The WPIAL soccer playoffs hadn’t even started and there was already controversy.
When the WPIAL boys playoff brackets were announced on Wednesday, the initial pairings generated outrage among those in the Pittsburgh soccer community, in the media — and most particularly could be heard from Shady Avenue and Allderdice High School.
The Dragons, a City-League school now playing in the WPIAL and this year’s section 4-AAA champs, were slated to play at 11 seed Peters Township. Allderdice had just completed an impressive season, going undefeated until the last, mostly meaningless game of the season in a non-section match against Butler. Every other home team selected in the first round were higher-ranked teams. Peters Township, the defending WPIAL/PIAA champs, had four losses and finished third in their section, behind Canon-McMillan and Upper St. Clair.
Maybe the committee just got used to penciling in Peters Township as a home team over the years due to their continued run of success in winning WPIAL and PIAA titles?
But this was a significant oversight. It smelled really bad. And the WPIAL had an egg on its face.
But it did look a bit odd when WPIAL Executive Director issued this apologetic statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday morning.
“We have to swallow our mistake and move forward,” said O’Malley. “It was not anybody’s intention to slight anyone. We’re attempting to find facilities that have functioned for playing games in the past. It is not easy. If in having done that, we erred from the perspective of Allderdice, I apologize for that.”
But sure enough, despite admitting to an “honest’ mistake, and with the media members like Mike White of the Post-Gazette and Chris Harlan of the Tribune-Review revealing that WPIAL officials were holding firm and said they couldn’t change the site despite some interesting revelations. Maybe the most glaring, was that the head of the WPIAL soccer steering committee is Joe Maize, the baseball coach at Peters Township and a former athletic director at Peters Township.
Sure enough, outrage filled the media — and social media within hours of the soccer playoff pairings were announced.
Sure enough, by Friday afternoon, the WPIAL had finally reversed it’s decision. The Allderdice-Peters Township game would be moved to Cupples Stadium, on the South Side, home of the City League soccer teams.
And so, finally some justice for the City League, and the Taylor Allderdice Dragons.
Now we can finally concentrate on the soccer — which starts Saturday. I’ll be at Fox Chapel to cover first round girls games between Shady Side Academy vs Serra (AA) and Fox Chapel and Penn Trafford.