What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Nov. 14, 2023: Girls soccer powers to clash with state finals berth on the line

Monday, November 13, 2023 | 10:46 PM

When it comes to PIAA Class 3A girls soccer, a pair of WPIAL programs have been out of this world.

Since the state expanded soccer to four classifications in 2016, either Moon or Mars has won the PIAA 3A girls soccer crown six times in seven seasons, including four years in a row.

Moon won 3A state championships in 2016, 2017 and 2022 while Mars brought home girls soccer gold in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The Tigers and Fightin’ Planets have been so good, they both won PIAA championships in 2021, Mars in Class 3A and Moon in 4A.

One of them will be playing for a state crown again this season as the two golden programs square off Tuesday in a PIAA Class 3A semifinal at 8 p.m. at North Allegheny.

The two nearly faced each other a few weeks ago in the WPIAL championship match, but while Moon (17-2-2) was eliminating Montour in the district semifinals, top-seeded Mars (19-1) was being knocked off by eventual champion South Fayette.

The winner will advance to the PIAA finals Saturday at Eagle Valley Middle School in Mechanicsburg to face the winner of the Shikellamy (19-3) against Abington Heights (22-0) semifinal Tuesday.

Golden rematches

There are two PIAA semifinals that are rematches of WPIAL championship contests from over a week ago.

In girls Class 2A, WPIAL champion Avonworth (21-1-2) will clash again with district runner-up Shady Side Academy (17-5-1). The match is set for Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. at North Allegheny.

In the WPIAL title match, the Antelopes blanked the Bulldogs, 1-0, thanks to a late first-half goal by Gianna Babusci.

The win gave Avonworth its third straight district championship.

Despite their great district success, the Antelopes are still looking for their first PIAA championship.

Shady Side Academy won state gold six years ago when it beat Camp Hill Trinity to win the 2017 state crown.

The winner will face the victor of the other semifinal in Class 2A girls soccer between Northwestern Lehigh (23-1) and Central Columbia (22-1). The state title match is 10 a.m. Friday in Mechanicsburg.

The other WPIAL championship rematch in the PIAA semifinals is in Class A boys soccer as Bentworth (20-2) faces the team it beat for district gold, Charleroi (21-1).

Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Bearcats stormed back thanks to goals by Ryan Moessner and Andrew Vipperman, then Bentworth’s Ryan Colbert scored the golden goal in overtime.

This will be the fourth meeting of the season between these section rivals as Chaleroi won the two regular season clashes.

The match takes place at 7 p.m. at Peters Township Stadium with the winner advancing to the Class A title match at 1 p.m. Saturday in Mechanicsburg against the Delco Christian (17-3-2) and Faith Christian (22-0) final four winner.

Four-A frays

Since the advent of Class 4A in soccer in 2016, the WPIAL has won five state championships in the highest classification.

Seneca Valley has won the only two PIAA boys 4A titles from the WPIAL in 2020 and 2022.

Girls 4A teams from District 7 have captured three state championships: Canon-McMillan in 2016, Norwin in 2017 and Moon in 2021.

There are two WPIAL teams still alive in the 4A semifinals Tuesday.

On the boys side, Norwin (17-5-1) will battle Abington (18-5-2) at 6 p.m. at Chambersburg.

The winner advances to the state final at 7 p.m. Friday in Mechanicsburg to play the winner of Conestoga (22-0-1) against Council Rock North (19-3-1).

In girls 4A, North Allegheny (22-2) goes up against Conestoga (20-3) at Chambersburg at 4 p.m.

The winner plays in the state championship match at 4 p.m. Friday at Eagle View MS against the winner of the Pennridge (23-0-1) and Parkland (24-0-1) semifinal Tuesday.

Quakers, Raiders 2 wins away

Both the Quaker Valley boys and Riverview girls soccer teams played for gold in the WPIAL finals and had to settle for silver after title-match losses.

Now both teams are two wins away from state championships.

In the boys Class 2A semifinals, Quaker Valley (19-4) will take on District 4 runner-up Central Columbia (21-2) at 6 p.m. at Mansion Park in Altoona while Blue Mountain (20-4) faces Camp Hill (19-2-2).

The winners collide in the 2A boys final at 1 p.m. Friday in Mechanicsburg.

In the girls A semifinals, Riverview (20-4) will challenge District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle (21-1) at 7 p.m. at Price Field in Johnstown while Dock Mennonite (19-1-2) plays Moravian Academy (16-7) in the other final four match.

Winners will advance to the girls A title match at 10 a.m. Saturday at Eagle View MS.

Hardcourt title rematch

The PIAA girls volleyball playoffs continue Tuesday with four WPIAL teams still alive for state gold.

Two of them square off in the Class 3A semifinals at 7 p.m. at North Allegheny in a rematch of the recent WPIAL 3A championship match.

Undefeated Hampton (23-0) will once again square off with North Catholic (20-1) in a rematch of the district finals when the Talbots unseated the Trojans as district title holders.

Hampton swept North Catholic in three sets, 25-10, 25-16 and 25-21.

The winner will play in the PIAA 3A finals against the winner of the Spring Grove (19-5) against Pope John Paul II (23-0) match at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Cumberland Valley.

Powerhouse ready to return to finals

The North Allegheny girls volleyball team is used to clicking it heels this time of year like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” and announcing, “There’s no place like home.”

Home for the Tigers is the PIAA state championship match. NA has won seven straight state championships dating to 2017.

They are one win away from returning to the finals as they prepare to face District 3 power Landisville Hempfield in a semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hollidaysburg.

The other 4A semifinal pits two unbeaten teams as Unionville (24-0) battles Parkland (24-0).

The 4A state title match is 6 p.m. Saturday at Cumberland Valley.

Beaver believer

Three of the final four teams in the PIAA 2A girls volleyball playoffs enter the semifinals with perfect records.

WPIAL champion Beaver (22-0) will go head to head with District 6 champion Philipsburg-Osceola (24-0) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Keystone.

The other 2A semifinal has Camp Hill Trinity (24-0) taking on Notre Dame-Green Pond (18-4).

The winners collide at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cumberland Valley.

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