Jason Mackey | Observer Reporter
Based on the regular season, Tuesday night’s PIAA Class AAA first-round girls soccer match between Bethel Park and Peters Township should have been a blowout, given the Indians cruised to a 4-0 win late in the regular season. In reality, though, it was anything but a lopsided game.
The Black Hawks gave Peters Township all it could handle, but the Indians got second-half goals from Emily Franty and Olivia Roberson and slipped into the quarterfinals with a 3-2 win at Chartiers Valley.
“It was a tough game,” Roberson said. “We thought we were going to come in and do our thing, but it took us awhile to get into our routine. I think we picked each other up in the second half.”
Peters Township, which won the WPIAL Class AAA title last Saturday, improved to 21-1 and will play Seneca Valley – a 2-0 winner over State College last night – Saturday, site and time to be determined. The Indians defeated Seneca Valley, 2-1, in double-overtime for their second WPIAL title in the past three years.
“It’s always good to play a team like that in this situation,” Franty said of the rematch with the Raiders. “Hopefully, we’ll be 2-0 against them. They’re a really good team, and the WPIAL final was a really good game. Hopefully, we’ll get one on them early and keep moving forward in the state playoffs.” Franty’s goal – her 14th of the season – came in the 59th minute and was the result of an Alexis Alavi pass, which Franty redirected into the right corner of the goal with her right foot.
Roberson’s tally was more of an individual effort, one where she faked two defenders and, as she said, “hit it and hoped.”
The goal was Roberson’s first of the playoffs, a muchneeded score considering the Duquesne recruit deposited a team-best 35 during the regular season.
“I feel a little relieved,” Roberson said. “I’m hoping they’re going to come a little easier now.”
Nicole Hume had a chance in the 12th minute when she chased down a long lead, but she collided with Bethel Park goalkeeper Alycia Jimenez and the ball bounced a few inches wide of the goal post to Jimenez’ right. Veronica Latsko made it 1-0 after a rebound bounced off the crossbar – there was some debate as to whether or not it hit the football goal posts – and she put it away from about five yards in the 15th minute. The goal was Latsko’s 34th this season and fourth in four playoff games.
Tatiana Ruzzini sprung A.J. Baroffio in the 34th minute, and Baroffio converted to make it a 1-1 game at halftime, nudging her attempt past Peters Township’s diving goalkeeper, Carly Johns. Latsko side-stepped a defender in the 53rd minute and nearly had an open look at the goal, though a sliding Jimenez knocked the ball off Latsko’s foot to preserve the tie. After Franty scored to produce a 2-1 Peters Township lead, Roberson gave the Indians some breathing room in the 69th minute. Which the Indians would need, as Halle Hammer scored from about 30 yards in the 73rd minute.
“It’s the state playoffs, and you can’t have the mindset that you’re going to win, 3-0, 4-0,” Franty said. “Every team that you play is really going to play you hard. So you just have to keep fighting until the end of the game.”