Seneca Valley girls take down 3-time defending PIAA champion Peters Township in quarterfinals
There will be a new PIAA Class AAA champion for girls soccer after Peters Township, which had won the past three, suffered a 2-0 loss to Seneca Valley in the state quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Chartiers Valley.
Cassidy Testa and Emily Wagner scored to give the Raiders (20-2-1) their third win this season over Peters Township and second in the past eight days. Seneca Valley won those games by a combined score of 6-0.
“We beat them three times this year,” Seneca Valley goalkeeper Jess Neill said. “It feels better each time.”
Seneca Valley will play Spring-Ford — a 1-0 winner over Downingtown East — in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals Tuesday, site and time to be determined.
Neill, though not tested a ton, made three saves for Seneca Valley to record her fifth straight shutout of the postseason.
Saturday's match was not only a rematch of the WPIAL final, which Seneca Valley won, but these two met in the PIAA quarterfinals a season ago. University of Virginia-bound striker Veronica Latsko scored early to secure the win.
Latsko was sidelined this time — out for the season with a torn ACL — and Peters Township (17-6-1) was unable to produce much offensively, held without a goal in regulation for the third time in six playoff matches.
Testa gave Seneca Valley the lead in the 26th minute, sliding and chipping a loose ball with her right foot past Peters Township goalkeeper Megan Parker.
“That's my signature move,” Testa said. “I tear up my legs because I slide all the time. It's worth it, though.”
Peters Township's best chance of the opening half didn't come until the 38th minute, when Mia Toscano's header off a throw-in from Emily Franty missed wide right.
Erin Helbig had Peters Township's first true shot on goal in the 68th minute — moments after the first corner kick for either team — but Neill had no problem making the save.
“They're a tough team to score on because they're physical,” Peters Township coach Pat Vereb said. “Their goalie does a great job. We're not as potent as we were in previous years, and that matchup and those variables make it difficult.
“But I couldn't be more proud of our effort.”
Another chance occurred with about eight minutes to go, as Peters Township tilted the field for the final 25 minutes. Laurel Carpenter's free kick clanked off the crossbar, then Mariah Vucich's header did the same.
Wagner's header in the 78th minute was nothing more than cosmetic, as Seneca Valley took down the state's preeminent girls soccer program over the past few seasons.
“They're such a great program,” Seneca Valley coach Dave Sylvester said. “They have quality players, a quality coaching staff. This has been an ongoing thing between us and them for awhile, so it's kind of nice to come out on the other end for a change.”