South Xtra: Indians win an unprecedented third state title in a row

PIAA SOCCER: GIRLS CLASS AAA


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It was the night before they had a chance to make history on the soccer field, but the only concern the Peters Township girls' soccer team had was going to see the new Twilight movie.

When you make Hershey your destination three consecutive Novembers, one tends to have a calm, cool, no-worry attitude about situations like this as well as developing traditions.

For Peters Township, their mid-November tradition the past three years has been to travel to Hershey, practice at a local high school, eat at a local restaurant, tour Chocolate World, go see one of the movies in the Twilight saga and then go out and win a state championship.

The Indians became the first WPIAL girls soccer team to win three consecutive PIAA championships when it defeated Cumberland Valley, 1-0, Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.

"The coaching staff suffers through the Twilight movies," coach Pat Vereb joked. "When it is opening night of Twilight, it is the most important thing in the world to them. When you are with 25 high school girls, the majority wins."

The majority that won when it came time to decide on a movie also won on the field. And it was fitting that the state championship win came against Cumberland Valley, the only team to defeat Peters Township (25-1) this season.

The teams previously met in a non-league, regular-season match at Peters Township on Sept. 29 as the Indians watched a 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 defeat.

As rare as a "three-peat" is, the game on Saturday was guaranteed to produce a three-time state champion. Cumberland Valley, out of District 3, had won the previous two spring state titles but with the entire state moving to a fall schedule this year, there is only one state champion.

"This is the first true state title that every girls soccer team in the state competed for," Vereb said.

Junior forward Veronica Latsko, the reigning Gatorade Pennsylvania girls soccer player of the year, finished with 37 goals this season. Senior forward Olivia Roberson led all scorers in Class AAA during the regular season with 35 goals and also finished with 37 overall.

It was Roberson who came up with the assist on the lone goal of the PIAA title game, sending a cross to junior Emily Franty who chipped it over Cumberland Valley goalie Dani Shambaugh's head. That would be all the Peters Township defense would need in front of sophomore goalie Carly Johns as it notched its third consecutive shutout and fifth of the postseason and 15th overall this season.

The accomplishments of this group at Peters Township are staggering. On top of being the first "true" state champion, the Indians, over the past three years have played in every possible game permitted by WPIAL and PIAA rules.

In 2010 they went 23-2 reaching the WPIAL and PIAA championship games, winning both. In 2011 they went 20-3-1 reaching the WPIAL and PIAA championship games and this year they went 25-1, once again reaching both championship games.

"I think the first team [in 2010] had a lot of pressure to win a state title," Vereb said. "The second team kind of came from nowhere, we graduated a majority of our starters [from the previous season]. This one had the biggest expectation to win it. They stepped up and never faltered."

The seniors finish their career with an 87-9-3 record, three Section 4 titles, two WPIAL silver medals, two WPIAL gold medals and three PIAA gold medals. They played for seven out of a possible eight medals in four years.

The senior starters were Roberson, central midfielders Nicole Hume, Rachel Troscinski and Caitlin Carey and defenders Morgan Creehan and Abbie LaVigna.

"They played in every possible game you could play -- it has just been a great run," Vereb said. "This is probably one of the best team chemistries I have ever seen. A lot of these kids grew up playing together.

"Having been to Hershey before, they have a familiarity with the trip. Once the game comes, they are used to playing, the stage so to speak is not too big.

hssoccer

First Published November 21, 2012 5:00 AM


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