Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer follows script, advances to WPIAL semifinals

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020 | 9:44 PM


For a high school soccer program not used to early playoff exits, the Greensburg Central Catholic girls team continues to follow the script to a tee.

Sara Felder, Tatum Gretz and Jessica Nemeth scored two goals apiece, and top-seeded GCC stayed unbeaten while advancing to the WPIAL Class A semifinals with an 8-1 rout of Springdale in a quarterfinals-round game Wednesday night at Norwin.

GCC (14-0) will face No. 12 seed South Side (12-3) in the semifinals Monday at a site to be determined.

“This team (Springdale) has given us a run before. It’s not like we’ve walked all over them,” first-year GCC coach Olivia Kruger said. “Tonight was pretty impressive.”

It was, indeed, a clinical showing after the teams played two mostly competitive contests during the regular season, both won by GCC, 6-0 on Sept. 14 and 4-1 on Oct. 1.

“The girls just came so ready and so prepared today,” Kruger said. “They were ready to go. We tried to focus this week on putting the ball away, and I think they really, really did that, which is good.”

Felder, Gretz and Nemeth scored during a first half that saw GCC lead Springdale, 6-0, at the break. Samantha Felder and Antonia Stickle also notched first-half goals for the Centurions.

Morgan Fitzgerald’s goal for Springdale (8-7-1) with 8 minutes remaining spoiled GCC goalkeeper Lindsey Szekely’s bid for a fourth consecutive shutout.

Szekely and the Centurions defeated Riverside, 3-0, in a first-round game Saturday after blanking Charleroi, 6-0, and Jeannette, 16-0, in the final two regular-season games.

“They’ve just got a lineup of really dangerous players who can change the game in a blink of an eye,” Springdale coach Marc Bentley said. “They’re a really good team, and we let them score early. All of a sudden, it’s 6-0 at halftime.”

Bentley appeared a bit surprised afterwards, perhaps not so much with the end result.

“The girls were up for this,” he said. “We all believed we could come in here and make an impact in the game and compete with them. But when you get down so early to a team like that, they smell the weakness in you.”

The Dynamos saw an apparent second-half goal by Alana Rudolf waived off by an offsides penalty.

Since 2005, GCC has won six WPIAL titles with four runner-up finishes, two PIAA championships, three PIAA runner-up finishes and six trips to the PIAA semifinals.

Kruger, a former women’s assistant at Wilson College whose husband, Zak, serves as women’s coach at Seton Hill, is grateful for the chance to coach at a high school program the caliber of GCC.

“This team is very determined,” she said. “They want to win, and they want to go far. On my first day here, I walked in and they said, ‘We want to win a WPIAL title, and we want to win the state championship.’ I’m like, ‘OK.’ I feel that’s half the battle, just building the morale and really getting the drive from them.

“I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work with these girls.”

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