Peters Township three-peats as state girls soccer champs
HERSHEY — Peters Township girls soccer coach Pat Vereb gives his team a simple message during preparation for each game. And the Indians players rarely took it to heart as much as they did when they prepared to play Cumberland Valley.
“Our coach always says to find something that motivates you,” junior forward Emily Franty said. “Out of all the things we could have used, we wanted revenge on the team that kept us from having a perfect season, and that was definitely on our minds.”
Peters Township (24-1-0) could not have picked a more fitting way to exact its vengeance, as Franty scored the only goal in the Indians' 1-0 victory over Cumberland Valley (22-3-1) on Saturday in the PIAA Class AAA championship at Hersheypark Stadium.
“It feels amazing, and I am so thrilled right now,” Franty said. “I feel like we've just come so far, and to finish the season like that is so awesome.”
Peters Township joined Henderson (1997-99) in Class AAA and Villa Joseph Marie from District 1 (2000-02) in Class AA as the only schools to win three consecutive girls soccer state championships.
“It's just unbelievable, and I don't think I can wrap my hands around it right now,” Vereb said. “There wasn't a lot of pressure, but there was a lot of expectation because we brought back most of last year's team.”
Peters Township's win also completed a perfect WPIAL run in the girls championships. Greensburg Central Catholic beat Conwell-Egan, 5-1, in Class A, and Moon edged Archbishop Wood, 1-0, in Class AA.
Cumberland Valley, which handed Peters Township its only loss of the season, 3-2, on the Indians' home field Sept. 29, also came into the match as a two-time defending state champion. Until this year the Eagles played spring soccer and won the single-classification — essentially Class AAA — crowns in 2011 and ‘12 before making the transition to fall soccer this year.
“The transition wasn't that hard because we had good senior leaders that did a fantastic job maintaining that level every day at practice,” Cumberland Valley coach Seth Lehman said.
Franty came up with the big play that extended the Indians' state playoff winning streak to 12 games. Senior forward Olivia Roberson came down the left side and flicked a pass into the low slot, where Franty chipped it over Cumberland Valley goalkeeper Dani Shambaugh with 35:14 remaining.
“Liv had a fantastic run down the field, and it was there and I got a foot on it,” Franty said. “I peeked over my shoulder and felt like it was like slow-motion going over the keeper's hands, and at first I couldn't believe it and then it set in.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.