Breaking down the 2020 WPIAL boys soccer playoffs

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | 7:05 PM


Here’s a look at the 2020 WPIAL boys soccer playoffs:

Class 4A

Favorite: Peters Township (11-1-1) won the Section 2-4A championship and only lost one game all season long, a 2-0 decision to No. 5 Upper St. Clair. They also tallied five shutouts and had a five-game winning streak heading into their loss on Oct. 13. The Indians last won a WPIAL championship when they went back to back in 2014.

Contenders: No. 2 seed Seneca Valley (11-1-1) might be one of the hottest teams in Class 4A. They won Section 1, finished off their regular season with a 2-0 victory over Franklin Regional and haven’t lost since Sept. 24. They’ve won eight straight games and have outscored teams 53-9 over the course of the season. … No. 3 Norwin (10-0-2) is another team to keep an eye on. They only allowed eight goals all season long and went undefeated but slipped up with ties against Latrobe and Allderdice. … Fox Chapel (10-3) can be in the mix as well. The No. 4 Foxes played well at times this season but suffered two losses to Seneca Valley and a third to North Allegheny.

Don’t overlook: Canon-McMillan (7-4-1). If the Big Macs are in the postseason, they are dangerous. They won the tournament last season and senior forward Joey Fonagy has been scoring on big stages for a long time. Larry Fingers will have his guys ready to go.

Prediction: Seneca Valley over Fox Chapel

Class 3A

Favorite: This classification is wide open, but when Franklin Regional is in the mix, you have to give them the edge. The No. 2 Panthers (13-2) suffered two losses in the regular season for the first time since 2017. They lost to Class 4A Seneca Valley and Plum. They’ve only allowed seven goals this season and allowed two in both of their losses.

Contenders: No. 1 seed Mars (14-0) is definitely going to cause some problems. The Fightin’ Planets went undefeated and didn’t allow a goal until Oct. 10. They only allowed three all season long. Jake Gareis is back in net after returning from an injury, and he provides a solid backstop for the defense. … After dropping down a classification, Plum (13-1) will be in the mix. They handed Franklin Regional one of its two losses and a senior trio of Cannon Kuchinick (13 goals), DD Flowers (12 goals) and AJ Koma (10 goals) provide the Mustangs with a solid attack that will be a threat in the playoffs. … West Allegheny is also a team to keep an eye on. Kevin Amos and the Indians (13-1) are always in the mix and are looking to make another trip to the WPIAL finals. Juniors Johnny Dragisich and Keegan Amos lead West Allegheny with 14 goals apiece. Their older brothers, Nate and Fletcher, led the Indians to a PIAA title in 2018.

Don’t overlook: Belle Vernon. The Leopards (14-2) only lost twice this season and started the season on a 10-game win streak. Their seven seed is a low one, but they have also tallied seven shutouts this season.

Prediction: Franklin Regional over Plum

Class 2A

Favorite: Deer Lakes (11-1) is the No. 2 seed, but with defending PIAA and WPIAL champion Quaker Valley not in the mix due to the coronavirus, look for the Lancers to make a run. They pushed the Quakers to the brink last year and Mike Sullivan (17 goals), Devin Murray (11 goals) and defender Colton Spence have helped the program to new heights. They are more motivated than ever and in their second matchup with No. 1 Shady Side Academy, the Lancers came away with a dominating 2-0 victory.

Contenders: Shady Side Academy (11-2) didn’t make it to the WPIAL finals last season, but they have the history of being successful when they do get there. They suffered losses to Deer Lakes and Fox Chapel this season but look for them to make a run back to the final. … If North Catholic, which is using its JV team in the first round because their varsity team is on a 14-day quarantine, can get out of the first round, consider them a contender. But they have to get past a young Leechburg squad first.

Don’t overlook: No. 4 Charleroi (14-1). They’ve outscored opponents 76-12 this season and Eben McIntyre has scored 39. If they get to the semifinals, they could give Shady Side a contest.

Prediction: Deer Lakes over Shady Side

Class A

Favorite: Greensburg Central Catholic (11-1) is in the mix every year and 2020 is no different. They won the WPIAL last season and made a run to the PIAA semifinals. Their only loss this season came against No. 2 seed Winchester Thurston, but they finished the year with five straight wins.

Contenders: The Bears of Winchester Thurston (11-1) are going to be in the mix once again. They only allowed five goals all season long and split their regular season series with GCC. They own a seven-game win streak heading into the playoffs and have only allowed one goal since their loss to the Centurions. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (10-0-1) is a team that came out of nowhere this season and should be considered a contender as well. They won Section 1 and only allowed four goals while finishing the year with an undefeated record. They recorded seven shutouts.

Don’t overlook: Springdale. The Dynamos (10-1) won Section 3 with an undefeated record and their only loss came against Class 2A Deer Lakes. They lost three of their top four scorers from last year, but freshman Billy Lawrence (17 goals) and senior Liam Dale (7 goals) have picked up the slack. Junior goalie Andrew Haus is also solid with four shutouts.

Prediction: Winchester Thurston over Greensburg Central Catholic

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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