With shackles off, expect big goal totals from Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer

Wednesday, August 31, 2022 | 7:09 PM

One of the first directives Rob Fabean put into place when he took over the Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer team last season was his three-goal rule.

Once a player scored three times in a game, a hat trick achieved, that player was asked to back off and let someone else go for the net.

It was meant to promote balance and “call off the dogs” at the same time.

But times have changed as a new season begins for the Centurions (1-0), ranked No. 2 in WPIAL Class A by the Tribune-Review.

“The lockdown is over,” Fabian said. “I am letting the leash off. It had a detrimental effect to the way we played.”

So, that means the green light is bright for seniors Carlo Denis and Kyler Miller and sophomore Jackson Vacanti.

With no limit on goals, that group — and others — could fill up the scoresheet. GCC isn’t going to take it easy on teams when it gets a lead.

“It’s better for us to let them play like this,” Fabean said.

Case in point: GCC throttled Beth-Center in the opener 17-1 as Denis scored five goals and Jake Gretz and Miller each had a hat trick.

Denis, who will be a key striker, came into the season with 91 goals after netting 29 last season.

“It was awkward sometimes,” Denis said of the three-goal rule. “This allows us to play normally and do what we do.”

Gretz thinks GCC can be a title contender again.

“We’re not taking our foot off the gas pedal,” he said. “We want to play wide and use our speed. But we’re going to possess the ball more and not play the long ball as much.”

Fabean said GCC, the WPIAL runner-up last season with a 16-5 record, may change its formation to fit a more finesse style of play. The team also is doing away with black uniforms, bringing back white and maroon full time.

Fabean plans to flesh out a firmer gameplan as the season matures.

Mason Fabean, a team enforcer and rally man, graduated and moved on to Seton Hill. He often helped dictate the team’s tempo and patrolled the middle of the attack with vocal leadership.

Now, Gretz could take on a similar role, with Denis, Miller and Vacanti running wide.

Senior Max Szekely returns as a key center back on a four-man defensive line. Junior Ben Duong also can score goals.

“We’re not as familiar with some teams in our section, so we’re going to a different formation,” Rob Fabean said. “We don’t have that muscle and grit we had last year, but we can win a different way. We may play more possession soccer. In my opinion, I think we have more talent than any team in (WPIAL Class A).”

GCC could play two goalkeepers, with 6-foot-3 sophomore Isaac House and junior Mike Oldenburg competing for the starting nod.

Freshman Grant Brewer will join his brother, junior James Brewer, in the rotation. Sophomore Gavin Rigby, a Hempfield transfer, also should figure in when he returns from an arm injury.

“We may try some different shapes and see how these guys work together,” Fabean said. “We have six seniors, which is a big positive for us. It’s about asking them, ‘How much do you want this?’ ”

Winchester Thurston remains a road block opponent for GCC. The Bears last year ended GCC’s two-year WPIAL title run with a 3-1 victory over the Centurions in the WPIAL title game.

Eden Christian edged GCC, 1-0, in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Winchester Thurston began the season ranked No. 1, and Eden Christian was third.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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