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WPIAL Boys Soccer Snapshot Preview, Predictions & Players to Watch: Class 2A

WPIAL Boys Soccer Snapshot Preview, Predictions & Players to Watch: Class 2A

WPIAL Class 2A Boys Soccer (29 teams) 

Defending champs:  Quaker Valley

Instant Classic: Quaker Valley shines in the big moments to beat Deer Lakes, 4-3, in OT thriller

Key Storylines: 

The 2019 season brought a break-up to the four-year run of Quaker Valley vs Shady Side Academy WPIAL finals matches in this classification, as Deer Lakes nearly broke through to take the title, only to lose a heart breaker in overtime to the Quakers.

The Quakers will be looking to reload, as they lost some key seniors, namely Dominic Reiter and Fritz Reiter. QV will have a new coach, as Andrew Marshall stepped down in the off season after leading one of Western PA’s most storied programs to two more WPIAL and PIAA titles in this time. Marshall will be replaced with a Quaker alum and previous assistant coach J.J. Veshio,  North Catholic and Freedom (both finished 9-3 last season in section) will be nipping at QV’s heels in Section 1 this season.

Deer Lakes has been a trendy pick to finally win this classification after knocking at the door the past few years. After all, they return a terrific trio of midfielders that include Mike Sullivan, Devin Murray and Colton Spence. The Lancers will already have their hands full in Section 2, where nearby rival Shady Side Academy will be looking to get back to the top again with Zach Conti and Sam Farner leading the way.

South Park is another program that has been a perennial WPIAL championship contender, and coming off a 13-4 season with numerous key returning players, they’ll be in the mix again. Last year though, they were pushed by upstart Keystone Oaks in Section 1. Keystone Oaks.  This was a very competitive section last season, with Elizabeth Forward and Steel Valley in the mix as well. Throw in the addition of 2018 Class 1A WPIAL champions Avonworth, and suddenly this section may be one of the most loaded in all of the WPIAL.

After winning its first playoff match since 2002 in 2018, Charleroi ran roughshod through Section 3 last year, finishing unbeaten in section play, but came up short in the playoffs, losing an overtime thriller to Shady Side. Charleroi will lose a couple key seniors (Cullin Woytovich, the program’s most prolific scorer, and Leo Iacovangelo), but have a strong returning core that will put them right in the mix to win the section title again. One of the realignment changes will see Mt. Pleasant, who came up just short of a playoff berth in the very competitive section 2, added to the mix in Section 3.

In addition to Avonworth moving up to 2A, another new addition to this classification will see Ligonier Valley joining the WPIAL for the first time since 1968, before they even had a soccer program. Ligonier Valley will be in Section 2.

Another thing that remains up in the air, is what the WPIAL playoff format will look like. The season is scheduled to be completed by October 19. The original playoff format would have seen the Finals being played at Highmark Stadium Thursday, October 29 through Saturday, October 31, but that’s up in the air at the moment.

Here’s a deeper look at the 2A breakdown by section following realignment.  (Bold: 2019 Section Champions; ^ moved up in classification, © co-op )

SECTION 1:  

  • Avonworth ^, 
  • East Allegheny
  • Elizabeth Forward
  • Keystone Oaks
  • South Allegheny
  • South Park
  • Steel Valley

 

SECTION 2:

  • Burrell
  • Deer Lakes
  • Derry
  • Leechberg ©
  • Ligonier Valley
  • Shady Side Academy
  • Valley 

SECTION 3: 

  • Brownsville
  • Charleroi
  • McGuffey, 
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Southmoreland
  • Waynesburg
  • Yough

 

SECTION 4: 

  • Ambridge
  • Elwood City
  • Freedom
  • Hopewell
  • Mohawk
  • New Brighton
  • North Catholic
  • Quaker Valley

 

Here’s our predictions for this year’s section champions in 2A Boys Soccer:

2020 Section Champions Predictions:  

South Park, Deer Lakes, Charleroi, Quaker Valley

Players to Watch 

Zach Conti, Shady Side Academy

Sam Farner, Shady Side Academy

Jacob Guerrini, Burrell

Joey Irwin, South Park

Devin Murray, Deer Lakes

Colton Spence, Deer Lakes

Michael Sullivan – Deer Lakes

Rutger Randall – Keystone Oaks

Dylan Weiss – South Park

Lucas Toohey – Mt. Pleasant

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).

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