What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Aug. 30, 2022: Section play begins in boys soccer

Monday, August 29, 2022 | 9:01 PM

Ready or not, the WPIAL begins its section schedule for the 2022 boys high school soccer season Tuesday.

Thirty-six of the district’s 105 boys soccer teams will not only be opening up section play Tuesday, but also it will be their season opener.

Similar to the girls side, the biggest change after realignment in WPIAL boys soccer is going from 21 to 16 teams in Class 4A, thus shrinking from three to two sections in the highest classification.

Section games that begin Tuesday will determine who qualifies for the district playoffs in October.

The top four teams in each section earn a postseason berth. If there is a tie for a playoff spot and the head-to-head tiebreaker does not break the tie, all of those tied teams will qualify.

In the regular season, teams earn three points for a section win and one point for a section tie.

Defenders of the crown open up

All four 2021 WPIAL boys soccer champions begin section play Tuesday with three of the four defending champs at home.

It won’t take long for Hampton to feel the bull’s-eye on their back from winning the Class 3A title a year ago. The Talbots open up section play on the road against perennial power and 2020 3A champ Mars in Section 1-3A.

Also facing a tough section opener is two-time defending Class 4A champion Seneca Valley. SV will host Fox Chapel in Section 1-4A. Last year, the Raiders edged the Foxes in the 4A semifinals, 1-0.

Last fall’s Class 2A champion, Quaker Valley will host Beaver in a Section 4-2A opener while current Class A title holder, Winchester Thurston, is home to Aquinas Academy in a Section 3-A match.

Getting an early start

All but nine of the 122 WPIAL girls volleyball team will begin section play after the Labor Day holiday.

The lone exception are the nine teams that make up the bloated Section 3-2A.

Those teams will begin section play this week because of the number of section matches needed to play. It is the only section in the district with more than eight teams.

The schedule for Tuesday’s lid lifters are Bentworth at Yough, Beth-Center visiting Waynesburg, Washington hosting Brownsville and Charleroi traveling to Southmoreland.

Of those eight, only Waynesburg and Southmoreland qualified for the 2A playoffs.

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