Finding keepers not a problem for Franklin Regional, GCC soccer teams

Friday, November 12, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Goalkeepers for the three local teams remaining in the PIAA soccer postseason have been through a revolving door lately.

Settling on one netminder has not been an easy task for coaches of the Franklin Regional and Greensburg Central Catholic boys, while the Greensburg Central Catholic girls had to make a change, albeit a brief one, in net recently.

All three teams will play quarterfinal games Saturday.

If nothing else, they have learned this: Their backups are ready to go without hesitation.

Franklin Regional was ready to stay with the hot hand of sophomore Aryan Selokar in the state opener Tuesday at Dollinger Field at the Hagerty Family Events Center in Erie. But one of those hot hands had an injured thumb on it, an injury Selokar sustained in practice and saw it worsen in warm-ups against Cathedral Prep.

With the sophomore unable to go, the Panthers went to backup Noah Walker, a freshman, who stopped 12 shots in relief on the way to a 2-1 overtime victory.

“We have worked with (Walker) to be ready all season,” Panthers coach Thomas Louisy said. “He was under a lot of pressure and handled it well. We have a lot of confidence in him. He works hard and gets extra training on his own.”

Louisy said he is not sure who will start when Franklin Regional (17-4) plays Hampton (20-1) at noon on Saturday at North Allegheny.

GCC’s boys (16-4) have gone with sophomore Michael Oldenberg in net for most of the season. But when the Centurions played Eden Christian (19-3-1) in the WPIAL semifinals — a team the Centurions will meet again in the PIAA quarters — coach Rob Fabean started senior Max House, who was instrumental in last year’s WPIAL title repeat.

House had not played a second this season up to that game as he recovered from offseason knee surgery.

The plan is to stay with Oldenberg on Saturday when GCC meets Eden Christian (19-3) again Saturday at West Allegheny.

“Mike, 100%,” GCC coach Rob Fabean said. “Max is not ready. He’s probably at around 75%. We know how Mike can hold the ball. He has done a tremendous job. He has made some saves most goalies don’t make. He stopped a PK and a breakaway (in the last game). Who knows? Maybe we can use Max for PKs, but we hope we don’t have to worry about that.”

The GCC girls also were cruising along with regular keeper Lyndsey Szekely, a senior who has guarded the cage all season, when she suddenly pulled up lame in Tuesday’s first-round game against Mercer in Erie.

Junior Haley Gill came out of the bullpen and helped GCC stave off Mercer for a 4-3 victory.

Alarm bells did not sound for long. Gill only had to play a few minutes, and she was effective, making a save before Szekely returned.

Szekely will be between the pipes again Saturday.

GCC (16-2) plays Freedom (16-5) on Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader with the GCC boys.

“(Szekely) took a cleat to the thigh and she was in pain for a little bit,” GCC assistant coach Hope Cramer said. “She’s a tough girl. Haley came in and did a great job.”

Gill, Cramer said, is essentially new to the game.

“She came out last year having never played soccer before,” Cramer said. “She didn’t want to kick the ball and run around, so we worked her in as a goalkeeper.”

GCC’s teams practiced late this week at Seton Hill to prepare for turf fields in the state postseason. Although, the boys played at McConnellsburg on a grass field Tuesday — with no bleachers.

“When we got there, there were like 500 chairs lined up on a grass hillside,” Fabean said. “It was crazy. Our parents knew they had to bring their lawn chairs.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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