Greensburg Central Catholic girls overcome slow start, rout South Side

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Monday, November 2, 2020 | 9:21 PM


It didn’t take the Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer team long to find out that South Side came to play Monday in the WPIAL Class A semifinals at Norwin.

The Rams scored the game’s first goal and led 10 minutes into the game.

Then things changed quickly, the Centurions scored the next six goals and cruised to an 8-4 victory to advance to the WPIAL championship game at 5:15 p.m. Thursday at Gateway.

The No. 1 Centurions (15-0) will be bidding for their seventh WPIAL title. They lost to Shady Side Academy in the 2019 championship game.

It was the 11th consecutive trip to the semifinals for GCC.

Maura Heberle gave South Side a 1-0 lead at the 36:40 mark, but Sara Felder tied the score three minutes later.

South Side made it 2-1 when Rian Geary blasted a shot from 25 yards past the goalkeeper at the 26:49 mark.

It stayed that way until Hannah Nelson got loose and tied the score at the 19:57 mark.

“That’s what we want to do,” South Side coach Lee McCutcheon said. “We wanted to score quickly and jump on them and maybe put a little fear in them and show them we were here to play.

“After they scored the second one, the momentum switched. The ball was in our end most of the first half. Our defense wasn’t used to the speed and tactics of moving the ball around.”

Bethany Winnor scored a pair of goals to push the Centurions’ lead to 4-2 on assists from Jessica Nemeth and Tatum Gretz.

When Sara Felder cashed in on her second goal, the Centurions led 5-2 at halftime.

“We didn’t make any adjustments. It was just us playing our game,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Oliva Kruger said. “They were fast and strong at the beginning, and they were intense and ready to play. It caught us off guard.

“But once we figured out and found our footing, we ended up finding ourselves and we got back into sync. I think our speed started taking over.”

Gretz and Nemeth each scored goals early in the second half to increase the lead to 7-2.

“She has a great team with the Felder sisters and Tatum (Gretz),” McCutcheon said. “It was an honor to get this far, and the girls were so excited to play in the semifinals for the first time. We’ll be back.”

The No. 12 Rams had upset No. 5 Sewickley Academy and No. 13 Serra, winning each game 2-1. McCutcheon said he was hoping for another low-scoring game.

South Side (12-4) got a goal on a free kick by Mairia Turek and a second by Garvey to trim the lead to 7-4 with 5:58 left, but GCC’s Samantha Felder, on a pass from her sister Sara, closed out to scoring to make it 8-4 with 2:35 left.

“The first 10 minutes, it was them setting the tone and they kept the pressure up,” Kruger said. “We kind of sat back and once we got comfortable was when we dictated the play.

“Getting back to the finals means everything to these girls. My first day here I asked them what they wanted, and they said they want to go to WPIAL finals, and when I walked in the door, they said they want to play for a PIAA championship.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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