HERSHEY, Pa. -- It's unlikely that any high school team would like to be compared to a serpent. But Peters Township's girls soccer team was pure python Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
The Indians (24-1) dominated District 3 champion Cumberland Valley (22-3-1) in the PIAA Class AAA girls soccer championship, 1-0, becoming just the second Class AAA team to win three consecutive PIAA girls soccer titles.
And the Indians did it with constriction, wrapping themselves around what passed for Cumberland Valley's offense and ever-so-slowly squeezing the air out of the Eagles. The proof is in the numbers, or, more accurately, the lack of numbers. The Indians allowed Cumberland Valley just one shot, and it wasn't directly on goal. Cumberland Valley had no corners; Peters Township had 10.
Peters Township was so suffocating that after its lone goal, a gorgeous cross by Olivia Roberson that was chipped in by Emily Franty 4:46 into the second half, coach Pat Vereb had no concerns about the Eagles mounting a comeback. That's what happened in a midseason game with the Eagles, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three goals in the final 15 minutes to hand Peters Township its lone loss of the season.
"When you have a 1-0 lead, that's the game in soccer," Vereb said. "We weren't able to get the second goal, but our girls were so passionate about chasing down loose balls that they were never able to get out of their end in the second half."
The game was billed as the girls soccer equivalent of a heavyweight title fight. Peters Township had won the past two fall championships; Cumberland Valley had won the past two titles of the now-dissolved spring championship. The regular-season game played in late September only added a layer of intrigue and anticipation.
But it was no contest. Peters Township's possession was almost the entire game, especially after the Indians gained the lead.
"The three-peat was such a motivation," Franty said. "We're a team that really fights when we want something, and we wanted that state championship.''
Cumberland Valley coach Seth Lehman could only shower Peters Township with praise, saying the Indians "are a great team, a tremendous team. If I'm going to lose, I want to lose to a team like that."
"We didn't want [all-state player] Veronica Latsko, who's just a great player, to beat us, and she didn't" Lehman added.
But everyone else did, except possibly goalkeeper Carly Johns, because, well, she really didn't have anything to do. The only surprise was that the PIAA didn't require her to buy a ticket because she was as much a spectator as participant -- she touched the ball twice.
Even so, the game was in some doubt as long as the Indians weren't on the board.
But that changed soon enough in the second half. Roberson made a quick charge down the left sideline, crossed to Franty in the box and the junior chipped it up softly past Dani Shambaugh for the only goal necessary.
"It looked like it was going in slow motion," Franty said. "I kept waiting for it to get in the net."
Vereb claimed he had no idea his team's third title was a history-maker, but he was certain how he felt about it.
"I'm just proud this championship resides in District 7," Vereb said.