PITTSBURGH — A fifth WPIAL title was going to elude Seneca Valley's girls soccer program.
Peters Township's 1-0 lead seemed destined to hold up and the Indians were going to knock off the top-ranked Raiders.
As the clock ticked inside the final minute, the Raiders managed one last push, one last chance to keep alive their hopes of winning a district championship.
SV's effort paid off when it was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Junior forward Breana Valentovish stepped to the fore and placed a shot past Indians' keeper Emma Sawich in the bottom left corner of the net. The score came with three seconds left.
The Raiders wasted little time deciding things in overtime as Lauren Sileo's header in the 82nd minute gave them the 2-1 victory in Saturday's Class 4A contest at Highmark Stadium.
“In overtime, you want to finish things as soon as you can,” said Raiders' coach Mark Perry. “I feel bad for Peters Township. They played well enough to win, but this is why you play 80 minutes and sometimes longer.”
The late foul on the Indians was called with 30 seconds left on the running clock. Soon after, Valentovish arrived behind the ball to take her shot, but a Peters Township player knelt just feet in front of the ball to tie her shoe. She didn't seem to be in a hurry.
“I thought the ref was going to make her move, but he didn't,” said Valentovish. “I kept looking at the clock and it got down to 10 seconds. I was going to have to take the shot either way.”
The Peters Township player finally removed herself from between the ball and the net and Valentovish responded with a goal that will live on in SV soccer lore.
“We just wanted Breana to get a shot on goal there,” said Perry. “Even if she doesn't score, we could have a chance at a rebound. It was a good, low shot in the corner.”
The goal stunned the Indians.
“Were we ready for overtime,” asked Peters Township coach Pat Vereb. “Yes. Were we energetic and confident? No, probably not, but that's a natural reaction to giving up a tying goal in the closing seconds.”
Neither team had managed a shot on goal in overtime when SV's Mia Zec jogged to the right of the Indians' net to take a corner kick. She lofted a ball that Sawich was unable to reach. Sileo was waiting on the other side.
“Breana and I go back and forth with being in the middle and on the back (post) on corner kicks,” said Sileo. “Right before Mia kicked the ball, I said, “Give me the back post.'
“I saw the ball just graze the fingertips of the goalie and it actually hit me in the face. It hurt a bit, but that didn't last long.”