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Preview: Taking a closer look at WPIAL Boys 2A Quarterfinals

File Photo courtesy of Ed Thompson

We’re now in the quarterfinal round of the WPIAL boys soccer playoffs.

Ahead of Thursday’s fixtures in Class 2A, here’s a quick look at the match-ups.

WPIAL Boys 2A Quarterfinals (Thursday, October 29)

Click here for the complete WPIAL Boys 2A bracket.

all higher seeds will be home team (unless noted)

3 North Catholic vs 6 Mt. Pleasant – 6 p.m. (at Mars) 

North Catholic survived a COVID-19 quarantine, and now continue on its path through the WPIAL playoffs as its varsity players were reinstated right before their 2-0 win vs Leechburg on Monday. It was Ryan Shantz and Dylan Greggs scoring for the Trojans in the first round. Now, they’ll face Section 3’s only remaining team, Mt. Pleasant, who handled Burrell, 3-1 in the first round, led by Lucas Toohey’s two goals.  North Catholic will have to solve a well-organized Mt. Pleasant unit that has only surrendered three goals all season.

8 Ambridge at 1 Shady Side Academy

Could this be a trap game for top-ranked Shady Side? Ambridge were in a same, tough section with Quaker Valley and North Catholic, and beat the Trojans once this year. Ambridge are riding a four-game win streak, including a 2-1 win against a solid Keystone Oaks team that could make a case for being a top five 2A team.  Shady Side beat Hopewell in the opening round, 3-0, to get back on track after losing to Deer Lakes toward the end of the season. This is the time of year when Ed Ellsworth has his team playing its best — and with two more wins — they’ll be back in the Finals for the fourth time in five years.

13 Avonworth at 5 Elizabeth Forward

As a 13-seed, Avonworth pushed through and squeezed into the playoffs finishing fourth in a tough Section 2. In its first season after moving up from Class 1A (where they won the WPIAL in 2018), they had a huge, confidence boosting playoff win against Charleroi and now have a rematch with its section champion Elizabeth Forward. In two previous matches this season against Elizabeth Forward, Avonworth showed marked improvement. After losing 6-0 in September, the teams played to a 1-1 draw on October 8.  Could Avonworth make another big leap into their status as a 2A school with a quarterfinal round win?

7 South Park at 2 Deer Lakes

This should be a good challenge for the second-seeded Lancers and a great midfield battle between two teams that like to possess the ball. It will be very interesting see what South Park does in this match. Deer Lakes have a terrific senior-led midfield trio, while South Park are always tough defensively. These two teams met in the semifinal round last year, with Deer Lakes coming away with a 3-0 win. Does South Park try to bottle up the Lancers attack and look to counter, or do they go toe-to-toe?  We’ll be there for this one — as this should be a fun match.

SEMIFINAL ROUND (Monday, November 2)

  • North Catholic vs Mt. Pleasant winner vs Shady Side/Ambridge winner
  • Deer Lakes vs South Park winner vs Avonworth vs Elizabeth Forward winner

CLASS 2A BOYS FINAL (Thursday, November 5, 8 p.m.) 

  • Semifinal winners

FIRST ROUND (Saturday, October 24)

WPIAL Class 2A Playoffs: First Round
FINAL Elizabeth Forward 7, Freedom 2
FINAL South Park 7, Waynesburg Central 0
FINAL Shady Side Academy 3, Hopewell 0
FINAL Deer Lakes 7, Southmoreland 0
FINAL Avonworth 3, Charleroi 1
FINAL Mount Pleasant 3, Burrell 1
FINAL Ambridge 2, Keystone Oaks 1
FINAL North Catholic 2, Leechburg 0

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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