GCC girls soccer advances to state finals with another avalanche of goals

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | 8:10 PM


Still undefeated. Still brimming with talent. Still focused on bringing home a state title.

Greensburg Central Catholic continued its offensive charge, jumping on Cambridge Springs early and pushing past the District 10 champions, 7-0, on Tuesday night in North Huntingdon to claim a PIAA Class A girls soccer semifinal victory and advance to the state final.

Sophomore Sara Felder had three goals, and senior Sam Felder added two to pace the shot-happy Centurions (18-0), who will return to Hershey for the first time since 2014. They will take on Southern Columbia (13-9) at 11 a.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.

GCC, which has 36 goals in six playoff games, improved to 5-0 at Norwin Knights Stadium this postseason.

“We knew if we could execute our gameplan, we could come out on top,” GCC coach Olivia Kruger said. “It was ours for the taking if we played our game.”

The Centurions lost in the semifinals in three of the last four years, to Shady Side Academy, which bumped up to Class 2A this year.

Cambridge Springs presented a different challenge but was no match for the Centurions, who tilted the field and dominated possession. Cambridge Springs, which was coming off the first state playoff win in school history, is done at 14-5-1.

The Blue Devils weren’t just shut out on the scoreboard. They were outshot 34-0.

GCC held a 2-0 edge at halftime, but Kruger felt confident her team could score more as it attacked the frame.

“A 2-0 lead is the most deadly position to be in,” she said. “Momentum can switch so quickly. We kept getting opportunities, so we knew we could get more goals.”

Sara Felder gave GCC another fast start with a goal just three minutes in. She redirected a carom off a corner kick and slung a shot past junior keeper Maddie Yanc, who had a terrific game despite the outcome.

In the quarterfinals, junior Tatum Gretz had two goals in the opening six minutes to set the tone for GCC. While the offensive wave wasn’t as pronounced this time, GCC still dominated possession and poured in some late goals.

“We lost in the semifinals last year, so we were really hyped up and ready to play this game,” Sara Felder said. “Our team feels good right now.”

It was 2-0 after senior Sam Felder ripped a 15-yard, left-footed blast into the back of the net in the 21st minute as GCC tilted the field its way.

Early in the second half, with light, blowing snow covering the field, senior midfielder Jessica Nemeth was waiting for a rebound and kicked in the second-chance opportunity to extend the advantage to 3-0 in the 53rd minute.

Yanc was outstanding for the Blue Devils for much of the match, especially considering the number of shots she faced. She made 20 saves.

“She was really good,” Kruger said. “We had to keep testing her.”

Sam Felder, an IUP commit, found the net again in the 67th minute when she ran wide and took a defender into single coverage to make it 4-0.

That score stayed in place until a late flurry.

An own goal, credited to Sara Felder, was followed by two quick scores by junior Bethany Winnor and another by Sara Felder to make it 7-0 inside the final two minutes.

Cambridge Springs played without four players who did not make the trip because they reportedly were exposed to someone with covid-19.

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

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