Parker preserves Peters Township’s reign
Megan Parker made two critical stops in a shootout and propelled Peters Township, the defending WPIAL Class AAA champions, to the district semifinals in girls’ soccer with a 1-0 victory against Pine-Richland.
The senior goalkeeper turned back shots by Maggie Shope and Kate Graszl as the Indians won the shootout, 4-2, after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer at Chartiers Valley High School stadium.
“Megan has been through a lot,” said head coach Pat Vereb, noting the ACL injury that prevented her from participating in the Lady Indians’ district and state championship run in 2012. “She had to watch the team’s run of success last year and that’s been difficult. This certainly was her goal. To help this year’s team win,” added Vereb.
“Megan is the type of person who will do whatever you ask of her. No question, she made our season.”
After Leah Roth got the Rams’ off to a positive start in the shootout, Laurel Carpenter and Carly Johns made their penalty kicks while Parker made the stops. Riley Partyka and Marisa Hombosky then traded goals before Madison Santo iced the victory for the Lady Indians.
Johns filled in last season for Parker in the nets but has since moved to defense while Carpenter continues to dominate the midfield, ravaged by graduation. Johns and Carpenter are juniors. Santo is also a junior midfielder while Partyka is a senior forward.
“We have some experience and we have some new faces,” Vereb explained of this year’s club, which has had to play without All-American Veronica Latsko. The senior, who is bound for the University of Virginia, tore her ACL back on May 19 and has yet to play this season.
“Those girls,” Vereb said of Johns, Carpenter, Santo and Partyka. “All of them stepped up. And they did it against a good goalie. Their goalkeeper (Roth) is good as well.”
With the victory, PT improved to 15-4-1 overall. The Lady Indians were Section 5 champions with a 9-0-1 record. They will face Bethel Park, which beat them back on Sept. 7, in the semifinals set for Monday, Oct. 28. The Lady Hawks beat Gateway, 3-1, in their quarterfinal match at Elizabeth-Forward.
The winner advances to the finals set for Nov. 1 or 2 at Highmark Stadium.
“It’s tough having a target on your back,” said Vereb of being the defending champions. “It’s tough to live up to the reputation and the expectations of everybody else.
“But, I am very proud of my girls. They are awesome and very good kids. The future is bright for them,” he added of the squad, which features only two other seniors, Emily Franty and Autumn Harringer.