4 WPIAL teams set to play for PIAA soccer championships

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Thursday, November 17, 2022 | 4:38 PM


Four WPIAL teams will compete for PIAA soccer championships Friday and Saturday in Mechanicsburg. Here’s a look at each game:

Girls soccer

PIAA Class A championship

Southern Columbia (17-6-1) vs. Freedom (20-4)

10 a.m. Friday at Eagle View MS, Mechanicsburg

On the air: PCN-TV

Seeds: Southern Columbia 4-2; Freedom 7-1

How they got here: Southern Columbia beat Montrose, 5-2; Camp Hill, 3-0; and South Williamsport, 2-1 in double overtime. Freedom defeated Rockwood, 10-0; Karns City, 4-3 in overtime; and Greensburg Central Catholic, 3-0.

Coaches: Derek Stine, Southern Columbia; Colin Williams, Freedom

Players to watch: Sophie Shadle, sr., F, Southern Columbia; Shaye Bailey, jr., F, Freedom

PIAA titles: Southern Columbia 3 (2018, ‘20, ‘21); Freedom 0

Corner kicks: WPIAL champion Freedom is back in the PIAA finals for the second time in five years. Friday’s final will be a rematch from 2018, when Freedom lost to Southern Columbia, 3-2, in overtime. The Bulldogs are seeking their first state title. Shaye Bailey had a hat trick in the semifinal win over Greensburg Central Catholic. Bailey also scored the winner in overtime when Freedom edged GCC, 4-3, in the WPIAL semifinals. Bailey was joined on the All-WPIAL team by two teammates — senior midfielders Jersee Melvin and Julia Mohrbacher. Mohrbacher has scored more than 100 goals in her career. … Southern Columbia won the PIAA Class A title last year, defeating Greensburg Central Catholic, 4-0, for its third state championship. It is the team’s fourth trip to the finals in five years. The Tigers have won 14 straight state playoff games. Senior Sophie Shadle scored the game-winner in the semifinals, burying a rebound in the second overtime. Loren Gehret is the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer with 135 goals. She also scored in the semifinal win. Quinn Johnston made nine saves in goal.

PIAA Class 3A championship

Upper Perkiomen (25-0-1) vs. Moon (23-0)

4 p.m. Friday at Eagle View MS, Mechanicsburg

On the air: PCN-TV

Seeds: Upper Perkomen 1-1; Moon 7-1

How they got here: Upper Perkomen beat Northern, 3-1; Valley View, 6-0; and Greencastle-Antrim, 3-0. Moon defeated Latrobe, 2-0; Plum, 4-1; and Mars, 2-0.

Coaches: Mike Freed, Upper Perkiomen; Bill Pfeifer, Moon

Players to watch: Sarah Fisher, jr., F, Upper Perkiomen; Hailey Longwell, sr., MF, Moon

PIAA titles: Upper Perkiomen 0; Moon 4 (2012, ‘16, ‘17, ‘21)

Corner kicks: WPIAL champion Moon is riding a 36-game winning streak after beating defending Class 3A champion Mars in the PIAA semifinals. The defending PIAA Class 4A champion Tigers dropped down to Class 3A this season via PIAA realignment. In addition to winning PIAA titles in 2012, ‘16, ‘17 and ‘21, Moon lost to Downingtown West in 2004 and ‘06. The Tigers have outscored opponents 96-2 this season. They are led by Hall of Fame coach Bill Pfeifer, who has 487 career wins. Duquesne recruit Hailey Longwell scored both Moon goals in the semifinals and has 35 for the season, in addition to 15 assists. Junior forward Sydney Felton has added 14 goals and 18 assists. Seniors Kayla Leseck and Skylar Leseck also are Duquesne recruits. Junior keeper Serayah Leech has posted 20 shutouts. Junior defenders Gabriella Larson and Marina Mollica joined senior midfielder Eva Molnar, Leech, Kayla Leseck, Longwell on the All-WPIAL team. … Upper Perkiomen is in the PIAA finals for the first time. It also won the program’s first Pioneer Athletic Conference and District 1 Class 3A titles. Junior forward Sarah Fisher was an all-state selection a year ago. Senior forward Sara Edwards has scored 36 goals to lead the team. Edwards tallied twice and Morgan Sweed also scored in the semifinals. Upper Perkiomen’s only blemish was a scoreless tie against Spring-Ford on Sept. 28. The team has scored 104 goals and has recorded 12 shutouts. This is the ninth straight season a team from District 1 reached the PIAA final in Class 3A.

Boys soccer

PIAA Class A championship

Moravian Academy (18-5) vs. Winchester Thurston (19-2-1)

1 p.m. Friday at Eagle View MS, Mechanicsburg

On the air: PCN-TV

Seeds: Winchester Thurston 7-1, Moravian Academy 11-1

How they got here: Moravian Academy beat Dock Mennonite, 1-0 in penalty kicks; Holy Cross, 4-0; and Faith Christian, 2-1 in OT. Winchester Thurston defeated United, 9-0; Eden Christian, 2-0; and McConnellsburg, 2-0.

Coaches: George Andriko, Moravian Academy; Adam Brownold, Winchester Thurston

Players to watch: Rafael Sanjuan, sr., MF, Moravian Academy; Tomer Tuti, sr., MF, Winchester Thurston

PIAA titles: Moravian Academy 2 (2014, ‘19); Winchester Thurston 1 (2021)

Corner kicks: Defending PIAA Class A champion Winchester Thurston will have a chance to avenge a 4-1 loss to Moravian Academy in the 2019 state finals. Last year, the Bears beat Faith Christian Academy, 1-0 in overtime, for PIAA gold. In the semifinals Wednesday, Tomer Tuti and Alex Hauskrecht scored in a victory over District 5 champion McConnellsburg. Senior midfielders Oliver Daboo, Hauskrecht and Tuti all earned All-WPIAL honors. Adam Brownold was named Class A’s coach of the year. Hauskrecht was an all-state selection last season and scored 22 times during the regular season. … Moravian Academy won titles in 2019 and ‘14. The team reached the state semifinals last season and went 18-4. The Lions have won 10 straight District 11 titles. Saleem Diakite scored 2:23 into overtime Wednesday to lift the Lions past Faith Christian. Selman Eris also scored in regulation.

PIAA Class 4A championship

Seneca Valley (21-1-1) vs. Lower Merion (23-1)

7 p.m. Saturday at Eagle View MS, Mechanicsburg

On the air: PCN-TV

Seeds: Seneca Valley 7-2; Lower Merion 1-1

How they got here: Seneca Valley beat State College, 7-3; Spring-Ford, 3-0; and Conestoga, 2-0. Lower Merion defeated Chambersburg, 4-0; Pennridge, 2-0; and Parkland, 1-0.

Coaches: George Williams, Seneca Valley; Nico Severini, Lower Merion

Players to watch: Beau Lizewski, sr., MF, Seneca Valley; Sam Nyenka, sr., MF/F, Lower Merion

PIAA titles: Seneca Valley 1 (2020); Lower Merion 1 (1987)

Corner kicks: The WPIAL runner-up Raiders are making their third trip to the PIAA title game. They won the title in 2020 and lost in 2015 and ‘21. Seneca Valley avenged a loss from last year’s PIAA championship game with a 2-0 win in the semifinals over District 1 runner-up Conestoga. Max Marcotte and Gavin Loya scored for the Raiders. Seneca Valley won the 2020 PIAA title with a 2-1 victory over Neshaminy in overtime. Senior forward Will Bruno, senior midfielders Connor Oros and Beau Lizewski and Marcotte earned All-WPIAL honors. Lizewski was named the Class 4A player of the year. Seneca Valley hadn’t lost to a WPIAL opponent since Sept. 24, 2020 before the Raiders lost to Pine-Richland in the WPIAL championship game. They have outscored opponents 104-16 this season. … Sam Nyenka scored to lift Lower Merion to a semifinal victory. Senior keeper Crosby Johnson has allowed just eight goals this season and has posted five straight shutouts for the Aces, who have scored 80 goals this season. Khalid Jafer and Simon Rosen scored in the quarterfinals. Lower Merion has played in three PIAA championships, winning in 1987. The Aces’ last appearance was in 1988.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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