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Boys Soccer

VND soccer playoff preview: St. Joseph going for history in soccer playoffs

Doug Gulasy
| Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, 10:54 p.m.
Apollo-Ridge's Amanda Eckman moves the ball against Springdale's Jillian Henley during their game Sept. 30, 2015, at Northmoreland Park.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Apollo-Ridge's Amanda Eckman moves the ball against Springdale's Jillian Henley during their game Sept. 30, 2015, at Northmoreland Park.
Apollo-Ridge's Ashtyn Baustert drives the ball past Springdale's Samantha Terry during the soccer game at Northmoreland Park on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015.
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Apollo-Ridge's Ashtyn Baustert drives the ball past Springdale's Samantha Terry during the soccer game at Northmoreland Park on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015.

Already in uncharted territory, the St. Joseph boys soccer team will get a chance to make some more school history in the coming week.

The Spartans, who tied with Vincentian atop Section 2-A to win a section title for the first time ever, now are seeking their first WPIAL playoff victory. The brackets released Wednesday revealed St. Joseph (13-5) as the No. 6 seed in Class A, and the Spartans will play Our Lady of Sacred Heart at 6 p.m. Monday at Mars.

“I think one thing we've proven this year is we can play with almost anybody,” St. Joseph coach Matt Skoda said. “I think their confidence is at a good place right now going into Monday.”

St. Joseph last qualified for the WPIAL playoffs in 2011, but the Spartans clinched their spot early this year and earned a share of the section with a 4-0 victory over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic last week.

“It was a really important thing for them this year, not only for the current players but for a lot of the former players and former parents,” Skoda said. “After we clinched, they congratulated (the team), saying how proud they are and how they feel it's kind of a section title for everybody who ever played here.”

Skoda said St. Joseph scrimmaged against OLSH (10-5-1) during the preseason but isn't sure how that will translate Monday.

Fox Chapel's boys earned the highest seed of any Alle-Kiski Valley team, nailing down the No. 2 spot in the Class AAA playoffs. The Foxes (14-1-1), who are in the postseason for the 16th consecutive year, host Connellsville (10-6) at 8 p.m. Monday.

Kiski Area (7-9-2), which extended its playoff streak to eight years, received the No. 14 seed and travels to play No. 3 North Allegheny (13-1-3) at 8 p.m. Monday.

Freeport clinched its first playoff berth since 2008 on the final day of section competition. Because 18 teams qualified for the WPIAL Class AA boys playoffs, the Yellowjackets (10-7) travel to play Mt. Pleasant in a preliminary-round game at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The winner of that game will play No. 1 South Park at 6 p.m. Monday at Thomas Jefferson.

“To achieve the playoffs this season is really special for us, and we're looking forward to the first boys soccer playoff game around here in a long time,” Freeport coach Dave Teorsky said. “We're excited to play, no matter who the opponent is.”

On the girls side, Fox Chapel again received the best seed of any local team: No. 7 in the Class AAA playoffs. The Foxes (16-2), the Section 3-AAA champion, host Penn-Trafford (14-2-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Plum (14-2) received the No. 9 seed and plays at No. 8 Moon (14-3) at 4 p.m. Saturday in a rematch of the 2014 WPIAL quarterfinals. Moon won that contest, 1-0.

Kiski Area (10-7), in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, earned the No. 14 seed and plays at No. 3 Upper St. Clair (13-1-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Highlands qualified for the WPIAL Class AA playoffs for the first time since 2012. After being granted the No. 10 seed, the Golden Rams (11-3) play No. 7 Montour (9-5-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday at South Fayette. Freeport (10-7-1), the No. 14 seed in the playoffs for the third straight season, plays third-seeded South Fayette (12-4-2) after the Highlands/Montour game.

For the first time since 2011, Springdale avoided a potential quarterfinal against Section 4-A rival Greensburg Central Catholic in the Class A girls playoffs. Instead, the Dynamos (11-7) received the No. 11 seed and will play Section 3-A champion Vincentian (14-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Pine-Richland. Springdale still faces a potential quarterfinal against No. 3 Shady Side Academy, another familiar section opponent.

“The girls are very excited because we're in a different part of the bracket, which is just a little fresher,” Springdale coach Jerry Concannon said. “It doesn't have a shadow, like a dark cloud, hanging on that quadrant of the bracket. It's just something different. One game at a time, but if you look at the road map in that bracket, there's still some challenging teams, but at least they're different.”

Riverview (12-6), making its fourth consecutive playoff appearance, earned the No. 12 seed in Class A and will play South Allegheny (14-2-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Upper St. Clair.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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