What to watch for in WPIAL sports for Oct. 30, 2023: Boys soccer semifinals commence

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Sunday, October 29, 2023 | 9:28 PM


There is something special about the No. 11 seed when it comes to the WPIAL Class 3A boys soccer playoffs.

Last fall, No. 11 Ambridge upset No. 6 Hampton, No. 3 Thomas Jefferson and No. 2 Plum to reach the district championship match. The Bridgers’ miracle run ended with a 3-0 loss to top-seeded Moon in the finals.

This season, No. 11 Franklin Regional is halfway through another unexpected postseason run.

After upsetting No. 6 Mars in the first round, the Panthers stunned defending champion Moon in the quarterfinals last week, 2-1 in overtime, thanks to a pair of goals by junior Tyler Pipon.

On Monday in a Class 3A semifinals match at North Allegheny, Franklin Regional (12-7) tries to continue its magical ride as it battles No. 2 Hampton (16-2-1) at 6 p.m.

The Talbots needed overtime to beat Trinity in the opening round and double overtime to oust Thomas Jefferson in the quarterfinals.

In the other 3A boys Final Four match, surprising South Fayette (11-4-3), fresh off an upset of top-seeded Plum, will battle Montour (14-4) for the third time this season.

The Spartans won the first match, 1-0, back in September while the Lions took the rematch last month, 2-1.

Re-writing history in 2A?

In the 2022 WPIAL Class 2A boys soccer playoffs, South Park was the No. 1 seed and Quaker Valley was the No. 2.

They both won their first two games to advance to the semifinals, but their hope for district gold ended there.

The Eagles lost to eventual champion Deer Lakes, 1-0, while the Quakers were ousted by Beaver, also by a score of 1-0.

South Park and Quaker Valley return to the Final Four here in the 2023 postseason and once again they are the favorites as the 1 and 2 seeds.

Top-seeded South Park (20-0) will face No. 4 Avonworth (16-2-1) at Dormont Stadium at 8 p.m. while second-seeded Quaker Valley (16-3) takes on No. 6 Shady Side Academy in the first match at 6 p.m.

Public opinion

Only twice in the 22-year history of Class A in WPIAL boys soccer has a public school team won the championship. Riverside captured gold in 2012 and Avonworth in 2018.

A third winner might be on the horizon as three public school teams have reached the Class A Final Four.

One is guaranteed a spot in the title match as No. 7 Bentworth (16-2) will battle No. 3 Burrell (14-3) in the first game of a doubleheader at Peters Township on Monday.

The lone private school remaining is No. 4 Seton LaSalle (15-2-1), which will take on top-seeded Charleroi (18-0) at 8 p.m.

Charleroi, Bentworth and Burrell are all in search of their first district boys soccer championship while Seton LaSalle has won six crowns, with the latest coming in 2015.

Eyeing a repeat

A repeat in the highest classification of WPIAL girls soccer is not unique. It has happened 11 times before.

North Allegheny (19-0) is hoping to make it an even dozen.

The 2022 champion Tigers are the top seed in this year’s postseason. They needed penalty kicks to oust Mt. Lebanon in the quarterfinals and now the take on Canon-McMillan (9-6-2) at 6 p.m. Monday at Moon Stadium.

NA won back to back 4A titles in 2019 and 2020, becoming the 11th team to do so and joining the ranks of Norwin (twice), Seneca Valley, Pine-Richland, Upper St. Clair (three times), Hampton, Quaker Valley and Mt. Lebanon.

Only Mt. Lebanon from 1980-84 has won more than two straight girls soccer crowns in the highest classification.

The other 4A semifinals match features No. 6 Fox Chapel (11-4-2) against No. 2 Upper St. Clair (16-1) at Moon at 8 p.m.

The Panthers have won nine straight while the Foxes are 2-1-1 in their last four matches but have scored 12 goals in their last two contests.

One more regular season finale

While the WPIAL football regular season is in the books and the postseason is ready to go, there is one more chapter to be written in the local high school football regular season is 2023.

A couple of independent programs conclude their seasons in a battle for Fayette County pride as Brownsville (1-6) visits Uniontown (3-6).

This season has already been a success for the Falcons, who on Sept. 22, ended a 34-game losing streak when they defeated Carrick, 36-30 in overtime.

Ringgold ends the season with the longest current WPIAL skid at 25 straight losses.

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