Springdale itching for another shot at No. 1 Greensburg Central Catholic in WPIAL semifinals

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 | 6:33 PM

For the past year, Springdale has been waiting for another opportunity to take on Greensburg Central Catholic.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the No. 5 Dynamos (12-1) will get their chance when they meet up with the No. 1 Centurions (13-1) in the WPIAL Class A semifinals at Norwin with a trip to the WPIAL championship game on the line.

After nearly going undefeated in the regular season and cruising through their first two playoff games, the Dynamos are ready for their rematch.

“We’re pretty excited,” Springdale coach Cesareo Sanchez said. “Everybody is thinking about those games, and we are very confident.”

The teams met in the playoffs twice last year, and Greensburg Central Catholic knocked off the Dynamos on both occasions. With a man advantage after the Dynamos were issued a red card, the Centurions took down Springdale, 4-2, in the WPIAL Class A semifinals last year.

Then, after Springdale worked its way through the WPIAL consolation game and the first round of the PIAA tournament, it took on Greensburg Central Catholic again. In the second match, the game was a little closer, but the Centurions still came out on top, 1-0 in overtime.

This time around, the Dynamos feel like they need to do a few things differently.

“They have three different players that we need to work to stop, but overall, they have a good set of players that we are prepared for,” Sanchez said. “We want to stop them defensively and then go forward with our offense and the game that we play. I don’t think we want to change too much. We just want to be careful on defense.”

While the Dynamos are looking for revenge on the Centurions, the defending WPIAL champions are looking forward to another opportunity to make a trip to the title game.

“Anytime you have a game with a chance to move to the WPIAL final, I mean that’s our goal,” GCC coach Tyler Solis said. “We talked at the beginning of the season and we go over our goals, and with the success that we had last year, the guys that are sophomores and growing up another year, that’s what they want. So, whoever we are playing, it’s the fact that you are in the semifinals.”

The Centurions have only lost one game this season and have outscored their opponents 8-5 in the playoffs. One similarity that could tie the Centurions and the Dynamos even closer is No. 9 Eden Christian.

The Centurions took on Eden Christian in the quarterfinals and escaped with a 1-0 victory after the Dynamos had taken down Warriors twice during the regular season, 3-0 and 1-0. Although it was closer than he wanted, Solis thought it was a good matchup that showed him a lot about his team.

“We were a little casual about that, and not that we underestimated them, we just haven’t that many tough games this year with the scheduling limited to section games. We usually get two or three really good games,” Solis said. “Coaching-wise, it really opened us up to where, if we did have negatives, where we could improve.”

After a 10-day break between their last regular season game and their first playoff game, the Dynamos were a little rusty in their first-round matchup against No. 12 Bentworth. They shook off the rust to cruise to a 3-1 win before beating No. 4 Seton LaSalle, 5-0, to punch their ticket to the semifinals for the fourth straight year.

Now, the Dynamos are focused on toppling the Centurions and earning a berth in the WPIAL title game for the first time since 2017.

“This is the time for us to come back and do something,” Sanchez said. “This is a pretty big game for the program, and every game in the playoffs is a big one, but a game with GCC is bigger than everything else.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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