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Massucci Magic: Peters battles back to stun Fox Chapel in overtime

Massucci Magic: Peters battles back to stun Fox Chapel in overtime

WPIAL Boys Class 4A Soccer Playoffs

Final: Peters Township 2, Fox Chapel 1

Andrew Massucci’s brace and OT game winner led Peters Township to a 2-1 victory over Fox Chapel in the Boys Class 4A WPIAL semifinal round match.

Peters will now play Seneca Valley in the final this Saturday at 3pm at North Allegheny, seeking their program’s 10th WPIAL title.

How It Happened

The Section 2 champs and Class 4A’s top seed Peters Township squared off against Fox Chapel in a match of teams who play contrasting styles.

Fox Chapel came into the match on a roll, winning eight of their last nine games including seven shutouts and only lost once. In those games they outscored its opposition 36 to 3.

It was clear getting behind the Fox Chapel’s defense would be tough, as it was for most of the match

Early on, as the teams were feeling each other out, trying to control the tempo, there were many fouls.

But, it didn’t take long for Fox Chapel’s All-State forward Nate Lazzara to show his dangerous scoring ability. A costly Peters’ foul committed just outside the box was all Lazzara needed.

Lazaara sniped it over the wall and into the top corner to give the Foxes an early 1-0 advantage.

A minute later, Peters’ frustration continued to mount, as head coach, Bobby Dyer was given a yellow card for badgering the referees.

It was not an ideal start for the home side and top seed — who could only muster one shot on goal in the first half, while Fox Chapel generated six chances.

Into the second half, Fox Chapel continued to dictate terms of the match.  Peters couldn’t connect passes. They were playing too impatiently when they would get into each possession trying to get it forward into the final third.

As the match reached the latter stages, and the physical play started to take its toll on the legs, thing began to open up for both sides.  In the 59th minute, key forward for Peters, Andrew Massucci was about to score, but the play was called offsides. In the 73rd minute, David Merriman almost scored a header off a cross.

Finally, with five minutes remaining, Peters would find the back of the net.

A defensive slip up happened on the Fox Chapel side. The ball bounced around outside the 18-yard box, and the high press that Peters Township’s known for — paid dividends in a big moment.

Massucci won the ball — then delivered a perfectly placed shot into the bottom left hand corner off a low driven strike to tie the game.

Fox Chapel almost took the lead back moments later as David Merriman just missed on his chance. The Foxes kept pressing and moving the ball forward with dynamic play through the midfield.

Eighty minutes wouldn’t be enough to settle the match — as the team would take their battle into extra time.

Throughout the night, Peters’ center back Joseph Tornari bailed out his team a few times with some timely clearances and solid one-on-one defending. Then, he would almost score off a corner kick early into the first overtime period, but it just went over the post.

Again, into the end of the first OT period and into the second OT, Peter’s came close to scoring a few times, but Fox Chapel’s keeper,  Clayton Humbert, made some big saves.

A few chances right in the box, but could not finish them. In a playoff game in overtime, you don’t get that many chances like that usually. Austin Marmol had a few looks in the match. He played important minutes for the home side.

At the end of the night, it would be Andrew Massucci as the hero once again.

As the match appeared to be headed to penalty kicks, with just 49 seconds left, the ball was bouncing back towards the Fox Chapel backline, everyone stood around as Massucci just ran through and kept with it and slipped a shot past goalie Clayton Humbert who ran out.

Massucci scored and was embraced on the sideline by a massive celebration.

In two playoff games, Massucci has delivered the magic — scoring two golden goals.

That OT dagger sent Erik Ingram and his side home. They will have to wait till next year to make it to the final, as they haven’t since 2015.

Peter’s Township has returned to the final since 2017. They’ll play Seneca Valley in the AAAA Final, as they just beat Norwin 5-1.

POSTGAME INTERVIEW WITH BOBBY DYER & ANDREW MASSUCCI 

Jordan joined the Pittsburgh Soccer Now team in 2020 as a contributor to Riverhounds SC & WPIAL coverage. He is also a current Graduate Assistant at Point Park University in the athletics department, while also obtaining an MBA and MA in Media Communications. Jordan, during his undergrad four years at La Roche University, interned and worked part time for every pro team and several universities in Pittsburgh: Riverhounds SC, Pirates, University of Pittsburgh, La Roche University, Duquesne University, Steelers and the Penguins. With all of these experiences he began to gain a passion to work in sports as a career. Smith played cup soccer for Century United and Beadling during his youth years and also trained with the Riverhounds. He attended South Fayette High School where he helped his team win WPIAL's and a section title his senior year in 2015, while earning All-Section and All-WPIAL honors.

Pittsburgh Division I College Soccer Schedule (Spring 2021)

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