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GCC falls in lacrosse semifinals

| Thursday, June 1, 2006

In its third year, the Greensburg Central Catholic boys lacrosse team was well on its way to claiming its second division title in as many years.

However, GCC lost to Fox Chapel, 15-11, in the Western Pennsylvania Scholastic Lacrosse Association semifinals Wednesday night at North Allegheny High School. Fox Chapel will play Hampton at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Quaker Valley for the division title.

"In our third year, we are proud we made it that far," GCC coach Mike Evans said. "Last year, we won the Division 3 championship, but it was definitely tougher this year."

GCC and Fox Chapel were tied at 8 at the half, but GCC fell behind by two goals with about three minutes left and couldn't recover.

"My hat's off to them," Evans said. "It was two pretty evenly matched teams today."

GCC, though, did not finish the season without accomplishments. The Centurions (13-3) won Division 2 South with a 9-0 section record, with a majority of players who didn't discover lacrosse until high school.

"We still have to work hard," said Evans, who has been involved with lacrosse for the past 25 years. "They still have to learn the skills that other kids (in other schools) have learned."

Still, GCC has found a way to win. In its inaugural season in 2004, GCC finished 5-5 as an associate member of the WPSLA. The Centurions finished 17-2 last year, winning the Division 3 championship. This year, the WPSLA realigned its divisions, forcing GCC to play tougher competition.

Yet, GCC has found a way to win, landed more players from the school to play lacrosse and attracted more fans to the games.

But playing also comes with a price tag. Unlike girls lacrosse, which is sanctioned by the WPIAL, boys lacrosse is considered a club sport, which the players and coaches raise funds to play.

"We pretty much raise everything," Evans said. "The school lets us use the football field and a practice field. We don't need a whole lot, and we've made do."

Through winning, though, Evans has seen his team expand, and he hopes to see lacrosse grow in western Pennsylvania.

"We're going to continue to grow," Evans said. "Winning helps, but for the most part the sport sells itself. It doesn't matter what size you are, there's a place for you on the field."

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