Breaking down the 2020 WPIAL girls soccer playoffs

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | 8:19 PM


Here’s a look at the WPIAL girls soccer playoffs:

Class 4A

Favorite: One of the more skilled teams in a pretty open field, top-seeded Peters Township shut out eight opponents and did not lose in its final seven games. The Indians, who made the semifinals a year ago, are 6-0 at home this season. They feature Division I talent in Cece Scott (Michigan State) and Emma Cantwell (Robert Morris). The Indians have not won a WPIAL title since 2012.

Contenders: Section 1 champion Butler has wins over North Allegheny and Seneca Valley and its only loss is to No. 11 Pine-Richland. Maci Lineman, an Akron recruit, leads the Golden Tornado, who are seeking their first WPIAL title. … Fox Chapel, led by Eastern Kentucky recruit Lucy Ream, has been at the top of the Trib HSSN rankings for the last few weeks, but the Foxes lost to North Hills on Monday. Their only other loss is to Norwin. … Last year’s runner-up, Norwin, has battled injuries but could factor in with experienced Pitt recruits Katelyn Kauffman and Lacey Bernick. … Defending champion North Allegheny only has a pair of one-goal losses, to Butler and Fox Chapel. But the Tigers’ last four games were postponed, which could mean rust.

Don’t overlook: Moon finished second in Section 2 behind Peters Township. … Seneca Valley made the semifinals last year.

Prediction: Butler over Peters Township

Class 3A

Favorite: Defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Mars (12-0), which has gone undefeated in section four straight years, hasn’t lost a game since 2018 and is the heaviest favorite in the WPIAL playoffs. Senior Ellie Coffield, a Pitt recruit, is the returning PA Gatorade Player of the Year. She has 16 goals and 27 assists. The Fighting Planets, ranked third in the country, have allowed just five goals and have eight shutouts this season.

Contenders: Section 3 champ and unbeaten Plum was the runner-up last season. The Mustangs have only let in three goals while posting nine shutouts. …Hampton, whose only losses are to No. 5 Franklin Regional and Class 4A North Hills, blanked seven opponents. … Connellsville did not allow a goal over an 11-game regular season. … Franklin Regional, led by senior goalie Sydney Caldwell, lost by one to Hampton and had a scoreless tie with Kiski Area.

Don’t overlook: Three D-1 players power West Allegheny in Mackenzie Taranto (Duquesne), Morgan Shansky (Akron) and Mackenzie Evers (Pitt). … Belle Vernon is seeded eighth but the Leopards have several scoring threats and produced 89 goals.

Prediction: Mars over Plum

Class 2A

Favorite: South Park, the 2018 champion, did not allow a goal and did not lose in section play. The Eagles, somewhat of a sleeper to some despite making the semfinals last year, outscored their opponents, 47-1, letting up one score in the regular-season finale against Thomas Jefferson in a 1-1 tie. They shut out preseason No. 1 Brownsville.

Contenders: Class 2A newcomer Shady Side Academy, a perennial power on Class A, won all 10 of its games, three via forfeit. Their schedule, however, left something to be desired, which was not exactly their fault because they began the season late. … Defending champion North Catholic, led by junior Jayden Sharpless, a Georgia State commit, shut out eight of 12 opponents and lost by one to 3A Oakland Catholic. … Surging Southmoreland won a section title for the first time since 2011 as sophomore Olivia Cernuto poured in over 30 goals. The Scotties lost once, to Yough (2-1).

Don’t overlook: Brownsville finished second to Southmoreland and features one of the top talents in the WPIAL in junior Tessa Dellarose. … Yough, last year’s runner-up, is getting healthy just in time for the postseason.

Prediction: South Park over North Catholic

Class A

Favorite: Unbeaten Greensburg Central Catholic, the runner-up last year, breezed to a section title, scoring 84 goals along the way. While the Centurions played in one of the weaker sections and managed just one nonsection game against Class 2A Charleroi, they are loaded with firepower. Sam and Sara Felder, Tatum Gretz and Jess Nemeth are goal-scoring threats for the Centurions, who made the PIAA semifinals last year.

Contenders: Freedom, a WPIAL semifinalist last year, have a go-to sister combination in Renae and Jules Mohrbacher. The Bulldogs had late-season losses to OLSH and Beaver. … Rising Steel Valley went unbeaten in Section 2 and scored nine or more goals five times.

Don’t overlook: Bishop Canevin made the quarterfinals last year. … Bentworth is a dangerous No. 9 seed with Jasmine Manning in net.

Prediction: GCC over Freedom

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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