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GCC focuses on moving past program's 'low point,' return to playoffs

| Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, 10:12 p.m.
From right, Greensburg Central Catholic's Adam Tucker, Trinity Catholic's Machen Henriquez and JW Lee play during a game Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, at GCC.
Brian F. Henry | Trib Total Media
From right, Greensburg Central Catholic's Adam Tucker, Trinity Catholic's Machen Henriquez and JW Lee play during a game Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, at GCC.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Mark Thalman splits Trinity Catholic's defense during a game at GCC on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.
Brian F. Henry | Trib Total Media
Greensburg Central Catholic's Mark Thalman splits Trinity Catholic's defense during a game at GCC on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.

The soccer memory Greensburg Central Catholic senior forward Adam Tucker cherishes most happened two years ago, when he became a go-to scorer in the Centurions' run to the WPIAL finals.

Tucker hopes a new career highlight comes along before the end of this season, but he'll settle for any scenario that involves Greensburg Central Catholic making a push for hardware in the playoffs.

Greensburg Central Catholic no longer sits among the titans of Class A, as it did for years following the creation of the classification in 2000. But the Centurions (6-8, 5-4 in Section 1-A), a season removed from their first playoff-less campaign since 1999, believe they're on the way back up and closer to Class A's top echelon than their record suggests.

“Last season was a complete flop, in my opinion,” said Tucker, who scored 20 goals as a sophomore and earned an All-WPIAL nod as a junior despite finishing with just six goals. “We are 100 times better than we were last season, and 100 times better than what our record shows when we're playing well.”

Almost everyone connected to the Centurions, from the players to first-year coach Tyler Condron, tabbed inconsistency as the team's glaring weakness.

“We're right on the cusp of being one of those top teams,” Condron said. “If we can be consistent as a team, we can go as far as we want. I truly believe we are one of the best teams.”

Some of that inconsistency stems from the team's reliance on newcomers: Senior midfielder Nick Frank returned to the sport after a three-year hiatus in which he focused on hockey; and junior goalkeeper Tyler White and junior midfielder Brad Caric start as first-year members of the team.

In an effort led by Condron, the Centurions have avoided comparing themselves to past seasons, both good and bad. They avoid talk about 2013, when they went 7-10 overall and 4-6 in Section 1-A. But they also try to ignore conversation about 2009 through 2012, when Greensburg Central Catholic advanced to at least the WPIAL Class A semifinals each year. Or about the six straight seasons (2006-11) when the team didn't lose a section game.

“It's really not relevant to what we're trying to accomplish now,” Condron said.

In a departure from the past, Tucker no longer frets about his goal totals. He's content to create for others, particularly fellow senior forward Tim Szekely.

“I might not have the same volume as my sophomore year,” said Tucker, who has nine goals and five assists, “but with the way we've been playing, I'm extremely satisfied with our style and with how many goals I've been scoring.”

Tucker and Szekely, two of the team's five seniors, consider redevelopment of team chemistry vital to Greensburg Central Catholic's outlook, both this season and beyond. They suspected some of last season's problems stemmed from a lack of cohesion and leadership.

“I think we hit kind of a low point last year,” Szekely said. “And we're going to start climbing back up again in the next couple years.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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