We’ve reached the final day of quarterfinal action in the WPIAL boys soccer playoffs with two classifications to play.
Ahead of Saturday’s eight matches in both Class 4A and 1A, here’s a quick look at each game below. For Class 4A, it’s the first we’ll see the four schools that had first-round byes, so we’ll see if the extra rest will help or hamper them on Saturday.
Quarterfinal Round (Saturday, October 31)
all games at Noon – higher seeds will be host each match unless noted
- #1 Peters Twp vs #9 Baldwin
After a successful regular season which they won the always competitive Section 2, Peters Township will face a familiar section foe in Baldwin. The two sides already played twice this year in section matches, with Peters winning 4-2, then 1-0. It’s always difficult to beat another playoff-caliber team three times in one season. Last year, Mt. Lebanon were tops in this section, but in their third go-around against Canon-McMillan, they fell in the WPIAL finals. Until last year, Baldwin had not been to the WPIAL playoffs since 2011. Now they’re a bit more battle-tested, and have solid senior leadership (Joey Moeller, senior forward who knocked in eight goals in seven games during the regular season, Zach Stewart, who keeps things together in the middle, two solid defenders Tai Guzzi and Joey Kosslow in front of goalkeeper Michael Sabo). This group propelled Baldwin to its first postseason win since 2007 on Tuesday, when shutting out Central Catholic, 2-0. Moeller scored two second half goals in the win. Peters, who press high, have had a lot of success in playing direct and are very strong defensively under Bobby Dyer, (allowed just 10 goals in 13 games) haven’t won the WPIAL since 2014, but this year will be a tough team to beat.
- #4 Fox Chapel vs #5 Upper St. Clair
This is a good match-up between two teams coming out of really tough sections, who, if they can get into good form are capable of making a deep run in the tournament. Upper St. Clair lost its final two regular season matches, so its first-round, 5-0 triumph over Latrobe was much needed to build positive momentum for Uwe Schneider’s club. Jack Myers and Ben Bacdayan each had two goals and an assist in the win. The past few years, since becoming part of that tough Section 1, Fox Chapel has remained a perennial playoff contender but have struggled to get back to the finals, where they last played in 2015. Leading the way for Erik Ingram’s squad is senior forward Nate Lazzara, who was also received All-State honors this week.
- #2 Seneca Valley vs #10 Butler
On any given night in Section 1 or Section 2, any one of the top five or six teams in each section could beat each other. This was the case when Seneca Valley and Butler played this year. Butler, led by Landon Mohney, who was among the 15 WPIAL players earning All-State honors, handed Seneca Valley its only loss this season, 2-1. Seneca Valley finally broke through to finally win the WPIAL title in 2018. Now they’re one of the favorites to do it again, but they’ll have to be a Butler team that knocked out last year’s defending champs, Canon-McMillan on Tuesday night in a penalty kick shootout, giving them plenty of momentum as they face their section rival for the third time this season. Tyler Gillis scored the tying goal in regulation, then goalkeeper Carson Stein stopped 3 of 4 attempts in the shootout
- #3 Norwin vs #6 North Allegheny
Norwin went through Section 3 without a loss (10-0-2) — and started to get healthy as the regular season wound down. With the first-round bye, Scott Schucher’s club should be well-rested and have all of its main weapons back for another potential run to the Finals, where they made it in 2018, losing to Seneca Valley. Now, they’ll face Bobby Vosmaer’s North Allegheny squad that rolled to a 5-1 first-round win vs Allderdice. Vosmaer was concerned about where goals would come from before the season started, but the Tigers have shown this season that they can score in bunches, amassing 65 goals in 17 games this season. In Tuesday’s playoff win, NA had contributions from Jonathan Swann, with two goals, along with Ben Christian, Evan Anderson and Kensly Owens.
Click here for the complete WPIAL Boys 4A bracket.
Semifinal Round – Wednesday, November 4
- Peters Twp/Baldwin winner vs Fox Chapel/USC winner
- Seneca Valley/Butler winner vs Norwin/North Allegheny winner
Quarterfinal Round (Saturday, October 31)
- 2 Winchester Thurston vs 7 Brentwood vs (at Graham Field, Wilkinsburg)
When interviewing Seton LaSalle’s Nick Balzer, he couldn’t have emphasized any more how difficult it was for his squad to play Brentwood the past few years. Winchester Thurston have gone through this season like a club that is eager to get back to the WPIAL and PIAA finals, as they did a year ago. After losing its only match to section and class 1A rivals Greensburg Central Catholic (a 3-2 loss on Sept. 29), WT have rolled the competition en route to a 12-1 overall record, winning eight straight and surrendering only three goals all season (two came in the loss to GCC). This should be a good test for the Bears though, as Brentwood have played every playoff team they’ve face this year tough.
- 6 Sewickley Academy vs 3 OLSH (at North Allegheny)
There was a time when Sewickley Academy had, year-in and year-out, a WPIAL and PIAA title contender in Class 1A. They last won the WPIAL title in 2016 and are now back knocking on the door. They controlled its first-round match against Chartiers-Houston, a 3-0 win, from start to finish as Jack Wentz, Michael DiSantis and William Vanella scored, with midfielder Cole Rychel assisting on all three goals, Now Sewickley Academy must face section foe OLSH, who edged them out for the Section 1 title. In their head-to-head meetings, OLSH won the first encounter, 2-1, at Youthowne, while in the rematch, the teams played to nil-nil draw. OLSH, who have not lost this season, were pushed to the limit in the first round against Carlynton, but it was Danny Bourgeois who broke a scoreless tie in the second half. Now, the third match of the season between these two schools will determine which will be the last team standing from its section.
- 1 GCC vs 9 Eden Christian (at North Allegheny)
Top seeded Greensburg Central Catholic raced out to a big 7-0 lead on Tuesday in the first round against Aquinas Academy, but things got interesting when they surrendered five second half goals, but they held on for 7-5 win. From this point forward, the defending WPIAL champs are going to need 80 minute performances as the competition will get tougher starting with Eden Christian, who pulled away from Serra Catholic with two late goals to win its first round contest. Sporting a 9-2 overall record, Eden Christian’s only two losses this season were to section foe Springdale. They also hold a non-section win vs Brentwood.
- 4 Seton LaSalle vs 5 Springdale (at Peters Township)
This should be a terrific match-up. With Greensburg Central Catholic and Winchester Thurston both earning top two seeds coming out of the same section, we were bound to have a quarterfinal match between two section champions. The Dynamos went undefeated in section play. Their only loss came against Class 2A No. 2 seed Deer Lakes. They recorded four shutouts. Freshman Billy Lawrence leads the team with 17 goals. While Nick Balzer’s Seton LaSalle squad only lost once this year in section play, on the road against 7th seed Brentwood. Anthony Newman and Cam Colwell scored and Nick Cherry recorded the shutout for the Rebels in its first-round, 2-0 win vs Beaver County Christian. The one common opponent between the two schools this year was Brentwood, whom Springdale beat, 2-1, in a non-section match-up ‘way back’ on September 26.
Click here for the complete WPIAL Boys 1A bracket
First Round – Tuesday, October 27
WPIAL Class 4A Playoffs: First Round
|FINAL||Baldwin 2, Central Catholic 0|
|FINAL||Butler 1, Canon-McMillan 1Butler advances by winning Penalty Kick shootout|
|FINAL||Upper St. Clair 5, Latrobe 0|
|FINAL||North Allegheny 5, Allderdice 1|
WPIAL Class 1A Playoffs: First Round
|FINAL||Sewickley Academy 3. Chartiers-Houston 0|
|FINAL||Springdale 3, Bentworth 1|
|FINAL||Greensburg Central Catholic 7, Aquinas Academy 5|
|FINAL||Eden Christian 4, Serra Catholic 2|
|FINAL||Seton LaSalle 2, Beaver County Christian 0|
|FINAL||Brentwood 1, Trinity Christian 0|
|FINAL||Winchester Thurston 6, Riverside 0|
|FINAL||Our Lady of Sacred Heart 1, Carlynton 0|