What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Oct. 18, 2023: Soccer playoff pairings to be unveiled at noon

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 | 11:01 PM

The first edition of bracketology for the fall WPIAL sports season comes Wednesday when the district releases the brackets for the 2023 boys and girls soccer playoffs.

Not only did the four defending girls soccer champions all qualify for this year’s postseason to defend their crowns, North Allegheny, Moon, Avonworth and Freedom all won their section titles this season.

There will be a new champion in boys soccer Class 4A.

Pine-Richland, the 2022 champion, finished in fifth place in Section 1-4A and missed the postseason cut.

The other boys soccer district champs from a year ago — Moon, Deer Lakes and Winchester Thurston — are back and ready to shoot for more gold.

Two district teams will be trying to three-peat over the next few weeks as the Winchester Thurston boys and Avonworth girls attempt to win a third straight WPIAL championship.

Also, Seneca Valley boys and Moon girls are the defending PIAA state soccer champions heading into the district playoffs.

Check out the Trib HSSN Soccer Playoff Pairings Show at noon Wednesday on TribHSSN.TribLive.com.

Driving for PIAA gold

With the state individual golf championships in the books, four WPIAL teams will be shooting for PIAA gold Wednesday at the Penn State Golf Course in State College.

Peters Township will have a chance to sweep state gold as both the Indians boys and girls teams will participate in the PIAA Class 3A team playoffs.

In Class 2A, WPIAL champions Belle Vernon boys and Greensburg Central Catholic girls will try to double up on district and state gold.

The Seneca Valley girls in 3A and Central Valley girls in 2A will also be part of the six-team playoff format.

One WPIAL team captured a state championship a year ago when Central Catholic won gold in PIAA boys 3A.

Love the D-7 gold

The 2023 WPIAL girls team tennis championships are set for Wednesday at the Janet L. Swanson Tennis Center at Washington & Jefferson College.

The top two seeds in Class 3A battle when No. 1 Bethel Park faces No. 1 North Allegheny at 2:30 p.m.

The Black Hawks have defeated Norwin, Upper St. Clair and Shady Side Academy to advance to the finals while North Allegheny has knocked off Baldwin, Pine-Richland and defending champion Mt. Lebanon to reach the title match.

Bethel Park is trying to win its first WPIAL girls team tennis crown while North Allegheny is searching for No. 7 after winning six straight district championships between 2013-2018.

The top two seeds also square off against each other in Class 2A as defending champion and top seed Knoch battles No. 2 Sewickley Academy at 1 p.m.

After a first-round bye, the Knights have ousted Winchester Thurston and Hampton on their way to the finals while the Panthers have eliminated McGuffey, Quaker Valley and North Catholic on the road to the title match.

Knoch is trying to make it two in a row and three titles in four years while Sewickley Academy hopes to win its ninth district crown, its second in three years and its fifth since 2017.

Also on Wednesday are the two consolation matches set for North Allegheny.

In Class 3A, Mt. Lebanon faces Shady Side Academy and in 2A, Hampton battles North Catholic. The winner of those matches joins the two finalists as District 7 representatives in the upcoming PIAA girls team tennis state playoffs.

Fighting for second

Pine-Richland has clinched first place in WPIAL Class 3A field hockey.

The battle for second place could be decided Wednesday when Mt. Lebanon visits Peters Township in the regular season finale.

Both the Blue Devils and Indians enter the match with identical 3A records of 7-2-2.

While Pine-Richland is No. 1 in both offense and defense in 3A, Mt. Lebanon is No. 2 in goals scored while Peters Township is No. 2 in goals allowed.

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