Eliza Cochran was in this position before.
As a freshman, given an opportunity to bend a free kick into goal to help her team win a district title, she helped Shady Side Academy beat Greensburg Central Catholic in an upset 4-2 win in 2013.
Even in her team’s 3-1 loss (one of two regular season losses to GCC this year), Cochran drilled a free kick for a goal.
So, with the teams knotted in a scoreless tie halfway through the first half of Saturday’s WPIAL Girls 1A Championship game at Highmark Stadium, she had a 45 yard free kick opportunity in the 28th minute.
Sure enough, GCC coach Bryan Cartwright knew it might be trouble.
“It’s kind of ironic, but in the last two seasons, the only goals scored against us from Shady Side were free kicks from Eliza Cochran,” Cartwright pointed out.
She did it again. Drilling a high bending shot past GCC goal keeper Bella Skatell.
Cochran’s goal would hold up, as the Indians captured its third WPIAL crown, as they stymied a Greensburg Central Catholic attack that scored over 250 goals this season.
While Cochran came through for the Indians, it was the WPIAL’s All-Time leading scorer, Bailey Cartwright, who scored 226 goals in four seasons, who was shut out by a stingy Shady Side defensive effort.
Here’s Shady Side Head Coach Mary Lynch’s post-game interview.
Shady Side’s win derailed a couple of impressive GCC streaks — a 19-game overall winning streak and a 46-game streak over WPIAL teams.
Both teams will move on to the PIAA (State) playoffs starting Tuesday.
Shady Side Academy (15-4) will take on District 9 runner-up DuBois Central Catholic in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. GCC (19-2) will take on District 5 champion Windber.
And who knows, they just might see each other one more time.