Shady Side Academy dismisses Greensburg Central Catholic again to reach state finals

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 8:19 PM

Greensburg Central Catholic and Shady Side Academy have been here before.

In fact, Wednesday night’s matchup marked the fifth time since 2010 that the Centurions and Indians have met in a PIAA semifinal with a spot in the Class A state title match on the line.

On top of that, the teams met in the WPIAL Class A finals less than two weeks ago, with Shady Side Academy coming out on top.

In a back-and-forth match at Peters Township, Greensburg Central Catholic could not exact revenge, as the Indians won, 4-1, to advance to Saturday’s PIAA finals.

It marked the third time since the turn of the decade that Shady Side (20-1) defeated the Centurions (16-5) in a state semifinal.

Shady Side Academy connected four times in the second half to break open a scoreless tie.

“We just talked about trying to keep playing our game at halftime after it was back and forth,” SSA coach Mary Lynch said. “The girls are excited. This will be the third appearance in Hershey for our seniors.”

Neither team had much in the way of solid scoring chances in the first half.

Both teams had one good opportunity, but that was it in the frigid air. Greensburg Central Catholic managed to accumulate three first-half corners, but nothing came of any of them.

“We had some goals for the girls going into the game: score first, high press the first 10 minutes and more. We weren’t able to execute those goals,” said Centurions coach Ashley Davis. “Unfortunately, they were able to make adjustments because we were making some of the same mistakes.”

The Indians came quickly out of the huddle at halftime, notching their third shot on goal of the contest in the 42nd minute. They scored five minutes later, when Gabby Hill-Junkie sent a shot to the back-left corner of the net, low to the turf behind Centurions sophomore goalkeeper Lyndsey Szekely.

The Indians went on to control most of the second half and the remaining portion of the contest and scored an insurance goal in the 70th minute. Nina Singh, a senior midfielder, scored on a set up by Melissa Riggins, who also assisted on the first goal. In the 73rd minute, Callie Davis scored the third goal for the Indians.

The Centurions got their lone goal in the 77th minute from sophomore defender Bethany Winnor, in a half otherwise dominated by the WPIAL champions.

Davis notched a late goal with 26 seconds left.

Greensburg Central Catholic’s season comes to an end, falling to Shady Side for the second time this postseason.

“We had a good season and we have a good group of seniors that will be hard to replace,” Davis said. “But I think, looking to next season, it will be a lot of mental preparation that is needed to get over this hump that is Shady Side and meet our goals.”

The Indians will now play for their second PIAA girls soccer championship.

Shady Side will meet the same Camp Hill Lions team that the Indians defeated in 2017 at Hersheypark Stadium for their first PIAA title.

That season, Shady Side won, 4-0. This year, the two meet in Chocolate Town at 11 a.m. Saturday. Camp Hill, the District 3 champion, is coming off a 3-1 win over Fairfield on Tuesday night.

“Honestly we don’t know much about them this year,” Lynch said. “I’m thankful we weren’t playing in the snow last night, and we’ll enjoy this tonight and start getting ready for Saturday tomorrow. We’ll continue to try and do what we have done all year and keep playing our game.”

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