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HS WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT: West Allegheny Boys, Elizabeth Forward Girls Among Teams Under Playoff Line

This week I did a few features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the common theme with the two soccer programs, Elizabeth Forward girls and West Allegheny boys, was that they’re both programs that have been regular WPIAL playoff participants who are currently in danger of missing the playoffs.



And both coaches are dealing with challenges of having a lot of younger players in the starting lineups, and in the case of Elizabeth Forward, numerous injuries.

West Allegheny boys team is struggling to get into the playoffs, after making the WPIAL AA finals the past two seasons.

West Allegheny boys team is struggling to get into the playoffs, after making the WPIAL AA finals the past two seasons.

These are common themes for High School soccer programs, but also a sign of the times.  We are no longer seeing the same teams, year-after-year, that are dominating the same sections.  And that can only be a good thing.
In one instance, as the Trib’s Doug Gulasy points out, in Section 2-A, there are six teams in contention for four spots.  Any one of the six can win the section.  
Here are just a few of many interesting games of note as the race for Section Titles and playoff berths begin to heat up around the WPIAL:
Shady Side Academy at Mars — basically Mars can slam the door shut on another Section title with a win at home against their next closest competitor in Section 2-AA.
South Park at Belle Vernon – another AA game with playoff and section implications.  South Park lost once already in section, and Belle Vernon could be a dangerous opponent.
Quaker Valley at South Fayette – the third AA grudge match — pitting the 1st and 2nd place teams in section 5-AA.  With a win, South Fayette likely firms its grip on top ranking in their classification and a section title.
Wed. OCT 7
Pine Richland at North Allegheny – again, just like the boys side, these two are battling for playoff positioning and a possible Section 2-AAA title along with Seneca Valley.
Avonworth vs Seton LaSalle – this is a single-A match with playoff implications as Seton LaSalle is holding on to the top spot in Section 3-AA but Avonworth are lurking right there behind them.
Thurs. OCT 8
Peters Township at Upper St. Clair – hard to believe that neither one of these traditional top AAA teams is in first place in Section 5-AAA, but the winner can put pressure on front-running Canon-McMillan in the final week.
Pine Richland at North Allegheny – Pine Richland is fighting to stay in position for the final playoff spot in Section 2-AAA, as a win over 2nd place NA would help push them over.  The Rams have been going to extra time, playing to four ties in section play already this season!
Serra Catholic vs Greensburg Central Catholic – GCC is almost always at the top of this section, but they have had a challenge from Serra Catholic this year.  These two are currently tied the top of Section 1-A.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. 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).

Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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