A-K Valley soccer playoff preview capsules for games of Oct. 24, 2022

Sunday, October 23, 2022 | 7:04 PM

Monday’s games


Class 2A

First round

13-Hopewell (8-7) at 4-Deer Lakes (16-2)

6:30 p.m. Monday, at Lancers Stadium, West Deer Township

Winner plays: Winner of 5-Belle Vernon (13-4)/12-West Mifflin (11-6-1)

Players to Watch: Ryan Hanes, F, Deer Lakes

Corner kicks: It was a tale of two playoff appearances for Deer Lakes the past two years. In 2020, the Lancers won the WPIAL Class 2A title and made it to Hershey. Last year, Deer Lakes suffered a close 2-1 loss to East Allegheny in the first round. This year’s Lancers captured a share of the Section 2-2A title with Shady Side Academy at 13-1. Deer Lakes won its final five games of the regular season after falling to SSA, 2-1, on Sept. 29. Hanes, a senior, leads the team with 31 goals and 18 assists. Freshman forward Peyton Kushon has enjoyed a breakout season with 17 goals. … Hopewell finished fourth in Section 4 at 6-6. The Vikings won three of their final four regular-season games. Hopewell is in the WPIAL playoffs for the second time (2020) since 2012, when it finished 14-4 and advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals. The 2020 team originally missed the postseason but bumped up into a berth when Quaker Valley was disqualified because of covid. Christopher Colonna, a striker, leads the team with 12 goals, and also has nine assists. Freshman Tommy Armour owns six goals and nine assists.

15-Freeport (7-9) at 2-Quaker Valley (15-3)

6:30 p.m., Chuck Knox Stadium, Leetsdale

Winner plays: Winner of 7-East Allegheny (13-3)/10-Avonworth (10-5-1) in quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (site TBD)

Players to watch: Isaac Wetzel, MF, Freeport; Nick Allan, MF, Quaker Valley

Corner kicks: Freeport finished 7-7 in Section 2, good for fourth place. After starting 0-3, the Yellowjackets won four straight before another three-game skid. They finished with wins over Greensburg Salem and Derry before a 3-1 loss to Deer Lakes. Wetzel was an all-section selection last season and is one of six seniors. … Quaker Valley is the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 2A champion. The Quakers allowed just eight goals this season and posted 11 shutouts.

9-Knoch (10-8) at 8-McGuffey (12-5-1)

6:30 p.m., McGuffey HS Stadium, Claysville

Winner plays: Winner of 1-South Park (17-0)/16-Mt. Pleasant (8-8-2) in quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (site TBD)

Players to watch: Caleb Oskin, F, Knoch; Dylan Stewart, MF, McGuffey

Corner kicks: Knoch finished third in Section 2 with a 10-4 mark. The Knights are 3-3 in October, including shutout wins over Greensburg Salem, Leechburg and Derry. Knoch has outscored opponents 66-37 this season. Knoch missed the playoffs last season and dropped down from Class 3A via PIAA realignment in the offseason. … McGuffey started the season with six straight victories. The Highlanders closed the regular season on a 5-2-1 run to finish second in Section 3 with a 10-3-1 record. Dylan Stewart and Larry Goodman have led the scoring for the Highlanders. McGuffey lost to North Catholic, 1-0, in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs as the No. 8 seed last season.


Class 3A

First round

14-Kiski Area (7-10-1) at 3-Plum (14-1)

6:30 p.m. Monday, at Mustangs Stadium, Plum Borough

Winner plays: Winner of 6-Hampton (14-3) /11-Montour (9-5-2)

Players to Watch: Kaitlyn Killinger, F, Plum; Riley Koziatek, M, Kiski Area

Corner kicks: Plum finished first in Section 3 by two points over runner-up Latrobe. It was the Mustangs’ fourth consecutive section title. Latrobe was the only team to beat Plum in the regular season, and it snapped the Mustangs’ 42-game section win streak. Plum has played in the past three WPIAL Class 3A title games. It fell to Mars each time. The Mustangs defense allowed eight goals in 15 regular season games. Killinger’s goal in a 4-0 win over Penn-Trafford last Monday was the 80th of her four-year varsity career. … Kiski Area topped Indiana, 3-1, last Monday to clinch a tie for fourth place in Section 1 behind Mars, Hampton and Oakland Catholic. Koziatek owns a team-best 16 goals and 12 assists. The Cavaliers are in the WPIAL playoffs for the eighth straight season. As the No. 13 seed, Kiski Area upset No. 4 Connellsville, 2-1, in last year’s Class 3A first round. … Kiski Area and Plum meet for the first time since 2018, when the Cavaliers defeated the Mustangs, 4-0, in the Class 3A first round.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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