Springdale has plenty of motivation heading into PIAA quarterfinal match with GCC

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Friday, November 8, 2019 | 6:17 PM


Heading into Saturday’s PIAA quarterfinal matchup with WPIAL Class A champion Greensburg Central Catholic, the Springdale boys soccer team won’t lack competitive fire.

“There are a lot of things that can be extra motivation,” Springdale coach Cesareo Sanchez said.

The first is wanting to prove to their opponents that the two programs are on the same level, despite their first encounter this year.

When the teams met in the WPIAL semifinals Oct. 26, the Centurions (16-3-1) bested the Dynamos, 4-2.

Springdale (17-4) played a man down for a majority of the game after senior midfielder Sammy Rzeszotarski received a red card midway through the first half. Despite their disadvantage, they tied the score 2-2 before GCC took over.

“We kind of showed that we had the offense to stick with them,” senior Mike Mitchell said. “I think we all know our defense wasn’t very strong that game. We’ve been working on that in practice, and we’ve been cleaning it up. So I think we’ll give them a really good shot this game.”

After losing to GCC, the Dynamos took down Carlynton, a team that had beaten them twice in the regular season, to advance to the state tournament. Then, in their first-round match on Tuesday, they took down District 9 champion Brockway, 3-0, to set up the rematch with GCC.

Despite their semifinal loss, the Dynamos have been playing at a high level for quite some time. They’ve won 11 of their past 12 games and have produced six shutouts along the way. Heading into Saturday’s matchup, they look to feed off of what they have built this year.

“I think throughout the season we’ve gotten used to playing with each other, and our chemistry is really at an all-time high right now,” senior Matt Taliani said. “So I am really excited to play on Saturday and see what we can do.”

It will be a tall task to take down the Centurions, who won their first WPIAL title since 2009 on Nov. 1. Over their last nine games, they’ve scored at least two goals eight times and at least four goals six times.

That offensive prowess is something that Sanchez knows they need to watch out for after the Dynamos allowed the Centurions to score four goals in the WPIAL meeting. It was the first time Springdale allowed that many goals since North Catholic scored seven on Sept. 5, 2017.

“We have to cover and we can’t give them too much space,” Sanchez said. “That’s what happened last game, and if we can do that, it will be good. I know we can score goals, so if we can do that early, we can change the game too.”

Having a second opportunity to beat the Centurions won’t be the only form of motivation the Dynamos have for Saturday. They want to make school history as well.

Springdale has never made it past the quarterfinals of the PIAA state tournament. Two years ago, the Dynamos lost to Brockway in the quarterfinals, and now with the second chance of their high school career, the seniors want to make history.

“Matt T. and I, we’ve been playing forever and we want to bring Springdale the success that we’ve been able to get to, but have never been able to get past in the last couple years,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s important that we kind of get past that roadblock and get to the semifinal.”

The two teams are set to kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Peters Township High School.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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