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Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer works on mental approach

September 5, 2018
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Greensburg Central Catholic's Nate Ward, makes his way past Joseph Schwerha, during soccer practice at Greensburg Central Catholic High School, on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

After winning 14 regular-season games last season, the Greensburg Central Catholic boys soccer team was upended in the WPIAL Class A playoff quarterfinals by Winchester Thurston. To say the least, the team was disappointed with the 2-1 loss.

As a result of the postseason fizzle, Centurions coach Tyler Solis said he took time examining areas in need of improvement. His deliberations settled on shaping a healthier, more team-first mentality for the 2018 season.

“I just think the whole mentality is what really gets us,” Solis said. “Yeah, it can be easy when we’re rolling and beating other teams 3-0 or 4-0. When that happens, we can pass. We can move. We don’t struggle because everything’s going well.

“But now, we’re down 2-0. Are we going to sit there and panic? Are we going to blame each other? Or is every individual going to take it upon themselves to work harder and pick their teammate up who might be having an off-night. That’s the mentality. That’s the achievable goal that can get us to the finals. This team deserves it. They’ve been through a lot, and they deserve it.”

The main reason Greensburg Central Catholic can shift their focus to fine tuning their mental acumen is because of the impressive amount of returning talent. The Centurions lost two players to graduation, but they return three solid defenders in Ethan Boyle, Caleb Umbrel and Seth Skowronek.

On top of their returning talent on defense, starting midfielders Christian Kline and Sean Gargan are back.

Where the team differentiates itself from its Class A opponents, though, is with its scoring attack. Solis describes his team’s ability to finish as its strongest attribute.

Luke Mort, who led the Centurions with 35 goals last season, returns along with Jojo Schwerha and Nate Ward.

“We are blessed with the ability to find the back of the net,” Solis said. “A lot of team’s struggle to find one or two guys that can put the ball in the back of the net, but we are lucky enough to have multiple players that are able to do it. That’s why we really need to take advantage of the amount of talent we have by sharpening the mental side of things.

“Luke is just phenomenal. His speed in general just gets him so many scoring chances. Jojo can really find the net. He has the gift of having a great left foot. And one of the younger guys, Nate Ward, I think he has a tremendous ability with the ball. He has vision, the vision to see passes and even scoring chances. I don’t think many people will be able to stop him.”

Solis’ message has resonated with his players. According to Gargan, one of the team’s seniors, merging the mental and the physical skills is going to be a difference-maker for Greensburg Central Catholic.

“Our talent is really good. Talent-wise, we have a shot at going all the way this year,” Gargan said.

“But we have to be better as a group, together. We have to work better as a team, it can’t be just individuals playing great on their own. We have to work hard the entire game, and have that positive attitude. That’s what can unlock it for us.”

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