Mastrangelo scores twice to propel Peters Township past Central Catholic in state quarterfinals
Even though he was playing soccer, Mario Mastrangelo did a little high-stepping in the end zone Saturday.
Mastrangelo scored a pair of goals to lead Peters Township to a 3-0 victory over Central Catholic in a PIAA Class AAA quarterfinal at Canon-McMillan.
Mastrangelo’s second goal looked nearly impossible to pull off. After a shot slipped beneath diving Vikings goalkeeper Anthony Tirone, Mastrangelo high-stepped around Tirone and backpedaled to the right of the goal. As he was about to go out of bounds on the pitch that doubles as a football field, Mastrangelo tapped the ball with his right foot, putting just enough spin on it that it found the net.
“I knew it was pretty late, and we needed another one,” said Mastrangelo, a senior striker. “I just wanted to get a shot on goal, and I kind of got lucky and it went into the goal.
“I just tried to get it across the net and see if someone was there, and it ended up going in. I’ll take it.”
The two-time WPIAL champion Indians (20-2) will face the winner of Archbishop Wood and Lower Dauphin in the semifinals Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
Central Catholic (21-3) has been shut out twice by Peters Township this season. The Indians have allowed just five goals all season.
“Every kid that enters the field for us commits himself to defense first,” Peters Township coach Bob Dyer said. “If we keep a zero (on the scoreboard), we have a good chance of winning. We put numbers on the ball from the forwards all the way back, and that’s what one of our strengths is.”
The Indians got on the board early when Brady Pike knocked in a loose ball within the first 10 minutes of the match.
The Vikings had scoring opportunities but were unable to capitalize. Meanwhile, the Indians, with the help of Mastrangelo, broke open a close match.
With his team trailing 1-0 in the second half, Central Catholic’s Ryan Sproule missed on a header from inside the box. About 20 seconds later, Mastrangelo raced down the right side and scored his first goal.
Mastrangelo struck again about two minutes later to put the match out of reach.
“He made the difference for them,” Central Catholic coach Claudio Morini said.
With time winding down at the end of the first half, the Vikings’ Matt Lenhart put the ball in the net, but there was no goal as time had expired just before he got the shot off.
Morini said he could do no more than tip his cap to the Indians.
“Sometimes when you do the best you can, it’s not enough,” Morini said. “Absolutely, they are the better team. I couldn’t ask for anything more from my players.”
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.