ShareThis Page

Without injured Latsko, Peters Township girls to have different look

| Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 11:21 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Peters Township goaltender Megan Parker works out during practice Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Peters.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Peters Township goaltender Megan Parker works out during practice Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Peters.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Peters Township's Carly Johns works out during practice Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Peters.
Greensburg Central Catholic junior forward Frannie Crouse in action versus Richland on August 23, 2012 in Carbon. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier Mt. Pleasant's Jordan Toohey (16) for cutout photo.

Veronica Latsko's teammates at Peters Township are doing everything they can to ensure she extends her high school soccer playing career.

The only way they have even a chance of perhaps succeeding in that quest is a deep playoff run. The Indians have proven quite adept at that in recent years.

Latsko, a University of Virginia recruit and a two-time Pennsylvania player of the year, sustained a torn ACL injury in her right knee in May. Recovery time after the resulting surgery for such an injury can vary, but using a six-month time frame as a guide, that leaves Latsko as out until mid-November.

Last season, there was only one Class AAA girls soccer game played in Pennsylvania after Nov. 15: the PIAA championship contest that Peters Township won, 1-0, against Cumberland Valley.

That was the third straight PIAA title for the Indians — and Latsko starred on all three championship teams.

Nothing is guaranteed, but Peters Township is out for a four-peat as much as to give Latsko every last ounce of chance possible to return to the team.

“Absolutely, 100 percent,” senior teammate Emily Franty said. “Ultimately, we don't know what decision she and her family are going to make for whenever we get into the playoffs, but all of us look at it like, ‘OK, how are we going to give ourselves the best shot to give Veronica a chance?'

“If it doesn't come, it doesn't come. But it's given us that mindset and definitely has motivated us even more as a team.”

Not that the Indians have needed such outside influences to attain PIAA championship goals in the past. But although Peters Township enters this season as the three-time reigning state champion, the lineup will have a drastically different look. And not just because of Latsko.

Counting Latsko and graduating seniors, at least 10 players who were starters at some point last season are not available now. Just three players who will be in the projected lineup this season were at least part-time starters at their positions last year.

“We're certainly a new team,” coach Pat Vereb said. “We're young, but we've been in this position before. I don't think we come in with nearly the experience or expectations we usually have.

“People around the program are not going to have the same expectations, but our goals are not going to change.”

Safe to say, those goals are lofty.

Consider that in addition to the PIAA three-peat, Peters Township has advanced to each of the past five WPIAL championship games, winning three. In the two seasons before that run began, 2006 and '07, the Indians had undefeated regular seasons.

Players with starting experience who return include Franty, junior midfielder Lauren Carpenter, sophomore defender Madeline LaVigna and junior Carly Johns.

Johns started as goalie last season but was a defender previously. Last season, she was filling in for Megan Parker, who was out with a knee injury. Parker is back for her senior season.

Junior forward Madison Santo is among the players for whom Vereb forecasts a breakout season.

“We pride ourselves in being the best possible playoff team we can be,” Vereb said. “It's not about being ranked, it's not about your record or whatever — our goal is to be peaking at playoff time, and five of the last six years we've played in the WPIAL championship. That's what we set out to do. I don't know if it'll happen, but we strive every year to do it.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.