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Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer geared for WPIAL title defense

September 5, 2018

Greensburg Central Catholic's Samantha Felder scores against Brockway during the second half of their PIAA Class A girls playoff game Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, at Moon Area High School. GCC won, 3-2.

The Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer team is used to defending WPIAL titles. After all, the Centurions have totaled five championships since 2010, including last year’s Class A crown.

This year, the team is positioned to mount a strong title defense as it returns all but five players from last year.

With a talented batch of newcomers arriving to lend a hand, coach Ashley Davis thinks there might be a little room for improvement.

“Last year, we had 14 or 15 girls on the team. This year, we have 18 and this year, everybody has played soccer before,” Davis said. “It’s a nice thing to have, it gives us a lot more depth this year.

“Also, with the freshmen class, we’re going to have some people that are able to put the ball in the back of the net. We didn’t score a ton of goals against the better teams last year. We had a lot of close games, especially in the playoffs. They were all one-goal games that could have gone either way. This year, I don’t think scoring will be as much of an issue.”

While experienced starters Brenna Springer, Sara Orndoff and Ashley McWilliams return to shore up Greensburg Central Catholic’s defense and midfield, the team’s scoring attack could be adding a potent punch.

Sophomore Sam Felder, who led the team in scoring last season, might have a running mate who can take some of the offensive pressure off of her in freshman Tatum Gretz.

“Tatum is a fantastic player. She can always find the back of the net. She’s really good at controlling the ball, she’s one of the best young players that I’ve seen,” Dabis said. “I might end up playing her at attacking center mid, but we’ll try to find the best fit.”

In addition to Gretz, the Centurions welcome freshmen Bethany Winnor and Natalie Ward. Sister duo Samantha and Jessica Nemeth, transfers from Norwin, also figure to play a factor.

The promising influx of talent has Davis thinking about experimenting with her scheme and system.

“We played pretty conservatively last year, defensively,” Davis said. “We didn’t really have a true forward. Some of the girls that were goal-scoring threats, like Sam Felder and Sydney Ward, I had to bring them back to play midfield so they didn’t get as many scoring chances because we didn’t have the depth.

“This year, it could be a little different. We’ll just have to see once we get out there and start scrimmaging.”

One place where Greensburg Central Catholic will not have to break in a new starter is goalkeeper. Senior Bella Skatell, who minded net for six one-goal victories last season, will return to help her the group mount its title defense.

“Back-to-back titles are always hard, but I think when you have the core group of girls we have coming back, and the leadership we have, and the new girls coming in, it’ll be a hard thing to do but we fit together well,” Skatell said.

“I think we’ll be able to compete with the best of them at a high level.”

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