Competitive section prepared Fox Chapel boys soccer for playoff push

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Saturday, October 31, 2020 | 11:01 AM


The Fox Chapel boys soccer team has tested itself against tough competition all season long.

The Foxes played No. 2 Seneca Valley, No. 6 North Allegheny and No. 10 Butler twice this season and came away with an overall record of 10-3 and received the No. 4 seed in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs, earning a first-round bye.

While Seneca Valley also received a bye, North Allegheny and Butler both came away with first-round playoff victories Oct. 27.

Playing against that type of competition prepared Fox Chapel for its 2020 playoff push.

“The guys are used to getting into the playoffs, and I can tell you since the sections were changed, it’s never something that we assume any more like we used to,” Fox Chapel coach Erik Ingram said. “Being in the northern section, you never know who is going to make it through, but I think we are used to making the playoffs. We’ve been to the playoffs all 15 years of my time here, but I think this section really prepares you.”

The first-round bye allowed the Foxes to start to get healthy. For most of the season, the Foxes have been beaten up with injuries here and there and never really had the time to fully recover due to the condensed schedule. Now, for the first time this season, Ingram says his team is 100%.

“Throughout the season, and it goes along with playing in our section, you have injuries, and we’ve had different guys injured off and on throughout the entire season, and I can finally say right now as a team, this is the first time all season we are at 100%,” Ingram said. “I think the guys are well rested, healthy, and we’ve just been fine-tuning some things.”

After earning a first-round bye, and taking advantage of it, the Foxes drew a quarterfinal matchup with No. 5 Upper St. Clair, which defeated No. 12 Latrobe, 5-0, in the first round. The Panthers went 8-5-1 and finished their schedule with losses to Mt. Lebanon and North Allegheny, who Fox Chapel split with this season.

“We just have to stick to the way we’ve been playing,” Ingram said.

The Foxes may also be hitting their stride at just the right time. Over the last month, they’ve only dropped one contest, a 2-0 loss to Seneca Valley, and have won seven of their past eight games while recording six shutouts and outscoring teams 30-3.

“We’ve been peaking in the last week, week and a half, and I think it was perfect timing going into the playoffs,” Ingram said.

Now, all they have to do is follow through as they search for their first WPIAL title since 1995.

“Based on the level of play and competition within our section, I think that we are more than prepared. We just have to show up and follow through,” Ingram said.

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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