Greensburg Central Catholic bounces back, gets PIAA victory
After sustaining a rare loss in the WPIAL Class A finals Saturday, the Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer team started defense of its PIAA title with a 6-3 victory over Karns City on Tuesday at Clarion University's Memorial Stadium.
Senior Frannie Crouse eclipsed the 200-goal career scoring mark with a hat trick against the District 9 champion Gremlins.
Greensburg Central (18-2) will face Wilmington on Saturday in a quarterfinal match at a site and time to be determined.
Karns City, which outscored three opponents in the District 9 tournament by a combined score of 28-0, closed its season at 20-1.
“It's a step in the right direction, and I was impressed with the character they showed getting right back out there,” GCC coach Ashley Shasko said of her team rebounding after a setback. “Karns City was a strong team, and they worked hard.”
Crouse wasted little time hitting the 200-goal milestone. The Penn State recruit fired a shot past Gremlins goalkeeper Morgan Deal just 1:18 into the match.
Karns City, however, answered quickly with a goal less than two minutes later when Breann Wood's shot hit the top of the Centurions goal and landed behind the goal line.
“Whether you get them this round, or another round, we knew Greensburg Central was a solid team,” Karns City coach Lisa Castiglione said. “We knew eventually we'd have to run into them. They're a great set of girls from a great school. We came out here and thought we just didn't want to compete. We thought we were their equals.”
Greensburg Central took the lead for good with 33:13 left in the first half off a corner kick by Megan Shearson that eluded Karns City defenders stationed near the goal.
The contest had all of the makings of a high-scoring affair, but both teams settled down after the early flurry and only one more goal was scored the remainder of the half.
Centurions freshman Bailey Cartwright split two defenders and booted the ball just past the outstretched hands of Deal to give GCC a 3-1 halftime advantage.
But Karns City wasn't through. Wood scored her second goal of the match off a pass from Emily LoPresti to cut the deficit to 3-2 less than four minutes into the second half.
Cartwright sneaked a shot just inside the left of the goal to put Greensburg Central back up by two, and Crouse later hit one off the top of the goal for her 201st goal and a 5-2 Centurions lead.
Crouse was stopped on a breakaway attempt by Deal with 6:30 to go.
“It's hard because Morgan goes through the regular season without many opportunities to show people how skilled she is in goal,” Castiglione said.
Karns City midfielder Emily Schumacher scored on a direct kick from 27 yards out with 4:41 remaining, and Crouse finally got the hat trick with 2:23 on the clock to give her 202 career goals and 55 on the season.
“There are so many talented players on this team, they're a pleasure to coach,” Shasko said.
Karns City was coming off its 16th district soccer title in the last 19 seasons.
George Guido is a freelance writer.