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PIAA Boys Soccer: Seneca Valley, Hampton, Quaker Valley and Winchester Thurston advance to State Finals

PIAA Boys Soccer Semifinal Round

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Class 4A
FINAL: Seneca Valley 2, Peters Township 1
Class 3A
FINAL: Hampton 1, West Allegheny 1 (Hampton wins 6-5 on PKs)
Class 2A
FINAL: Quaker Valley 2, North Catholic 0
Class 1A
FINAL: Winchester Thurston 2, Eden Christian Academy 1

Resources:  PIAA Soccer History 

Match Night Updates

PK shootout marathon goes to Hampton in the Boys 3A showdown.

Previews / Key Storylines 

In a fairly unprecedented occurence, all four Boys soccer PIAA classifications will have WPIAL-vs-WPIAL showdowns in the semifinal round to decide who will move on to play for a state championship in Hershey this coming weekend.

Of these four match-ups, three of them are rematches of the WPIAL finals played at Highmark Stadium on November 4-6.

Below we take a closer look at each match.

Class 4A 

Seneca Valley vs Peters Township – at North Allegheny, 6 p.m.

winner faces Conestoga-La Salle College winner in PIAA 4A Final on Friday at 6:30 p.m. 

Last meeting: WPIAL Final (Nov. 6) – Seneca Valley 3, Peters Twp 1 

Here we go again.

Seneca Valley, and Nathan Prex in particuar, proved to be too much for Peters Twp in the District final, as Prex delivered a terrific strike to get things started, scored again and added an assist in the 3-1 win. Unlike the 2020 final, the Raiders kept this match from getting too chaotic.

“Hadn’t seen Seneca Valley on video play like that (this year),” Peters Township’s Bobby Dyer said. “We need to analyze why we didn’t play better, but Seneca Valley played one of their best games ever. We crept back, but couldn’t get it done.”

Under the guidance of Dyer, Peters Twp will be looking for its seventh PIAA finals appearance, as they’ve won the state title four times (1988, 1989, 2007, 2014), while Seneca Valley, who have won three WPIAL titles in the past four years, won its first-ever PIAA title under long-time coach George WIlliams last year.

Peters also has a dynamic scoring attack and while Seneca Valley tamed them a bit in the Final, doing it twice in less than a couple weeks may prove to be a challenge, especially with senior Andrew Massucci leading the attack for the Indians.

How they got here (in PIAA Playoffs) 

  • Peters – def State College, 3-1; def Central Dauphin 2-0
  • Seneca Valley – def Landisville Hempfield, 3-0; def Lower Merion, 3-0

Class 3A

West Allegheny vs Hampton – at North Allegheny, 8 p.m.

winner faces Bishop Shanahan-Archbishop Wood winner in PIAA 3A Final on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. 

Last Meeting: WPIAL Final – Hampton 1, West Allegheny 0 

Here we (also) go again!

It took a terrific two-way performance from Zack Panza to knock West Allegheny off the mantle to take the 3A district crown and end their unbeaten season in the WPIAL Final played at Highmark Stadium on November 6.

Panza came through with the match’s two biggest plays on both ends of the field.  Panza broke a scoreless affair in the 65th minute with a vicious header coming from a corner kick, then made a goal line clearance that denied West Allegheny’s best chance to equalize the match.

West Allegheny has been here before.

In 2018, they shook off a WPIAL final loss to Franklin Regional, then made a remarkable run in the state playoffs, capping with a championship Hershey.  A few of the current seniors, namely Johnny Dragasich and Keegan Amos, were freshman on that team.

After losing a tightly contested final to the Talbots, the Indians had to go on the road in the first two rounds of the PIAA’s, playing matches in Bradford and Mechanisburg, but they’re in solid form and appear to be ready for the rematch, as they’ve cruised to two impressive wins in the first two rounds.

Hampton, under the direction of Matt McAwley, has really made its bones this season with outstanding defensive play, riding an impressive shutout streak throughout the entire postseason, including a second shutout in two weeks of a very talented Franklin Regional squad.

Zander Plizga scored in the seventh minute and Gabe Viszlay added a goal in the 79th minute, but once again, the Talbots picked up another clean sheet with a solid team effort.

“They (West Allegheny) are solid, up-and-down. They have (Keegan) Amos and (Johnny) Dragisich, but they also have a good back line, a solid midfield,” McAwley said after the WPIAL Finals match.  “It’s not about stopping any one or two players.

In a match like this, between two teams who have two combined losses all season, there might not be a lot that separates the two sides.  It was a corner kick which proved to be the difference the first time around.  We’ll see what happens in the rematch with a state playoff berth on the line.

As previously mentioned, West Allegheny has won a PIAA title title (in 2018), while Hampton made back-to-back appearances in the state final in 2009-10, winning it all by defeating Archbishop Wood in 2010.

How they got here (in PIAA playoffs) 

  • West Allegheny: def Bradford, 10-0; def Archbishop Ryan, 3-0
  • Hampton:  def Holidaysburg, 6-0; def Franklin Regional, 2-0

Class 2A

North Catholic vs Quaker Valley – at North Hills, 8 p.m.

winner faces Midd-West-Lewisburg winner in PIAA 2A Final 

Last Meeting:  WPIAL Final – Quaker Valley 5, North Catholic 0 

Maybe the fourth time this season will be the charm for North Catholic?

The Trojans must face the beast once again, as they face Quaker Valley, who rolled to one of the most impressive WPIAL Finals wins at Highmark Stadium we’ve seen in recent years.

It was Keller Chamovitz who led the way with four goals for the Quakers that day.  A program with an impressive history, Quaker Valley is seeking its ninth PIAA title.  They’ve rolled through the first two rounds of the state playoffs, and now have to face section rival North Catholic once again.

The Trojans have also had a remarkable postseason run to not only upset the top-ranked team, South Park, in the WPIAL playoffs, but they also had to defeat a challenge from another section rival, Ambridge, to reach the state semifinal.

In the WPIAL final, North Catholic’s goalkeeper Devon Paschall made 14 saves as Quaker Valley continiously brought pressure throughout the contest.  The Trojans will have to find a way to slow down the Quaker Valley attack, and that will come first by trying to sustain a bit more possession, as that was an area where they struggled against the Quakers.

“We have to be disciplined. We have to play as a team,” North Catholic’s Head Coach Anchoi Headly said when asked about how to play against Quaker Valley. “We have confidence. At the start of the season, nobody would have put us in the (WPIAL) Championship game. We have a young team. We started two seniors for majority of the season. We’ll correct our mistakes and hopefully get a better start (against Quaker Valley).”

How they got here (in PIAA state playoffs) 

  • Quaker Valley:  def Grove City, 7-0; def Somerset, 8-0
  • North Catholic: def Richland, 2-1; def Ambridge, 2-0

Class 1A

Eden Christian Academy vs Winchester Thurston at Shaler Titans Stadium, 8 p.m.

winner faces Morivan Academy-Faith Christian winner in PIAA 1A Final 

Winchester Thurston finally got over the hump to defeat Greensburg Central Catholic in the WPIAL finals after losing the previous two seasons.

Instead of a rematch with the Centurians, the Bears will face GCC’s section rival and nemesis this season, Eden Christian. Those two sides battled four times, with the regular season series split and the postseason matches as well going to each team, as Eden Christian got some revenge for its WPIAL semifinal, 6-5 loss, by shutting out the Centurians, 1-0 on Saturday in the state quarterfinals.

Now, does Eden Christian have enough in the tank to face a Winchester Thurston side that is clicking on all cylinders.

Get the Frock Out: Winchester Thurston Boys Grab WPIAL Gold from GCC

This is a talented Winchester Thurston side that isn’t resting on its laurels of winning a District title, winning its first two PIAA playoff matches by a combined scoreline of 13-0.

“I asked them if they were satisfied, and they said, absolutely not,” 19th-year head coach Adam Brownold said. “We have unfinished business from ’19, when we went to Hershey.”

“‘Let’s finish the job’ has been our mantra all year. We’ve got another tournament, and we’re not ready to lose.”

How they got here (in PIAA playoffs) 

  • Winchester Thurston: def Everett, 7-0; def Mercer, 6-0
  • Eden Christian:  def Brockway, 3-2; def Greensburg Central Catholic, 1-0

Boys Brackets

PIAA Boys Soccer Championship Games

Friday, November 19, 2021 – Hersheypark Stadium 

Class 2A 1:30 p.m. 

Class 4A 6:30 p.m. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021 – Hersheypark Stadium 

Class 1A 1:30 p.m. 

Class 3A 6:30 p.m. 

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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