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Previewing #WPIAL #SemifinalSaturday Boys Soccer #RoadToHighmark

Previewing #WPIAL #SemifinalSaturday Boys Soccer #RoadToHighmark

seneca-boys

BOYS

4A

No. 1 Seneca Valley (17-0-1) vs No. 5 Upper St. Clair (12-4-1) –  1 p.m. at Mars
Seneca Valley is trying to break through to get to the WPIAL finals for the first time in its history while rolling through an undefeated season, while a Upper St. Clair are trying to get back to Highmark Stadium, where they last lost to Peters Township in 2014.  Both teams had tightly contested 1-0 wins to advance to the semifinals.  Seneca has allowed three goals all season, and USC only eight, so expect this to be another low-scoring affair.
No. 6 North Allegheny (13-2-5) vs No. 10 Pine Richland (12-5-3)– 3 p.m. at Mars 
Both Section 1 teams have surprised to place three teams from the same section (along with Section 2 USC) into the final four. While the other semifinalists are clawed their way to this point, these two teams have combined for 12 goals in their games.  Pine-Richland sophomore Niko Marsh scored a hat trick in the upset of Penn Trafford, while North Allegheny needed OT to beat Fox Chapel 2-1, then beat section 2 champs Peters Township 2-0.

3A

No. 1 Montour (17-2-1) vs No. 5 Chartiers Valley (15-4)  – 1 p.m. at Baldwin 
Montour is another team that has has not been giving an inch this season.  They continue to play stout defense in first two playoff wins, shutting out Trinity and Hampton.   Chartiers Valley is the hottest team in the classification, winning nine straight games including a pair of playoff wins over Knoch and West Allegheny.
No. 2. Thomas Jefferson (18-2) vs No. 3 Mars (15-3-1)  – 3 p.m. at Baldwin
Thomas Jefferson and Mars each won quarterfinals matches by two goals — and will now meet in battle of section champs.

2A

No. 1 South Park (17-2-1) vs No. 5 Shady Side Academy (13-2-1) – 3 p.m. at Peters Twp
This is a great match up primarily because both programs have been known to have a lot of highly skilled players.  The last time they played in the playoffs in 2013, I was on the sidelines (coaching SSA) in a PIAA Qualifier/WPIAL 3rd Place high scoring thrilling game that was decided on penalty kicks.  The Eagles advanced then.  Both teams were tested a bit in the quarterfinals, as South Park pulled out a 2-1 win over Deer Lakes, while Shady Side needed OT to get past Section 4 champs Waynesburg, 3-2.
No. 2 Quaker Valley (15-4-1) vs No. 14 Beaver (9-9-1) – 1 p.m. at North Allegheny
A 14-seed, Beaver might be the biggest surprise in all of the WPIAL to advance this far.  Now they will see a strong Quaker Valley squad that rolled over Central Valley in the quarterfinals, 3-1.   After upsetting Freeport in the first round, Beaver outscored section rivals Riverside, 5-2 in the quarterfinal on Wednesday,

1A

No. 1 Seton LaSalle (19-1) vs No. 4 North Catholic (17-2-1) – 2 p.m. at West Allegheny
This is the battle of a program that has been here — and done that — in the defending WPIAL champs Seton LaSalle, against the upstart North Catholic, who are in the playoffs for the first time with a very young, but talented team.  The Rebels needed double OT win to get past Aquanis Academy in the quarterfinals — while the Trojans beat section rival Eden Christian 2-0.
No. 3 Sewickley Academy (16-4) vs No. 7 Freedom (13-6-1) – 3 p.m. at North Allegheny
These two section rivals will meet for the third time this season. Sewickley won both meetings (4-1, 2-0).  Freedom pulled off an impressive win on Wednesday, as Colin Williams’ squad found the only goal of the game to upset a frustrated Greensburg Central Catholic team that has scored more than 50 goals in the season.    Sewickley, the defending PIAA champs have also been in dogfights — winning in OT with Serra Catholic in the first round, then edging Bentworth in the quarterfinals 1-0.
 
 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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