Greensburg Central Catholic girls overpower McConnellsburg in PIAA 1st-round match
Greensburg Central Catholic passed the first test on its quest for a third straight PIAA championship, and it was dominant.
The Centurions (22-1) followed their WPIAL girls soccer title victory by defeating District 5 champion McConnellsburg, 4-0, in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs at Elizabeth Forward.
GCC will play Shady Side Academy (18-4) in the quarterfinals Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
“Anytime in states, no matter if it’s the first, second or third time, it means a lot,” GCC coach Bryan Cartwright said. “We know what it takes because we’ve been there. We know how hard it is to get back.”
Keli Rosensteel opened the scoring for GCC 10 minutes in, and Bailey Cartwright and Abby Skatell added first-half goals to give the Centurions a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Cartwright tacked on a goal in the 51st minute, bringing her season total to a WPIAL-best 54.
GCC’s defense was suffocating, dominating possession time and holding McConnellsburg to one scoring opportunity, which came in the 60th minute. Senior goalkeeper Olivia Binda made the save as the Centurions got their 12th shutout of the season. GCC has outscored opponents 165-18.
“I like our balance,” Cartwright said. “In the past, GCC has definitely had some tremendous soccer players, but this year we have a complete team. I can put any girl on the field at any given time, and we don’t miss a beat.”
McConnellsburg coach Toby McGarvey, who coached the school to its first district championship this season, said GCC presented a different level of competition.
“Greensburg is by far the best team we’ve seen all year,” McGarvey said. “They’re defending champs for a reason.
“We can at least say we played one of the best in the state of Pennsylvania.”
GCC swept the season series from Shady Side Academy, winning 2-0 and 2-1, but the Centurions still have unfinished business with the Indians.
Shady Side beat GCC in the WPIAL championship last year, dashing the Centurions’ shot at three straight WPIAL titles.
“We’ve played Shady Side, and they’re a great team,” Cartwright said. “We’re going to play our game and give them a good match.”
Ray Judy is a freelance writer.