Seneca Valley girls defeat Peters Township in WPIAL 4A final
Somewhere the Seneca Valley girls soccer team must keep a voodoo doll for when it runs into Peters Township. The Raiders’ 2-1 overtime win during the WPIAL Class AAAA championship Saturday at Highmark Stadium was sealed with late magic.
Senior forward Lauren Sileo knocked a corner kick in 1 minute, 40 seconds into overtime to seal a wild victory.
The Raiders forced overtime when Breana Valentovish scored on a free kick with three seconds remaining. Sileo said Seneca Valley wasn’t sure what the Indians would throw their way after Peters Township lost Regan LaVigna to an injury in the quarterfinals.
“All I was thinking is to keep our composure and have a good time,” Sileo said. “Everyone was yelling at each other on their team and our team too, honestly. We just had a good time like we always do and came through.”
Recently, the Raiders have tilted this postseason rivalry in their favor.
The top-seeded Raiders (16-2) won their fifth championship and improved to 3-1 all-time against Peters Township in the finals. Seneca Valley holds a 7-3 edge in postseason meetings between the two schools dating back to 2007, with the Raiders winning the previous five.
Peters Township nearly flipped the script. Leading with 35 seconds remaining, the Indians were whistled for a handball.
After a delay getting things set up, Valentovish snuck the direct kick through the defense to tie the game.
“We kept pounding and kept going,” Raiders coach Mark Perry said.
Once overtime started, Peters Township coach Pat Vereb thought his team was able to collect themselves after coming so close to winning.
“Define ready,” Peters Township coach Pat Vereb with a laugh. “Yes, they were ready. Were they feeling energetic and confident? Probably not, and that’s a natural reaction. The goal in overtime wasn’t a reaction to what happened at the end of regulation.”
The Indians (16-4) appeared collected and ready by flummoxing Seneca Valley’s offense for much of the contest.
A pair of first-half saves helped set the tone. Valentovish hit a rocket from outside the box which had to be helped over the crossbar by Indians keeper Emma Sawich.
Two minutes later, Raiders midfielder Julia Redilla also launched a shot from in close that Burrows was able to snag out of the air. Peters Township freshman Casey Breier put the Indians ahead in the 36th minute, pushing a shot in the box into the back of the net.
“I think our backline played well and did what they needed to do,” Vereb said. “We had a plan and executed that plan for 79 minutes. Unfortunately, what are the chances of giving up a free kick from 19 yards away with 10 seconds left? I’ve been through a lot of things through the years, and that’s a pretty unlucky moment.”
Peters Township’s misfortune was euphoria for Seneca Valley.
The Raiders, down to their last three seconds, found a way to torture their old rival.
“Lauren Sileo was clutch for us in the playoffs,” Perry said.