WPIAL Girls' Soccer Championships: Moon vs. Mars an intergalactic battle

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Sometimes it happens that by moving down, one can actually move up ... at least that seems to be the case when it comes to WPIAL girls soccer.

After competing at the Class AAA level for a while, the Mars Area girls' soccer team moved down to Class AA for the 2010 season.

This year, Moon made a similar move, dropping from the big-school classification to Class AA.

Neither team has lost a game to a WPIAL Class AA opponent since. Something will give Saturday during the WPIAL soccer championships. No. 1 Mars (18-1-1) meets No. 2 Moon (20-1) in an out-of-this-world matchup, arguably, the most heavily anticipated of Saturday.

Mars, the Section 2 champion, has won 14 consecutive games, two WPIAL championships in a row and is the reigning PIAA champion. Since dropping to Class AA after the 2009 season, the Planets are 56-0-1 against WPIAL Class AA competition.

This season its only blemishes are a loss at Class AAA power Pine-Richland and a tie at Norwin, another perennial AAA contender.

Yet the Planets are anything but a shoo-in to make it a third consecutive WPIAL championship.

In their path to that achievement are the Moon Tigers. This matchup has been seemingly a foregone conclusion since the Tigers moved down to Class AA after last season. In Class AAA Moon was a perennial contender, winning the WPIAL title in 2004 and reaching the PIAA final in 2004 and '06.

Moon has won 10 games in a row heading into the championship. Its lone loss this season was at Seneca Valley, you guessed it, yet another Class AAA powerhouse.

The Tigers are led by senior forward Antonia Grese who scored 19 goals during the regular season and added the game-winner in Moon's 2-1 WPIAL semifinal win against Central Valley.

Mars has a powerful but balanced offense with four players scoring 19 goals or more during the regular season -- junior forward Karli Paracca (22), junior forward Lydia Dennis (28), senior defender Amber Ficther (20) and senior midfielder Bethany Perri (19).

Class AAA

Peters Township is playing in its fifth consecutive WPIAL Class AAA championship game.

The top-seeded Indians (19-1) might want to avoid a one-goal game when it faces No. 2 Seneca Valley (19-1) on Saturday. Peters Township has lost three of the past four WPIAL championship matches, all by one goal.

The Indians lone triumph was a 3-0 win against Norwin in 2010. Peters Township is undefeated against WPIAL opponents this season while Seneca Valley has won 19 consecutive games after a season-opening 1-0 loss to Hampton.

Peters Township, the Section 5 champions, are led by senior forward Olivia Roberson, the top scorer in Class AAA with 35 goals during the regular season and junior forward Veronica Latsko, the reigning Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year who scored 30 goals during the regular season.

Latsko scored two goals in the Indians 3-0 victory against Gateway in the WPIAL semifinals.

The Section 2 champion Raiders are the No. 2 seed for the second year in a row. They are led by senior forward Morgan Williams who scored 18 regular season,

Class A

Sewickley Academy (20-0-1) enters the WPIAL Class A title game undefeated and seeded No. 2 but also as a decided underdog against top-seeded Greensburg Central Catholic (18-1).

The Centurions own one of the most dynamic scoring duos in the state with juniors Frannie Crouse and Malea Fabean. Crouse has 103 career goals and 43 goals this season including a hat-trick in the WPIAL semifinals. Fabean has 30 goals.

Greensburg Central Catholic is a combined 55-7-1 over the past three seasons. It won the second WPIAL championship in program history last season.

Sewickley Academy won the Section 1 title this season. The program has four total WPIAL titles but none since winning three consecutive from 2002-04.

The two programs last met in the 2010 WPIAL semifinals, a 3-2 Greensburg Central Catholic victory.

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