AK Valley WPIAL Football Playoff Preview Capsules: Games for Tuesday, October 24, 2023


Monday, October 23, 2023 | 21:29

WPIAL Football Playoffs


class A

First round

16-Aquinas Academy (5-6-1) at 1-Riverview (16-2)

19:00 Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 9-Eden Christian (8-5-1) at 8-Chartiers Houston (13-3) Saturday in quarterfinals (site/time TBA)

Players to watch: Lola Abraham, Riverview; Abigail Stalder, Aquinas Academy

Scores: Riverview is led by Abraham and Pete Commit owns 56 goals in 17 games. The Raiders, the Section 1 champion, won their first outright sectional crown last Monday with a 3-2 victory at Springdale. Riverview is in the playoffs for the third straight season after failing to field a team in 2020 due to low numbers. The Raiders lost in the first round last year and in 2021. … Aquinas Academy is the smallest school in the WPIAL women’s soccer. The Crusaders are in just their fourth season as a program, but have made the playoffs for the third straight year. Prior to 2020, the Aquinas girls played in a co-op with Vincentian Academy. Stalder is the top scoring threat for the Crusaders, who finished fourth in Section 4 with a 4-5-1 record.

class A

First round

11-Sewickley Academy (7-7) vs. 6-Springdale (12-3)

6pm Tuesday at Freeport

Winner plays: Winner of 14-Riverside (4-8) at 3-Charleroi (14-2) Saturday in quarterfinals (site/time TBA)

Players to watch: Brianna Ross, Springdale; Catherine Varghese, Sewickley Academy

Scores: Tuesday’s game is a rematch of last year’s first-round contest, won by Springdale 3-2. The then no. 2 Dynamos took a 3-0 lead before the Panthers made a late rally. … Springdale, in the playoffs for the seventh straight season, reached the 2022 title game before falling to Freedom 3-0. Ross, junior Molly Hurley and sophomore Haley Marchlewski lead a potent Dynamos scoring attack. … Varghese, Quincy Circo and Libby Eanarino are scoring threats for a Panthers team that averaged 4.8 goals per game during the regular season. Sewickley finished 3-1 in Section 3 play to secure the No. 3 seed in the section with a 6-4 record. The Panthers won WPIAL Class 2A titles in 1999 and from 2002-04.

Class 2A

First round

13-Beaver Area (8-6-1) at Freeport (14-1-1)

20:00 Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 12-Knoch (8-6-2) at 5-South Park (13-5) Saturday in quarterfinals (site/time TBA)

Players to watch: Camryn Woods, Freeport; Anna Hahn, Beaver District

Scores: Freeport won its first Section 2-2A title since 2017 and has won eight straight since losing 2-0 to Deer Lakes on Sept. 27. The Yellowjackets’ only other blemish in the sectional was a 2-2 tie against playoff-bound Knoch. Freeport is in the playoffs for the 11th straight year. Freshman Woods leads the team with 29 goals and junior Samantha Liput has 14 goals this season. … Beaver Area hopes to pull off an upset and advance to the tournament. The Bobcats have never won a WPIAL girls soccer championship. Beaver Area finished fourth in Section 1 behind No. 1 Avonworth, No. 2 North Catholic and No. 9 Quaker Valley. The Bobcats topped QV 2-0 at the end of the regular season. Hahn is the leading scorer for Beaver, which lost to top-seeded North Catholic in the quarterfinals last year.

Class 2A

First round

12-Knoch (8-6-2) at 5-South Park (13-5)

19:00 Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 13-Beaver (8-6-1) at 4-Freeport (14-1-1) Saturday in quarterfinals (site/time TBA)

Players to watch: Alicia Riberich, South Park; Macrina Rob, Cnoch

Scores: Knoch comes into battle tested after a tough slate in Section 2. The Knights, the 2022 Section 2 champions, finished fourth (5-4-1) in the standings. Knoch is hoping for a better first-round result after being upset as a No. 4 seed by Hopewell last year. Robb, a senior midfielder, and sophomore midfielder Camryn Burtner are among the top scorers for the Knights. … South Park reigns as section champion once again after winning the Section 4 title with a 10-0 record. The Eagles finished the regular season 1-2 against non-sectional playoff qualifiers Bethel Park, Thomas Jefferson and Winchester Thurston. South Park has won five WPIAL girls soccer championships, the most recent in 2018. Last year, the Eagles, as the No. 3 seed, lost to No. 2 Mt. Pleasant in the semifinals 1-0 in overtime.

Class 2A

First round

11-Keystone Oaks (9-7-1) at 6-Burrell (12-4)

19:00 Tuesday

Winner plays: 14-West Mifflin (7-7) winner at 3-Mt. Pleasant (15-2) Quarterfinals Saturday (site/time TBD)

Players to watch: Allie Simon, Keystone Oaks; Tessa Matabel, Burrell

Scores: The Bucs are a WPIAL playoff qualifier for the eighth consecutive year. Burrell finished as the runner-up (8-2) in Section 2, one point behind champion Freeport (8-1-1). The Bucs went to overtime with the Yellowjackets in the second meeting before losing 2-1. Burrell swept Knoch and Deer Lakes playoffs. Grace Nesco, Miley Kariotis, Mikaya Buchak, Mikayla Kouri and Matabele are among a wide group of scoring threats for the Bucs. Burrell topped No. 5 South Park, 4-2, on Sept. 23. … Keystone Oaks (5-4-1) beat West Mifflin (4-6) for third place in Section 4, 4-3, a two-overtime win over the Titans on Oct. 2 looms large in the final standings. Simon, a sophomore, is a key figure in the Golden Eagles’ offense. Keystone Oaks was seeded No. 12 in last year’s Class 2A bracket and lost to No. 5 Avonworth on the Antelopes’ road to the WPIAL title. The Golden Eagles are in the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Class 2A

First round

10-Deer Lakes (9-6-3) at 7-Shady Side Academy (12-3-1)

18:00 Tuesday

Winner plays: Winner of 15-Woodland Hills (7-6) vs. 2-North Catholic (13-2) Saturday in quarterfinals (site/time TBA)

Players to watch: Claire Kakurak, Deer Lakes; Sarah Kushnir, Shady Side Academy

Scores: Deer Lakes returns to the WPIAL playoffs after missing the 2022 postseason, which snapped a five-year playoff streak. The Lancers reached the 2018 Class 2A semifinals before losing to No. 2 Hopewell. They then suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Avonworth in the Mars third-place game. Cacurak, a sophomore and one of the team’s leading scorers, scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Knoch on Oct. 16 that clinched third place in Section 2. Deer Lakes handed Freeport its only loss in the section. … Shady Side Academy’s only two Section 4 losses were a pair of 1-0 scores against No. 5 South Park. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 9-1-1. SSA holds undivided victories over Knoch and Burrell. Kushnir, Carolyn Liptak and Ella Van Norman lead a Bulldogs offense that has outscored opponents 84-13 in 16 games.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review contributor. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Tags: Aquinas AcademyBeaver, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Freeport, Keystone Oaks, Knoch, Riverview, Sewickley Academy, Shady Side Academy, South Park, Springdale

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