WPIAL Class 2A 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 Catholic
North Catholic’s cheers are still ringing at Highmark Stadium as the right foot of Jayden Sharpless (Georgia State) placed the ball in the back of the net to help led them to a WPIAL championship. They will be eager to return and defend their title.
Newcomer to Class 2A, Shady Side Academy will look to make a splash quickly. Shady Side has done no worse than getting to the semi-finals and have won two WPIAL titles and a PIAA State title in the last five years. Melissa Riggins will help lead Shady Side in hopes of what they have come accustom to, a trip to the finals.
Yough who made the finals last year will be back looking to keep what has been a build towards getting to Highmark. Yough will be led by Natalie Vilchek and McKenzie Pritts.
Mt Pleasant will be guided by new head coach Rich Garland. Garland has led Franklin Regional over the past several years to many a WPIAL playoff run. His team will be led by Mackenzie Leeder (Duquesne) and Brooke Ulery (Cleveland State).
Brownsville will rely on Tessa Dellarose (UNC Chapel Hill) one of the most exciting players to watch in the WPIAL. She is helped by Gracie Stetson who anchors the defense.
South Park and Deer Lakes will look to make runs again to get to a final. It was South Park who knocked out Deer Lakes last season as South Park would fall to eventual champion North Catholic. Deer Lakes will return one of their top players and goal scorers in Lily Litrun.
Freeport and Akina Boynton will be quick to remind everyone they were a game away from Highmark last season.
Ambridge always seem to make noise at playoff time.
Burrell a very tactically sound team will hope to get past what felt like an early exit to them. The Bucs will be led by Senior Midfielder Jordyn Kowalkowski.
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: Ambridge, Avonworth, Beaver Area, Ellwood City, * Hopewell, * North Catholic, Quaker Valley (Co-champions in 2019)
SECTION 2: Burrell, Deer Lakes, Freeport, Highlands, ** Shady Side Academy, Valley (** Section & WPIAL Champions in 1A in 2019)
SECTION 3: Brownsville, McGuffey, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, Waynesburg, Yough (Yough & South Park were Section 3 co-champions in 2019)
SECTION 4: East Allegheny, Elizabeth Forward, Keystone Oaks, South Allegheny, South Park, West Mifflin (Yough & South Park were Section 3 co-champions in 2019)
Class 2A did some redesigning by adding an entire section. Section 4A will be dubbed that new car smell section. The only thing is it comes with Class 2A powerhouse South Park (14-5-1), who will look to continue their section dominance in the newly formed section.
Shady Side Academy (20-2-0) jumps up from Class 1A into Class 2A Section 2. The perennial Class 1A favorite who has won several WPIAL titles along with a state title over recent years lose rival Greensburg Central Catholic but will gain a new foe in Burrell (17-1-0).
Section 1 gains Ambridge (10-6-1) a team that has competed strongly in 3A over the last several years. Ellwood City is new to the WPIAL as they were a club team the last two years. The girl’s team was formed for the 2018 season and last competed in 2013.