Plum boys and girls soccer teams earn premier seeds for WPIAL playoffs

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | 6:20 PM


The Plum boys and girls soccer teams enjoyed successful regular seasons and the WPIAL rewarded both with premier seeds on Wednesday when playoff brackets were unveiled.

The Mustangs boys (15-0-2) are the No. 1 seed in their Class AAAA bracket, while the Plum girls (14-1) are the No. 2 seed in the Class AAA field. Plum boys coach Raf Kolankowski was happy with the honor his team was given.

“For Plum, it is a great accomplishment. I can’t remember if we’ve ever been the No. 1 seed,” Kolankowski said. “So I’m happy for the kids and the seniors we have. The real work starts now, though. You can be No. 1 all you want, but you still have to prove it.”

The Plum boys have a lot more to accomplish as they are hoping to win their first playoff game since 2005.

“Winning that would be a huge,” Kolankowski said. “We are going to do our best. We are a young team, so hopefully the young guys can step up for us.”

The Mustangs received a first-round bye with their No. 1 seed and will play the winner of Upper St. Clair and North Allegheny on Wednesday.

Deer Lakes (13-4, 13-1) was the only other A-K Valley boys team to receive a top two seed heading into the playoffs this weekend. A year after the Lancers made a run to the state championship, they are back for some unfinished business with a new coach at the helm. They know what it will take to get it done.

“Its gonna take consistency and having that mental aspect,” first-year coach Dan Yates said. “The mentality of our team is at the point where we’ve been given a good draw and they know that and now they have to capitalize on that.”

The Lancers will take on Steel Valley at noon Saturday at Hampton.

Other A-K Valley boys teams in playoff action Saturday include Fox Chapel (11-3-3), which will host Woodland Hills (9-7-1) at noon in the Class AAAA playoffs.

In the Class AAA bracket, Kiski Area (11-5-2) will travel to Trinity to take on the Hillers (13-4) at 2 p.m.

Burrell (10-7) and Freeport (11-5-2) highlight the A-K representatives in Class AA along with Deer Lakes. The Yellowjackets will play Keystone Oaks (11-1-1) at Mars at 6. The Bucs will also be on the road and will travel to Franklin Regional to take on Charleroi (17-1) at noon.

Springdale (12-3) and Riverview (7-6) are the two local teams in the Class A field. Riverview will play in a preliminary game against Beaver County Christian (6-8-1) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Hampton to earn a matchup with top-seeded Winchester Thurston on Saturday. The Dynamos will take on Chartiers-Houston (11-5-2) at 2 p.m. at Fox Chapel.

The Plum girls, co-champions of Section 3-AAA with Oakland Catholic and winners of their past 11 games, will open with former section rival Gateway at 8 p.m. Monday at Plum.

“The girls are excited with the season that they had and are ready to go,” said Plum coach Jamie Stewart, who served as an assistant at Gateway from 2015 until last year. “They know they can’t take any team lightly or look past anybody. No matter what seed you have, all the teams in the playoffs are quality teams. We simply have to continue to do the things we have done to be successful.”

Burrell, one of two girls teams that went unbeaten and untied in the WPIAL, is slotted as the No. 4 seed in Class AA. Hopewell and North Catholic, co-champions of Section 1, are the top two seeds, while South Park, co-champs of Section 3 with Yough, is seeded third.

The top three received byes to the quarterfinals on Oct. 24. The Bucs, however, will play a first-round game against No. 13 Mt. Pleasant at 6 p.m. Monday at Kiski Area.

“Well, I’m just glad we’re seeded, to be honest with you,” Burrell coach Frank Nesko said. “I know that Hopewell, North Catholic and South Park are all very good teams and well deserving of the seeds they got. I told the girls that we’re going to have to play quality teams no matter where we’re seeded. I’m happy we’re in and have a chance to go out and play.”

Other A-K Valley teams earned a berth into the playoffs as well. Kiski Area (12-4) is seeded sixth and will host Ringgold at 8 p.m. Monday. Fox Chapel (9-7-1) is the No. 9 seed in Class AAAA and will play Upper St. Clair (11-5) on the Panthers’ home turf at 8 p.m. Monday.

Deer Lakes (12-3-1) and Freeport (14-4) are the No. 6 and No. 8 seeds, respectively, in the Class AA bracket. The Lancers will take on Quaker Valley at 6 p.m. Monday at Mars, while the Yellowjackets face Waynesburg at 6 p.m. Monday at Plum.

Highlands (5-9) is the No. 12 seed in Class AA and will meet No. 5 Yough at 6 p.m. Monday at Penn-Trafford.

In Class A, Springdale (7-9) drew the No. 13 seed and will play Seton LaSalle at 6 p.m. Monday.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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