2021 WPIAL boys soccer preview: Rankings, contenders, players to watch
Sunday, August 29, 2021 | 8:56 PM
WPIAL boys soccer preview
Defending champion: Defensively-sound Seneca Valley won 14 straight games to close out the 2020 season en route to WPIAL and PIAA titles. The Raiders must replace standouts Zack LaValle and Mason Baldwin, but bring back junior Beaux Lizewski, another All-WPIAL selection. George Williams was the state coach of the year.
Contenders: Peters Township could be the favorite to win it all behind state player of the year Andrew Masucci, a senior forward who had 19 goals and eight assists for the WPIAL runner-up Indians. … Semifinalist Norwin is primed for another run behind seniors Caleb Yuricha and Riley Zimmerman. … Senior Landon Mohney powers Butler, while junior Ashton Schutzman leads Fox Chapel.
Don’t sleep on: Canon-McMillan must replace Joey Fonagy but the Big Macs were mostly a young team in 2020.
Defending champion: Mars, which won WPIAL and PIAA championships and finished 21-0, only lost eight seniors, but one of them was Trib HSSN player of the year Dane Beller. The Fightin Planets did not allow a goal until their 11th game of 2020. They went on to dethrone two-time defending champion Franklin Regional.
Contenders: West Allegheny is loaded with talent. The Indians have reached the WPIAL final in three of the past four years but have yet to break through for their first WPIAL title since 2013. They did, however, win a PIAA title three years ago. Seniors Keegan Amos and Johnny Dragisich are a dangerous scoring combo. … Anthony DiFalco returns for his senior season at Franklin Regional. A 35-goal scorer last season, he has helped the Panthers to two WPIAL titles and a runner-up during his career. Junior Colton Hudson also gives the Panthers some added punch. … Plum is lurking in Section 4. Keep an eye on Aldair Flowers. … Moon returns senior Severin Dengel and junior Ryan Kopay.
Don’t sleep on: Hampton was a No. 8 seed last season and took rival Mars to two overtimes in the quarterfinals.
Defending champion: Deer Lakes powered its way to the title behind state player of the year Michael Sullivan and Devin Murray, but the Lancers must reload.
Contenders: Shady Side Academy, which finished one win better than Deer Lakes in Section 2, has the look of a winner again. The newly-named Bulldogs bring back seniors Sam Farner and Joe Anania as key scoring threats. … Nine seniors are gone at Elizabeth Forward, but state coach of the year Doug Finke still has talent in the lineup. … Quaker Valley had to pull out of the WPIAL playoffs over covid concerns, but the Quakers have senior Blaise Burns and Rowan Kriebel back and could challenge for the title.
Don’t sleep on: Charleroi. The Cougars feature one of the state’s top goal scorers in senior Eben McIntyre.
Defending champion: Greensburg Central Catholic is poised to make a run at a repeat behind new coach Rob Fabean. The Centurions, the state runners-up, have most of their firepower back in junior Carlo Denis and senior Mason Fabean. Goalkeeper Max House also returns for his senior season.
Contenders: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart has most of its starting lineup back after winning Section 1. … Seton LaSalle was a section champion with a young lineup. … Winchester Thurston will look to reload after falling in the WPIAL finals. The Bears are no longer in the same section as rival GCC.
Don’t sleep on: A postseason contender of late, Springdale has Chris Mitchell back after a semifinal run.
1. Peters Township (13-2-1)
2. Seneca Valley (17-1-1)
3. Norwin (11-1-2)
4. Butler (11-6-1)
5. Fox Chapel (11-4)
1. West Allegheny (15-2)
2. Franklin Regional (13-2)
3. Mars (21-0)
4. Moon (12-4)
5. Plum (13-2)
1. Shady Side Academy (14-3)
2. Quaker Valley (11-1-1)
3. Deer Lakes (17-2)
4. Elizabeth Forward (12-3-2)
5. Charleroi (14-2)
1. Greensburg C.C. (17-2)
2. Seton LaSalle (12-3)
3. OLSH (11-1-1)
4. Winchester Thurston (14-2)
5. Springdale (12-2)
Players to watch
Mark Accamondo, Sr., Brentwood
Keegan Amos, Sr., West Allegheny
Joe Anania, Sr., Shady Side Academy
John Bence, So., Aquinas Academy
Bob Bootay, Sr., Seton LaSalle
Blaise Burns, Sr., Quaker Valley
Nick Cherry, So., Seton LaSalle
Carlo Denis, Jr., Greensburg Central Catholic
Anthony DiFalco, Sr., Franklin Regional
Johnny Dragisich, Sr., West Allegheny
Mason Fabean, Sr., Greensburg Central Catholic
Sam Farner, Sr., Shady Side Academy
Will Gruca, Jr., Ambridge
Alex Hauskrecht, Sr., Winchester Thurston
Colton Hudson, Jr., Franklin Regional
Luke Kolankowski, Sr., Plum
Rowan Kriebel, Sr., Quaker Valley
Andrew Massucci, Sr., Peters Township
Eben McIntyre, Sr., Charleroi
Owen McDermott, Jr., Leechburg
Chris Mitchell, Jr., Springdale
Landon Mohney, Sr., Butler
Daniel Sassak, Sr., Belle Vernon
Nathan Schlessinger, Sr., Penn-Trafford
Ashton Schutzman, Sr., Fox Chapel
Landon Urcho, Jr., Bentworth
Jared Waggett, Sr., Chartiers Houston
Gabe Viszlay, Sr., Hampton
Caleb Yuricha, Sr., Norwin
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
Tags: Butler, Canon-McMillan, Charleroi, Deer Lakes, Elizabeth Forward, Franklin Regional, Greensburg C.C., Hampton, Mars, Moon, Norwin, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Peters Township, Quaker Valley, Seneca Valley, Seton La Salle, Shady Side Academy, Springdale, West Allegheny, Winchester Thurston
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