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FINAL: Greensburg Central Catholic 3, Winchester Thurston 2

FINAL: Greensburg Central Catholic 3, Winchester Thurston 2

WPIAL Boys Soccer Class 1A Final

FINAL: Greensburg Central Catholic 3, Winchester Thurston 2

 

Game Summary

For the second consecutive season in the WPIAL Boys Class 1A Final, Greensburg Central Catholic defeated section rivals Winchester Thurston.

This time, the Centurions raced out to a 3-0 lead, then hung on to hold off a furious effort from the Bears, to win 3-2 and earn its fifth district boys soccer title in school history.

Carlos Denis, Mason Fabean and Kyler Miller scored within the first 21 minutes of the match for Greensburg Central Catholic, then Oliver Daboo and Grant Robinson got Winchester Thurston back into the match.

Greensburg Central Catholic will now advance to the PIAA tournament, which is slated to begin next Saturday, November 14.

Ed Thompson Photo Gallery

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How It Happened 

Over the past two years, these two section co-champions played each other six times – each winning three times each.

Today was game seven.

Both teams with a 14-1 record, came out with fairly basic formations. The Centurions set out in the classic 4-4-2 formation, and Adam Brownold’s side came out in a 3-5-2.

It only took 50 seconds for the 1A leading goal scorer to put Greensburg on the board. He ran down the right side, beat a player with his speed and finished it home under the hands of Otto Graham.

14 minutes later, Mason Fabeon scored as well. “Jacob Gretz found me behind a defender. I took a touch with my right foot and then shot it past the keeper”, Gretz said.

Off the bat, they were beating Winchester down the wings.

Only another seven minutes later, Kyler Miller extended the lead 3-0. “He scored a big one for us. I told him coming into this game, you’re going to get a big one. Just told him to keep working hard and continue to do the right thing,” head coach Tyler Solis stated.

The first 22 minutes was all Greensburg, but Winchester would not go down without a fight.

The Bears had scored six goals or more in eight games this season. Their offense was certainly on the verge of getting something going.

Only two minutes after Miller’s goal, Oliver Daboo got one back for his squad. He lasered a shot past Max House.

In the final seconds of the first half, Alex Hauskrecht almost scored a long free kick but it went off the crossbar. The Bears were down 3-1 at half, but they possessed most of the last 20 minutes, and went into halftime with momentum.

In the 54th minute, Tyler Nicholls almost delivered that second goal. His header just went wide. Nicholls this morning ran in the cross country state finals, but did not look tired on the pitch.

Finally, the Bears next chance went into the net. Grant Robinson smashed home a rebound after Daboo shot it off the hands of House.

The remaining 20 minutes was all Winchester. Only a handful of times, the Centurions got on the other side of the field. They put up seven shots on goal, compared to two for Greensburg.

The final minutes, Winchester put up chance after chance. In the dying moments, Robinson took a shot that rebounded out of the hands of House. Daboo looked like he was about to score the tying goal but Fabeon was there to kick it away.

Greensburg Central Catholic secured their fifth total WPIAL title. Winning in 2003, 04, 09 and 19, 20. Winchester Thurston still sits with one WPIAL title win in 2014. All-time Greensburg has beaten their rival 28 games to 10.

Along their journey the Centurions beat the Aquinas academy 7-5, Eden Christian academy 1-0, and Springdale 2-0 in the semifinal.

They’ll now face the District 5 champ on November 10th in the first round of the state playoffs. “Everyone this year has been focused on states. I had to bring the guys in to focus on this game, before we go on to the next round,” Solis stated.

“I wanted the boys to know this was our trophy and we’re defending it. We defended it with everything we had and I’m very proud in this team,” Solis finished.

 

Gameday Updates

Look for updates to be posted here throughout the match.

Ed Thompson (photography) and Jordan Smith (reporting) will be there, so be sure to follow them on Twitter.

HALF – GCC 3, WInchester Thurston 1

24′ – OLIVER DABOO GETS ONE BACK FOR WINCHESTER!! GCC 3 – WT 1

23′ – Yellow card for Jack Cryblsky GCC 3 – WT 0

22′ – CENTURIONS EXTEND THEIR LEAD!! Kyler Miller scores their third goal. GCC 3 – WT 0

15′ – Goal for the Centurions again! Mason Fabean slots it home! A great pass from Jacob Gretz GCC 2 – WT 0

10′ – Close chance for Winchester Thurston. Lance Nicholls almost taps in a cross from Beck Buchanan. Nicholls was running in the state finals this morning in Hershey!

1′ – 50 SECONDS IN CARLO DENIS SCORES FOR THE CENTURIONS! That’s his 32nd goal of the season. GCC 1 – WT 0

 

Preview / Key Storylines 

He we go again!

In the past few years, it’s been pretty clear that the path through WPIAL Boys Class 1A goes through these two schools.

Last year, they played four times, twice in the regular season and two more times in the postseason.

How close has it been between these two sides?  In the last six meetings, they’ve each won three times.  Since only the WPIAL champion will move on to the PIAA playoffs this year, this will be a winner-take-all match for 1A supremacy this year. There will be no rematch possibilities in the state playoffs.

Led by Tyler Solis, who took over as coach in 2015, Greensburg Central Catholic captured the WPIAL title match between the two in 2019, while Winchester Thurston, under the direction of coach Adam Brownold, returned the favor in the 2019 PIAA playoffs.

Ward’s brilliant strike lifts Greensburg Central Catholic to WPIAL title

Including last year, Greensburg Central Catholic boys have won four WPIAL titles, while Winchester Thurston’s only WPIAL title came in 2014.

What separated these two last year in the WPIAL final was Nate Ward’s (now at Indiana) brilliant strike. In the PIAA semifinal, Beck Buchanan broke free to score twice as the Bears advanced into the PIAA final.

Both schools lost some significant senior leadership from last year, but they’ve both held their serve during this unprecedented season to return back to the WPIAL final again with some key returning players.

This year, GCC has relied on a sophomore, Carlo Denis, to fuel its attack as he’s scored 31 goals.  Winchester Thurston have a solid defensive core that’s returned, posting nine shutouts — but they’ve also been scoring a lot of goals with a balanced attack.

These teams would end the season as section co-champions, as they split their two regular season matches, with Centurions winning the first go-around, 1-0 in Greensburg, but the Bears stormed back to take the rematch, 3-0.

The WPIAL Soccer committee probably awarded GCC with the top seed by virtue of its district title win in 2019, as WT were pinned as the 2-seed. But really, that’s irrelevant at this point.

GCC opened this year’s playoffs with a 7-5 win vs Aquinas Academy, then were in a battle against 8-seed Eden Christian in the quarterfinal round, as they escaped with a 1-0 victory.  Against Eden Christian with under 15 minutes left in regulation, they were deadlocked in a scoreless tie.  Coming off a throw-in, Ricco Ciccarelli intended to send a cross to the far post area — and somehow — the momentum from the kick spun the ball into the goal.

The Centurions were tested again in the semifinal round. Against a tough, Springdale side, it was senior defender Seth Skowronek who converted a pair of penalty kicks.

The Bears cruised to easy victories in the first two rounds, but met a tough challenge against Sewickley Academy, being pushed to overtime before Alex Hauskrecht hit the game winner.

So here we are — as we’ll have a true rubber match in store on Saturday afternoon to decide who’ll reign at the top of Boys Class 1A.

Jordan joined the Pittsburgh Soccer Now team in 2020 as a contributor to Riverhounds SC & WPIAL coverage. He is also a current Graduate Assistant at Point Park University in the athletics department, while also obtaining an MBA and MA in Media Communications. Jordan, during his undergrad four years at La Roche University, interned and worked part time for every pro team and several universities in Pittsburgh: Riverhounds SC, Pirates, University of Pittsburgh, La Roche University, Duquesne University, Steelers and the Penguins. With all of these experiences he began to gain a passion to work in sports as a career. Smith played cup soccer for Century United and Beadling during his youth years and also trained with the Riverhounds. He attended South Fayette High School where he helped his team win WPIAL's and a section title his senior year in 2015, while earning All-Section and All-WPIAL honors.

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