Greensburg Central Catholic avenges loss to Shady Side Academy, returns to PIAA championship
Greensburg Central Catholic got the redemption it was looking for.
The Centurions also earned the chance to defend their PIAA Class A girls soccer championship.
Sisters Colby and Fran Crouse scored goals — one in each half — to carry Greensburg Central Catholic back to Hershey with a 2-0 victory over Shady Side Academy in the PIAA Class A semifinals Tuesday at Chartiers Valley.
The Indians pulled off a 4-2 upset in the WPIAL final, but this one wasn't close. The Centurions (20-2) dominated throughout.
“They kicked our butts at WPIALs; I'll hand it to them,” Fran Crouse said. “We definitely wanted this win. We came out and played our game.”
A Penn State recruit, Crouse tied the PIAA record for career goals (Caitlin Pratt, Troy Area, 2006-09) with her 23rd of the playoffs and 64th of the season.
Her 206th career tally also broke a tie for the WPIAL record, pushing Crouse past Steel Valley's Jess Strom.
“I'm happy for her,” Centurions coach Ashley Shasko said. “But we want to win the state championship. I'm sure there are goals left to be scored.”
Greensburg Central Catholic will play Southern Columbia at 5 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium for the chance at a second consecutive PIAA title.
Southern Columbia (22-1-1), the District 4 champion, will have a new wrinkle to deal with, too, as GCC shifted Pitt-bound midfielder Malea Fabean back to defense to better control Shady Side Academy scorer Maggie Scott, who had 36 goals during the regular season and two in the WPIAL final.
“I think that definitely gave them some more strength back there,” Shady Side Academy coach Mary Lynch said.
A far-corner shot from sophomore Colby Crouse over the outstretched arms of Shady Side Academy goalkeeper Olivia Cochran gave the Centurions a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.
“As soon as we scored that first goal, I was screaming and jumping,” Fabean said. “It felt really good.”
Shady Side Academy (20-4) had an excellent chance in the 38th minute when Rachel Slaugenhaupt slid a cross to Scott. But Centurions goalkeeper Olivia Binda tracked the ball and was in perfect position to make the stop on Scott's attempt from about 18 yards.
Fran Crouse made it 2-0 three minutes into the second half when she settled a ball, turned and fired from around 30 yards, tucking a shot perfectly into the upper right-hand corner.
“I love those outside shots,” Fran Crouse said. “I like my space, and if you give me the space, I'm going to take my shot. I turned, I hit it and I kind of knew after I hit it that it was going in.”