she's really going to shine in the middle of the field.

“She has really great vision, and I'm not sure that I've coached many kids that have better touch on the ball and ball control than she does.”

Along with Ward, Greensburg Central Catholic returns a key starter in goalkeeper Bella Skatell. The junior recorded 11 shutouts last season.

Two other key contributors to this season's team, junior Sarah Orndoff and sophomore transfer Brenna Springer, will add to the Centurions' formidable midfield unit. Davis said Orndoff will be central mid with more defensive responsibilities, and Springer will be utilized in an attacking role.

“Brenna is going to be one of those people that I can lean on to play anywhere, but she'll definitely be strong for us as an attacking central mid. Also, her and Sydney Ward and Sarah Orndoff, they all play a similar style and they all play well together. That's who I'm looking at to hold things down for us in the middle of the field,” Davis said.

Greensburg Central Catholic kicks off its season with a Section 1-A match at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at home against Riverview.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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