Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer chasing elusive PIAA title

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Monday, November 16, 2020 | 5:13 PM


Greensburg Central Catholic has a perennially strong boys soccer program.

Tell you something you don’t know, right?

Well, despite the Centurions competing for WPIAL titles every year, the team never has advanced to the PIAA finals, which means it has not had the privilege of raising a trophy in Hershey.

“We’ve never won it,” junior midfielder Mason Fabean said. “We want to be the first. We want to be considered the best there ever was here.”

That distinction is within earshot for GCC (16-1), which plays Brockway (15-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the PIAA Class A semifinals at Norwin.

The winner goes to the state final set for 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.

“If everyone does their job it can happen,” said Fabean, who had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s tight 3-2 win over Rockwood at Norwin.

Rockwood tested the Centurions’ limits.

“They definitely showed the talent they have,” coach Tyler Solis said. “Every opportunity we had and every goal we got, we had to earn. … That’s the state playoffs.”

GCC will make its third straight appearance in the state semis.

Last year, it suffered a heartbreaking, 2-1 loss to rival Winchester Thurston in the PIAA final four. That game was played at Peters Township.

With only district champions advancing to the state playoffs this year because of covid-19 safety issues, WPIAL teams that meet in the district finals can’t play again in states.

It’s a broken tradition but not one GCC is complaining about.

“The guys want to take that next step,” Solis said. “They have larger goals, and they have since Day 1.”

Solis has been impressed by the play of sophomore Carlo Denis, who scored two goals Saturday, including the game-winner in the 76th minute.

Teams have tried to slow the spark-plug forward in the postseason, but to no avail.

Denis was moved to the wing in the Springdale game and has been a handful for opponents with his speed and ability to initiate contact, which can create set pieces, not to mention opportunities for teammates.

“No matter how many times they tried taking him down, it doesn’t affect him,” Solis said of Rockwood’s physical play against the 5-foot-6 Denis. “I think he enjoys the contact and physical play, and excels at it.”

Solis was thrilled to learn the semifinal would be at Norwin, not only because his team has played well at Knights Stadium, but also because he lives in North Huntingdon.

GCC also played Springdale at Norwin in the WPIAL semifinals.

“Being able to play so close makes a big difference,” Solis said. “We’re 2 for 2 here so far. Let’s keep it going.”

The GCC girls, who play before the boys in another playoff doubleheader, are 4-0 at Norwin this postseason.

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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