CHAMBERSBURG – No disrespect was meant by it, but after the Peters Township girls soccer team defeated Seneca Valley in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals this past Saturday, one of the most popular topics of conversation was playing someone from outside the WPIAL.
Whether it was to break up the monotony or play someone who’s at least somewhat unfamiliar with the Indians’ strengths and weaknesses, players did not mince words about their excitement for Tuesday’s semifinal matchup with Wilson, if for no other reason than they would be playing someone new.
“Teams know exactly how we play,” junior striker Veronica Latsko said. “They play not to lose against us; they don’t play their game to win. We want to play a team that plays their own game to win because it’s no fun when a team’s just trying to counter the entire time.”
Wilson played to win, but the Bulldogs wound up getting burned. Latsko and Olivia Roberson scored goals six minutes apart during an impressive first half, as Peters Township advanced to the PIAA Class AAA state final for a third straight year with a 5-0 win at Chambersburg High School.
“That was one of our better performances of the year,” Peters Township coach Pat Vereb said. “We stole the momentum early in the game with some strong, athletic plays to take the lead.”
After winning state titles in 2010 and ’11, Peters Township (23-1) will try to become the first girls soccer team since Villa Joseph Marie (2000-02) to win three consecutive PIAA state championships when it travels to Hershey to play Cumberland Valley, a 2-0 winner over Neshaminy, at 4 p.m. Saturday.
“Based on how I was told teams played them all year, we didn’t shy away from them,” Wilson coach Tim Fick said. “I was told the past couple teams have played with six defenders, and everybody goes back on defense. We didn’t do that. We’re going to try to play our style; we’re going to go at them. We’re not going to duck and hide from anybody. We kept it competitive until that second half. That third goal really broke us.”
That third goal was when Latsko dribbled through four defenders and danced around Wilson goalkeeper Jess Hetrick in the 49th minute. She scored before tumbling to the ground, giving her seven goals this postseason and 37 for the year.
“All the notoriety she gets, there’s a reason,” Vereb said. “In a game in which we play an opponent like Wilson, she’s usually at her best. As opposed to some of the games back home where she’s triple-marked, and people beat up on her a bit.
“I think this was a good, wide, slow field, and she was able to get behind their defense. She’s very difficult to catch once she gets free.”
Laurel Carpenter scored in the 56th minute and Alexis Alavi added one in the 78th minute for Peters Township, which has reached the PIAA Class AAA championship game in four of the past five years. Rachel Troszinski had two assists, and Carly Johns had five saves in goal.
“Wilson is a great team, and I understand why they got here,” said Latsko, who has helped Peters Township win 22 of 23 postseason games during her career. “But we just really clicked tonight as a team. We just dominated. It was great.”