The WPIAL boys soccer playoffs resume Wednesday as they’ve reached the “Elite Eight” in Class 3A.
WPIAL Boys Soccer Class 3A Schedule
Quarterfinal Round – Wednesday, October 27
|FINAL||Hampton 1, Moon 0|
|FINAL||West Allegheny 6, Mars 0|
|FINAL||Franklin Regional 6, Kiski Area 4|
|FINAL||Plum 3, Thomas Jefferson 0|
Semifinal Round – Monday, November 1, 2021
- Plum (4) vs West Allegheny (1)
- Franklin Regional (3) vs Hampton (2)
Championship at Highmark Stadium – Saturday, November 5, 2021 – 3:30 p.m.
Once the matches begin, look for updates/results here:
Tough 1-0 loss at Hampton tonight to end the season. They score a counter goal 5 minutes in and we’re never able to get it back. We will miss you seniors, you had a heckuva run these last few years. Finish the season with a 16-3 record #mahs @pghsoccernow
— moonboyssoccer (@moonboyssoccer) October 28, 2021
— West A Boys Soccer (@WestABoysSoccer) October 28, 2021
WPIAL Boys Soccer Quarterfinal
Panthers – 6
Kiski Area – 4
— FR Panther Sports (@FRPantherSports) October 28, 2021
Plum 3 TJ 0
Luke Kolankowski 1Goal
Tristin Ralph 1G
Zach Fulton 1G
Lucas Pittman 1ASSIST
TJ Schrecongost 1A
Mike Weleski 1A
Owen Zalewski Shutout@pghsoccernow @JohnKrysinsky @soccer_wpial @Big56Conference @PlumAthletics @pbsdsupt @Mlove_Trib @HotspursClub
— Rafal Kolankowski (@RafalKolankows1) October 28, 2021
Preview / Key Storylines
The first round in Boys 3A went entirely chalk, as the higher seeds each advanced.
With the exception of Thomas Jefferson’s 1-0 win against No. 12 South Fayette, each of the other seven quarterfinalists weren’t really challenged.
That should change on Wednesday.
Looking at all these teams who have made it this far in Class 3A, the common denominator with most of these teams is playoff experience.
We already know that top-seeded West Allegheny has a group of senior players who’ve been through three years of making deep runs into the playoffs. And in previous seasons, they came up just short to Franklin Regional and, last year, to Mars. Tonight, they’ll face Mars again.
Led by veteran coach Chris Knauff, the Planets, even after losing a number of seniors who were key pieces in winning both the WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2020 won’t be an easy team to beat.
Franklin Regional, having played in the WPIAL finals in each of the last three seasons (winning back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019, has tons of experience too, along with a senior Anthony DiFalco, who appears to be determined to finish his career with another title. The Panthers have a tough task, as they’ll be facing an upstart Kiski Area group that has won five straight, 10 of the last 11 matches, with its only hiccup in this stretch being a 2-0 loss to section champion and second seed Hampton.
Another team that has many of its top players who’ve been through the rigors of the playoffs, but itching to get to the first WPIAL final since 2004, is Franklin Regional’s section rival Plum. Raf Kolankowski’s squad didn’t have any trouble in the first round, beating Montour, 4-0. Now they’ll face Thomas Jefferson on its home turf hoping to return to the semifinal round for the first time since 2019, when they were still in Class 4A. That year, they held a late lead against eventual champion Canon-McMillan. The bitter taste from that playoff defeat still remains for the current Plum seniors.
Hampton’s had a great season thanks in large part to senior leadership. While the Talbots don’t have recent playoff pedigree of advancing deep (they last picked up WPIAL Class titles in 2010-11), they took care of the first step in winning its section with a pair of wins against Mars (2-0, 2-1). They’re now determined to go further with this group and are showing that this could be the year they can return to the top. They feature a lineup that has at times featured 11 seniors, led by all-WPIAL midfielder Gabe Viszlay, along with forward Liam Nichols, midfielder Zach Panza and defender Henry Hughes, and third-year goalie Thomas Bradfield. Moon has played West Allegheny twice this season and were the closest competitors to the Indians in that section. Otherwise, they’re undefeated — with 16-2 overall record (12-2 in section). This should be a good test to see if Hampton is for real.