Shady Side Academy girls soccer tops rival GCC to split season series
Greensburg Central Catholic girls soccer had shown a knack for filling the net through its first six games, averaging seven goals per game. But on Wednesday, Shady Side Academy proved to be stingy.
In the latest chapter of what’s been one of the top rivalries in WPIAL girls soccer, Class A No. 3 Shady Side Academy held the top-ranked Centurions to one shot on goal and Sophia McMahon scored twice in a 4-0 victory in a Section 1 match at Michael J. Farrell Stadium.
From start to finish the Indians dominated possession, and in the second half they allowed only one shot, which was wide by Ashley McWilliams in the 45th minute. Shady Side Academy (6-1, 5-1) earned a split in the season series for the second consecutive year.
Greensburg Central Catholic (5-2, 5-1) won the first meeting 4-3 on Sept. 12.
“We have really been working on tight marking with our defense,” Shady Side Academy coach Mary Lynch said. “We got a slow start to our season with several cancellations, and I really think our defense is coming into their own now that we have some games under our belt. Our midfielders did a good job marking in the middle and having a defender push up to help with that marking.
“We’ve been stressing our possession this season. The last couple of games we’ve had trouble getting going in the first 20 minutes of the game, but today we did a really good job of really attacking them.”
Since the two teams become section foes in 2010, Greensburg Central Catholic has won 15 of 18 regular-season meetings and, including playoffs, is 21-7 in that span, but the last three games prior to Wednesday were decided by one goal.
Shady Side Academy made sure that streak was snapped, starting with a pair of goals by McMahon in the first half.
The Centurions mounted a little bit of pressure early in the second half, but couldn’t muster a chance, and then McMahon set up Krystyna Rytel with a nice cross through the box for a goal in the 52nd minute to make it 3-0. Callie Davis scored on a partial breakaway 10 minutes later.
“We just didn’t have our heads in the game today,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Ashley Davis said. “Once they got one goal, we put our heads down, and that was the end of it.”
A bright spot for the Centurions was the play of goalkeeper Bella Skatell. She made multiple saves in a row on a couple different occasions in the second half to keep the Indians from padding their lead even more.
Greensburg Central Catholic came off a 3-2 nonsection loss at Burrell on Monday, where Davis said her team battled back and nearly tied the game in the final seconds. They couldn’t mount the same type of charge on Tuesday.
“Bella played great today and we had moments where individuals were working hard, but as a whole we didn’t play as a team,” Davis said. “We just couldn’t put a game together.”
The Centurions and the Indians have met in the WPIAL finals and the PIAA semifinals the last two seasons, with the Indians winning three of the four meetings. Greensburg Central Catholic won the WPIAL title last year, 1-0.
Not much has separated the two rivals on the field in the last few years, and they could very well meet again in both the WPIAL and state playoffs. Lynch was happy with her team’s effort, which put them in position to possibly split the section title for a second straight year.
“This is a great rivalry that we have with GCC,” Lynch said. “We know it’s always going to be a tough game, and the girls get excited for it. It was great to win today on our home turf. I’m happy for our seniors. They provide us with great senior leadership.”