What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Nov. 1, 2023: Title game rematch in girls volleyball

Wednesday, November 1, 2023 | 12:22 AM

A busy month of district and state postseason fall sports action begins on this first day of November with volleyball final four matches and boys soccer consolation contests.

A year ago, Pine-Richland shocked the district girls volleyball world by defeating top seed and two-time defending champion North Allegheny in the WPIAL 4A finals, 3-2.

Now the two Section 1 rivals meet for a third time this season with a berth in the 2023 title match at stake.

NA won both matches during the regular season, 3-1 at home in September and 3-0 at Pine-Richland in October.

Last year’s district championship was the fourth for the Rams and first since 2010.

The Tigers have won four of the last six WPIAL Class 4A girls volleyball crowns.

The match is at Fox Chapel at 7:30 p.m.

In the other 4A final four match, No. 2 Seneca Valley will face the only non-Section 1 team remaining in the 4A field, No. 3 Canon-McMillan.

Seneca Valley and Canon-McMillan are the only two programs besides North Allegheny and Pine-Richland to win WPIAL Class 4A championships.

The Big Macs won in 2019 and the Raiders captured the first 4A title in 2016.

This match is set for Fox Chapel at 6 p.m.

3A clashes

It doesn’t seem to matter what classification they play in. North Catholic is getting used to wearing the gold in girls volleyball.

In 2022, North Catholic defeated South Fayette to win the Class 3A championship.

This after the Trojans won hardcourt titles in Class 2A in 2018, 2020 and 2021.

No. 2 North Catholic is two wins away from a fourth straight WPIAL championship, but to reach the final, it must knock off No. 3 Oakland Catholic on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at North Allegheny.

The Eagles won the Section 2 title and have eliminated Ringgold and Armstrong to reach the semifinals.

In the other 3A semifinals match at NA, top-seeded Hampton battles No. 4 Thomas Jefferson at 7:30 p.m.

The Talbots have yet to lose a game in beating Laurel Highlands and Montour thus far in the postseason, while the Jaguars have also been dominant, sweeping past Kiski Area and South Fayette in three games.

Survive and advance to states

While the countdown is on for the 2023 WPIAL boys and girls soccer championships at Highmark Stadium at Station Square on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, six district boys soccer teams will be battling to keep their seasons going into the PIAA playoffs.

The top three teams in 3A, 2A and Class A advance to the state postseason, so the district will hold its three boys soccer consolation matches on Wednesday.

The winners join the two WPIAL finalists in the PIAA brackets while the losers’ season has a harsh ending.

Two of the consolation matches will take place at North Allegheny.

In Class 3A, Montour (15-4) will face Franklin Regional (12-8) at 6 p.m.

After shutting out Gateway and edging Indiana, the Spartans could not slow down the surprising playoff run of No. 8 South Fayette and lost to the Lions in the semifinals, 2-1.

No. 11 Franklin Regional was enjoying a stunning run themselves. The Panthers stunned Mars and defending champion Moon before being blanked by Hampton in the semis, 2-0.

In the 2A consolation match, Avonworth (16-3-1) takes on Shady Side Academy (14-5-1) at 8 p.m.

The Antelopes saw a 10-game winning streak end with a final four loss to South Park while the Bulldogs had yielded only one goal in two playoff wins before giving up four to Quaker Valley in a one-goal loss.

The Class A consolation match pits Section 4 co-champ Seton LaSalle (15-3-1) against Section 3 co-champion Burrell (14-4) at Fox Chapel at 7:30 p.m.

Both the Rebels and the Bucs lost semifinal heartbreakers in overtime, Seton LaSalle to Charleroi, 1-0, and Burrell to Bentworth, 2-1.

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