Luke Campbell | Observer-Reporter
No one in the stands or lining the fence under umbrellas to shield themselves from the constant rain at Peters Township High School should have expected anything different.
When the Indians and Canon-McMillan recharge its rivalry in girls soccer, two things can be expected. One, it’s going to be physical, and two, the margin of victory is going to be narrow.
“There have been plenty of games between us and Canon-Mac over the years that have been tight,” said Peters Township coach Pat Vereb. “It’s what makes high school athletics fun. You are playing for your school against your rival neighborhood. Both programs know what it takes to win.”
Both were true again Monday night.
Fighting off defenders, Regan LaVigna collected a pass from teammate Cecilia Scott and took a few quick touches before connecting with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner of the net in the 72nd minute to break a scoreless tie and give Peters Township a 1-0 victory over Canon-McMillan in Section 2-AAAA.
It was the 10th time in the last 12 meetings a game between the two heated rivals was decided by one goal.
“Ever since I’ve came in my freshmen year, it’s been a battle,” LaVigna said.
But that battle has mostly, and closely, been won by Canon-McMillan. The Big Macs won five of the last six games against Peters Township dating back to 2015.
Canon-McMillan (5-3-1, 3-3-1) nearly made it six out of the last seven just nine minutes into the second half when Emily Clopp emerged from a pack of PT defenders and created a brief one-on-one matchup with Indians’ goalkeeper Emma Sawich.
Recognizing the busted coverage, Sawich attacked from the net and dove at Clopp’s feet as she shot to make the save and keep the game scoreless.
“Emma made a big save in a moment we needed her to step up,” Vereb said. “Canon-Mac came out and controlled a majority of the first half. We made adjustments to get more control and one of our goal scorers made a great play.”
The two other quality chances for C-M came in the first half from Clopp, who split defenders less than 10 minutes into the game for what ended up being a harmless shot and hitting the side of the net after creating separation streaking down the sideline halfway through the first 40 minutes.
“I think we outplayed them,” said C-M coach Dave Derrico. “I thought we played a better brand of soccer tonight than they did. We played a good game. We made one mistake in 80 minutes but for 72 minutes we outplayed them.”
Peters Township (6-1, 8-1) also had a pair of chances in the opening half. Hannah Stuck took a bouncing ball in the box and grazed the top of the crossbar just over 12 minutes into the game. With 15:40 remaining, Jillian Marvin collected a through ball, sprinted down the far sideline and took a shot that was snagged by the goalkeeper.
“Obviously, it feels great,” LaVigna said. “Especially winning this game on our home turf. We needed to make a statement.”