PIAA Soccer coverage presented by
photo credits – Long Hong
This weekend, Pennsylvania’s high school soccer season comes to a climatic finish in Hershey with its annual state finals in each classification for both boys and girls in games to be played on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18.
“If you asked me if I would rather be the best of 36 teams, or the best in the entire state, I’ll take the state title,” Bobby Dyer, Peters Township boys soccer coach, said after losing the WPIAL title game to North Allegheny.
Dyer’s team came very close to reaching the PIAA Finals this year, losing in the 4A semifinal to Hempfield on Tuesday night, but five schools from Western PA will have a chance to win PIAA titles, including three girls programs (Norwin, 4A; Moon, 3A; Shady Side, 1A) and a pair of boys (Quaker Valley, 2A & Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic).
For Norwin girls, it will be a chance for a program with a core group of players that have won consecutive WPIAL 4A titles, but in each of the past two seasons were upset in the PIAA playoffs. This is their first trip to Hershey with a team led by talented, Division I bound seniors Emily Harrigan, Alyssa Victor and goalkeeper Sam Wexell.
In 3A girls, Moon have rolled through an undefeated season looking for a repeat of WPIAL (already done) and PIAA titles. Led by senior Miami (OH) recruit Delaney Snyder, who scored a hat trick in the first 15 minutes of its semifinal win on Tuesday, Moon are one game away from completing one of the most dominant two-year runs by any WPIAL team in recent history.
It’s a return trip for Shady Side Academy girls, who are hoping for a better defensive performance in this trip to Hershey. Last year Shady Side were blitzed by Fairfield, losing in a wild 9-4 shoot out. The Indians avenged its WPIAL final loss to section rivals Greensburg Central Catholic with a 3-0 win in the PIAA semifinal.
The two WPIAL boys teams remaining couldn’t have different program histories — Quaker Valley and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
The Quakers fell short of winning its ninth WPIAL title, losing in improbable fashion to Shady Side Academy, 3-2, after holding a 2-1 lead very late in regulation. Instead, they were denied a second consecutive district title on a pair of goals set up by long throws and ending in bicycle kicks. Andrew Marshall‘s club has bounced back nicely in the PIAA playoffs — and for the second straight year have made it to the state final. Last year, they came up short, losing 1-0 to Lewisburg. The Quakers have a storied history –winning six state championships, the latest in 2000, when they were crowned co-champions after a four-overtime draw with Fleetwood in the title game. Their last outright championship came in 1996, when they beat Wyomissing, 1-0. Quaker Valley has also finished as runner-up five times, including last year.
On the flip side, we have Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, who have ventured into new territory this year, earning its first trip to the 1A final cruising through the early rounds of PIAA playoffs after winning the WPIAL, 2-0 over Springdale. They’ve done it with a relatively young, but talented squad that includes a trio of super sophomores Joe Kearney, Ryan Augustine and Bryce Kopchak, who have combined to score more than 80 goals this season.
The Trojans had to go to overtime in the semifinal to defeat Brockway, 1-0, on Tuesday night at Slippery Rock, with Augustine netting the game-winner.
I’ll be posting previews/live file here on Pittsburgh Soccer Report for each of the five matches on Friday and Saturday.
Here’s the schedule for games featuring WPIAL teams.
PIAA FINALS SCHEDULE
WPIAL teams in BOLD / All games played at Hershey Park Stadium, Hershey, PA
All games will be broadcast LIVE on PCN and the PCN Select app
Friday, November 17
1:30 p.m. – Boys 2A Soccer Championship
Lancaster Mennonite v. Quaker Valley
4:00 p.m. – Girls 4A Soccer Championship
Neshaminy (Langhorne) v. Norwin
Saturday, November 18
11:00 a.m. LIVE – PIAA Girls 1A Soccer Championship
Camp Hill v. Shady Side Academy
1:30 p.m. LIVE – PIAA Boys 1A Soccer Championship
Camp Hill v. Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic
4:00 p.m. LIVE – PIAA Girls 3A Soccer Championship
Villa Joseph Marie (Holland) v. Moon