Seneca Valley beats Peters Township to repeat as WPIAL Class 4A champs

Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 8:33 PM

Last season, the Seneca Valley Raiders won WPIAL and state boys soccer championships with an experienced team and lost a fair amount from that group to graduation.

The run involved a double overtime win over Peters Township in the WPIAL title match, and the two teams set on a collision course to meet again, this time at Highmark Stadium, to compete for the Class 4A title.

They squared off Saturday night, with the Indians looking for their 10th title and the Raiders their third.

With a two-goal night from leading scorer Nathan Prex and strong work defensively to withstand charges by the Indians, the Raiders became champions for the third time in four years, winning 3-1 across the river from downtown Pittsburgh.

“To be able to take a group that we had almost starting from scratch from last year (and) knowing we had an unbelievably strong Peters Township team coming at us wanting payback for last year … it was a daunting task,” Seneca Valley coach George Williams said. “To be able to take this group and do what we did with them this year is just as amazing as everything else.”

The Raiders jumped out to an early lead on a goal by Prex in the eighth minute on a shot to the top opposite corner of the net from outside the 18-yard box. Seneca Valley extended its early lead to two in the 21st minute on a marker by Cole Kamarec.

It was a great start for the Raiders, who took advantage of Peters Township missing a player on the back end.

“We wanted to keep the pressure on their backs, and they have dangerous forwards that we knew we had to watch out for. The goal they scored was out of nowhere and we had to stay aggressive,” Williams said.

Andrew Massucci scored in the 33rd minute for Peters Township to make it 2-1.

“We hadn’t seen (the style they played) on video,” Peters Township coach Bob Dyer said. “That’s the best game we’ve seen them play. They were great in the first 25 minutes, and we creeped back in at the end of the first half, but they got the third one there.”

The third goal for the Raiders came on a breakaway chance for Prex, who got behind the defense and scored to put the match away.

“We were a little worried there for a little bit,” Williams said. “We got two goals up and they pressed. Like the great team they are, they came back, punched us right back in the mouth and had us on our heels a little bit. We were able to keep the (drama) from happening.”

On Prex, who received a yellow card in the second half for arguing a call against him, Williams said that the talent to put it away was a big credit to him.

“We’re very thankful to have had him on his game tonight,” Williams said. “We also have a great cast around him, but I couldn’t be prouder of this team. We had some words for him to keep his composure and he made a big play.”

The comeback effort fell short for the Indians.

“They were able to get it open ended for the bulk of the game. I was impressed with their athleticism and how hard they were on the ball,” Dyer said. “Those things tallied up over time. We weren’t ever able to sustain attacks for long periods of time, and that wore on us.”

The Indians won’t have much time to dwell on it. The journey will continue Tuesday in the state playoffs against District 6 champion State College, which won a regional championship game Saturday against D-10 champ McDowell.

The state playoffs begin Tuesday for the champion Raiders as well. Seneca Valley will battle District 3 fourth-place team Hempfield.

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