Westmoreland County soccer playoff preview capsules: Nov. 5

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020 | 12:41 PM


Boys

Class 3A

Championship

2-Franklin Regional (16-2) vs. 1-Mars (17-0)

8 p.m. Thursday, Newman Stadium, North Allegheny, McCandless

Coaches: Rand Hudson, Franklin Regional; Chris Knauff, Mars

How they got here: Franklin Regional defeated Knoch, 7-0; Indiana, 4-0; and West Allegheny, 2-1 (OT); Mars defeated Laurel Highlands, 5-1; Hampton, 1-0; and South Fayette, 3-1

WPIAL championships: Franklin Regional, 2 (2018, ’19); Mars 2 (’08, ’09)

Corner kicks: Franklin Regional is the two-time defending champion. Junior forward Anthony DiFalco gave up kicking for the football team this year so he could concentrate full-time on soccer. He kicked West Allegheny out of the playoffs with an overtime goal in a 2-1, semifinal victory. DiFalco, an all-state player, has 36 goals and 22 assists. Senior midfielder Blake Cooper, who has 21 goals and 12 assists, assisted the winning score and also had a goal. The Panthers have allowed eight goals in 18 games and have 12 shutouts. … Mars returns to the finals for the first time since 2016 when it lost to Chartiers Valley. Nick Porter, Nabil Lahlou and Dane Beller had goals in a semifinal win over No. 6 South Fayette. The Planets have 12 shutouts and have allowed four goals. The Planets lost in the quarterfinals last year to West Allegheny, 5-1. They also lost to the Indians, 4-3, in the 2018 semifinals. Scoring leader Beller had 26 goals during the regular season. Tyler Nymberg had 14 scores. Mars has nonsection wins over two Class 4A teams in Baldwin (4-0) and Mt. Lebanon (2-1). The winner goes to the PIAA playoffs and will host the District 6 champion in the quarterfinals Nov. 14.

Girls

Class A

6-Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (12-2) vs. 1-Greensburg Central Catholic (15-0)

5:15 p.m. Thursday, Antimarino Stadium, Gateway, Monroeville

Coaches: Paige Petroval, OLSH; Olivia Kruger, GCC

How they got here: OLSH defeated Seton La Salle, 5-1; Freedom, 4-3; and Steel Valley, 2-1; GCC defeated Riverside, 3-0; Springdale, 8-1; and South Side, 8-4

WPIAL championships: OLSH none; GCC 6 (2005, ’11, ’12, ’14, ’15, ’17)

Corner kicks: OLSH is a surprise finalist as the No. 6 seed, although the Chargers defeated preseason No. 1 Freedom twice, including in the quarterfinals. Freshman Alexa Taylor scored in the sixth minute of overtime to lift the Chargers to a 2-1 upset of No. 2 Steel Valley in the semifinals. Sophomore Evie Minzer also had a goal in the victory. The Chargers are 3-1 in one-goal games. … GCC has outscored three playoff opponents 19-5. The Centurions took care of South Side, 8-4, in the semifinals as they rallied from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1. Hannah Nelson, Bethany Winnor (2), Sara Felder (2), Tatum Gretz and Jessica Nemeth and Sam Felder scored in the 8-4 victory. Since GCC came to Class A in 2010, the program has reached the WPIAL finals nine times in 11 seasons, with five titles. The winner advances to the PIAA playoffs and will host a quarterfinal game Nov. 14 against either the District 5 or 6 champion.

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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