Kevin Jacobsen | Observer Reporter
The Peters Township boys soccer team got its march to a WPIAL title started in style.
Mario Mastrangelo netted a hat trick in three minutes, and Peters Township coasted to a 7-0 victory over Fox Chapel in a WPIAL Class AAA first-round game Monday night. Peters Township advances to play the Franklin Regional-Bethel Park winner Thursday.
“We had a couple chances earlier that we didn’t finish,” said Indians coach Bobby Dyer. “I thought as long as we continued to work hard and put the ball in the dangerous places, I felt we were going to get our opportunities, and then we were able to finish them.”
After repeated attacks met without success, the Indians (15-2) tried a new tactic on a corner kick.
On their seventh corner in the first 22 minutes, Wes Ward’s delivery that stayed on the ground was tipped in by Mastrangelo for the game’s first goal.
That opened the floodgates.
Barely a minute later, Mastrangelo recorded his second goal of the game by heading in Sean Harrison’s long throw-in.
Proving his versatility, Mastrangelo capped off the hat trick by threading a 30-yard free kick through the defensive wall and into the bottom corner for a 3-0 Peters Township lead in the 24th minute.
Not to be outdone, twin brother Nicco Mastrangelo made it 4-0 when he got behind the defenders, dribbled around the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the vacated goal. He added his second of the game two minutes into the second half by freezing the goalkeeper with a shot.
The onslaught continued seconds later. The Indians earned a free kick that was sent off the crossbar, but Matt Massucci knocked home the rebound for a 6-0 lead.
Peters Township started sluggishly and also benefited from a heads-up defensive play early in the game. Fox Chapel (8-6-3) appeared to score off a rebound from a free kick, but the Indians’ back line caught the Foxes in an offside trap, and the goal was disallowed.
That’s when Peters Township stepped on the gas and took control of the game.
“I think that every playoff game we’ve ever played, the first game, the first 10 minutes, we’ve struggled,”” said Dyer. “It’s got to be poor preparation by the coaching staff. The disallowed goal was certainly a wake-up call for the coaching staff. I would think that it was for the kids.”
Bennett Faloni also scored for the Indians.
The seven goals tied a season-high for Peters Township.
“We worked really hard to get our chances,” said Dyer. “It was nice to get rest for guys for Thursday.”