Sunday, October 29, 2023 | 9:28 PM
There is something special about the No. 11 seed when it comes to the WPIAL Class 3A boys soccer playoffs.
Last fall, No. 11 Ambridge interrupted No. 6 Hampton, No. 3 Thomas Jefferson and No. 2 Plum to reach the regional championship. Bridgers’ miraculous run ended with a 3-0 loss to the top-flight Moon in the final.
This season, No. 11 Franklin Regional is in the midst of another unlikely postseason trip.
After interrupting No. 6 March in the first quarter, the Panthers stunned the defending Moon in the quarterfinals last week, 2-1 in overtime, thanks to two goals from junior Tyler Pipon.
On Monday in the Class 3A semifinals at North Allegheny, Franklin Regional (12-7) will try to continue its magical streak as it beats No. 2 Hampton (16-2-1) at 6 p.m.
The Talbots needed overtime to defeat Trinity in the opening round and doubled to eliminate Thomas Jefferson in the quarterfinals.
In the other 3A boys final, top-seeded South Fayette (11-4-3) will face Montour (14-4) for the third time this season.
The Spartans won the first game, 1-0, in September while the Lions took the rematch last month, 2-1.
Rewriting history in 2A?
In the 2022 WPIAL Class 2A boys soccer rankings, South Park was ranked No. 1 and Quaker Valley was ranked No. 2.
Both won their first two matches to advance to the semifinals, but their hopes of regional gold ended there.
The Eagles lost to eventual champion Deer Lakes, 1-0, while the Quakers were eliminated by Beaver, also 1-0.
South Park and Quaker Valley will return to the Final Four in the 2023 postseason and are the favorites as the 1 and 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) will take on No. 6 Shady Side Academy in the first game at 6 pm
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 place finisher could be on the horizon as three public school teams make it to Thursday’s Group Finals.
One is guaranteed a spot in the title race because No. 7 Bentworth (16-2) will take on No. 3 Burrell (14-3) in the first game of a doubleheader at Peters Township on Monday.
The only remaining private school is No. 4 Seton LaSalle (15-2-1), which will take on Charleroi (18-0) at 8 p.m.
Charleroi, Bentworth and Burrell are all seeking their first state championships while Seton LaSalle has won six crowns, most recently in 2015.
Looking to repeat
WPIAL girls soccer’s top replay is no different. It has happened 11 times already.
North Allegheny (19-0) hopes to make it even 12.
The 2022 champion Tigers are the top seed in this year’s postseason. They needed penalties to eliminate Mount Lebanon in the quarterfinals and now take on Canon-McMillan (9-6-2) at 6pm on Monday at Moon Stadium.
NA also won 4A titles in 2019 and 2020, becoming the 11th team to do so and joining Norwin (twice), Seneca Valley, Pine-Richland, Upper St. Clair (three times), Hampton, Quaker Valley and Mt. Lebanon.
Only Mt. Lebanon from 1980-84 has won more than two straight girls soccer crowns in the top division.
The other 4A semifinals have 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 Wolves are 2-1-1 in their last four games but have scored 12 goals in their last two contests.
Another regular season finale
With the WPIAL football regular season in the books and the postseason ready, there is one more chapter to be written in the 2023 high school football regular season.
Several independent programs end their seasons in a battle of Fayette County pride as Brownsville (1-6) visits Uniontown (3-6).
This season has already been successful for the Falcons, who on September 22, ended a 34-game losing streak when they defeated Carrick, 36-30 in overtime.
Ringgold finishes the season with the WPIAL’s longest skid at 25 straight losses.
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 Clair