Frannie Crouse and Malea Fabean will be two of the seven girls on the Greensburg Central Catholic homecoming court next Friday. But no matter who wins, there is another throne in the world of WPIAL sports that Crouse and Fabean already share.
It is the place for the queens of goals.
This is the 30th anniversary of the first WPIAL girls soccer season and the league has never heard of a scoring tandem as loud as this "FM station" (Fran and Malea). Three years ago they came from two small towns (Crouse from Jeanette and Fabean from Donora), intersected their skills at Greensburg Central Catholic and combined to form a true one-two punch for the ages.
There has never been two players on the same WPIAL team who have scored as many goals as Crouse and Fabean, both seniors. In fact, before Crouse and Fabean came along there had never been two WPIAL players from the same team and the same graduating class who both scored 100 career goals.
Crouse has 168 goals, tied for fifth best in WPIAL history. She has an outside chance at the WPIAL record of 205, held by 2001 Steel Valley graduate Jess Strom, who is now the head coach of the California University of Pennsylvania women's basketball team.
Fabean has 133 career goals, and has a chance to move into the top 15 of all time by the end of the season. She needs only 9 assists to break the state record of 109.
"All you have to do is watch them once to know how they are special players who bring something to the high school game that is on another level," Greensburg Central Catholic coach Ashley Shasko said.
Crouse and Fabean have led Greensburg Central Catholic to great success. The Centurions (10-1-0, 9-0) are defending PIAA Class A champions and two-time defending WPIAL champions.
Critics might say Crouse and Fabean have put up big scoring statistics because they play in the smallest classification. Those critics might contend their statistics wouldn't be as great in Class AAA. But the talent of these two is undeniable, and their college recruitment stands as evidence. Crouse will play at Penn State, a team that played for the NCAA championship only a year ago.
Fabean also will play at the Division I level at Pitt.
"People don't know that we never let them score more than three goals in a game, unless it was a playoff game or against Shady Side Academy and Springdale, because those are our two biggest section rivals," said Rob Fabean, Malea's father and a Greensburg Central Catholic assistant coach. "They probably both could score 300 goals in their careers if we let them."
Shasko said, "I think they're both honored in what they've achieved in terms of goal scoring. But they have bigger goals than personal goals. It's a little known fact that every player on our team last season and this season -- other than our starting goalkeeper -- has scored a goal. I think those are the kinds of things [Crouse and Fabean] pride themselves on."
Connection from the start
Besides a few games with the Olympic Development Program (ODP) in their pre-high school years, Crouse and Fabean never played together until they came to Greensburg Central Catholic in 2010. They knew each other only a little, but they sensed a certain connection from the very first preseason practice before their freshman seasons.
"Malea is great and she gets the ball to me in so many different ways," Crouse said. "She's fantastic in the air and as soon as we started playing together, we just clicked."
Fabean remembers those first few practices before their freshman years.
"Things just seemed to work out every time and she just seemed to go," Fabean said. "That doesn't happen with everyone. When you have someone who gets to every ball you play, and vice versa, it's really nice."
Ever since their freshman years, Fabean and Crouse have lived a life filled with net gains. As freshmen, the FM station combined for 57 goals -- 32 by Crouse and 25 by Fabean. Things only got better from there. Crouse scored 55 goals as a sophomore and Fabean 45.
"Prior to them going to Greensburg, I think a lot of people knew they were special players," Rob Fabean said. "I think we knew that when they got together on the same team, they would be able to do some neat things together."
But as much as their scoring abilities are alike, they are different players, at least in style.
"She definitely plays a lot faster than me," Fabean said. "She goes to the goal with her speed. I like to do more technical stuff. I scored most of my goals off headers, corner kicks and free kicks. She likes more of the breakaway style."
Crouse and Fabean have their similarities. Crouse is 5 feet 7 and Fabean 5-8. Obviously, they both have a nose for the goal. Off the pitch, they both have 3.9 grade-point averages.
But they also have their differences.
"Frannie is more of a quiet person and leads by example," Shasko said. "The girls know when Fran turns it up a notch, it's time for everybody to turn it up. She does a great job of setting the pace of the game. She just has a wicked shot and she's so fast."
Fabean and Crouse are good friends off the field, but Fabean laughed and said, "In some ways we both have a 'girlie' essence to us. But she likes to be in a relationship with a boy more where I like to be more of an individual and hang out with friends."
Crouse and Fabean have only a few more months together before they head their separate ways to rival colleges. Fabean plans to graduate early and be at Pitt for the spring semester, which begins in January.
Crouse has Pitt in her blood. Her father, Sam, attended Pitt. But when it came time to pick a college, she went for blue and white instead of blue and gold.
"I used to be so against Penn State because I guess I grew up with Pitt," Crouse said. "I didn't even want to look at Penn State. But my dad convinced me just to give it a look. I loved it as soon as I saw the campus. I said, 'I can go here.'
"I know Penn State played Pitt last year in an out-of-conference game. So maybe potentially I could play against [Fabean] in the future."
For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh First Published October 4, 2013 4:00 AM