A-K Valley boys soccer notebook: Loaded sections make for intense playoff push

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 6:09 PM

It’s still unclear how the boys soccer playoffs will look, or where the WPIAL championships will be played, but several teams in the A-K Valley are vying for those coveted playoff spots in crowded sections.

As of Wednesday, six teams from the A-K Valley were in the top three of their respective sections. Fox Chapel (6-3, 5-3) was in third place behind North Allegheny and Seneca Valley in Section 1-4A, and Springdale (8-0, 6-0) holds the top spot in Section 3-A. But the remaining four teams come from two loaded sections.

Plum (8-1, 8-1) and Kiski Area (7-2, 7-2-1) are in second and third in Section 4-AAA, behind defending WPIAL Class 3A champion Franklin Regional.

The Mustangs handed the Panthers their only loss of the season Sept. 28, but Franklin Regional got the better of them in their first matchup of the season. Kiski Area lost to both teams already but have dominated the rest of their competition.

Deer Lakes (4-1, 4-1) and Burrell (4-2, 4-2) also are playing in a pretty competitive section. Shady Side Academy (6-1, 6-0) took down Deer Lakes in their first meeting of the season, and it leads Section 2-2A, but the Lancers and the Bucs are nipping at its heels.

The Lancers pushed Shady Side but came out on the losing end of a 2-1 loss. On Tuesday, the Bucs did the same. They took an early 1-0 lead on an Ian Smola goal, but Shady Side stormed back on a penalty kick by Sam Farner and Eli Naughton scored the go-ahead goal.

In just its second season, Leechburg (4-3, 3-3) also is in the mix.

Which teams will make the playoffs is the question. The PIAA released its state playoff brackets for this season, but the WPIAL hasn’t announced the format for this year’s postseason.

In the past, the top four teams from each section made the playoffs, but it has yet to be decided if this will change in 2020.

Back on the pitch

Before Oct. 1, Valley hadn’t played a game because of low numbers. The Vikings postponed their first nine games were finally had enough players to take to the field.

Under first year coach Andy DeAntonio, the Vikings played Highlands on Oct. 1 and their first section game of the season against Leechburg on Tuesday. They lost both games.

Young and talented

Springdale was faced with the challenge of replacing its top two scorers from last year in seniors Ephrain Duku (20 goals, 4 assists) and Mike Mitchell (19 goals, 22 assists).

But out with the old and in with the young as freshman Billy Lawrence has taken over the scoring responsibilities for Springdale. Lawrence has tallied 13 goals and four assists through eight games. He also scored four goals in two different games.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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