Peters Township earns PIAA Class AAA boys soccer title
HERSHEY — Following their first goal in the PIAA Class AAA boys soccer championship game, Peters Township’s players raced toward their bench, faced their fans and launched imaginary arrows into the crowd in unison.
The act symbolized what Great Valley coach Dave Moffett considered the Indians’ greatest strength. From seemingly all angles and with one wave after another, Peters Township constantly attacked Saturday night.
A 2-1 win at Hersheypark Stadium secured Peters Township’s (22-2) first PIAA title since 2007 and fourth overall. Senior twins Nicco and Mario Mastrangelo finished with a goal and an assist each. The scores came during a flurry of offensive action midway through the second half.
While they found the back of the net, the rest of the Indians kept District 1 runner-up Great Valley (19-6-2) flustered.
“We had some great chances in the first half, but we knew we needed better chances,” senior midfielder Rylen Faloni said. “We came out with tremendous pressure, and it gave us the lead.”
The teams left the field at halftime in a scoreless tie. But Peters Township, which had a 6-1 edge in shots on goal, generated more promising opportunities. Patriots senior goalkeeper Aidan Claffey shined with his saves, including a close-range stop on a breakaway by Mario Mastrangelo early in the game.
“They had chances, too, and their serves were so good on set pieces,” Indians coach Bob Dyer said. “We were really worried and didn’t think that one goal would take it. And you worry that you are missing chances.”
With less than 23 minutes left in the game, Peters Township made the most of a golden opportunity. Nicco Mastrangelo buried a shot to the back post with almost no defensive pressure after he chased down a ball that a Great Valley player ineffectively deflected with his head deep in the Patriots’ end.
The group archer celebration followed.
“At the beginning of the season, we did it once. And honestly, on the bus ride here, we decided we were going to shoot the arrows in the stands,” Faloni said.
Mario Mastrangelo added his goal with 18:40 left when he found a loose ball near Great Valley’s net and put a low shot by Claffey.
“They disrupt what you try to do,” Moffett said of the Indians. “We’re known as a team that possesses the ball, and the time with the ball was so much shorter because of their athleticism and their ability to close it down.”
Less than a minute after Mario Mastrangelo’s goal, Great Valley senior Mike Carrigan charged into the top of the Indians’ 18-yard box and dove to head a long rebound past Peters Township senior keeper Josh Deyarmin.
Peters Township clamped down on Great Valley the rest of the way. The Patriots finished with just three shots on goal.
“I thought that was as strong a team as we’ve played all season,” Dyer said. “With their athleticism and their skill, they came through the midfield with great pace and little touches.”
That flair wasn’t enough to overcome the Indians.
“We know teams from the east like to play with it more, but we weren’t prepared for them to keep it on the ground that much,” Faloni said. “Once we figured it out, we got to them.”