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Crouse pushes Greensburg CC to girls soccer title

Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Sewickley Academy midfielder Molly Lennen (9) moves the ball downfield against Greensburg Central Catholics Aja Thorpe (24) during playoff action at Baldwin High School on Saturday, November 3, 2012

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By Keith Barnes
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, 7:24 p.m.

Time after time Greensburg Central Catholic pushed the attack and had sustained pressure in the attacking zone during the WPIAL Class A championship match against Sewickley Academy, but each chance was thwarted by the solid Panthers defense.

Frannie Crouse finally had enough.

Crouse, the Penn State recruit, scored two goals in a 69-second span in the second half to lead top-seeded Greensburg Central Catholic (19-1) to its second consecutive WPIAL Class A title with a 2-0 win over Sewickley Academy at Baldwin Stadium.

The Centurions will take a 19-game winning streak in the state tournament Tuesday against either Curwensville or Karns City.

“At a certain point you have to (think it's going in), but I would have been happy if it was anybody on our team,” said Crouse, a junior striker with 45 goals this season. “This is honestly unbelievable.”

Greensburg Central Catholic dominated territorially throughout the match as Sewickley Academy (20-1-1), which allowed only five goals in its first 21 games, slammed the door on several key chances before Crouse scored the opening goal with a wide-angle shot from the 5-yard line along the right football sideline. Crouse had been stationed on the left wing throughout most of the match, but rotated that way after a failed corner kick resulted in a throw-in.

“When the ball was thrown in, nobody was moving to the person, so I felt the need to get open I had to go over there,” Crouse, the junior striker who now has 45 goals this season, said. “And no one followed me.”

Though Sewickley Academy did have a couple of opportunities and had a goal disallowed when a player ran over Greensburg Central Catholic goalkeeper Olivia Binda with 26:41 remaining in regulation, it never consistently established an offensive presence over midfield in the match. Part of the reason for that was the Centurions ability to maintain possession and keep the pressure in the attacking third of the field.

“We've seen that a lot this year that teams try to defend us that way and we know we just have to be patient and wait for good opportunities and we'll finish them,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Ashley Shasko said. “They were a good team and they played a great defensive game, but it takes a great deal of patience on these girls' behalf to hang in these games when it's getting packed in against them.”

There is a chance these two teams could meet again in the PIAA Class A semifinals. Sewickley Academy will also head into the state tournament and will open Tuesday against the District 5 champion so, if the teams each with two more games, they could get a rematch.

“What we would take from this game is that we were able to create opportunities and I think playing that pace of game was good for us because we haven't seen this season,” Sewickley Academy coach Jessica Peluso said. “Honestly, a loss can always be turned in your favor if you learn something from it.”

In the consolation match, Shady Side Academy beat Mohawk, 5-2, behind junior forward Maggie Scott's hat trick.

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