GCC girls expect test in rematch with Freedom

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Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 7:23 PM


Greensburg Central Catholic is responsible for the only blemish on the Freedom girls soccer team’s record this year.

The Centurions hope to make it 2 for 2 Saturday at noon when they meet the Bulldogs at Peters Township in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal. GCC beat Freedom, 4-3 in overtime, in the WPIAL semifinals.

“It is nice to have the confidence going in, knowing that we beat them already,” GCC coach Ashley Davis said. “We really emphasized to the team that those girls are going to be hungry and really want it and they will come out mad. We were their only loss, and they are ready to make a statement. We have to come out quicker and even more on top of our game than last time.”

After GCC (15-4) beat Freedom (22-1), the Centurions fell to Shady Side Academy, 2-1, for the WPIAL title. They rebounded with an 8-3 win over Brockway to open the PIAA tournament.

“We know they are going to come out mad, but we’re also mad about our last loss,” GCC senior Brenna Springer said. “We’re ready to come back out and show everyone that we’re not defeated and that our season is not over yet. I think everyone has that same mindset. It’s important to have that mindset and drive to do it.”

In the first meeting, the Bulldogs rallied for a 3-3 tie to force overtime. Jessica Nemeth tallied the golden goal to advance GCC. The Centurions expect another close battle this time, too.

“They were, for sure, one of the best teams we’ve seen this season,” Springer said. “The last time we played them, we really worked hard and that was probably one of the best games we played.”

The team’s 8-3 win over Brockway probably won’t rank high on the list, though.

“I am happy with how we are playing, but there’s definitely room for improvement. We’ve almost been playing as three separate units — defense, midfield and our attacking offense,” Davis said. “We need to work a little more cohesively. When we work separately, breakdowns and mistakes happen, and that’s how you get three goals scored on you when you beat a team 8-3.

“Every little mistake will hurt you now. When you start to play teams like Freedom and Shady Side, and even in Tuesday’s game, you’ll pay for every little mistake you make. I am proud of how well the team has done, but there are definitely some things that need to be improved upon.”

The reality of being in a single-elimination tournament sunk in with the Centurions.

“Every game could be our last game. Coach Bri (Guy) was saying Tuesday we had to enjoy our time out there because this could be our last time together and let’s make it count. We definitely did make it count and now we have another game,” said Springer, an Akron recruit. “These could be our last practices together and the last times hanging out together after school. We’ve spent so much time together. This has been our lives the last couple of months. We have a good group of girls and we have a lot of fun. To have this experience and go this far is something I will remember, for sure.

“We just need to come together and work hard during the game and leave everything out there. It’s not going to be an easy game at all. If we do it together, keep working and don’t give up, we can get the result that we want.”

The Centurions hope to advance to the semifinals for another shot at Shady Side Academy, if it beats Mercer on Saturday.

“The girls are really excited. Bri Guy filled in for me while I was on maternity leave and it’s really exiting for her and the girls. She kind of brought a new life to the team, just being all new to it,” Davis said. “I am excited for Bri and I am excited for the girls. A lot of the team’s success is because of what she’s done this year. We hope to keep it going.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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