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Preview: WPIAL Boys Soccer Class 1A Final – Greensburg CC vs Winchester Thurston, 8 pm

Preview: WPIAL Boys Soccer Class 1A Final – Greensburg CC vs Winchester Thurston, 8 pm

WPIAL Boys Soccer Class 1A Final

Greensburg Central Catholic (15-3) vs Winchester Thurston (18-0-1)

Friday, November 5, 2021 | 8 p.m.  |  Highmark Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA

Live Stream

PSN Coverage team:  Matt Popchock / Jordan Smith (Reporting) / Ed Thompson (Photography)

WPIAL Soccer History (List of WPIAL Champions) 

About the schools

Greensburg Central Catholic (Greensburg) 

Class 1A, Section 3 Champions – No. 1 seed

Head Coach –  Rob Fabean

Five-time WPIAL Champions (2003, 2004, 2009, 2019, 2020)

Twitter: @GCC_Centurions

Winchester Thurston (Pittsburgh) 

Class 1A, Section 2 Champions – No. 2 Seed

Head Coach –  Adam Brownold

One WPIAL Championship (2014)

Twitter: @wt_news

Preview / Key Storylines: 

For the first time in quite a few years, these two programs didn’t meet in the regular season and they didn’t share the same section.

As a result, both have blazed their own paths toward Section titles with occasional challenges, but they’ve are back in a familiar place, in the WPIAL finals facing each other.

“It was weird not playing them this year in section play,” Adam Brownold, Winchester Thurston’s coach said. “After many years of seeing each other three, sometimes four times in a season,”

This is the third straight season these two schools will face off with the WPIAL Class 1A boys title at stake.

The Centurions beat the Bears 1-0 in 2019 and repeated with a 3-2 victory last fall.

To get to this year’s final, the Centurians had to orchestrate one of the craziest come-from-behind victories in the history of WPIAL soccer against Eden Christian on Monday night.

Trailing 2-0, 4-1 and 5-2 in the first half, GCC stormed back in the second half to level the match, then sent it to overtime, when a freshman scored the game-winner.  And they did this all without its top scorer, Mason Fabian, who had to sit out the match due to picking up a red card in the previous match.

WPIAL Soccer Playoffs: Comeback of the Centurians (Photo Gallery)

The challenge for GCC will be, can they pick themselves up after being pushed to the limit in a match that went to overtime on Tuesday, and can they beat a very talented and determined former section rivals who have been in complete command in each of their playoff wins (5-0, 4-1 and 4-0 in the first three rounds).

Brownold is most concerned with GCC’s speed and acknowledged that with their experience, he knows they’ll be ready to play, even after Tuesday’s wild match.

“You know Fabean is a tough player,” Brownold said of GCC’s one star who didn’t play on Tuesday and will be well rested. “Carlos Denis will be flying up and down the edge. They’re tough for any team to deal with.”

Actually, Winchester Thurston has amassed a nearly perfect record. Its only minor blemish is an early season draw against Class 4A Pine-Richland (for good measure, since it was a non-section match in a preseason tournament, the teams had a penalty kick shootout, which Winchester Thurston won).

The Bears have 15 shutouts this season — so they’ve proven they won’t be conceding goals very easily and while Brownold addressed GCC’s experience, his club has many players who been together for a long time, and have played in two consecutive district finals. Alex Hauskrecht (31 goals in regualr season) is among the better finishers in Class A and midfielder Oliver Daboo (17 goals in regular season) is also a member of Riverhounds SC’s ECNL 2005 squad.

On Thursday, PSN’s John Krysinsky interviewed WT’s Head Coach, Adam Brownold, who’s been at helm at the private school on Pittsburgh’s East End, where he also teaches in the middle school, for 19 years.

Interview with WT’s Head Coach Adam Brownold

Photo Gallery’s of Past Greensburg Central Catholic-Winchester Thurston Finals (Ed Thompson) 

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WPIAL Boys Soccer: Class 4A and 1A Semifinal Round Scoreboard

Previous WPIAL Class 1A Championship Games

2020 

FINAL: Greensburg Central Catholic 3, Winchester Thurston 2

2019 

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

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Pittsburgh Division I College Soccer Schedule (Spring 2021)

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