Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer beats Springdale in WPIAL quarterfinal
Some of Greensburg Central Catholic senior Fran Crouse's greatest soccer memories stem from games against Springdale.
Her Centurions and the Dynamos clashed in the WPIAL Class A finals and the PIAA semifinals in 2011, and they also met in the WPIAL consolation game in 2010.
Her final meeting with Springdale, a WPIAL quarterfinal Wednesday at Elizabeth Forward, included far less drama, however.
Crouse, a Penn State recruit, finished with five goals, four during the first half of No. 1 seed Greensburg Central Catholic's 7-1 win over the No. 9 Dynamos (12-7). The Centurions (16-1), who are the defending WPIAL and PIAA champions, beat Springdale, a fellow Section 4-A member, in the quarterfinals for the second straight year — they won 7-0 last season.
Greensburg Central Catholic has won six straight over the Dynamos, who last beat the Centurions in the 2011 PIAA semifinals.
“They always gave us their best game, and they still do,” Crouse said. “I remember the last game they beat us like it was yesterday, so that's always in my mind when I'm playing them.”
Springdale, packing almost its entire lineup in its end and counting on goalkeeper Allison Seiler to aggressively patrol the 18-yard box, kept the game scoreless for most of the first half. But the contest unraveled into a lopsided affair in the final eight minutes of the first half.
“It's definitely something we're used to and something we practice for,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Ashley Shasko said of opponents' all-out defense tactics. “But they're a tough team, and they gave us a tough first half. They made it hard, a credit to them.”
Seiler, who absorbed a couple of rough bumps earlier in the game, charged out and dove to collect a loose ball in the middle of Springdale's 18-yard box, but a sliding Crouse beat her to it and poked a shot in to put the Centurions ahead 1-0 with 7:58 left.
Seiler, who suffered a concussion against the Centurions last year, remained on the ground after her collision with Crouse. She left the field with assistance and remained sidelined for the rest of the game with a sore jaw.
“She had an issue with (her jaw) earlier this season,” Springdale coach Jerry Concannon said. “So, we were erring on the side of caution and making sure not to put her in harm's way.”
Sophomore Stephanie Manning stepped in as Seiler's replacement and made quite a first impression.
Just 25 seconds after Crouse's first goal, the Centurions moved the ball into Springdale's 18-yard box and earned a penalty kick. Senior Malea Fabean shot the ball toward the bottom left corner of the net, but Manning made a diving save.
Springdale's thrill was short-lived, however. Soon after Manning punted the ball away, Crouse got the ball back at her feet and fired to the far top corner for her second goal.
Crouse scored twice more in the first half.
Springdale sophomore forward Casey Hughes ended the shutout when she slipped a ball by diving goalkeeper Olivia Binda with 4:50 left in the second half.