To say it’s been a mad scramble of a start to the 2020 boys and girls high school season would be an understatement.
Pittsburgh Soccer Now has been doing its best to keep up with everything, but overall, things have gone pretty well considering we’re managing through a pandemic, there have been extraordinary academic and logistical challenges for school districts, teachers, athletic directors, coaches, players and parents/families of student-athletes.
Thanks to everyone for supporting our site and checking out our content.
Our team of contributors this season have been fantastic and we’re just getting started with our coverage of WPIAL soccer.
An Update on WPIAL Playoffs? Well, sort of…
Inquiring about what the WPIAL playoffs may look like, I went straight to the main source last week, reaching out to WPIAL’s Executive Director Amy Scheuneman.
As of now, the WPIAL boys and girls soccer seasons are scheduled to be completed by Tuesday, October 20, with the soccer committee planning to meet the next day to determine and release playoff seedings. If the schedule remains the same, the Finals would be played the first weekend in November. It hasn’t been confirmed if they’ll still play all games at Highmark Stadium or not.
What we do know, is that the PIAA Finals are still scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 19 and 20 in Hershey. This means that if the WPIAL completes its regular season on time, they should be able to conduct its full rounds of playoffs.
"We would like to keep our tournaments as traditional as possible, but with COVID restrictions on facilities, some things may look a little different than they have in the past. We hope to let our schools know the plan for the championships by mid-October."#WPIALSoccer
— John Krysinsky (@JohnKrysinsky) October 2, 2020
WPIAL Boys Soccer Coaches Survey responses
Before the start of the season, Pittsburgh Soccer Now shared a survey with all of the boys soccer coaches in our database, asking numerous questions. We look forward to sharing some of these results with you in each edition of the WPIAL Notebook between now and November.
We’re including responses to two of the many questions in the survey in this edition of the Notebook.
1.) Excluding Highmark Stadium, what are your favorite places to play high school soccer matches in Western PA?
- South Fayette Stadium, Honus Wagner Stadium, Chartiers Valley High School, Avonworth Stadium
- Dormont Stadium (Keystone Oaks), Cupples Stadium (PPS), Thomas Jefferson HS Stadium
- Campbell Athletic Field (The A Field) in Munhall
- Pine Richland, South Fayette
- James Weir Stadium, BVA
- Fox Chapel
- Seneca Valley Stadium
- Shady Side Academy — “Among the most scenic backdrops around, especially in the Fall.”
- One coach said: “Penn Hills and Kiski are two facilities that have ‘soccer only’ fields which is ideal playing without football lines and appropriate dimensions.”
2.) What has been the biggest challenge in dealing with COVID-19? (please note that most of these responses were gathered in the week leading up to the season start)
- “I think the biggest challenge has been throwing all of the routines and plans out of whack. Having only one scrimmage and no tournament over Labor Day is tough because the team is practicing against its self for three weeks. Our boys have found their competitiveness and bring energy every night. The guys on JV bring grit to help sharpen the varsity guys. So, it’s tough, but we’re making the most of it.
- “Having to work in small groups to start rather than being able to work on tactics from the get go.”
- “t the beginning of season just knowing if the season was/ when it was going to start.”
- “Getting the kids organized for offseason training”
- “The long term unknowns of the effect of the virus”
- “Inconsistency, lack of planning from government”
- “Uncertainty of potential cancellations”
We’ll have more from the survey soon — and will be getting more survey results from girls coaches too.
WPIAL Standings: Who’s still unbeaten?
There are currently 16 schools across the four classifications who have not lost a match:
- 4A – Fox Chapel (8-0), Butler (7-0)
- 3A – Connellsville (5-0), Plum (7-0), Mars (7-0)
- 2A – Shady Side Academy (3-0), Southmoreland (8-0), South Park (7-0)
- 1A – Greensburg Central Catholic (5-0), Freedom (6-0), Steel Valley (8-0)
- 4A – Norwin (6-0)
- 3A – Belle Vernon (9-0), Mars (8-0)
- 2A – Charleroi (10-0), South Park (8-0)
- 1A – Springdale (7-0), Greensburg CC (6-0), OLSH (6-0)
We now have dedicated pages devoted to the standings.
PSN Featured Game Schedule Ramps Up
Starting Monday, we’re back with the beginning of what should be a busy slate of PSN Featured Game coverage!
Over the course of the final three weeks of the season, we have some games already carved out as part of our coverage. Of course, this is subject to change, but as of now, this is where we’ll be.
- Monday, October 5 – Girls 1A – Seton-LaSalle at Bentworth (Matt Gajtka – Audio broadcast on Pittsburgh Soccer Now’s YouTube channel / Ed Thompson – photography)
- Thursday, October 8 – Boys 1A – Bentworth at Seton-LaSalle (Matt Popchock – Audio broadcast on PSN’s YouTube channel / Ed Thompson – photography)
- Monday, October 12 – Boys 2A – South Park at Keystone Oaks (Matt Gajtka – Audio broadcast on Pittsburgh Soccer Now’s YouTube channel / Ed Thompson – photography)
- Wednesday, October 14 – Boys 2A – South Park at Keystone Oaks (Matt Gajtka – Audio broadcast on Pittsburgh Soccer Now’s YouTube channel / Ed Thompson – photography)
- Tuesday, October 20 – Girls 3A – Belle Vernon at Trinity (Matt Gajtka – Audio broadcast on Pittsburgh Soccer Now’s YouTube channel / Ed Thompson – photography)
In addition, look for Ed Rosensteel’s coverage from select girls games over the course of the next few weeks!