A-K Valley boys soccer playoff preview capsules for Thursday’s quarterfinals
No. 10 Kiski Area (12-6-1) vs. No. 2 West Allegheny (17-1)
8 p.m. Thursday at Mars
Winner plays: Winner of No. 3 Mars/No. 6 South Fayette
Coaches: Sean Arnold, Kiski Area; Kevin Amos, West Allegheny
Players to watch: Nick Smith, Kiski Area; Nate Dragisich, West Allegheny
Corner kicks: Kiski Area outlasted Belle Vernon, 3-2, in penalty kicks Monday to pull off a 1-0 first-round upset over the seventh-seeded Leopards. Smith shone in the game, making several key saves to post his third shutout in the past five games. The Cavaliers are 5-0-1 in their last six, holding opponents to three goals in that span, and 8-1-1 in their last 10. The program, which didn’t qualify for the postseason, is seeking its second WPIAL semifinal appearance in the past four seasons; the Cavaliers made it there as a No. 14 seed in 2015. ... West Allegheny routed Greensburg Salem, 13-0, in the first round. Dragisich, a Duquesne recruit, scored four goals, giving him 35 this season and 77 for his career, passing Tyler Graziani (74) for first all-time in school history. The Indians, last season’s WPIAL runner-up, started 15-0 before a 1-0 loss to Ambridge. They’ve outscored their opponents 98-7 this season.
No. 2 Deer Lakes (16-0-1) vs. No. 7 Waynesburg (13-5)
8 p.m. Thursday at West Allegheny
Winner plays: Winner of No. 3 Keystone Oaks/No. 11 Shady Side Academy
Coaches: Jordan Wiegand, Deer Lakes; Matt Blair, Waynesburg
Players to watch: Michael Sullivan, Deer Lakes; Gavin Benson, Waynesburg
Corner kicks: Deer Lakes continued its unbeaten season with a 5-0 blanking of Beth-Center in the first round as the Lancers got a pair of goals from Sullivan and one apiece from A.J. Dorman, Ryan Rodgers and Ronan Renter. The Section 2-AA champs are seeking their first trip to the WPIAL semifinals; they lost 1-0 in overtime to Beaver in last season’s quarterfinals. Monday marked the eighth shutout of the season and third in a row for keeper Jesse Greyshock, one of just two senior starters for Deer Lakes. ... Waynesburg, the Section 3-AA runner-up, advanced to the quarterfinals for the third consecutive season with a 6-2 win Monday over East Allegheny. Benson scored a hat trick for the Raiders, while Tyler Switalski, Dalton Woods and Caleb Blair chipped in a goal apiece. Shady Side Academy beat Waynesburg in the quarterfinals each of the last two seasons. Waynesburg has been outscored 33-7 in its five losses and has outscored opponents 70-13 in its victories; the Raiders have reached five goals nine times this season.
No. 5 Springdale (14-2-1) vs. No. 4 Sewickley Academy
6 p.m. Thursday at Mars
Winner plays: Winner of No. 1 Avonworth/No. 8 Riverside
Coaches: Cesareo Sanchez, Springdale; Nathan Richter, Sewickley Academy
Players to watch: Mike Mitchell, Springdale; Rees Blaylock, Sewickley Academy
Corner kicks: Springdale is coming off a 1-0 victory in the first round over Bishop Canevin, with Roman Liberati’s second-half goal providing the winning margin. Senior Mike Zolnierczyk, the Dynamos’ lone senior starter, made four saves for his 13th shutout of the season and seventh in a row. Springdale has allowed five goals in 17 games. Mitchell leads the team with 14 goals. Springdale was WPIAL runner-up last season. ... Sewickley Academy beat Monessen, 5-2, in the first round. Five different players scored for the Panthers in the victory: Jack Wentz, Alex Gordon, Jack Duggan, Blaylock and Cole Rychel. It was the fifth time this season Sewickley Academy reached five goals in a game; the Section 1-A champs have 62 goals on the season.
-- Doug Gulasy