Jason Mackey | Observer Reporter
The Peters Township boys soccer team has had seven players go home from school early and miss practice time since its last game 10 days ago. Not to worry.
Senior Justin Magnotti made sure Thursday night’s WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal against visiting Seneca Valley didn’t last too long past regulation. Magnotti, who was one of those affected and could barely squeak out a sentence after the game, scored on a deflected free kick in the 86th minute to lift No. 1 seed Peters Township to a 2-1 victory in overtime.
“I had the ball at my feet, and I thought I might as well take the shot,” Magnotti said. “It was right there for me.”
So, too, is a trip to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals for Peters Township, where the Indians will play No. 13 Canon- McMillan – which beat No. 12 Franklin Regional 1-0 last night – at Baldwin Tuesday. Matt Saluga gave No. 5 seed Seneca Valley (14-5-1) a 1-0 lead in the 46th minute when he scored on a rebound from a similar spot. Anthony Crivelli started the sequence with a spectacular individual effort, cutting through the Peters Township defense before goalkeeper Max O’Hare dove and deflected his shot.
Troy Eskew tied it for Peters Township (14-1-2) by scoring after a scrum in front in the game’s 59th minute. “We tend to win a lot of games late in games,” Peters Township coach Bob Dyer said. “Whether that’s each player stepping up within this program at their time or the fact that we’ve been there before, we understand what pressure is.”
And not just sinus pressure. Midfielder Max Lindsay only returned to practice Wednesday, and defender Mark Enscoe missed two practices. Midfielder Sean Baxendale was too sick to participate in a scrimmage last Friday against South Park. But fortunately for Peters, Magnotti had enough left in the tank.
“He only had to do it once, thank God, and he did it the time that he needed to,”” said Dyer, who was also hoarse. “”That’s a great goal. Ball fell on his foot. He didn’t waste any time; he put it on the frame.”