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WPIAL Boys Soccer Snapshot Preview, Predictions & Players to Watch: Class 4A

WPIAL Boys Soccer Snapshot Preview, Predictions & Players to Watch: Class 4A

WPIAL Class 4A Boys Soccer (21 teams) 

Defending champs:  Canon-McMillan

Blame it on the Reign: Big Macs overcome weather, Mt. Lebanon for 3rd title of decade

Key Storylines: 

Of all of the classifications in WPIAL soccer, Class 4A boys will be about as open as it gets. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will rise to the top.  Even though North Allegheny won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, parity reigns supreme as the wealth of talented players and teams has spread more and more around the bigger school districts.

The South Hills schools (namely Upper St. Clair, Peters Township, Canon-Mac, and previously Mt. Lebanon) enjoyed a long-run at the top of the WPIAL’s largest boys soccer classification, but the late 2010s brought impressive teams from Fox Chapel (2015), North Allegheny (2016 & 2017), Seneca Valley (2018) that challenged the South’s supremacy.

Then last year, we returned to all-Section 2 final, as Canon-Mac returned to the finals for the third time in nine years under Larry Fingers.

Last year The Big Macs, a six-seed in the playoffs, upended section rivals Mt. Lebanon, who had a resurgent season and held the upper hand between the two teams during the regular season.

This year, everything is up in the air again.

“There’s no clear-cut team out there,” Larry Fingers, Canon-Mac’s three-time WPIAL winning coach, said.

“The North (section 1) will have a lot of good teams, and in our section is always ultra-competitive, but if you asked me to come up with a top five teams or so, I’d say I have no idea at this point.”

Canon-McMillan does return Joey Fonagy, who scored 25 goals during the regular season, including the golden goal to give the Big Macs the WPIAL title.

Section 1 should be interesting as ever. Fox Chapel has a talented group with Nate Lazzara leading the way, but Eli Yofan opted to play golf instead of soccer this year. Butler earned playoff spot coming out of an always tough Section 1 in 2019, and they return one of the top players in the classification in Landon Mohney.  North Allegheny and Seneca Valley are still perennially tough contenders with deep rosters who will very much be in the mix.   

PSN FEATURED MATCH: We’ll be opening our coverage with an opening night Game of the Week match of Section 1 contenders on Monday, September 14, as Jordan Wiegand’s Pine-Richland Rams will host Butler, which includes a live broadcast with Matt Gajtka on the play-by-play and Ed Thompson providing photos.  

In the South (Section 2) Mt. Lebanon had a lot of seniors on its WPIAL runner-up squad, and will need to reload, but Upper St. Clair may be the team to beat out of that section this year as they probably have the most seasoned group returning. 

While this is a season where realignment has come into play, at the top classification, there’s only one school that drops out of 4A, and that’s Plum, who won Section 3 (East and Central) in 2019. This leaves a bit of a free-for-all among the teams in the Eastern and Central based section. Can Norwin return to the top, after a WPIAL runner-up finish in 2018?  A mostly young team a year ago, the Knights bring back numerous key seniors including Ian Brown and Brendan Ash.

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 4A breakdown by section following realignment.  (Bold: 2019 Section Champions)

SECTION 1: 

  • Butler
  • Fox Chapel
  • North Allegheny. 
  • North Hills
  • Pine-Richland 
  • Seneca Valley 
  • Shaler

SECTION 2:  

  • Baldwin
  • Bethel Park 
  • Brashear
  • Canon-McMilian
  • Mt. Lebanon
  • Peters Twp
  • Upper St. Clair

SECTION 3:  

  • Allderdice 
  • Central Catholic 
  • Connellsville  
  • Hempfield
  • Latrobe
  • Norwin
  • Penn-Trafford

(2019 section champs: Plum have dropped to 3A)  

Here’s our predictions for this year’s section champions in 4A Boys Soccer:

2020 Section Champions Predictions:  

Seneca Valley, Upper St. Clair, Norwin

Players to Watch 

Evan Anderson – North Allegheny

Joey FonagyCanon-McMillan

Nate Lazzara – Fox Chapel 

Landon Mohney – Butler

Joey Moeller – Baldwin

Will Sang – Pine Richland

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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