Carlos Denis scored twice, including a game-winner in late stages of the second half which helped punch a first-ever ticket to a state final for Greensburg Central Catholic — who outlasted a tough challenge from Brockway in the PIAA semifinal round on Tuesday night at Norwin High School in North Huntingdon.
The Centurions will now take on Faith Christian (9-2) at 1:30 p.m. Friday in PIAA Class A boys soccer championship in Hershey.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer program has had many teams who had their eye on that prize of reaching the elusive PIAA final in Hershey — but they always seemed to fall just short.
Standing in the Centurions way on Tuesday night was a determined group from Brockway High School.
GCC would get off to the start they hoped for when Denis danced his way into the box, then sent a perfectly placed strike into the far-left corner of the net only a minute and half into the game.
After that goal, an open-ended, high paced game ensued Each team took turns pushing forward, creating numerous chances for both sides.
During this stretch, the match’s intensity boiled over to the sidelines, as GCC’s bench boss Tyler Solis caught the ire of an official to pick up a yellow card.
Brockway created great chances on goal but GCC’s keeper, Max Szekley, was up to the task until Brockway found a free kick opportunity.
From close range, Brockway’s Jared Marchiori struck quickly and accurately to level the match.
With just over 13 minutes left in the first half, GCC’s Szekley came up with another big save, turning away a header from Brockway’s Nolan Swanson was put right on frame.
In a frantic match with numerous opportunities on both ends, each goalkeeper. Brockway’s Lewis Painter and Szekley, made their mark on the match, making multiple big saves.
The Centurions persistence finally paid off in the late moments of the second half.
As they delivered a corner kick came through the box, then directed back across frame — Mason Fabean’s header connected with Denis, who snuck the ball through a crowded box to make it 2-1 GCC with just six minutes left in the game.
Despite a few final pushes from Brockway, Greensburg Central Catholic would hang on to earn its first-ever trip to Hershey.