Breaking down changes to the 2022-23 WPIAL boys soccer alignment

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Monday, June 20, 2022 | 8:18 AM


The WPIAL has released or will soon release new section alignments for the next two-year cycle in all sports, and changes will be implemented starting this fall.

This summer, the Tribune-Review will break down changes for each of the WPIAL sports.

Here’s a look at the upcoming WPIAL boys soccer season:

2021 WPIAL championship

Class 4A: Seneca Valley 3, Peters Township 1

Class 3A: Hampton 1, West Allegheny 0

Class 2A: Quaker Valley 5, North Catholic 0

Class A: Winchester Thurston 3, Greensburg C.C. 1

Notable changes

• There will be quite a change in Class 4A this season in WPIAL boys soccer.

Four teams are dropping to Class 3A, leading to a switch from a three-section alignment with 21 teams to a two-section grouping for 16 teams.

Section 1 remains mostly intact with Central Catholic joining holdovers Butler, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and Shaler.

With section rivals Penn-Trafford, Latrobe and Connellsville moving to Class 3A, along with Bethel Park, Section 2 will include a mashup of the remaining Class 4A teams.

That group includes WPIAL finalist Peters Township, which decided to play up to retain rivalries with Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair, among others.

• Enrollment forced North Catholic, which was the WPIAL runner-up in Class 2A last season, up to Class 3A, where it will join a challenging Section 1 that includes reigning 3A champion Hampton, as well as quarterfinalists Mars and Kiski Area. Ambridge, a Class 2A semifinalist last season, also moved up to Class 3A.

• Section 2-2A will have a new look this season. Holdovers Deer Lakes, Derry, Leechburg and Shady Side Academy will welcome Freeport, Greensburg Salem and Knoch, who dropped from 3A, and Jeannette elected to play up a class. Former members Burrell and Ligonier Valley dropped to Class A, and Valley will not play a WPIAL schedule.

• Woodland Hills, West Mifflin, Belle Vernon, Washington and Beaver also dropped from Class 3A to 2A. In addition, Riverside was bumped up from Class A to 2A.

• Joining Burrell and Ligonier Valley in dropping from 2A to A are Freedom and Charleroi.

New team

• McKeesport will field a boys soccer team this season and will join Section 4-3A with Franklin Regional, Gateway, Latrobe, Obama Academy, Penn Hills, Penn-Trafford and Plum. The Tigers went 4-11 last season and 2-5-1 in 2020 playing a non-league schedule.

Out of WPIAL

• In addition to Valley not playing a WPIAL schedule, Brashear also will not play in the WPIAL this season. Brashear, a City League school, has played in the WPIAL since the 2012-13 season. Fellow City League teams Allderdice and Obama Academy will continue to play in the WPIAL the next two seasons.

• New Brighton, which did not field a team last season, also will not have a team with a WPIAL schedule for the next two years.

Key dates

Aug. 15: First practice date

Aug. 21: First scrimmage date

Aug. 26: First play date

Oct. 19: Soccer playoff pairings

Nov. 3-5: WPIAL championship games

Nov. 18-19: PIAA championship games

2022-23 alignment

Class 4A (16 teams)

Section 1: Butler, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler

Section 2: Allderdice, Baldwin, Canon-McMillan, Hempfield, Mt. Lebanon, Norwin, Peters Township, Upper St. Clair

Class 3A (31 teams)

Section 1: Armstrong, Hampton, Highlands, Indiana, Kiski Area, Mars, North Catholic

Section 2: Ambridge, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Chartiers Valley, Montour, Moon, South Fayette, West Allegheny

Section 3: Albert Gallatin*, Bethel Park, Connellsville, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity, Uniontown*

Section 4: Franklin Regional, Gateway, Latrobe, McKeesport, Obama Academy*, Penn Hills, Penn-Trafford, Plum

Class 2A (31 teams)

Section 1: East Allegheny, Elizabeth Forward, Woodland Hills, Keystone Oaks, South Allegheny, South Park, Steel Valley, West Mifflin

Section 2: Deer Lakes, Derry, Freeport, Greensburg Salem, Knoch, Leechburg*, Shady Side Academy, Jeannette

Section 3: Belle Vernon, Brownsville, McGuffey, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, Washington*, Waynesburg Central, Yough

Section 4: Avonworth*, Beaver, Ellwood City*, Hopewell, Mohawk, Quaker Valley, Riverside

Class A (27 teams)

Section 1: Beaver County Christian, Eden Christian Academy, Freedom, Neshannock, OLSH, Sewickley Academy, South Side

Section 2: Bentworth, Beth-Center, California*, Geibel Catholic, Greensburg C.C., Ligonier Valley

Section 3: Aquinas Academy, Burrell, Riverview, Springdale, St. Joseph, Trinity Christian, Winchester Thurston

Section 4: Bishop Canevin, Brentwood, Carlynton, Chartiers-Houston, Serra Catholic, Seton LaSalle

*Cooperative sponsorship

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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