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WPIAL Notebook: Playoff brackets are out; the madness begins Saturday

File Photo courtesy of Ed Thompson

WPIAL Notebook: Playoff brackets are out; the madness begins Saturday

It’s been anything but an ordinary year — but the ringing theme among high school soccer coaches, players and fans (and the few of us in the media) — is a genuine level of excitement that we’ve reached this point, despite everything that has happened and the continuing challenges that come with having any type of sports season during a pandemic.

Since starting this site (and going back to Pittsburgh Soccer Report days), WPIAL bracket release day is always a fun day for us.

The release of the brackets came a little later than usual — and the originally scheduled time — coming after 2 p.m.

During the course of the day, we got reaction from some coaches. Thanks to Bill Abraham (Steel Valley girls), Kevin Amos (West Allegheny boys), Larry Fingers (Canon-McMillan boys) and Jon Cantwell (South Park boys) for providing their feedback and insights.  I’ve included the videos of their interviews below.

In addition, I’ll be connecting with our WPIAL Girls soccer contributor Ed Rosensteel to get an overview from him on how he thinks things will go. Look for that to be posted late Thursday or early Friday.

We plan to have some game coverage and of course we’ll have live gameday blog/scoreboards with updates on each WPIAL soccer gameday throughout the playoffs.  Look for — as we’ve done in the past — comprehensive coverage of all of the Finals games here too!

First, here’s some of what we learned on Wednesday…

Teams Not Participating:

Quaker Valley (both boys and girls) and Ringgold (girls) teams, despite qualifying for the playoffs, will not be participating. We were aware of Quaker Valley’s situation going into the week, as the school district has grounded all athletic activities until November 2.

The Hopewell boys and Beaver girls, which each finished fifth in their respective sections, have taken the Quakers’ places in the tournaments.

The Ringgold girls were replaced by Laurel Highlands.

Brackets 

The top boys seeds are Peters Township (11-1-1) in Class 4A, Mars (14-0) in 3A, Shady Side Academy (11-2) in 2A and Greensburg Central Catholic (11-1) in 1A.

The top girls seeds are Peters Township (10-1-1) in Class 4A, Mars (12-0) in 3A, South Park (11-0-1) in 2A, and Greensburg Central Catholic (12-0) in 1A.

(Click links to view each bracket & schedule for each classification)

  • Boys 4A  (Tuesday, October 26, Saturday, October 26, Wednesday, November 4 + Final Saturday, Nov. 7 at 3 p.m.)
  • Boys 3A (Saturday, Oct. 24; Wed. Oct. 28; Mon. Nov. 2 + Final Thursday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.)
  • Boys 2A (Mon. Oct 26; Thurs. Oct. 29; Mon. Nov. 2 + Final Thursday, Nov. 7 at 5 p.m.)
  • Boys 1A (Tue. Oct 27; Sat. Oct 31; Wed. Nov. 4 + Final Saturday, Nov. 7 at Noon)
  • Girls 4A (Mon. Oct 26; Thurs. Oct. 29; Wed. Nov. 4 + Final Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.)
  • Girls 3A (Mon. Oct 26; Thurs. Oct. 29; Wed. Nov. 4 + Final Saturday, Nov. 7 at 3 p.m.)
  • Girls 2A (Tue. Oct 27; Sat. Oct 31; Wed. Nov. 4 + Final Saturday, Nov. 7 at Noon)
  • Girls 1A (Sat. Oct 24; Wed. Oct 28, Mon. Nov. 2 + Final Thursday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.)

Not the Usual Schedule

The WPIAL Soccer Selection committee had to deal with the challenge of having to make sure they could work out a schedule that would work for everyone — and deal with the fact that would have to avoid — for the most part — having doubleheaders at sites (there are a few exceptions in the 1A first round). As a result, each round’s set up and games are much more spread out.  It will now take three days to complete first round games (Saturday, October 24, Monday, October 26 & Tuesday, October 27).  This makes a lot of sense when you think about some schools will have to host multiple games (with boys and girls teams hosting), while other schools in 1A and 2A in particular, with facilities inadequate to host games by the guidelines set up, have to play at neutral sites.  In addition, the committee did not schedule any games on Election Day, November 3 and Friday, November 6.

Teams with the highest seeds through the semifinals will be the home teams and will host matches if their facilities meet the requirements. Sites for the finals have not been determined.

Here are the exceptions where teams are unable to host matches at home facilities due to not meeting the requirements:

  • 2A Boys & Girls – North Catholic (will play at Mars); Brownsville (girls — at California)
  • 1A Boys – Greensburg Central Catholic (Elizabeth Forward); Serra Catholic (Avonworth); Seton-LaSalle (Peters Twp); Springdale (North Allegheny); Winchester Thurston (Chatham Univ — they’ve played home games there before); OLSH (Peters Twp)
  • 1A Girls – GCC (Norwin); Springdale (Norwin); Sewickley Academy (Montour Junction); OLSH (Freedom); Bishop Canevin (Peters Twp)

My only, extremely minor, pet peeve with the schedule is that when we get to the finals, why not stagger the games start times so that everyone can watch at least he end of each game.  With two games scheduled for 5 pm on Thursday, November 5 and two games each starting at Noon and 3 p.m. — we will be having six different finals being played at the same time.  My alternative to that would be to spread them out just a bit more (maybe play one double header on Saturday to be 11 am and 2 pm, while the other one is played at Noon and 3 pm. This way we could see the end of all the games (as long as they’re being streamed properly).

Here’s how the schedule will roll out starting Saturday:

1st Round:

  • Saturday, October 24 – 3A Boys; 1A Girls
  • Monday, October 26 –  2A Boys; 3A & 4A Girls
  • Tuesday, October 27 – 4A & 1A Boys; 2A Girls

Quarterfinal Round

  • Wednesday, October 28 – 3A Boys, 1A Girls
  • Thursday, October 29 – 2A Boys, 4A & 3A Girls
  • Saturday, October 31 – 4A & 1A Boys; 2A Girls

Semifinal Round

  • Monday, November 2 – 3A & 2A Boys; 1A & 4A Girls
  • Wednesday, November 4 – 4A & 1A Boys; 3A & 2A Girls

Finals

  • Thursday, November 5
    • 5 p.m. – 1A Girls
    • 5 p.m. – 2A Boys
    • 8 p.m. – 3A Boys
  • Saturday, November 7
    • Noon – 1A Boys
    • Noon – 2A Girls
    • 3 p.m. – 3A Girls
    • 3 p.m. – 4A Boys
    • 8 p.m. – 4A Girls

 

 

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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