ELIZABETH – Sometimes in a soccer match, it can come down to one goal, one shot or one chance.
In an evenly played, defensive battle between Peters Township and Norwin, that one chance was converted by Indians’ freshman Jillian Marvin.
Marvin took a pass from Chloe Trapanotto at midfield and then found space on the near sideline before burying a goal with 10:21 remaining in the second half.
The goal was the lone marker of the night, as third-seeded Peters Township knocked off defending state champion Norwin, 1-0, in a Class 4A semifinal match Saturday afternoon.
“We grinded this one out,” said Peters Township coach Pat Vereb.
“It was a collective defensive effort by our team. We didn’t want to play as defensive as it appeared to be in the second half, but there’s a reason why Norwin is the defending state champion. We got our chance. What a moment for a freshman to handle the ball like that on the counterattack.”
The win advances Peters Township (16-3) to its first WPIAL title game since 2013. The Indians will take on Seneca Valley, a 2-0 winner over Upper St. Clair in the other semifinal, on a day and time to be determined at Highmark Stadium.
“Chloe played the ball through, and I just ran to an open space,” Marvin said. “I played it far corner and was just hoping it would get in there. But our defense carried us today. We were so strong at that end.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Emma Sawich, who was provided support by a veteran defense, made six saves for the Indians.
“I just have an amazing defense. They always have my back,” Sawich said. “They did a good job of clearing the ball, and I just picked up the scraps. I’m so thankful for them.”
Peters Township secured the victory despite missing senior captain and leading goal scorer Regan LaVigna, who sustained a lower-body injury in a 2-1 win over Butler in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
“We played for Regan today,” Marvin said. “We definitely missed her but wanted to get a win for her. She means so much to this team, as a scorer and a leader. We just gave everything.”
Both teams played even in the opening 40 minutes, neither mounting consistent pressure.
Norwin (15-3) controlled the play in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, but Sawich kept the game scoreless.
“We are led by our seniors,” Sawich said. “They set the tone for us. We play for them and we didn’t want this game to be their last. It’s just a crazy feeling to know that we will be playing in the finals.”
Peters Township’s defense clamped down and shut down any rally Norwin had in the final 10 minutes.
“I couldn’t be more proud of a team,” Vereb said. “We knew it would be tough when 50 percent of our offense was on the sideline on crutches. Emma made some great decisions and was very active off the goal line. That’s a good Norwin team, they put pressure on you.
We always tell them that we might have a lot of trophies in our trophy case, but none of them have your name on it. We told them to put their name on something and to leave their own legacy at Peters Township.”