PT girls take runner-up trophy
Seneca Valley's Alexis Pucci battles Peters Township's Emily Cottrill (No. 10) for possession of the ball during WPIAL Class AAA girls' soccer championship action. The Raiders defeated the Indians, 1-0, on a header by Caroline Miller with three minutes to play in the game.
Second place is never satisfying. Yet, Peters Township can be pleased with its WPIAL runner-up title in girls’ soccer.
While the Lady Indians have been in this position in the past, where they recovered to capture a state championship, they have accomplished much when compared to their 1-0 loss to Seneca Valley in the Class AAA championship contest Nov. 1 at Highmark Stadium.
“I’m still very proud that we took the game to the last four minutes,” said head coach Pat Vereb.
The Indians are proud to have returned to the district finals for the fourth year in a row, having won twice. For they have had their hardships.
Even before the season started, they knew they would be without Veronica Latsko. The All-American, who is bound for the University of Virginia, tore her ACL on May 19. Though she warmed up, the senior striker, who has scored over 100 career goals, did not play against Seneca Valley.
Neither did Maddie Schwerzler, nor Emily Franty. Schwerzler has a broken leg and Franty, the team’s top scorer, was ineligible to play because she received two yellow cards in the semifinal win against Bethel Park, 2-1.
“Since those three kids weren’t in, we were moving people around and trying some new things,” explained Vereb.
The strategy of using defender Carly Johns and freshman Mia Toscano up front worked for all but the 77th minute. That’s when Caroline Miller headed a corner kick from Alicia Hart into the net for the gamewinner and the Raiders’ third WPIAL title in school history.
“They wore us out, basically,” Vereb said. “We struggled to get out of our end physically, and when you continue to give up corner kicks and throw-ins, especially against a dangerous team, it will cost you.”
After a fairly even first half, Seneca Valley dominated time of possession in the second half. They nearly capitalized on another corner kick in the 50th minute. However, Megan Parker snagged a line drive shot in front of the net by Hart.
The contest was a rematch of last year’s championship. In overtime, Latsko headed in the gamewinner off a corner kick, giving the Indians the title.
While Seneca Valley (18-2-1) took on Bethel Park (18-3-1) in the first round of the PIAA playoffs last night, Peters Township (16-5-1) faced State College. The Lady Indians are the three-time defending state champion.
Lance Lysowski contributed to this article.
PT girls take runner-up trophy
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