What to watch for in WPIAL sports on Oct. 26, 2023: Postseason action in cross country, soccer, volleyball
Wednesday, October 25, 2023 | 11:56 PM
Welcome to one of the busiest days of WPIAL fall sports postseason action on Thrive and Survive Thursday.
There are plenty of quarterfinals matches in boys and girls soccer and girls volleyball, as well as district gold at stake for some of the top area runners.
The 2023 WPIAL cross country championships take place Thursday at White Oak Park in McKeesport.
For the first time since 2018, a Quarzo sister will not win the girls Class 2A individual title.
Gionna Quarzo won district gold in 2019 and her younger sister Jolena captured three straight championships from 2020-2022 before the Brownsville standout graduated in the spring.
On the boys side, all three individual champions from a year ago are back.
In 3A, Butler senior Drew Griffith looks to repeat. If successful, it would be the fourth straight year a Butler runner won WPIAL 3A cross country gold. C.J. Singleton captured the title in 2020 and 2021.
On the team side, North Allegheny hopes to bring out the brooms for a sixth straight year. The Tigers boys and girls teams have swept WPIAL 3A team titles since 2018.
Quarters on the pitch
Three brackets will be in the spotlight Thursday in the district soccer playoffs with quarterfinals matches in girls 4A, girls 3A and boys 2A.
The 2023 postseason begins for the eight teams in girls 4A with four 7 p.m. matches.
The other 4A girls match has No. 7 Butler (10-6-1) heading south to battle No. 2 Upper St. Clair (15-1).
There were no upsets in the opening round in the girls 3A playoffs with the only higher seed being No. 9 Elizabeth Forward (15-3) shutting out No. 8 Hampton, 2-0. The Warriors now battle top-seeded Mars (15-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The other three 3A quarterfinals are:
On the boys side, a pair of double-digit seeds have found their way to the Class 2A quarterfinals.
No. 10 Elizabeth Forward (10-6-1) pulled off the bracket’s other surprise, going on the road and beating No. 7 Knoch, 3-1. The road Warriors now head to Quaker Valley (15-3) to take on the No. 2 Quakers at 7 p.m.
On the left side of the bracket, top-seeded South Park (19-0) will be home to No. 8 Keystone Oaks (12-5) for the third match between these birds of prey. The Eagles swept the Golden Eagles in the regular season, winning 2-0 and 3-1.
Pitching quarters on the hardcourt
The WPIAL girls volleyball playoffs turn the page to second round action in 4A and Class A.
In 4A, the elite eight has three teams each from Section 1 and 2.
The Warriors visit No. 3 Canon-McMillan on Thursday while the Spartans travel to North Allegheny to face the top-seed Tigers.
All four second round matches begin at 7 p.m.
With only one upset in the opening round, the Class A quarterfinals will be two doubleheaders at neutral sites.
On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Serra Catholic squares off with No. 8 West Greene at Gateway at 6 p.m., followed by No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic against No. 5 Eden Christian Academy at 7:30 p.m.
Week 9 kickoff
We have had some Thursday night high school football throughout the season from the City League, but Week 9 of the WPIAL football season kicks off with a rare Thursday afternoon contest.
The Knights are looking for their first win of the season and are hoping to end a 16-game losing skid.
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