What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Oct. 24, 2023: Playoff newcomers seek 1st-round wins

Monday, October 23, 2023 | 11:20 PM

There are 14 teams that are back in the WPIAL Class 2A girls soccer playoffs from a year ago. The only two that qualified this fall that weren’t part of the fun last season are No. 9 Quaker Valley and No. 10 Deer Lakes.

Both will get a taste of the postseason on the pitch Tuesday when they both hit the road for first-round matches.

The Quakers and Lancers just missed in 2022, finishing in fifth place in their respective sections.

Quaker Valley was 7-8-1 overall while Deer Lakes finished 10-7-1.

This year, they both finished in third place. The Quakers are 10-6-1 overall and the Lancers are 9-6-3.

Quaker Valley will visit Southmoreland (10-5) while Deer Lakes takes the short jaunt to Shady Side Academy (12-3-1).

The other six Class 2A opening round matches are:

• No. 16 Yough (5-13) goes to top-seeded defending champion Avonworth (14-1-2) at 8 p.m.

• No. 13 Beaver (8-6-1) visits No. 4 Freeport (14-1-1) at 8 p.m. in a battle of quarterfinalists a year ago.

• No. 12 Knoch (8-6-2) heads south to No. 5 South Park (13-5) at 7 p.m.

• No. 15 Woodland Hills (7-6) will play No. 2 North Catholic (13-2) at Freedom at 8 p.m.

• No. 14 West Mifflin (7-7) travels to No. 3 Mt. Pleasant (15-2) at 7 p.m. in the only rematch from the 2022 first round. The Vikings routed the Titans, 12-0.

• No. 11 Keystone Oaks (9-7-1) is at No. 6 Burrell (12-4) at 7 p.m.

Class A girls lid-lifters

A year ago, Springdale was the No. 2 seed and Sewickley Academy was the No. 15 seed in the WPIAL girls soccer Class A brackets.

Springdale received a challenge in the opening round on its way to the 2022 Class A title match but prevailed over Sewickley Academy, 3-2.

On Tuesday, the teams are set to face off once again in the first round.

The gap in seeding isn’t as wide this fall as the Dynamos are the No. 6 seed and the Panthers are No. 11.

Springdale (12-3) finished in third place in Section 1-A while Sewickley Academy (7-7) was third in Section 3-A.

The match will be at Freeport at 6 p.m.

Here are the seven other first-round matches in the full 16-team Class A bracket:

• No. 16 Aquinas Academy (5-6-1) will battle top-seeded Riverview (15-2) at Shady Side Academy at 8 p.m.

• No. 9 Eden Christian Academy (8-5-1) will visit No. 8 Chartiers-Houston (13-3) at 7 p.m.

• No. 13 Seton LaSalle (9-8) will face No. 4 Winchester Thurston (10-3) at UPMC Graham Field in Wilkinsburg at 7 p.m.

• No. 12 South Allegheny (11-7) will take on No. 5 Greensburg Central Catholic (10-2) at Southmoreland at 6 p.m.

• No. 15 Ellis School (8-7-1) will travel to defending champion and No. 2 seed Freedom (14-3) at 6 p.m.

• No. 10 Waynesburg (11-5) takes on No. 7 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (9-4) at Avonworth at 6 p.m.

• No. 14 Riverside (4-8) heads to Charleroi (14-2) to take on the No. 3 seed at 7 p.m.

Opening volleys

With all four classifications set for first-round matches in the girls volleyball playoffs, Class 4A and Class A take center stage first Tuesday.

In Class 4A, Penn-Trafford won the Section 3 championship, yet did not receive one of the three 4A opening-round byes.

Instead the No. 6 Warriors will host Bethel Park at 7 p.m.

A couple of third-place finishers square off when No. 10 Shaler takes on No. 7 Peters Township at Upper St Clair at 6 p.m.

The second match of that doubleheader at USC has No. 5 Upper St. Clair hosting No. 12 Fox Chapel at 7:30 p.m.

The other two 4A first-round matches are at Pine-Richland where No. 9 Hempfield battles No. 8 North Hills at 6 p.m. and No. 4 Pine-Richland welcomes No. 13 Mt. Lebanon at 7:30 p.m.

In Class A, the four semifinalists from the 2022 postseason are all in different quadrants and could face each other in the final four again.

The first step is Tuesday.

Defending champion Frazier, the No. 2 seed this season, hosts No. 15 Trinity Christian at 7:30 p.m. while last year’s runner up Serra Catholic, the top seed again this season, entertains No. 16 Western Beaver in Round 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Semifinalists last year, Bishop Canevin and Mapletown are on different sides of the seeding spectrum this postseason.

The Crusaders are the No. 3 seed and will be home to No. 14 Union while the Maples are a No. 13 seed and will visit No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic at 7:30 p.m.

The other four first-round matches are:

• No. 9 Burgettstown against No. 8 West Greene at Serra Catholic at 6 p.m.

• No. 12 St. Joseph takes on No. 5 Eden Christian Academy at Greensburg Central Catholic at 6 p.m.

• No. 10 Chartiers-Houston battles No. 7 Beaver County Christian at Frazier at 6 p.m.

• No. 11 California challenges No. 6 Carlynton at Bishop Canevin at 6 p.m.

Field hockey bracketology

The brackets for the WPIAL’s smallest postseason team playoffs will be released Tuesday in the district field hockey postseason.

Only four teams in each of three classifications are part of the playoffs.

The semifinals will take place Saturday and the three championship finals are a week later Nov. 4 at Cameron Stadium on the campus of Washington & Jefferson College.

Pine-Richland in 3A, Penn-Trafford in 2A and The Ellis School in A are the defending WPIAL champions. The Rams are trying to win 3A gold for the fifth straight year while the Warriors are trying to win an eighth straight 2A crown.

For the love of District 7

The PIAA girls team tennis playoff begin Tuesday with six WPIAL teams taking part in the hunt for state gold.

In Class 3A, district champion Bethel Park will face District 10 winner Fairview at Mt. Lebanon at 2:30 p.m.

Runner-up North Allegheny goes up against District 6 champion Hollidaysburg at the Gorilla House Gym in Altoona at 1:30 p.m.

Consolation winner Mt. Lebanon heads east to the Hershey Racquet Club to take on District 3 champion Oxford.

In Class 2A, WPIAL champion Knoch will play District 9 champ Elk County Catholic at Mt. Lebanon at 1 p.m.

District 7 runner-up Sewickley Academy faces District 5 champion Bedford at the Summit Athletic Club in Altoona at 11 a.m.

WPIAL third seed Hampton heads north to battle District 10 champion Cathedral Prep at the Westwood Racquet Club in Erie at 1 p.m.

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