Trib Cup: State champion Peters Township boys soccer full of ‘stars’
The Peters Township boys soccer team will be adding a star to its uniforms this offseason.
In soccer, it’s tradition to put a star on a team’s uniform after winning a championship at the highest level. After last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Great Valley in the PIAA Class AAA championship, the Indians will be able to add a fourth star, signifying PIAA titles in the program’s history.
“We have three gold stars on our uniforms and we talked all season that the way to make your mark on this program forever is to get a gold star. … They’ll be on the uniforms now forever, and that was a huge motivating factor for them,” Peters Township coach Bob Dyer said.
After claiming both WPIAL and PIAA titles, the Indians (22-2) are highlighted as this week’s Trib Total Media/WPXI High School Sports Award feature team, helping Peters Township reach second place in the Class AAAA standings.
Peters Township had several sources of motivation entering the WPIAL title game as it hoped to be the first Class AAA team to repeat as league champions since Bethel Park in 2006-07 and avenge two regular season losses to section rival Upper St. Clair.
“It means so much to us,” senior Nicco Mastrangelo said. “Knowing that the WPIAL is so tough, it gave us motivation to try and repeat this year.”
But it was the motivation of the team’s senior leaders that spurred the team to a 5-1 victory to earn the WPIAL title.
“I think in high school it’s unique because it’s always a different set of kids. … There’s some new starters and new captains and they wanted to be the ones that led this team to a championship,” Dyer said. “Each and every year is different with different players, and that motivates them.”
That group of captains was led by Nicco Mastrangelo and his twin brother, Mario, who each contributed with a goal and assist in the PIAA championship.
“I think as strong as they are athletically and as hard working as they are fueled our offense, but I think they would also tell you that the balls that they got, the players that played those passes and put them into that space allowed them to show their talent,” Dyer said.
That supporting cast included players like seniors Ryan Ponchione, Jonathan Sion and Rylen Faloni, along with junior midfielder Matt Massucci.
The Indians were also strong around their own goal, as keeper Josh Deyarmin allowed a mere six goals all season.
While Deyarmin and defenders such as Jake Cavalli played a key role in that statistic, the midfielders and forwards also displayed a strong willingness to defend, leading to what Dyer called “an infectious” attitude in his team’s commitment to defense.
“We really work on all 10 field players hunting the ball and applying pressure,” Dyer said.
Added Mario Mastrangelo: “We take so much pride in how we defend.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.