Sunday, October 29, 2023 | 21:28
There’s something special about a No. 11 seed when it comes to the WPIAL Class 3A boys soccer playoffs.
Last fall, No. 11 Ambridge upset No. 6 Hampton, No. 3 Thomas Jefferson and No. 2 Plum to reach the district championship game. Bridgers’ miracle ended with a 3-0 loss to top-seeded Moon in the finals.
This season No. 11 Franklin Regional is in the midst of another unexpected postseason game.
After upsetting No. 6 Mars in the first round, the Panthers stunned defending champion Moon in the quarterfinals last week, 2-1 in overtime, thanks to a pair of goals by junior Tyler Pippen.
Monday in a Class 3A semifinal game at North Allegheny, Franklin Regional (12-7) looks to continue its magical ride as it battles No. 2 Hampton (16-2-1) at 6 p.m.
The Talbots needed overtime to defeat Trinity in the first round and went into double overtime to sweep Thomas Jefferson in the quarterfinals.
In the other 3A boys Final Four game, surprise South Fayette (11-4-3), fresh off an upset of top-seeded Plum, will battle Montour (14-4) for the third time this season.
The Spartans won the first leg 1-0 in September, while the Lions took the return last month 2-1.
Rewriting history in 2A?
In the 2022 WPIAL Class 2A boys soccer playoffs, South Park was the No. 1 seed and Quaker Valley was the No. 2 seed.
Both won their first two games to reach the semifinals, but their hopes for district gold ended there.
The Eagles lost to eventual champion Deer Lakes 1-0, while the Quakers were edged by Beaver also 1-0.
South Park and Quaker Valley return to the Final Four here in the 2023 postseason and are once again the favorites as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.
Top-seeded South Park (20-0) will face No. 4 Avonworth (16-2-1) at Dormont Stadium at 8 p.m., while second-seeded Quaker Valley (16-3) faces No. 6 Shady Side Academy in the first game at 6 p.m
Only twice in the 22-year history of Class A WPIAL boys soccer has a public school team won the championship. Riverside won gold in 2012 and Avonworth in 2018.
A third winner could be on the horizon as three public school teams reached the Class A final four.
One is guaranteed a spot in the title game as No. 7 Bentworth (16-2) takes on No. 3 Burrell (14-3) in the first game of a doubleheader in Peters Township on Monday.
The only remaining private school is No. 4 Seton LaSalle (15-2-1), which will face top-seeded Charleroi (18-0) at 8 p.m.
Charleroi, Bentworth and Burrell are in search of their first boys soccer district championships, while Seton LaSalle has won six crowns, the last coming in 2015.
Watching a replay
A repeat at the top of the WPIAL girls soccer rankings is not unique. It has happened 11 times before.
North Allegheny (19-0) hopes to make it a dozen.
The 2022 champion Tigers are the top seed in this year’s postseason. They needed penalty kicks to oust Mount Lebanon in the quarterfinals and now battle Canon-McMillan (9-6-2) at 6 p.m. Monday at Moon Stadium.
NA won back-to-back 4A titles in 2019 and 2020, becoming the 11th team to do so and joining the ranks of Norwin (twice), Seneca Valley, Pine-Richland, Upper St. Clair (three times), Hampton, Quaker Valley and Mount Lebanon.
Only Mount Lebanon from 1980-84 has won more than two consecutive top-ranked girls soccer crowns.
The other 4A semifinal matchup features No. 6 Fox Chapel (11-4-2) vs. No. 2 Upper St. Clair (16-1) at Moon at 8 p.m
The Panthers have won nine in a row, while the Foxes are 2-1-1 in their last four games but have scored 12 goals in their last two contests.
Another regular season finale
While the WPIAL football regular season is in the books and the postseason is ready, there is one more chapter to be written in the 2023 local high school football season.
Several independent programs end their seasons in a battle for Fayette County pride as Brownsville (1-6) visits Uniontown (3-6).
It has already been a successful season for the Falcons, who on September 22 ended a 34-game losing streak after beating Carrick 36-30 in extra time.
Ringgold ends the season with the WPIAL’s longest current 25-game losing streak.
Tags: Avonworth, Bentworth, Brownsville, Burrell, Canon-McMillan, Charleroi, Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Hampton, Montour, North Allegheny, Quaker Valley, Seton La Salle, Shady Side Academy, South Fayette, South Park, Uniontown, Upper St , Claire