Staff | MSA Sports Network
WPIAL BOYS SOCCER CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS:
PETERS TOWNSHIP 2 PITTSBURGH CENTRAL CATHOLIC 1 (S/O)
The famous line from the USA hockey team’s stunning upset of Russia en route to a Gold Medal in 1980 was “Do you believe in miracles?”. For the Peters Township boys soccer team and all of their fans, the answer is a resounding “YES”. Down 1-0 in the final seconds of regulation, the Indians found a small miracle in the form of Matt Vananzi.
With :10 seconds left, the Indians Neil Harrison had a throw in from 30-yards out. Harrison threw the ball directly into the Central Catholic goal box. After bouncing off of several players, Vananzi found the loose ball in front of the goal and scored the equalizing goal with 1.5 seconds left on the clock, sending the game into OT and the Peters Township players and fans into a frenzy. The Vikings scored the first goal of the game early in the 2nd half, as Zachary Broujos scored in the 46th minute. It looked like that would be enough for Central Catholic to win their 15th consecutive game, until Vananzi’s heroics in the final seconds.
Despite giving up the late goal, the Vikings remained composed as the teams battled through two overtime periods without scoring. After 120-minutes of soccer without a winner decided, the game came down to penalty kicks.
Peters Township shot first, and Zach Partyka beat Vikings goalkeeper Brenden Alfery. Mitchell House would shoot next for Central Catholic, but his shot was too high and went over the net. The next shooter for the Indians was Vananzi, who came through in the clutch again, beating Alferey to give Peters Township a 2-0 lead. Central Catholic’s top scorer, Zachary Johnson shot next, but Peters Township goalkeeper Christopher Gagianas dove right and stopped Johnson’s shot. Mark Enscoe would then strike for the Indians, giving them a 3-0 lead.
With that, Central Catholic had to score to keep their season alive, but it was Gagianas who would be the hero this time, as he dove left to deny the Vikings Teddy Larkin and clinch the win for Peters Township. Peters Township (14-5-1) will look to win back to back WPIAL titles and their third championship in four years when they battle South Hills rival Upper St. Clair as part of Super Soccer Saturday.