A-K Valley WPIAL boys soccer playoff preview capsules for Oct. 22, 2018
By: Doug Gulasy
Sunday, October 21, 2018 | 11:54 PM
No. 12 Plum (11-7) vs. No. 5 Pine-Richland (10-4-3)
8 p.m. Monday at Pine-Richland
Winner plays: Winner of No. 4 Canon-McMillan/No. 13 Fox Chapel
Coaches: Anthony Russo, Plum; Jon Conner, Pine-Richland
Players to watch: Cole Kelly, Plum; Tom Fest, Pine-Richland
Corner kicks: Plum is in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and will look for a better fate than the last two years, when it suffered a pair of one-goal losses in the first round. The Mustangs finished fourth in Section 3-4A, clinching their postseason spot with three straight section wins at the end of the regular season. Two of their losses were to No. 2 seed Norwin by one goal apiece. Pine-Richland finished second in the hypercompetitive Section 1-4A and posted a strong nonsection victory over Mars. All but two of the Rams’ games were decided by one or two goals. Pine-Richland finished third in the WPIAL last season to advance to the PIAA playoffs.
No. 13 Fox Chapel (11-6-1) vs. No. 4 Canon-McMillan (14-2)
8 p.m. Monday at Canon-McMillan
Winner plays: Winner of No. 5 Pine-Richland/No. 12 Plum
Coaches: Erik Ingram, Fox Chapel; Larry Fingers, Canon-McMillan
Players to watch: Zane Ingram, Fox Chapel; Joey Fonagy, Canon-McMillan
Corner kicks: This is a rematch of the 2015 Class AAA championship game, won by Canon-McMillan. Despite losing 10 seniors from a playoff team, Fox Chapel got back to the postseason by tying for fourth place in the difficult Section 1-4A. The Foxes allowed 19 goals all season and went 6-1-1 in their final eight regular-season games. Canon-McMillan finished behind just Upper St. Clair in Section 2-4A, losing one-goal decisions to USC and Bethel Park. The Big Macs closed the season with six straight wins. Fonagy, a sophomore, leads the Big Macs with 20 goals. They scored 60 as a team in the regular season.
No. 10 Kiski Area (11-6-1) vs. No. 7 Belle Vernon (12-5-1)
8 p.m. Monday at Belle Vernon
Winner plays: Winner of No. 2 West Allegheny/No. 15 Greensburg Salem
Coaches: Sean Arnold, Kiski Area; Rob Miele, Belle Vernon
Players to watch: Nick Smith, Kiski Area; Markello Apodiakos, Belle Vernon
Corner kicks: After seeing its nine-year playoff streak end last season, Kiski Area returns to the postseason after dropping to Class AAA. The Cavaliers tied for second in Section 1-AAA. With Smith in net, Kiski Area favors a defensive style and held its final nine opponents to a combined nine goals, going 7-1-1 in the process. Belle Vernon is coming off a run to the WPIAL quarterfinals last season and finished second in Section 3-AAA. Apodiakos, the program’s all-time leader in goals and points, leads a prolific offense that scored 64 goals this season. Greensburg Central Catholic transfer JoJo Schwerha is ineligible to play for the Leopards in the postseason.
No. 2 Deer Lakes (15-0-1) vs. No. 15 Beth-Center (8-10)
8 p.m. Monday at Deer Lakes
Winner plays: Winner of No. 7 Waynesburg/No. 10 East Allegheny
Coaches: Jordan Wiegand, Deer Lakes;
Players to watch: A.J. Dorman, Deer Lakes; Tyler Dobrinski, Beth-Center
Corner kicks: Deer Lakes won its first section championship since 2003, the Lancers’ only blemish being a 2-2 draw against Shady Side Academy. The Lancers fell in overtime of the WPIAL quarterfinals last season to Beaver; they’ve never advanced past that round. They outscored their opponents 74-13 during the regular season, with seven shutouts. Beth-Center is making its first WPIAL playoff appearance since 2013 after winning just four games each of the past two seasons. The Bulldogs, the fourth-place team from Section 3-AA, were outscored 60-34 during the regular season.
No. 16 Freeport (8-10) vs. No. 1 Quaker Valley (15-3)
8 p.m. Monday at Quaker Valley
Winner plays: Winner of No. 8 Mt. Pleasant/No. 9 Freedom
Coaches: Dave Teorsky, Freeport; Andrew Marshall, Quaker Valley
Players to watch: Hunter Hardin, Freeport; Dom Reiter, Quaker Valley
Corner kicks: Freeport secured its third consecutive WPIAL playoff appearance by finishing fourth in Section 2-AA. The Yellowjackets lost in the first round each of the past two seasons. Hardin leads Freeport in scoring, including a pair of five-goal performances against Derry and Valley. The Yellowjackets were outscored 57-56 during the regular season. Quaker Valley, making its 36th consecutive postseason appearance, is the defending PIAA Class AA champions. It won the WPIAL title in 2016 and was runner-up last season. The Quakers closed the regular season on a 15-game winning streak and outscored their opponents 102-2 in those games; their only loss to a WPIAL team came against West Allegheny. Reiter scored a team-high 19 goals and added 12 assists.
No. 5 Springdale (13-2-1) vs. No. 12 Bishop Canevin (9-6-2)
6 p.m. Monday at Hampton
Winner plays: Winner of No. 4 Sewickley Academy/No. 13 Monessen
Coaches: Cesareo Sanchez, Springdale; Al Gestiehr, Bishop Canevin
Players to watch: Mike Zolnierczyk, Springdale; Andrew Bochicchio, Bishop Canevin
Corner kicks: Springdale finished as the WPIAL runner-up last season as the No. 7 seed, upsetting No. 2 Freedom and No. 3 Seton LaSalle along the way. The Dynamos finished second in Section 3-A behind top-seeded Avonworth; their two losses came against Avonworth and Highlands. Zolnierczyk, who has a pair of Division I offers, finished the season with 12 shutouts; the Dynamos allowed just five goals as a team. Bishop Canevin is back in the playoffs after missing the field in 2017. The Crusaders placed third in Section 4-A. Like Springdale, they tend to hold their opponents in check, limiting teams to one or fewer goals in 13 of their 17 games. Bishop Canevin scored 30 goals as a team.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.