Bill West | Trib Live
Peters Township forward Nicco Mastrangelo watched his identical twin, Mario, seize the spotlight moment in the WPIAL Class AAA championship a year ago.
Nicco Mastrangelo made sure he left Highmark Stadium Friday night with his own highlights to savor.
The senior star with left-footed tendencies – Mario favors his right – scored twice in a 3-minute span midway through the first half to fuel the No. 3 seed Indians’ 5-1 win over No. 1 Upper St. Clair (19-1-1) – the margin of victory was the most lopsided in Class AAA since Moon beat North Allegheny, 5-0, in 1990.
Peters Township (18-2), which also topped the Panthers for a title in 2013, became the first team to win back-to-back Class AAA championships since Bethel Park came out on top in 2006 and 2007.
“Back to back feels great, especially against St. Clair, because they’re a big rival,”” Nicco said.
Mario scored the game-winner in the Indians’ 1-0 upset of Upper St. Clair last season.
He earned an assist Friday by setting up his twin’s second goal, which came with 14:33 left in the opening half.
“After him seeing me (score last year), I bet he wanted to do it just like I did,” Mario said.
Both twins also factored in Peters Township’s first goal. Mario chased down a long free kick that bounced inside Upper St. Clair’s 18-yard box and headed a ball that Panthers goalkeeper Kenny Rapko poked just over the crossbar with his fingertips.
The ensuing corner kick, taken by senior Ryan Ponchione, ended with Nicco sneaking to the far side of the net and scoring off a header.
Nicco received an assist on senior Jonathan Sion’s second-half goal, which gave the Indians a 3-0 lead with 26:31 left in the contest, and Mario had Peters Township’s last goal of the game. Junior Matt Massucci also scored for Peters, as he buried a penalty kick with 15:20 left.
“We finished our chances at a pretty high rate, and we didn’t create their chances, which is what we did in the past games (against the Panthers),” said Indians coach Bob Dyer, whose team lost 1-0 and 2-1 to USC in the regular season.
Peters’s shutout ended in the final 20 minutes with a goal by senior forward Shayne Sibley, the Panthers’ leading scorer.
Upper St. Clair fell in the WPIAL finals for the third time in as many years. However, the Panthers went on to win PIAA titles each of the past two seasons.
In the first round the PIAA playoffs, which begin Tuesday, Peters Township will play the winner of a play-in game between the District 6 and 8 champions. Upper St. Clair will meet the District 3 runner-up the same day at a time and site to be determined.
“It’s been brought up,” Upper St. Clair coach Mike Blatz said of the Panthers’ PIAA bounce-back runs. “But it’s not something that we wanted to bank on tonight. We wanted to come in and give a good performance. I thought we played well in spurts.”