Peters Township edges Pine-Richland in penalty kicks
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Peters Township girls soccer coach Pat Vereb has seen enough playoff games to realize no points are awarded for style.
“Fight, win and advance,” Vereb said. “It's not always pretty. Just win and move forward.”
Which Peters Township did in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals Wednesday at Chartiers Valley.
In dramatic fashion, too, as Laurel Carpenter, Carly Johns, Riley Partyka and Madison Santo scored in penalty kicks to help the second-seeded Indians down No. 10 Pine-Richland, 1-0.
Goalkeeper Megan Parker made a pair of stops to preserve the win.
“I'm a senior,” Parker said. “So I really wouldn't have wanted my last game to be lost in penalty kicks. That gave me the motivation to get in there and play another game with this team.”
Peters Township (15-4-1) advances to Monday's semifinal round and will play No. 6 Bethel Park at a time and site to be determined.
The Indians have won the past three PIAA Class AAA titles and have reached the WPIAL final five consecutive years.
Santo, whose goal set off the celebration, said Peters Township's players remained calm because penalty kicks are a normal part of the Indians' practice routine.
“We practice them a lot,” Santo said. “We're used to it.”
Pine-Richland gave Peters Township all it could handle as Erin Rodgers nearly sent the Rams (12-6-2) home victorious with a left-footed drive less than three minutes into the first overtime, a shot Parker barely saved to allow the game to continue.
“We played well for 80 minutes,” Pine-Richland coach Jodi Chmielewski said. “They had a little edge in the second overtime. Take it to PKs and anything can happen, but I was proud of how our girls played.”
Four corner kicks within the first six minutes of the second 15-minute overtime period netted no goals for Peters Township.
The eighth and final corner kick of the period resulted in Peters Township bringing up Parker. But Parker's kick sailed a few inches over the crossbar.
Peters Township forward Emily Franty nearly scored with about a minute left in regulation, streaking toward the goal and forcing a shot toward Pine-Richland goalkeeper Leah Roth. But her attempt at the rebound was swept away by Pine-Richland defender Kate Graszl.
Franty had her first, good chance in the 68th minute.
The play started when she led herself with a pass and chased it down the left flank.
She got plenty into the shot, but her left-footed drive was knocked out of bounds.
Parker fought through contact to make a save on Pine-Richland's third corner kick in the 73rd minute.
Each team mustered three shots in the opening half, but nobody scored.
Pine-Richland's best chance came on a free kick from 45 yards in the 29th minute. Midfielder Abbey Kalin played it short, turned and shot from 30 yards, but Parker pulled down the high shot with no problem.
A minute later, Peters Township was awarded the first corner kick of the game for either team. Johns' well-struck header was gobbled up by Roth.
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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