Quick goal in overtime propels Central Catholic
When the Central Catholic boys soccer team went to overtime against Peters Township in a PIAA quarterfinal Saturday, the Vikings’ coaches asked that the players give as much effort as they had left for 10 minutes. The coaches were confident the Vikings would figure out a way to score.
Turns out only 68 seconds of that were necessary.
Senior defender Andrew Stefanick converted on a corner kick in the 82nd minute to lift Central Catholic to a 3-2 victory over Peters Township, the WPIAL Class AAA champion, in a game played at Chartiers Valley.
Just last week, Peters Township outlasted Central Catholic in double overtime, scoring in the 102nd minute.
“We got the one that mattered,” said Stefanick, whose goal was only the second of his Central Catholic career. “They might have got first place, but we got to end their season.”
Junior midfielder Teddy Larkin lofted a ball he said was intended for defender Brian Horner, yet when Stefanick saw it coming his way, he directed it into the goal off his right shin guard.
“(Stefanick) really came through for us,” Larkin said.
Central Catholic (18-3-3) advanced to the PIAA Class AAA semifinals and will play either Pennsbury or Hempfield (District 3) on Tuesday.
The teams matched goals in the first half. Junior Matt Venanzi scored to give Peters Township (18-3-2) a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute before Larkin pounded home a rebound in the 27th.
In the second half, Central Catholic senior Jonathan Murphy beat Ulrich on a penalty kick in the 49th minute. The 2-1 lead would be short-lived, though: junior R.J. McGinnis tied the game for the Indians just 10 seconds later.
With the match growing more physical by the minute, Central Catholic’s coaches asked the players for one final push.
“We told them that if they play 10 good minutes of soccer, we think we’ll create a chance,” associate head coach Mark Taylor said. “We managed to do that, and the rest was history.”