2022 WPIAL boys soccer preview: Rankings, contenders, players to watch

Monday, August 22, 2022 | 12:08 PM

WPIAL boys soccer preview

Class 4A

Defending champion: Seneca Valley. The two-time defending WPIAL champion Raiders have what it takes to win it all again. They bring back senior standout Beaux Lizewski, who earned all-state honors last season, and senior goalkeeper Ryan Krumenacker, who was part of 15 shutouts. The Raiders won the WPIAL championship and lost to Conestoga, 1-0, in the PIAA final. The 16-team classification goes from three sections to two after four teams dropped to 3A.

Contenders: Fox Chapel powered its way to the semifinals last year with a pair of shutouts, before getting nipped by Seneca Valley, 1-0. George Tabor will make the offense go for the Foxes. … Defensive-minded North Allegheny also reached the semis, blanking third-seeded Norwin, 1-0, along the way. … Upper Sr. Clair has some talent up front in Ryan Higgs and Andrew Popp. … How can finalist Peters Township not be in the mix? Graduation slugged the Indians, but they still hold playoff experience as they play up after turning down a chance to play in 3A.

Don’t sleep on: Allderdice made some noise last year and can go to Milo Larson for offense. … Pine-Richland has Colin Zvejnieks, Ben Rishel and Cale Klaff back. … Butler has some key talent to replace.

Rankings: 1. Seneca Valley (21-1-1); 2. Fox Chapel (15-4-1); 3. North Allegheny (15-6); 4. Upper St. Clair (6-9-2); 5. Peters Township (18-3-1)

Players to watch: Seth Basinger, Sr., F, Connellsville; Owen Christopher, Jr., D, Norwin; Aidan Dyga, Sr., D, North Allegheny; Josh Jashinski, Sr., MF, Shaler; Ryan Krumenacker, Sr., GK, Seneca Valley; Milo Larson, Sr., MF, Allderdice; Beaux Lizewski, Sr., MF, Seneca Valley; Alajandro Lazo-Pacheco, Sr., F, Mt. Lebanon; George Tabor, Sr., MF, Fox Chapel; Colin Westerberg, Sr., D, Fox Chapel

Class 3A

Defending champion: Hampton knocked off perennial contender and unbeaten West Allegheny to win its first WPIAL title in a decade. The loss of 14 seniors hurts the Talbots’ chances at a repeat, but they will be out to prove they weren’t a one-year wonder.

Contenders: Plum could emerge as the top-rated team as the season gets underway. The Mustangs tied Franklin Regional for a section title and reached the semifinals. … Franklin Regional returns All-WPIAL players Colton Hudson and Jake Kimmich, who should form a formidable duo. All-everything forward Anthony DiFalco is now at Duquesne. … Kiski Area gave Franklin Regional all it could handle in the quarterfinals and returns crafty Anders Bordoy, along with fellow seniors Maddox Anderson and Owen Zimmerman. … West Allegheny lost some firepower but the Indians should be a factor as usual.

Don’t sleep on: North Catholic moves up from 2A where it was the WPIAL runner-up. Ambridge, a 2A semifinal team, also moved up.

Rankings: 1. Plum (17-4-1); 2. Franklin Regional (17-5); 3. Kiski Area (16-4); 4. West Allegheny (23-2); 5. Hampton (23-1)

Players to watch: Andre Bekavac, Sr., MF, Thomas Jefferson; Anders Bordoy, Sr., MF, Kiski Area; Jaxon Camp, Jr., MF, Montour; Nathanial Coleman, Sr., MF, Kiski Area; Daniel Gormley, Sr., MF, South Fayette; Will Gruca, Sr., MF, Ambridge; Joey Haney, Sr., MF, Central Valley; Colton Hudson, Sr., MF, Franklin Regional; Jake Kimmich, Sr., MF, Franklin Regional; Ryan Kopay, Sr., MF, Moon; Logan Mackey, Sr., MF, West Allegheny; Lucas Pittman, Sr., MF, Plum; Brady Paliscak, Sr., MF, Penn-Trafford; Ryan Shantz, Jr., North Catholic

Class 2A

Defending champion: Quaker Valley. A 24-2 record included PIAA and WPIAL championships, and the Quakers scored 173 goals and shut out 19 opponents. Senior goalkeeper Isaac Waller and junior defender Nick Allan return, but the offense has been decimated by graduation.

Contenders: Deer Lakes, no stranger to deep postseason runs, has the potential to push for a title. … Shady Side Academy has voids in the lineup but should push Deer Lakes in Section 2. … Elizabeth Forward and East Allegheny were playoff teams but have holes to fill. … South Park went 19-1 but also was hit hard by graduation. … North Catholic and Ambridge, both semifinalists and state qualifiers last year, have moved up to 3A, opening the door for new contenders.

Don’t sleep on: McGuffey only lost three seniors from a playoff team. … Knoch also moves in from 3A. Jeannette is playing up and features standout Jordan Taylor. Belle Vernon and West Mifflin also are among the 2A newcomers. … Riverside was a Class A semifinal team last year. … Mt. Pleasant has some young, budding talent. … Keep an eye on Avonworth.

Rankings: 1. Quaker Valley (23-2); 2. Deer Lakes (8-5-1); 3. Shady Side Academy (11-3); 4. Elizabeth Forward (12-5); 5. East Allegheny (11-6)

Players to watch: Matt Armenio, Sr., MF, East Allegheny; Nick Braun, Sr., GK, Deer Lakes; Rocco DeLuca, Sr., MF, McGuffey; Ryan Ellis, So., F, South Park; Ryan Hanes, Sr., MF, Deer Lakes; Koven Johnson, Jr., MF, Shady Side Academy; Owen McDermott, Sr., MF, Leechburg; Chase McCloy, Sr., MF, Mt. Pleasant; Flynn McCraken, Sr., GK, West Mifflin; Mason Metzler, Sr., MF, Deer Lakes; Colby Miller, Jr., MF, East Allegheny; Joe Obeldobel, Sr., MF, Yough; Michael Osekowski, Sr., MF, Avonworth; Braden Pringle, Jr., MF, McGuffey; Jackson Suski, Sr., MF, Shady Side Academy; Jordan Taylor Jr., F, Jeannette

Class A

Defending champion: Winchester Thurston. The Bears are loaded again as they bring back seniors Alex Hauskrecht and Oliver Daboo. An unbeaten season (23-0-1) saw the Bears post 18 shutouts, including five in eight playoff games.

Contenders: Greensburg Central Catholic, the WPIAL champion in 2019 and ‘20, and the runner-up last year, has plenty of scoring punch in Carlo Denis and Kyler Miller. … Eden Christian was a semifinalist which lost to GCC, 6-5, in OT, to fall just short of the finals at Highmark Stadium. Malachi Manges is one of the top players in the state. … Charleroi was a semifinalist in 2A but lost super scorer Eben McIntyre (Pitt). With that being said, the Cougars only lost three other seniors so they can’t be discounted in their new class. … Bentworth has six returning all-section players, including Ryan Colbert, Julian Hays, John Scott, Jerzy Timlin, Landon Urcho and Andrew Vipperman.

Don’t sleep on: Seton LaSalle has four solid players back in Jack Billick, Nick Cherry, Lewis Kicinski and Zach Reed. … Chris Mitchell is back for Springdale, which has threatened to make a run in recent seasons. … Seniors Michael DiSantis, Hudson Colletti and Adin Zorn could have Sewickley Academy in line for a run. … Burrell, Freedom and Ligonier Valley all dropped from 2A. … Semifinal team Riverside was bumped up to 2A.

Rankings: 1. Winchester Thurston (23-0-1); 2. Greensburg Central Catholic (16-5); 3. Eden Christian (20-4-1); 4. Charleroi (15-4-1); 5. Bentworth (15-2-1)

Players to watch: Jack Billick, Jr., MF, Seton La Salle; T.J. Braun, Jr., MF, Trinity Christian; Evan Burry, Sr., MF, Riverside; Jake Chambers, Jr., F, Charleroi; Nick Cherry, Jr., MF, Seton LaSalle; Ethan Coddington, Sr., MF, Serra Catholic; Oliver Daboo, Sr., MF, Winchester Thurston; Carlo Denis, Sr., MF, Greensburg C.C.; Michael DiSantis, Sr., MF, Sewickley Academy; Billy Fryer, Sr., MF, OLSH; Alex Hauskrecht, Sr., MF, Winchester Thurston; Julian Hays, Sr., MF, Bentworth; Bryce Hinkle, Sr., MF, Bishop Canevin; Jason Ireland, Jr., MF, Burrell; Luke Kost, So., MF, Trinity Christian; Bryce Large, Jr., MF, Charleroi; William Lawrence, Jr., MF, Springdale; Malachi Manges, Sr., MF, Eden Christian; Arlo McIntyre, Jr., F, Charleroi; A.J. Mejalli, Jr., MF, Serra Catholic; Kyler Miller, Sr., MF, Greensburg C.C.; Chris Mitchell, Sr., MF, Springdale; Chris O’Toole, So., MF, Riverview; Dylan Scheel, Jr., MF, Freedom; Jerzy Timlin, Sr., MF, Bentworth; Killiam Turek, Jr., MF, South Side; Landon Urcho, Sr., MF, Bentworth

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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