Nicholas Tolomeo | Post Gazette – PG South

Since offseason conditioning sessions commenced, Peters Township boys’ soccer coach Bob Dyer thought his team was a serious contender for a WPIAL title.

But when Peters Township senior forward Jesse Scheirer blasted in the winning goal in double overtime of the WPIAL Class AAA title game, Dyer was as surprised as he was ecstatic.

Dyer was not surprised because of who scored — Scheirer had already scored five goals in the playoffs — or that the goal gave Peters Township a WPIAL title, it was their seventh in program history and second in three years.

Dyer was surprised because after 102 minutes of soccer, he was on the sideline preparing for what he thought was an upcoming shootout and because after 102 minutes of soccer the last thing he was expecting one of his fatigued players to do was get enough behind a shot from 25 yards out to beat a goaltender.

“We had already started talking about a shootout as a staff and trying to make a decision on who would shoot,” Dyer said.

“The

[scoring] chances were few and far between, so you were thinking [a shootout] was the way it was going to go.”

And then there was the matter of Scheirer’s scorching shot.

“That is well within his ability to do that,” Dyer said.

“To do it after 102 minutes of running, exhaustion and fatigue, that is fantastic. I am not surprised who it was but maybe surprised how it happened.”

Months before Scheirer’s improbable strike in the WPIAL final, Dyer started to see this championship come together. More and more players were getting together in the offseason to work out. Senior leaders began to emerge and the leadership that would help carry this team through the season started to take shape.

Peters Township plays one of the most challenging schedules in the WPIAL. As it navigated the tough slate of games almost to perfection, the thought of challenging for a WPIAL title moved to the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Peters Township finished the regular season 13-2-2, it won Section 5-AAA and earned the No. 2 seed in WPIAL Class AAA.

Its first loss of the season came at Mt. Lebanon, the No. 1 seed in Class AAA.

Its second loss was much more unexpected. The loss came at home in the regular-season finale against Canon-McMillan. The loss was not without its benefits as Peters Township got a taste of what could be expected in the playoffs. Canon-McMillan entered the game needing a win to advance to the playoffs and played with that sense of urgency.

“Their desperation helped them but it also taught us a lesson that you have to play with that desperation to win games,” Dyer said. “That was a very good lesson that helped us these last four [playoff] matches.”

In the playoffs Peters Township knocked off Penn-Trafford, 6-0, Kiski Area, 3-2, and Norwin, 2-0, to reach the championship game.

The defense and goalie Parker Ulrich stepped up in the playoffs posting three shutouts. The defense did have a slight letdown in what amounted to a major scare early in the playoffs.

In the quarterfinals against Kiski Area the Indians found themselves in a 2-0 hole with less than 11 minutes left until a furious late-game rally saw Peters Township net three goals in the final 10:50 of the game to avert a huge upset and leave Kiski Area wondering what happened.

Zach Partyka and R.J. McGinnis scored the first two goals in the Peters Township rally and Scheirer had the game-winner.

Peters Township (18-2-2) advanced to the PIAA playoffs where it defeated District 10 champion McDowell, 3-0, on Tuesday.

The WPIAL title was the seventh for the program.

“Outside of [people in] our program, a WPIAL championship really wasn’t expected,” Dyer said. “But inside we always kind of thought that this was going to happen.”