Franklin Regional boys soccer earns tough victory over Penn-Trafford

Thursday, September 29, 2022 | 10:20 PM

Coming off such a thrilling — and emotionally draining — upset victory against No. 1 Plum, Franklin Regional was hoping Penn-Trafford would not be a “trap game” Thursday night.

“That’s something we talked about happening,” Panthers boys soccer coach Lukas Petersen said before the game.

It was something the Panthers didn’t have to address afterwards.

Despite the visiting Warriors controlling the tempo for the better part of 60 minutes, No. 5 Franklin Regional eked out a 1-0 victory at Panther Stadium to run its winning streak to eight.

The Panthers (9-3, 9-1 Section 4-3A) have six straight wins via shutout. They swept the season series with Penn-Trafford (6-7-1, 5-4-1), winning 2-0 earlier.

The Panthers stunned Plum, 1-0, on Tuesday.

“It was such an emotional roller coaster the other night against Plum” Petersen said. “(Franklin Regional players) were on such a high, and their emotions were in flux. We had to work to push the tempo. Penn-Trafford had a good gameplan for us.”

Penn-Trafford, which started 1-4 and has dealt with a rash of injuries, is 5-3-1 in its last nine games.

The Warriors, known for keeping games close and hanging around teams with better records, possessed the ball out of the back and made the Panthers work for offense.

The disciplined style kept it scoreless for the entire first half, but the Panthers finally slipped in a goal in the 59th minute on a set piece.

Danny Christafano sent a slightly bending corner kick toward the front of the net, and Colton Hudson leapt and a redirected a header past Warriors keeper Cooper Sisson for a 1-0 lead.

“We haven’t been very effective with corners,” Petersen said. “That was a big goal to open things up.”

The Panthers let the defense do the rest as they grinded out their eighth shutout.

“P-T was very well organized,” said Hudson, who has 11 goals this season. “It’s hard to break them down. We knew that was a big goal. Our defense is playing really well. We have good chemistry in the back.”

With more offense developing in the second half, Franklin Regional outshot the Warriors, 10-4.

Christafano hit the post late in the game, and Sisson made two nice saves to keep the Panthers’ lead at one.

Sisson made eight saves, and Aryan Selokar had three for the Panthers.

“Our boys played well,” Penn-Trafford coach Sotiri Tsourekis said. “We only subbed once, so our boys played the entire game. Our gameplan was what we wanted. We had a lot of chances in front of the net. We just needed to create that one special moment, and we didn’t do that.”

Franklin Regional is chasing its sixth consecutive section title. The Panthers have split the last two titles with Plum. Both teams had 13-1 records.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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