All the numbers associated with the WPIAL Class A final between Greensburg Central Catholic and Shady Side Academy overwhelmingly favored a Centurions win.
Greensburg Central Catholic, the two-time defending WPIAL champions and 2012 PIAA champion, had beaten Shady Side Academy nine consecutive times, including twice this season by a combined score of 15-5. The Centurions also had outscored its first three opponents in the playoffs, 27-4.
But there's a reason they actually went through with the game Saturday afternoon at Highmark Stadium in Station Square.
Maggie Scott scored twice and the Indians defense held the Centurions (17-2) under six goals for the first time since Sept. 11 in a 4-2 victory .
"We just said, 'Look, the pressure is on Greensburg and we just have to go out there and do what we can do and believe we can win,' " Shady Side Academy coach Mary Lynch said. "I think the biggest thing was believing we could win this game."
The Indians' confidence was boosted by a great start. In the 10th minute Eliza Cochran headed Calsey Holshue's corner kick into the net to make it 1-0.
Scott made it 2-0 in the 38th, beating defenders and shooting far post past a diving Olivia Binda.
Meanwhile, the Shady Side Academy defense was stellar against the Centurions duo of Malea Fabean and Frannie Crouse. The Indians (18-3) went with a 4-1-3-1-1 formation to add an extra defensive midfielder in front of goalkeeper Olivia Cochran, who made seven saves.
And when Cochran couldn't make the save, her sister Eliza was there to clear a Fabean chip off the goal line 40 seconds before the end of the first half.
"Oh my god, she saved me there," Olivia Cochran said.
But in the first nine minutes of the second half, Fabean, a Pitt recruit, twice finished balls into the box from Megan Shearson to tie the score at 2-2.
Zoe Schoen gave the momentum back to the Indians in the 55th by rocketing a shot into the top corner of the goal from 21 yards.
Scott then iced it in the 64th.
"[Zoe's goal] was huge in terms of getting the momentum back for us," Lynch said.
"Then that fourth goal gave us a little more of a cushion. But with a team like Greensburg, you can never really sit back because they are so dangerous."
The Indians held on, and in the process shut out Penn State recruit Crouse, who had 16 goals in her first three WPIAL playoff games this season.
Central Valley is No. 1
Central Valley had its share of chances to score in the first half from close range, but couldn't finish.
So the Warriors decided to try their luck from long range.
Ashley Mutkus scored on a shot from midfield 10 seconds into the second half, Carolina Lucci added a goal in the 62nd and the Warriors (19-0) held off a late rally by Hopewell (15-5) to win the WPIAL Class AA title, 2-1, for the first crown in the brief history of the school.
"This means everything," said Mutkus, a senior defender. "This is what we've talked about all the time since I was a freshman -- getting to this game and winning this game. And it's awesome to have done it."
Mutkus' goal happened as planned. She took the opening pass of the half from Olivia Pritt and boomed it down field. The ball took a high bounce just inside the 18-yard box and went over the outstretched arm of Hopewell goalkeeper Emilie Hovanec and into the net.
Central Valley coach Mark Perry called for the play seconds before it was executed.
"One of my assistant coaches said something to me the other day about that and maybe we should try it," Perry said. "We came out of the locker room at halftime and the wind was very strong, so I pulled over one our outside midfielders and we changed our play."
Abby Losco headed in a cross by Chloe Work with less than two minutes remaining for the only goal for Hopewell, which has lost three one-goal games to Central Valley this season.