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HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK presented by Adidas: Preseason rankings mean little

HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK presented by Adidas: Preseason rankings mean little

The first weekend of high school soccer is in the books!

On Wednesday, we’ll be announcing our first Boys and Girls Players of the Week. Thanks to all those who’ve submitted nominations. Please keep them coming — you can always message us here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now social media platforms and also via email.

 

Right now you can get the latest merchandise at adidas.com! 

I’ve never been a big fan of any preseason rankings, especially at the high school level. Our local media outlets have put those out regularly and they’re done by people who never see any actual games, teams and players on the pitch. So, don’t expect any rankings here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now mainly because it’s not fair to rank some teams over others that we haven’t seen.

Kudos to all those programs that go out and schedule tough, out of section, or in some cases out of District games (within reasonable travel distances) to provide some good early season tests against quality competition.

What has always bugged me in the early season tournaments or invitationals are those that schedule multiple games on the same day on Labor Day weekend. That can be a true test of depth and for the teams with smaller rosters can be very challenging especially when the field temperatures are nearing 100 or more degrees.

It’s really early, so some teams still need time to build chemistry, and often will use the opening weekend invitational games to figure things out, continue to build chemistry, still figure out tactics and get important game fitness in for a lot of its players.

Some teams coming into the season as defending WPIAL or PIAA champs have already suffered losses, and are rebuilding rosters.

Penn-Trafford girls (4A) and Montour boys (3A), are two such examples as you’ll see in our weekend results of note below.

That being said, today (Tuesday) the slate of games are mostly section contests, so there’s going to be little room for error from this point forward, as every game will count in the race for playoff spots, section titles and ultimately a chance to play at Highmark Stadium in early November.

 

BOYS

  • In the East-West Classic at Fleetwood, the WPIAL boys teams could not come away with wins. On Friday, Mt Lebanon (4A) took a 3-0 loss to the hosts, Fleetwood, while the defending PIAA 2A champions Quaker Valley fell to Wilson (West Lawn), 2-1. On Saturday, QV fell to Fleetwood, 1-0, while Mt. Lebanon rallied for a 2-2 draw.
  • Deer Lakes boys got off to a good start this weekend, beating two typically stronger 1A sides, Winchester Thurston (6-2) and Seton-LaSalle (2-0). Deer Lakes had a trio of goal scorers picking up multiple points in Michael Sullivan (2 Goals 1 Assist), Nick Caro (2 Goal) and Colton Spence (1 Goal 2 Assist).  Fresh off their losses to Deer Lakes, Seton LaSalle and WT will face each other on Tuesday in a non-sectional match of what should be two of the better 1A programs this season.
  • One eye-opener on Friday, Franklin Regional boys, who will be dropping down to 3A (from 4A), had an impressive 4-0 win over last year’s WPIAL 4A runner-up, Peters Township. Peters would bounce back on Saturday for a 3-2 win over Penn Trafford.
  •  The other game on Saturday at the Peters Township Invitational featured a rematch of the 2016 Boys 1A WPIAL final, and the last two champions in this classification, as North Catholic outlasted Sewickely Academy, 3-2, in a non-section tilt.
  • Pittsburgh city school, Obama Academy are off to an impressive start, beating both Knoch (3-0) and Highlands (2-0), in the Ambridge tournament.
  • South Fayette, who will be playing in our first PSN featured match later this week (Saturday, 11 a.m.) against West Allegheny, knocked off the defending boys WPIAL 3A champs, Montour, 3-1 on Saturday.

  • West Allegheny, the boys WPIAL 3A runner-up from 2017, looked pretty impressive, winning the Plum tournament by knocking off 4A Fox Chapel 2-1, and Gateway, 8-0.

  • We are looking forward to sharing more on the South Fayette-West A match later this week, but it will be a busy week for both, as they have Tuesday/Thursday games, including West-A taking on Quaker Valley on Tuesday.

GIRLS

  • The South Hills Classic played at Century United’s Field in South Park saw WPIAL teams taking on District 10 (Northwest PA) foes. On Friday, Mt. Lebanon beat Butler (4-3), while Peters Township defeated Erie McDowell 4-2 and Mercyhurst Prep downed South Park, 2-1 on Friday. On Saturday, State College made the trip, playing Mt. Lebanon to a scoreless draw, and another match ended 0-0, as neither McDowell or Butler could score in their encounter. In Saturday’s other games, South Park beat Chartiers Valley, 1-0, and Peters Township topped Mercyhurst Prep, 2-1.
  • Fox Chapel made an opening weekend statement, by knocking off the defending 4A Girls WPIAL champions, Penn-Trafford, 3-2 on Saturday.
  • Pine-Richland entered the season as one of few WPIAL teams receiving votes in National rankings, and they showed with with two dominant wins at the Ambridge tournament, beating Quaker Valley (11-0) and Ambridge (3-0).

 

TUESDAY – FRIDAY GAMES OF NOTE 

GIRLS

Wednesday, September 5

  • North Allegheny at Pine-Richland (4A – Section 1)
  • Moon at Baldwin (4A – Section 2) – Moon’s first match in 4A since moving up in classification
  • Upper St. Clair vs Canon-McMillan (4A – Section 2) – man, Section 2 may be loaded this year
  • Freeport at Highlands (2A – Section 2)

Thursday, September 6

  • Hempfield vs Norwin (4A – Section 3) – Defending PIAA champion Knights return to action)

Saturday, September 8

  • Pine Richland vs Seneca Valley

 

BOYS 

Tuesday, September 4 

  • Fox Chapel at Pine-Richland (Welcome to the North – Section 1 – Fox Chapel)
  • Peters Township at Upper St. Clair (4A – Section 2 – renewing rivalry right off the bat)
  • Central Valley at North Catholic (2A – Section 4 – welcome to new classification for defending 1A Champion Trojans)
  • Winchester Thurston at Seton-LaSalle (1A non-section match)

Thursday, September 6 

  • South Fayette vs Franklin Regional (Franklin Regional beat two 4A teams over weekend, now get first test in 3A in Section 4)

Saturday, September 8 

South Fayette at West Allegheny (11 a.m. – at West Alleghen)  Pittsburgh Soccer Now featured game presented by Advanced Orthopaedics and Steel Town Auto in Weirton, WV. Coverage includes Facebook Live broadcast and reporter/photographer on site.

As mentioned, we’ll have more on this match, later in the week. We are close to announcing some additional games. If you have a game that would like to be covered, and sponsor(s) that are interested as well, please let us know.

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).

Pittsburgh Division I College Soccer Schedule (Spring 2021)

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