What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Nov. 9, 2021: State soccer playoffs kick off

Monday, November 8, 2021 | 6:40 PM

Even though the district-champion-only format for the PIAA playoffs in 2020 cut the state soccer playoffs from four rounds to three, it turned out to be a historic postseason for the WPIAL.

All eight District 7 boys and girls soccer champions won two state playoffs games to advance to a WPIAL block party at Hersheypark Stadium.

However, only three district teams brought home state gold as the Mars boys and girls as well as Seneca Valley boys claimed PIAA crowns.

The other five teams — Deer Lakes boys, North Allegheny and North Catholic girls and the Greensburg Central Catholic boys and girls teams — returned west with runner-up silver.

The three state championships won by WPIAL teams are tied for the second-most in one season. Four District 7 teams earned state soccer championships in 2012, 2013 and 2017.

On Tuesday, the 2021 PIAA soccer playoffs begin with 11 boys and 11 girls WPIAL teams ready to make a run for gold on the pitch.

The four boys and girls WPIAL champions all open up the PIAA postseason with home games.

Seneca Valley, Hampton, Quaker Valley and Winchester Thurston are home Tuesday while seven other WPIAL boys teams hit the road.

Same for the girls brackets as Moon, Mars, Avonworth and Steel Valley will enjoy home cooking in round one while the other seven participants from the WPIAL take the bus ride to neighboring districts.

Hitting the PIAA hardcourt

The 2021 PIAA girls volleyball postseason also begins on Tuesday.

Much like soccer, the four WPIAL champions will host first-round matches while seven of the eight other district teams will travel east to District 6, northeast to District 9 or north to District 10 for state openers.

The lone exception is Plum. The Mustangs are the No. 4 seed from the WPIAL in Class 3A but will have a short jaunt to Freeport to face the district champion Yellowjackets.

The other WPIAL champs hosting first-round games are North Allegheny, North Catholic and Bishop Canevin.

North Allegheny is the only defending PIAA champion from District 7. The Tigers are trying to win a fifth straight PIAA crown.

Field hockey too

Also on Tuesday, the 2021 PIAA field hockey championships begin.

The brackets only have three WPIAL teams, all district champions, and all three are home for the opening round.

Pine-Richland in 3A, Penn-Trafford in 2A and Shady Side Academy in A are all trying to make history. No WPIAL team has ever won a PIAA field hockey championship. In fact, no District 7 team has reached the state finals.

More Field Hockey

Aquinas field hockey rebuilding on the run
Pine-Richland senior recovers from injury, rekindles passion for field hockey
Penn-Trafford field hockey off to strong start as team eyes 8th straight WPIAL title
Drive for 5 underway for Pine-Richland field hockey
Shady Side Academy, Fox Chapel field hockey standouts pick up all-star honors