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WPIAL Girls Soccer Playoffs: Taking a closer look at Class 1A & 4A semifinals

WPIAL Girls Soccer Playoffs: Taking a closer look at Class 1A & 4A semifinals

Monday night will bring four WPIAL Girls soccer semifinal matches in two classifications: 4A and 1A.

All matches are scheduled to kickoff at 6:30 p.m. at the home field for each school.  In addition, we had an opportunity to iOur Lady of Sacred Heart (OLSH)’s Paige Petroval in advance of their match-up with Steel Valley on Monday.  

1A Semifinal Round

#12 South Side Area at #1 Greensburg Central Catholic (at Norwin)

South Side Area has been smothering teams defensively only giving up 2 goals and winning a pair of 1 goal games to get to the semi finals. Their stinginess will be tested tonight as the take on GCC. GCC has scored 11 goals in their 2 playoff games, including 8 in their last win over Springdale. The 3-0 win in the first round seems like a low total but they peppered the goal with 20 plus shots. So which style gets through, low scoring or high flying.

Despite being a 12-seed, Greensburg Central Catholic better not sleep on South Side. The most competitive section in Girls 1A this year may have been Section 3, where OLSH, Freedom and SS each advanced to the quarterfinal round. Yes — that’s right –South Side Beaver Area — have made their first ever appearance in a WPIAL girls soccer semifinal. They advanced to the semifinal with two gritty playoffs wins, both by score line of 2-1 against Sewickley Academy and Serra Catholic.  Greensburg Central Catholic (14-0-0), may have started slow in its first round 3-0 win vs Riverside, but they didn’t miss on too many of its opportunities in an 8-1 winner over Springdale in the quarterfinal round.

#3 Our Lady of Sacred Heart (OLSH) at #2 Steel Valley

This could be a very entertaining, end-to-end match.

Can Steel Valley defensively shut down OLSH, continue to get their goals? Will both sides be stretched out too much leading to a high-scoring contest?  Steel Valley is looking to show why they were seeded second overall in what has become a fairly wide-open classification this year, especially since Shady Side Academy has moved up to 2A.

OLSH has also made it to the WPIAL semifinal round for the first time. OLSH figured out a way to slow down its section rival and perennial WPIAL title contender Freedom’s potent attack — and that might be by going toe-to-toe with them. After losing to Freedom, 2-1 on September 24, OLSH won the return match, 4-2 then won the rubber match in the quarterfinal round in another high scoring affair, 4-3,  Led by junior scoring whiz Kelsey Salopek, Steel Valley carry an unbeaten record into the playoffs, where they’ve showed its offensive firepower, by rolling to a 7-0 win in the first round, then beating section rival Chartiers-Houston, 5-1 in the quarterfinal.

INTERVIEW WITH OLSH’s PAIGE PETROVAL 

4A Semifinal Round 

#6 Moon at #2 Butler

Moon heads north to Butler where they will look to stifle another team with a lot of offensive firepower. In its first two playoff wins, Moon has only needed two goals, but their defense has been up to the task, shutting out both Pine-Richland and Fox Chapel in 1-0 victories.  On Thursday, it was Kayla Leseck who scored off a free kick in the first half. Alayshja Babel recorded her second shutout as the No. 6 Tigers (9-3-2), moved on to the semifinal round for the first time since moving up from Class 3A.  After a first-round bye, Butler opened the playoffs with an impressive four goal output and shut out of Upper St. Clair in a 4-0 win on Thursday. Chloe Weiland had two goals and Sam Miller and Gabby Boden in the win. Butler averages four goals a game over the season.

So what will give first….  the defense of Moon or the offense of Butler?

#5 North Allegheny at #1 Peters Twp

North Allegheny comes into the semi final match versus Peters Twp flying high. The defending WPIAL champions have speed everywhere and it poses a problem for a lot of teams. The Tigers, who had to miss the final two weeks of the regular season due to precautions related to COVID-19 case, are looking strong at the start of the playoffs. On Thursday, they didn’t waste any time in soaring past Norwin, scoring twice in the first eight minutes on the way to a one-sided, 3-0 victory.  Anna Bundy and Sarah Schupansky scored, along with an own goal gave the Tigers the win vs Norwin in the rematch of last year’s final.

Now, red-hot North Allegheny will face top seeded Peters Twp.  The Indians are coming off a tight 1-0 win in the quarter finals against Seneca Valley. In many cases, you can ignore seeding as close games in 4A are almost always expected. At the end of the regular season, the Indians were one of the teams hitting their peak. Including Thursday’s playoff win, Peters has run its unbeaten streak to eight games since its only loss this season to Upper St. Clair.  If they got off to a slow start in the quarterfinal round, maybe the bye was the last thing the Indians wanted but this match vs North Allegheny brings hefty expectations to be one of the best matches of the season.

The only thing that could mess this matchup is well….    2020.

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