Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer stays focused on championship goals
Celebrations after boys soccer victories at Greensburg Central Catholic are short-lived and swift.
A few high-fives and fist-bumps to acknowledge the accomplishment are fine, but coach Tyler Solis isn’t going to clean up any confetti unless it’s scattered about Highmark Stadium next month.
“The guys are like, ‘When we win big games, you hate us,’ ” Solis said with a chuckle. “I’m like, no, I just want you guys to realize there’s a lot more to play for.”
Solis expects the top-ranked Centurions (10-1, 9-0 Section 2-A) to win every game -- what coach doesn’t? -- but he wants the team to have a short memory and an on-to-the-next one mentality to match. Any off-line play, unnecessary chatter to officials or complacency and he’ll call players into account for it until they reach an accord.
“I don’t want them to come to practice the next day after a win acting like kings,” he said. “I don’t want them to get lazy.”
Senior midfielder Christian Kline said the players understand the gist of their coach’s message.
“We can’t settle for anything that can set us back,” said Kline, who has two goals and three assists. “We need to put it behind us quickly, especially (the blowout wins).”
GCC is trying to find consistency wherever it can. The team has yet to play more than three games in a week. One game was postponed because of excessive heat, another to heavy rain.
“It’s been like a tumble effect,” Solis said.
What the team does do consistently is win. GCC ascended to No. 1 in the Tribune-Review Class A rankings last week as it twirled an eight-game winning streak, outscoring teams 47-4 in the process.
“Getting to No. 1 is nice, but I am more concentrated on getting to the (WPIAL) final,” Solis said. “That is our goal. And we’re playing with more consistency and showing we can come back against teams, which is a good thing.”
The Centurions, who have secured a playoff berth, have been dominant since a 6-1 loss to The Kiski School in nonsection play, a defeat which Solis said taught him a lot about his team. The loss was like a release valve that took away some pressure.
Four important -- and tight -- wins followed, including one against section nemesis Winchester Thurston. The Bears beat GCC three times last season, by one goal each time.
But GCC, despite falling behind 1-0 -- “Here we go again,” Solis said he thought -- rallied to tie it at halftime and rang up two second-half goals for a 3-1 victory.
“We took a pretty big leap forward with that one,” Kline said. “We have really bonded as a team over the years. That has helped us show we have resilience.”
The teams are scheduled to play again Tuesday at Founder’s Field in Cheswick.
GCC beat Geibel by scores of 10-0 and 14-0, and Jeannette, 13-0. The Centurions have only allowed six goals in section games.
A thrilling 2-1 victory over No. 2 Sewickley Academy allowed for an extended celebration as sophomore Dillon Sebek scored the game-winner with five minutes left. Again, it was 1-1 at the half.
On Saturday, GCC trailed Serra at the half 1-0 before another second-half surge led to a 3-1 win.
The preseason two-mile runs around the GCC track revealed dividends as the Centurions managed the late-game grind.
“They put the work in; 11 guys made it through (the run),” Solis said. “That’s how they’re able to go the full 80 minutes.”
Senior Luke Mort leads the scoring charge with 24 goals and nine assists, junior Nate Ward has 16 goals and eight assists and senior Sean Gargan nine goals and 10 helpers.
Five juniors are key contributors and up to four sophomores can join the rotation at a time.
Solis said Patrick Brewer has been dependable in his first season in goal.
GCC has been to the WPIAL playoffs five straight times but has been knocked out in the quarterfinals in three of them.