WPIAL Class 4A Girls Soccer
The WPIAL soccer season will see teams playing a condensed schedule. 12-14 games compared to the usual 18 games in a season. Those games will take place over a six-week period making this a season a war of attrition between fatigue, injury and motivation.
Many coaches took different approaches as to how to handle their preseason with the hopes of hitting their peak at the right time and bringing home a section crown. Some took advantage of the 2 week delay and worked more on strength and conditioning, while some kept it lite on conditioning but more technical development.
No one knows the answer but we do know soccer is here and the season starts this week.
Defending champs: North Allegheny
The battle for the 4A title will look like the Royal Rumble. You have the defending champions in North Allegheny, Norwin the runner up, Peters Twp and Seneca Valley. Now throw in Pine Richland, Moon, Fox Chapel and Upper St Clair. It never is an easy task to win Class 4A.
North Allegheny comes back this season with Senior Sarah Schupansky (Pitt) a Moe Rosensteel Player of the Year Finalist. She will look to guide the Lady Tigers back to another title.
Norwin comes into the season returning many players and loaded with commits. Leading the way up top will be Katelyn Kaufman (Pitt) and Lacey Bernick (Pitt). The fast dynamic duo are supported by Anna Durmis (William and & Mary), Madison Rose (Duquesne) and Danielle Iannuzzo (Slippery Rock).
Peters Twp will throw its hat into the ring and go after a WPIAL title with Cece Scott (Michigan State), Emma Cantwell (Robert Morris) and Goal Keeper Emma Sawich (St. Francis). Peters Twp was in the 4A final as recent as 2018.
Seneca Valley was the team that defeated Peters Twp in 2018 and they will be looking to throw their hand in the pile. Head coach Mark Perry will look to have his team prepared as it comes right out of the gate taking on North Allegheny .
Pine Richland are being considered favorites to get into the WPIAL finals led by Megan Donnelly (Villanova) and new head coach Rachelle Dixon.
Moon who will be without Hailey Longwell this season will lean on defender Aleena Ulke to help anchor the defense for the Tigers.
Fox Chapel provided one of the more memorable games in the playoffs last season but unfortunately came out on the wrong side versus Norwin. Now with the changes in the section, the Foxes get two cracks redemption and will lean on Lucy Ream (Eastern Kentucky).
Upper St Clair who came off the rare early exit after being in the semi-finals the previous two years will look to returning starters Carson Bogan (UNC Ashville) and Emily Rocco (Robert Morris).
Butler who has been one of my surprise teams the past two seasons has gone out and (air quote) upset teams in the first round. They seemed to get lost at the top end of the district but will compete for a spot in the dance and make some noise. They are led Maci Lineman (Akron) and Paige Miller (WV Wesleyan)
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; ^ moved up in classification, © co-op )
SECTION 1: Butler, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley, Shaler Area
SECTION 2: Baldwin, Bethel Park, Canon McMillan, Moon, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Twp and Upper St. Clair
SECTION 3: Allderdice, Fox Chapel, Hempfield, Latrobe, Norwin, Penn-Trafford
Class 4A stood pat for the most part. The classification will see the departures of Connellsville, Brashear and Penn Hills. The interesting move in 4A will be the addition of Fox Chapel (10-8-1) to Section 3 which has been top heavy dominate with Norwin (18-3-0) and Penn Trafford (12-7-0). Fox Chapel took Norwin to the very end in the WPIAL playoffs last season, which was one of the most entertaining games all year. Coming off the heels of that highly contested game, I am sure it will not take much to spark a section rivalry.
Players to Watch