Breaking down the 2022 WPIAL boys soccer playoffs

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022 | 3:52 PM


Here’s a look at the 2022 WPIAL boys soccer playoffs:

Class 4A

Favorite: Who else? Seneca Valley is the two-time defending champion and was the PIAA runner-up last year. The Raiders, ranked No. 1 in 4A for the entire regular season, have not lost and have one tie, against Butler. Their last loss came in the state final in Hershey. They have not lost to a WPIAL opponent since 2020, the year they won a PIAA title. Ryan Krumenacker is one of the top goalies in 4A, while Beaux Lizewski is a hard matchup in the midfield.

Contenders: Fox Chapel has shut out six of its last seven opponents, including Butler and Pine-Richland. … Butler tied Seneca Valley, 2-2, and beat Pine-Richland, 2-1. … Pine-Richland has a 1-1 tie with Fox Chapel. The Rams were third in Section 1 behind Seneca Valley and Fox Chapel. … Section 2 champion Peters Township has wins over Norwin, Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon. … Norwin has won 11 of its last 12 games.

Don’t overlook: With wins over Norwin and Upper St. Clair, and nine one-goal finishes, Canon-McMillan could be a sleeper.

Prediction: Seneca Valley over Peters Township

Class 3A

Favorite: Section 2 winner Moon has 13 shutouts, including nine in a row. The Tigers have only let up five goals all season. They lost to Hampton in last year’s quarterfinals. Moon’s last WPIAL title was in 2003. Ryan Kopay is an Akron recruit and keeper Zach Shutak has been strong.

Contenders: Plum, last year’s runner-up, has the firepower to make a run. The Lucas Pittman-led Mustangs have won six straight following a 1-0 loss to Franklin Regional, another team to watch. The Panthers shared the Section 4 title with Plum for the third year in a row. They have won 13 of 14. Colton Hudson and Jake Kimmich are talented seniors. … Thomas Jefferson won Section 3 by two games over Bethel Park and posted nine shutouts.

Don’t overlook: Kiski Area, the Section 1 champion, reached the quarterfinals last year and lost 6-4 to Franklin Regional. Anders Bordoy is a Memphis commit. … Will Gruca (21 goals, 11 assists) powers Ambridge.

Prediction: Moon over Plum

Class 2A

Favorite: Undefeated South Park could have something to say after cruising to the Section 1 title. The Eagles have also surrendered just six goals and three came in one game. They have 13 clean sheets to hang on the line and have not allowed a goal in October.

Contenders: Defending WPIAL and PIAA champion Quaker Valley is primed for a repeat. The Quakers blanked 11 opponents and allowed eight goals. Their loss is to 3A No. 1 seed Moon. … Deer Lakes, two years removed from a championship, tied Shady Side Academy for the Section 2 title. … Shady Side Academy’s losses are to Deer Lakes (1-0) and Plum (4-1). … East Allegheny reached the quarterfinals last year but gave up 14 goals to Quaker Valley.

Don’t overlook: Belle Vernon has a young team, but the Leopards are deep and skilled up top.

Prediction: Quaker Valley over South Park

Class A

Favorite: Greensburg Central Catholic just took over the No. 1 ranking and has won 10 of its last 11. The Centurions are averaging 8.8 goals per game. They won WPIAL titles in 2019 and ‘20. WPIAL goals leader Carlo Denis (49 goals) powers the attack. Kyler Miller is second in the league with 36 goals. The Centurions, whose losses are to Sewickley Academy and The Kiski School, are seeking a fifth straight trip to the finals.

Contenders: Winchester Thurston is a 1B to GCC for title favorite. The Bears, led by Alex Hauskrecht, won WPIAL and PIAA titles last year. They have two losses in their last 39 games. Springdale ended the Bears’ 27-game section unbeaten streak with a 3-1 win. … Section 1 winner Sewickley Academy also is a strong contender, although it has a late-season loss to Eden Christian, which has not lost since Sept. 10.

Don’t overlook: Both of Charleroi’s losses are to Greensburg Central Catholic. The Bryce Large-led Cougars have 10 shutouts to other teams. … Seton LaSalle has not lost since Sept. 24.

Prediction: Greensburg Central Catholic over Winchester Thurston

THE SCHEDULE

Boys

WPIAL playoffs

Class 4A

Quarterfinals

Oct. 29 schedule

Times TBD

Upper St. Clair (9-6-2) at Seneca Valley (16-0-1); Canon-McMillan (12-5) at Fox Chapel (12-3-2); Butler (12-4-2) at Peters Township (13-2); Pine-Richland (12-4-1) at Norwin (11-5)

Class 3A

Preliminary round

Thursday’s schedule

Ringgold (8-10) at Connellsville (10-7), 6 p.m.

First round

Saturday’s schedule

Ringgold/Connellsville winner at Moon (16-0-1), 2 p.m.; Mars (10-6) at Bethel Park (13-5), 2 p.m.; Montour (9-4-4-) at Franklin Regional (14-4), 2 p.m.; Gateway (10-7-1) at Kiski Area (14-3), 2 p.m.; North Catholic (7-6-3) at Plum (16-1-1), 2 p.m.; Trinity (12-5) at South Fayette (9-4-3), 2 p.m.; Penn-Trafford (9-8-1) at Thomas Jefferson (16-2), 2 p.m.; Ambridge (11-6-1) at Hampton (12-5), 2 p.m.

Class 2A

First round

Monday’s schedule

Mt. Pleasant (8-8-2) at South Park (17-0), 6:30 p.m.; Knoch (10-8) at McGuffey (12-5-1), 6:30 p.m.; Hopewell (8-7) at Deer Lakes (16-2), 6:30 p.m.; West Mifflin (11-6-1) at Belle Vernon (13-4), 6:30 p.m.; Freeport (7-9) at Quaker Valley (15-3), 6:30 p.m.; Avonworth (10-5-1) at East Allegheny (13-3), 6:30 p.m.; Keystone Oaks (7-8-1) at Shady Side Academy (13-3), 6:30 p.m.; Brownsville (11-7) at Beaver (11-6), 6:30 p.m.

Class A

First round

Tuesday’s schedule

Bishop Canevin (2-12-1) vs. Greensburg C.C. (14-1) at Norwin, 6:30 p.m.; Freedom (12-4) at Charleroi (14-2), 6:30 p.m.; Trinity Christian (9-5-1) vs. Eden Christian (13-2-1) at Avonworth, 6 p.m.; Bentworth (12-5) vs. Seton LaSalle (11-3-1) at South Park, 6 p.m.; California (5-10) vs. Winchester Thurston (12-2-1) at Shady Side Academy, 6 p.m.; Serra Catholic (9-6) at Burrell (14-3), 8 p.m.; OLSH (8-7) vs. Sewickley Academy (14-2) at Beaver, 6 p.m.; Carlynton (9-4-2) vs. Springdale (12-4) at Burrell, 6 p.m.

Watch an archive broadcast of the WPIAL Soccer Playoff Pairings Show on Trib HSSN.

Check out complete WPIAL soccer brackets on Trib HSSN.

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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