Greensburg Central Catholic boys fight off Eden Christian upset bid in Class A quarterfinals

Saturday, October 31, 2020 | 6:16 PM

Ricco Ciccarelli could hear Greensburg Central Catholic coach Tyler Solis say, “I think you got it,” as his attempted cross kept curling closer and closer to the net.

What started out as a pass intended for the far post turned into a perfect strike just under the crossbar and the boost Greensburg Central Catholic needed to ward off upset-minded Eden Christian.

Ciccarelli’s goal from a wide angle near the sideline from 30 yards out with 12 minutes remaining propelled the top-seeded Centurions to a 1-0 win over the No. 9 Warriors in the WPIAL Class A boys soccer quarterfinals Saturday at North Allegheny.

The Centurions face No. 5 Springdale in Wednesday’s semifinals.

Ciccarelli took a throw-in from Carlo Dennis on the right sideline, and in one motion, fired the ball into the box, and it kept curling toward the goal before going over a leaping Roberto Farfan and into the net.

“Carlo dropped it off to me on the throw in, and I took it off my chest. When I looked up, I saw Kyler (Miller) making a run, so I tried to cross it into him, but the way I hit it, it curved and it went in,” Ciccarelli said. “It was pretty cool.”

Immediately after the goal went in, Ciccarelli ran to the sideline and hugged Solis, who had a good vantage point from the coach’s box.

“As soon as Ricco hit it, whether it was a cross or a shot, I knew that he had gotten the keeper there,” Solis said. “We were very happy. I thought it was going to come down to one goal either way, so getting that first goal was really exciting.”

Prior to Ciccarelli’s goal, the Centurions (13-1) spent much of the afternoon trying to figure out a tall and strong Eden Christian side. The backline for the Warriors (9-3), led by Josh Laird and Ryan Merrick, made life tough on the Centurions attackers with their length and physicality.

“I thought they gave us everything we could handle,” Solis said. “Going into this game and seeing how physical they were and how much they wanted it made it very difficult on us today. Our guys really had to get up for it. I don’t think we were as prepared as we could have been, but our guys were really up to the challenge.”

The Warriors, who were in the playoffs for the first time in four years, controlled possession for much of the second half but could not find a way to breach Centurions keeper Max House. Eden Christian forwards Elijah Manges, Malachi Manges and Jack Jones pressed the attack into the box on several occasions, but the Centurions’ back line of Ryan Reitler, Jack Cryblsky, Seth Skowronek and Max Szekely stood tall.

Malachi Manges did break through once but was offside as he shot a ball into the net for what would have been the tying goal.

“We fully expected to come here and give them a good game,” Eden Christian coach Tom Barr said. “We wanted to make a statement for the WPIAL. We wish we could’ve done that with a win instead of a close loss, but we’re proud of the effort. I told our guys after the game that one of the toughest parts about soccer is that it can come down to little bounces. Sometimes it goes your way, and sometimes it doesn’t. Unfortunately it didn’t go our way today.”

House finished with three saves. Farfan had seven saves for the Warriors.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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