Previewing the PIAA soccer championships

| Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 10:24 p.m.


Upper St. Clair vs. Conestoga Valley

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Records: Upper St. Clair (22-1-1), Conestoga Valley (23-2-2)

How they got here: Upper St. Clair def. McDowell, 9-0; def. Peters Township, 3-0; def. Cumberland Valley, 2-1. Conestoga Valley def. WC Henderson, 2-0; def. WC Rustin, 3-1; def. Great Valley, 2-1, in OT.

Notable: Conestoga Valley handed Great Valley its first loss of the season. … Upper St. Clair is the defending PIAA Class AAA champion, while Conestoga Valley didn't make the state playoffs last season. … Five players have scored the Panthers' past five goals. … Joel Hart is Upper St. Clair's leading scorer with 30 goals and nine assists. … Troye Kiernan had 12 goals, while Robbie Mertz has added 19 assists. … The Panthers have 117 goals for an average of 4.9 per game to go with 12 shutouts. … This is the third straight trip to the state final for USC, which won back-to-back titles in 2003-04.

Prediction: Upper St. Clair over Conestoga Valley


West Allegheny vs. Holy Ghost Prep

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Records: West Allegheny (21-0-3), Holy Ghost Prep (19-4)

How they got here: West Allegheny def. Warren, 6-0; def. Oley Valley, 4-0; def. Bedford, 1-0. Holy Ghost Prep def. Lansdale Catholic, 4-0; def. Moravian Academy, 3-0; def. Pequea Valley, 1-0.

Notable: This is West Allegheny's first trip to the PIAA final. … Mike Cummings has six goals in three PIAA playoff games, Collin Wurst three and Cooper Amos two. On the season, Wurst has a team-high 22, Cummings 19. GK Spencer Wolfe has allowed just one goal and has 19 shutouts. … Holy Ghost Prep played in four state finals between 1986-1993, winning in '92, but hasn't been back since. … West Allegheny, which has outscored its opponents 79-5, hasn't been scored upon since Oct. 10, a span of eight matches. … Pequea Valley was the defending PIAA champ … HGP has won 19 of 20 since an 0-3 start.

Prediction: West Allegheny over Holy Ghost Prep


Sewickley Academy vs. Mountain View

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Records: Sewickley Academy (20-3), Mountain View (17-0)

How they got here: Sewickley Academy def. Bishop McCort, 5-1; def. Mercyhurst Prep, 2-1; def. North Star, 5-0. Mountain View def. Schuylkill Haven, 3-1; def. Biglerville, 4-1; def. New Hope-Solebury, 1-0, in PKs.

Notable: This is a rematch of the 2012 Class A state final, which Mountain View won 1-0. … J.P. Bowell leads Sewickley Academy with 27 goals and 12 assists. Anthony Stinson has 16 goals and 10 assists, Steve Munn 11 and 15. … The Panthers won their sixth WPIAL title this season. Sewickley Academy is 2-2 in state championship games, winning in 1997 and 2007. … Senior Colby Thomas has 48 goals for Mountain View, which hasn't lost a game in more than two years. … Sewickley Academy has scored five goals in two of three state playoff games and is averaging four goals per contest.

Prediction: Sewickley Academy over Mountain View


Neshaminy vs. Spring-Ford

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Records: Neshaminy (25-0), Spring-Ford (24-2-1)

How they got here: Neshaminy def. Red Land, 3-0; def. Wilson, 2-0; def. Central Bucks East, 2-1, in PKs. Spring-Ford def. Cumberland Valley, 2-1; def. Downingtown East, 1-0; def. Seneca Valley, 1-0, in 2OT.

Notable: Neshaminy defeated Spring-Ford, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the District 1-AAA tournament. Neshaminy went on to claim its first district championship. … Spring-Ford's Megan Giannopoulos (Pitt) has 20 goals. … Aley Kate McKinley has 17 and notched the game-winner in double OT to top Seneca Valley. … This is the first trip to the PIAA playoffs for Spring-Ford, which also won more than one game in the District 1 tournament for the first time. … Neshaminy forward Megan Schafer has 101 career goals. ... Goalkeeper McKenna Mullin set the Neshaminy record for shutouts in a season this year with 18. … The Redskins are making their first trip to Hershey.

Prediction: Neshaminy over Spring-Ford


Central Valley vs. Trinity (District 3)

When: 11 a.m. Saturday

Records: Central Valley (22-0), Trinity (22-2)

How they got here: Central Valley def. Somerset, 3-2; def. Hickory, 1-0; def. Hopewell, 2-0. Trinity def. Montoursville, 5-0; def. Scranton Prep, 2-0; def. Villa Joseph Marie, 2-0.

Notable: Central Valley, which won its first WPIAL title, is in the state final for the first time. … The Warriors reached the semifinals in 2011 but lost to Villa Joseph Marie. … Carolina Lucci leads Central Valley with 39 goals and eight assists. ... Katie Alexander had 20 and 18, Olivia Pritt 13 and 12. … Ashley Mutkus is a standout defender for Central Valley, which has outscored opponents 112-19 with nine shutouts. … Trinity lost to Northern in the District 3 championship game. … Trinity hasn't given up more than one goal in a game this season. … Addy Fitzgerald has scored in the state quarterfinals and semifinals for the Shamrocks.

Prediction: Central Valley over Trinity


Greensburg Central Catholic vs. Southern Columbia

When: 5 p.m. Friday

Records: Greensburg C.C. (20-2), Southern Columbia (22-1-1)

How they got here: GCC def. Karns City, 6-3; def. Wilmington, 9-0; def. Shady Side Academy, 2-0. Southern Columbia def. Schuylkill Haven, 5-3; def. Halifax, 3-1; def. Tulpehocken, 1-0.

Notable: Penn State recruit Fran Crouse has 64 goals this season, including 23 in seven postseason games. With 206 for her career, Crouse is tied with Caitlin Pratt (2006-09, Troy Area) for the PIAA all-time record. … Pitt recruit Malea Fabean has 46 goals this season and 152 for her career but played defense against Shady Side Academy. … GK Olivia Binda has 40 career wins. She's only a junior. … Freshman Bailey Cartwright has 24 goals and 23 assists. … GCC has outscored its three PIAA opponent 17-3. … The Centurions are the defending champs after topping Conwell-Egan, 5-1, in 2012. … This is the first championship game appearance for Southern Columbia.

Prediction: Greensburg C.C. over Southern Columbia

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