Greensburg Central Catholic Dethrones Shady Side for Girls Soccer 1-A Gold

Friday, November 3, 2017 | 2:44 PM

The score of 1-0 has been a significant one for both Greensburg Central Catholic and Shady Side Academy.

The last two times these teams faced, the Centurions found themselves on the wrong end of 1-0 losses to the Indians, the most recent a 1-0 regular season loss on October 6 and prior to that in last year’s WPIAL Class A title game.

Greensburg Central Catholic picked the perfect time to change that trend.

The Centurions, behind a first-half goal from midfielder Sidney Ward and stellar goaltender play from Bella Skatell, captured the WPIAL Class A Championship over the Indians by that familiar 1-0 score on Thursday night at Highmark Stadium.

This was the first time GCC has beaten Shady Side Academy in a WPIAL finals contest. Since 2010, either GCC or Shady Side Academy has won the WPIAL Class A title, with the Indians winning in 2010, 2013 and last year, with the Centurions claiming titles otherwise.

Ward’s goal, midway through the first half, was a 40-yard “floater” that sailed just over the outstretched hands of Shady Side Academy goalkeeper Molly Skvorak. Through the early part of the first half, the Indians rarely gave the Centurions must space to maneuver with the ball when GCC was in the Shady Side end.

On the scoring play, the Shady Side Academy defense backed off Ward when she got a pass, perhaps assuming from that distance she was going to simply put the ball on net. Ward stopped for a moment before the scoring attempt, looking as though she was going to blast one on net and pulled up and kicked a soft shot that continued to rise and eventually over top Skvorak.

Skyorak, who almost misplayed a similar shot on goal earlier in the first half, took two steps forward and then realized the shot was sailing over her head and couldn’t recover.

Ward’s goal stood up, despite dominant play from Shady Side Academy in the second half. They had 7 corner kicks in the second half (8 total in the game) and put 9 shots on goal versus 4 for GCC. Scoring chances also favored the Indians with 23 for the game; the Centurions registered 11.

While the second half offensive zone time belonged to Shady Side Academy, Greensburg Central Catholic remained steady with defensive play that that held Indians’ standout Krystyna Rytell in check. Rytell score 31 goals in the regular season but managed just two scoring chances and found herself playing more defense than anything else.

The Centurions also were helped by aggressive play from their goalkeeper Skatell, who regularly challenged plays that saw long, lead passes to oncoming Shady Side players snuffed out quickly before they could materialize.

Skatell, even on two occasions where she was overly aggressive and found herself out of position, recovered nicely and kept the Indians in check.

This is the 5th WPIAL title for GCC since 2010, and the Centurions and Indians have played 25 times (regular season and playoffs) since that year with GCC holding a distinct advantage; they’re 19-6 in those games.

Heading into the finals, Shady Side Academy had registered three straight 4-0 wins and had not yielded a goal since October 2. Ward’s goal broke that month-long streak.

GCC won back to back 1-0 games, ironically, in the quarterfinals and semifinals to reach the championship over Eden Christian and Vincentian Academy, respectively. GCC had its share of close games this season. They were 3-3 in games decided by one goal or less in the 2017 regular season, and now 3-0 in one goal games through their playoff run.

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