The WPIAL Soccer Boys Class 2A tournament reached the Semifinal Round on Monday, with some very enthralling match-ups — and lots of goals.
In the nightcap, South Park outlasted Avonworth, 4-2. The ‘Lopes scored the opening goal, but South Park responded with four goals, and held on for the comfortable win despite conceding a late goal.
Shady Side Academy and Quaker Valley in recent years have played in some of the most thrilling WPIAL soccer playoff matches we’ve seen (more on that below in the match preview portion) but once again, at Dormont Stadium, in the opening match, they played to a seven-goal thriller, with the Quakers coming out on top, 4-3.
PSN’s Matthew Baldwin provided the match recap:
WPIAL Soccer Boys Class 2A Semifinal Round
Final: South Park 4, Avonworth 2
Final: Quaker Valley 4, Shady Side Academy 3
— Matthew Rhys Baldwin (@MattRhys63) October 30, 2023
#1 South Park vs#4 Avonworth
Kickoff: 8 p.m. at Dormont Stadium
How they got here: Top seeded South Park defeated Yough, 2-0, then were pushed a bit by section rival, but found a couple late goals to overtake Keystone Oaks, 3-1 in the quarterfinal.
Avonworth have been impressive so far. The ‘Lopes posted a 4-0 win vs McGuffey, then rolled to a 4-1 win vs Belle Vernon, playing an impressive brand of possession-based soccer.
These two teams played earlier this season in a non-section match, with South Park winning 1-0, but as Angell stated, both sides were not at full strength.
“We both have teams that played skilled, but hard and clean,” Angell said of his next round opponent, who won their regular season meeting, 2-1.
“We played them earlier this year. Those Saturday, non-section games, sometimes can be odd. Neither team was at full strength. We had a few players missing, but I know them well enough to know that they weren’t at their best either. I am sure that both teams will be ready to go.”
Key Players: Kaiden Fischer — a non-stop, speedy winger/forward, is South Park’s leading scorer, with 17 goals in the regular season. Avonworth has a balanced attack, led by Calder Mahan, who scored 10 times this season, but forward Abdul Basit can be a handful in stretching defenders and is clinical in the box, while all-WPIAL selections Rowan Carmicheal and Eli Whalen do a lot of the dirty work winning balls and controlling tempo..
#2 Quaker Valley vs #6 Shady Side Academy
Kickoff 6 p.m. at Dormont Stadium
How they got here: 10-time WPIAL champions Quaker Valley got off to a good start to the tournament, posting a 9-1 win against Jeanette on Monday, then beat Elizabeth Forward, 7-0. Shady Side shut out Beaver Area, 3-0, then overtook Hopewell, 3-1, with a comeback in the second half.
Key Players: Quaker Valley has a balanced attack led by Kiril Grin (14 goals), Nick Allen (13) and Bennett Haas (11). In the win vs EF, Haas scored four goals, while Grin had three assists. Amir Awais leads SSA in goals, with an impressive 34 tallies — good for third in the WPIAL.
This history between these two teams battling it out in this classification is pretty fascinating.
These two schools have quite an interesting playoff history — meeting four years in a row in the WPIAL Finals from 2016-2018. In all three matches, Quaker Valley were the higher seed and took the title in 2016. But in 2017 and 20187, Shady Side pulled out miraculous wins that included one win with two bicycle kick goals — one that leveled the match in the dying moments of regulation and another came for the golden goal winner, then the next year, they won a penalty kick shootout, 3-0.
The Quakers got some revenge the following year, by winning in the 2019 semifinal round, and have won two more WPIAL titles since that time.
Boys Class 2A Championship Game (Thursday, November 2 – 6 p.m. @ Highmark Stadium)
South Park/Avonworth winner vs Quaker Valley/Shady Side Academy winner
Boys Class 2A First Round Results (Monday, October 23)
FINAL South Park 2, Yough 0
FINAL Keystone Oaks 2, Mt. Pleasant 1
FINAL Avonworth 4, McGuffey 0
FINAL Quaker Valley 9, Jeannette 1
FINAL Hopewell 4, Deer Lakes 0
FINAL Elizabeth Forward 3, Knoch 1
FINAL Belle Vernon 2, East Allegheny 2 (AET2 – Belle Vernon advances in PK shootout)
FINAL Shady Side Academy 3, Beaver Area 0
WPIAL Soccer Boys Class 2A Quarterfinal Round (Thurs October 26)
South Park 3, Keystone Oaks 1
Avonworth 4, Belle Vernon 1
WPIAL Post Match Reaction @AvonworthMSoc HC Tom Angell after his team’s 4-1 WPIAL Boys Class 2A Final win vs Belle Vernon
— Pittsburgh Soccer Now (@pghsoccernow) October 27, 2023
Shady Side Academy 3, Hopewell 1
Quaker Valley 7, Elizabeth Forward 0
Quaker Valley head coach JJ Veshio after his team’s 7-0 win over Elizabeth Forward in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals. pic.twitter.com/EE3ojtpZve
— Ethan Morrison (@EthanMorrison26) October 27, 2023