Greensburg C.C. girls soccer gets rival Springdale at Norwin stadium, where Centurions are 9-0 since 2014

By:
Thursday, November 10, 2022 | 6:51 PM


As if playing Springdale for a third time this season wasn’t enough to pique their interest, the site for Saturday’s PIAA Class A girls soccer quarterfinal has Greensburg Central Catholic and coach Kara Batey beaming.

The WPIAL section rivals will play at Norwin Knights Stadium in North Huntingdon.

“I can’t wait. I get excited just thinking about it,” said Batey, a Norwin graduate. “That field means so much to me.”

It also has meant a lot to GCC (14-5), which has played a number of playoff games there in recent years. In fact, the Centurions are 9-0 at Norwin since 2014.

In 2020, they went 5-0 there on the way to the first of back-to-back runner-up finishes in the state tournament.

“We’ve gotten a lot better since we played (Springdale) last time,” GCC sophomore forward Riley Kerr said. “The best thing is that we’re playing this game on turf. Both times we played them on grass, and it was tough to get going. We will be able to play faster on turf.”

Springdale (17-4) beat GCC 3-2 in both section matchups. In the last game, at Springdale, tempers flared late as both teams received red cards.

In a 10-on-10 situation, Brooke Taliani scored the game-winner with 28 seconds remaining for the Dynamos.

Springdale, the WPIAL runner-up, posted its third shutout of the postseason with a 2-0 victory over Mercyhurst Prep in the PIAA first round.

“We were excited when we found out Springdale won,” GCC sophomore center back Addi Vacanti said. “It’s always physical when we play them. We have to stay in control and be aggressive. The defense has to work hard to keep the ball in front of us.”

GCC, which finished third in the WPIAL, defeated previously unbeaten Windber, 3-2 — in overtime, on the road — Tuesday night to reach the state quarters.

The Centurions weathered a storm as senior standout Sara Felder, sophomore defender Jillian Botti and Vacanti left the game with injuries with the score 2-2.

Felder, who signed Wednesday with Youngstown State, was the only one who did not return.

Felder and Vacanti were injured with about 20 minutes remaining, Botti with about six to play. Felder and Botti had goals in the first half.

All three girls will play Saturday, Batey said, but the bench will be ready after seeing extended action Tuesday as GCC negotiated the final stretch and overtime.

Freshman Gianna Patterson, junior Antonia Stickle and freshman Kaitlyn Saula filled in admirably.

“I felt confident in my girls,” Batey said. “We talked even before the injuries, at the half, about playing as a unit and competing.”

Junior Alexia Graham scored the game-winner with 8:37 left in OT for GCC, which blew a 2-0 lead in the first half.

“We’re well-prepared for the third round,” Batey said of Springdale. “We know what to expect. We played them in the first game of the season and were finding our rhythm. The second game, we had the lead and gave up two silly mistake goals. We have to finish in transition.”

GCC has been to the state semifinals three straight years.

“For us, it’s about keeping the GCC legacy going,” Vacanti said.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

Tags: ,

More High School Soccer Girls

Freeport’s Camryn Woods values experience with U.S. ODP national team
Upper St. Clair’s Sierra Dupre called up to U.S. national team for international soccer tournament
New coach brings energy, ‘tough love’ to Norwin girls soccer program
Norwin girls soccer coach steps down
Former Pine-Richland girls soccer coach breaks new ground with Pa. hall of fame induction