Jason Mackey | Observer Reporter
These never get old.
Yes, the Peters Township High School girls soccer team has won consecutive PIAA Class AAA titles. The Indians also seem to lose to a local team, oh, about every NHL lockout or so.
But reaching the WPIAL Class AAA championship match never loses its luster, which is something top-seeded Peters Township did with a 3-0 victory over No. 5 seed Gateway Wednesday night at Baldwin High School.
“Every year feels like a new situation,” junior Emily Franty said. “You’re moving up. You’re getting older every year, and it feels like there’s more responsibility as you get older. You kind of forget how good it feels.”
The victory puts the Indians (19-1) in the WPIAL final Saturday – site and time to be determined – against No. 2 Seneca Valley, which scored a 1-0 victory in the other semifinal over No. 3 Bethel Park. The Raiders are also 19-1 and have won 19 consecutive matches after dropping a 1-0 game to Hampton to open the season.
Against the Gators (16-4-1), Veronica Latsko scored two goals – her 31st and 32nd of the season – and Emily Franty added her 13th to give Peters Township its 12th shutout. The Indians’ only loss was a 3-2 defeat to Cumberland Valley, which has two the past two PIAA spring soccer titles. Peters Township has given up just 11 goals while scoring 117, an astonishing goal differential of plus-106.
“We don’t want to take anything for granted,” Latsko said. “We expect to play our best, and if our best leads us to the WPIAL final or further, we’re more than happy.”
Latsko gave the Indians a 1-0 lead while executing a beautiful turn-and-fire attempt with her right foot in the game’s 11th minute. Franty made it 2-0 in the 54th minute when she dove to finish a Latsko rebound and was later helped up by her teammate.
“When you get that second goal, it sort of calms everybody down a little bit,” Indians coach Pat Vereb said. “”But it was a good game for us. Sometimes it’s better when it’s not easy because you get the kids playing in a pressure situation.”
The lead was stretched to 3-0 when Rachel Troscinski sent a beautiful stretch pass to Latsko in the 77th minute. Peters Township suffered a 3-2 loss to Upper St. Clair in the WPIAL final last year, but the Indians will be hoping for a much different result this time around.
“It feels really good to be in this position again, to have another opportunity to be in the WPIAL finals,” Franty said. “Being a game where we could potential win another gold medal, it’s really special.”