#PghSoccer 2016 HS Boys Forecast: Road To @HighmarkStadium Adds An Extra Lane #WPIAL

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Seton LaSalle boys are defending Class A (now 1A) champs. 

 

As the WPIAL Boys High School soccer season begins this weekend with a boatload of non-section match-ups — change is in order.

After many years of holding with three classifications — we are now entering a new era with four classifications in Pennsylvania (and WPIAL) high school soccer.  And instead of referring to them as Class A, AA and AAA, etc., it appears the suggested format is now 4A, 2A, 3A, 1A etc.

The biggest change for the boys might be in what was a congested WPIAL Class AA that had more than 40 schools, and six sections, has split most of those schools into a more evenly balanced 2A and 3A classifications.South Park, who’ve been traditional top team at this level, winning numerous WPIAL titles in recent years, stays in 2A, while some of their toughest competition that stood in the way (South Fayette, who won the WPIAL over South Park in 2015 Final, Thomas Jefferson and Mars) have moved up to 3A.

The largest schools that have always been the top level (previously Class AAA) now moved up a notch to 4A, and on the other side, the top line of title-contending teams in the lowest classification (Seton LaSalle, Sewickley Academy, Greensburg Central Catholic), stay in the lowest class (1A).

For a complete look at the new classifications, you can see the breakdown on the WPIAL’s website link.

THIS WEEK’S KEY MATCHUPS

In addition to the Tribune-Review‘s preseason rankings (see below) — here are some of the most intriguing early season games/match-ups we’ll be watching closely.  We will be adding a feature on Pittsburgh Soccer Report — that will take a look each week at the biggest match-ups.  Here’s our first week forecast…

Friday, Sept. 2 

East-West Classic begins. This year, the Annual East-West Classic between teams from Western PA and Eastern PA will be hosted by Fleetwood in the East.   Bethel Park (a Class AAA playoff team a year ago), Mt. Lebanon and Quaker Valley, coached by former Riverhounds defender Andrew Marshall, will get early season tests against some teams from the East (Fleetwood, Wilson-West Lawn and Exeter Twp).

Saturday, Sept 3 

A couple of good 4A early season non-section matches including teams that all made the playoffs in 2015:

Fox Chapel at Upper St. Clair  12:30 p.m.

Fox Chapel, a WPIAL runner up from 2015, ranked #3 by the Trib , return a handful of key players (including Michael Snowball and Nathan Wecht) and Upper St. Clair will begin the rigors of another season ranked #4 by the Trib as they will once again be competing in the same Section as defending WPIAL champs Canon McMillan and Peters Township.    

Central Catholic at Peters Township   6:30 p.m.

Mercyhurst Prep at Seton-LaSalle     7 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 6

Believe it or not, many teams begin playing section play on Tuesday.  Among the top match-ups:

Class 1A Section 3 (1A) – Avonworth vs Vincentian Academy    4 p.m.

Class 4A Section 4 (4A) – Hempfield at Penn Trafford     7:30 p.m.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW PRESEASON BOYS SOCCER RANKINGS

Class AAAA

1. Seneca Valley (16-3-1)

2. Canon-McMillan (18-4)  Defending WPIAL Champs 

3. Fox Chapel (18-2-1)

4. Upper St. Clair (10-7-1)

5. Penn-Trafford (15-3-1)

Class AAA

1. South Fayette (19-3)

2. Thomas Jefferson (18-3-1)

3. Montour (13-4-2)

4. Chartiers Valley (7-7-1)

5. Mars (19-4-1)

Class AA

1. South Park (21-3-1)

2. Shady Side Academy (8-5-1)

3. Beaver (16-3)

4. Quaker Valley (8-7-3)

5. McGuffey (12-7)

Class A

1. Sewickley Academy (23-3)

2. Seton-La Salle (18-6)

3. Greensburg Central Catholic (15-5)

4. Avonworth (15-5-3)

5. St. Joseph (13-6)

• Records from 2015

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, here are some of the key boys players to watch this coming season…

Class AAAA

Player, school, Class, Position

Nicholas Bisceglia, Kiski Area, Sr., GK

John Luchini, North Allegheny, Jr., F

Jonah Moore, Canon-McMillan, Jr., D

Stefano Paolino, Upper St. Clair, Sr., F

Michael Snowball, Fox Chapel, Sr., F

Class AAA

Player, school, Class, Position

Caleb Brake, Mars, Sr., D

Nate Graziani, West Allegheny, Jr., D

Cole Lutz, Thomas Jefferson, Sr., F

Noah Meehan, Montour, Sr., D

Sean Tinney, Chartiers Valley, Sr., MF

Class AA

Player, school, Class, Position

Brendan Brazinski, Shady Side Academy, Sr., MF

Mike DiCola, Beaver, Sr., MF

Owen Harkins, Quaker Valley, Sr., D

Mitch Roell, South Park, Sr., F

Alex Vilcheck, Yough, Jr., F

Class A

Player, school, Class, Position

Sean Abraham, Riverview, Jr., MF

Tamir Frank, Winchester Thurston, Sr., D

Mike Napoleon, Sewickley Academy, Sr., MF

Vinchenzo Schiano diCola, St. Joseph, Sr., M/F

Chris Stack, Seton-La Salle, Sr., F

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