Sam Werner | Post Gazette

If the true test of a champion is how they respond to adversity, Upper St. Clair passed the test with flying colors Saturday night, and the Panthers have a WPIAL Class AAA championship to show for it.

Just two minutes after a late equalizer from Peters Township, the Panthers answered with a goal to claim the title with a 2-1 win against the Indians.

[After the Peters Township goal,] I just told them, Guys, just keep playing. Nothing has really changed,” Panthers coach Uwe Schneider said. “You’re the better team out there.

In the 78th minute, Panthers freshman Garrett Blake launched a long throw-in from the right touchline into the Indians 18-yard box. Mike Worthy managed to get a head on the ball, and it bounced past Peters Township keeper Chris Gagianas.

Just two minutes earlier, the Indians put a healthy dose of doubt into what looked like a certain Panthers victory. After a Peters Township free kick from 35 yards out, the ball bounced around the Upper St. Clair box. The first few Indians shots were blocked, but Matt Girouard collected the ball just inside the 18-yard box and fired a rocket past Panthers keeper Joe Conlon. The goal was Peters Township’s only shot on goal in the match.

The Panthers scored first in the 35th minute. Dom Pezzone corralled the ball along the right touchline and crossed it to an open Matt Kiernan.Kiernan settled it on his first touch and fired a volley back across the goal past Gagianas.

The win was Upper St. Clair’s third victory over against conference rival Peters Township this season.