HYDE — It’s often all good things must come to an end, and that proved to be the case Tuesday night at Clearfield High School as the large senior class for the Brockway girls soccer team saw their careers conclude with a tough 8-3 loss to Greensburg Central Catholic in a PIAA Class A first round game.
That senior class — featuring eight players in Emily Botwright, Chanell Britten, Emma Cavalline, Morrigan Decker, Kayla Jamison, Taylor Little, Katie McMeekin, and Mackenzie Overbeck — was playing in its fourth state playoff game in four years. Brockway entered the PIAA postseason as the District 9 champ three of those years, including Tuesday, and once as the D-9 runner-up in 2017.
Unfortunately for the highly successful group, they were unable to capture that elusive state victory that were searching for, as GCC ended their season for the second time in three years. The Lady Centurions also beat Brockway, 3-2, in the first round in 2017.
The matchup was a high-scoring affair this time around, as GCC scored twice in the opening 11 minutes at the Bison Sports Complex. Brockway answered back with a goal from Decker, but the Lady Centurions poured it on from there and took a 6-2 lead into the half.
Brockway junior Morgan Lindemuth scored on a header past the midway point of the second half to make it 6-3, but Samantha Nemeth added two scores after that to finish off the lopsided victory. Nemeth had four goals for GCC, while teammate Sara Felder also netted a hat-trick.
Decker finished with two goals for Brockway, as the GCC defense held Chanell Britten — the all-time leading scorer (164) in Tri-County Area history — off the scoreboard. Britten did set up Lindemuth’s second half goal.
“We knew we were going to have a really competitive game, and they (girls) have been waiting for it all season, and Greensburg certainly gave it to us,” said Brockway coach Jessica Leadbetter. “They have a lot of very skilled players and you can definitely see that tonight. They (GCC) won a lot of 50/50 balls and had a lot of possession. It seemed like we were trying to play catch up a lot of the time.
“They play good teams every game, and we added Hollidaysburg this year, and that was an eye-opener for the girls big-time. But, we don’t see teams like this very often — or ever. It’s hard to prepare for and know what to expect. It was kid of a shocker for them right off the bat when they got those two early goals.”
Leadbetter also had nothing but praise for her seniors who have helped put Brockway on map when its comes to soccer at the state playoff level.
“You couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors,” she said. “We told them before the game to play for your team, but play for your seniors.
“At halftime when we were down, and I’ve been there (as player), I told them don’t leave anything on the field. Don’t walk away saying I wish I had done this or I wish I had played harder. And, they played (hard) the whole game.”
Greensburg Central Catholic, the WPIAL runner-up, blitzed Brockway in the opening 11 minutes, peppering senior keeper Overbeck with seven shots during that stretch. She made a couple saves during that stretch, but Nemeth and teammate Samantha Felder also scored to put GCC up 2-0.
Samantha Felder nearly netted her second in the 13th minute but Overbeck made a diving stop to deny her. Overbeck recorded 13 saves in her in her final game in net for the Lady Rovers.
Brockway (16-2) finally got some things going on the offensive end jut before the 15-minute mark, as Danielle Wood fired a shot on goal that was pushed away by Lyndsey Szekely.
The ball found its way to Decker on the left side, as she fired a rebound shot into the top right corner to make it a 2-1 game. That’s as close as the Lady Rovers got though, as GCC promptly lipped the momentum.
A pair of goals just over two two minutes apart by Nemeth and Felder quickly made it 4-1, while Felder’s second of the game push that lead to 5-1 with 11:14 left in the first half.
Decker got a goal back for Brockway in the 33rd minute when she blasted home a shot following a flurry in front of the GCC net after a direct kick by Jamison.
Any momentum Brockway got from the score was taken away in the closing minutes as Felder completed her hat-trick with 3:05 remaining in the half to make it a 6-2 game at the break.
The second half was relatively quiet goal-wise despite GCC outshooting the Lady Rovers, 10-4 over the final 40 minutes. Overbeck made eight of her 13 saves in the second half.
Brockway struck first in the half when Lindemuth headed home a cross on a direct kick by Britten with 18:04 to play.
Nemeth answered back just 49 seconds later when she scored on a direct kick to complete her hat-trick. She added her fourth goal with 6:28 to play to set the final.
With the win. Greensburg Central Catholic advanced to play Freedom Area (WPIAL third place team) on Saturday in the state quarterfinals.