Many believed either Mt. Lebanon or Sewickley Academy would emerge as the WPIAL boys high school lacrosse champion for Division I schools.
But it didn't turn out that way.
Seneca Valley turned in a marvelous season, finishing with a 17-2 record and emerging with the WPIAL championship with an 8-5 victory over upstart Shady Side Acacdemy in the championship game.
But in the first round of the PIAA Division I playoffs, Mt. Lebanon made it a clean sweep of the season series between the two schools with an 8-7 overtime victory. In a regular-season meeting, the Blue Devils captured a 7-5 victory.
This year, Lance Diamond has succeeded Peet Poillon as the team's coach. The Raiders' schedule, however, hasn't faded. Seneca Valley meets unbeaten Morgantown, W.Va., High today after opening the season at Ephrata, a school located near Lancaster.
Then, the Raiders open the Division 1, Section 2 season at Pine-Richland on Wednesday. Other notable teams on the Raiders' schedule include Central Pennsylvania power Hempfield, Hill Academy and Cleveland St. Ignatius.
The team has eight home games this year and six games on the road. Today's game with Morgantown is at a neutral site.
Plenty of North area schools are competing in lacrosse this year. Schools playing in Division I include Sewickley Academy, Butler Area, Fox Chapel, Hampton, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and Shady Side Academy.
All of the North area's Division II members are in Section 3. Those schools are Aquinas Academy, Mars Area, North Hills, Quaker Valley, Shaler Area and Vincentian Academy. Shaler Area advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 tournament before falling to Chartiers Valley, 11-3. Butler Area defeated Quaker Valley 13-8 in the quarterfinals. The Golden Tornado then fell to Greensburg Central Catholic 12-11 in overtime in the semifinals.
Hampton: A new section opponent for Seneca Valley and the other members of Division I, Section 2 is Hampton High.
The Talbots had a tremendous run as a Division 2 team under the leadership of Greg Edleman, who stepped down after the Talbots defeated Greensburg Central Catholic 16-7 in the WPIAL Division II championship.
Edleman stepped down, and he's been replaced by Randy Burns. Hampton begins the season today at Shaler Area, which now is a member of Division 2, Section 3. The Talbots will face solid competition from Butler Area, Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, defending WPIAL champion Seneca Valley and Shady Side Academy.
Senior attackman Andy DeMichiei is the Talbots' best offfensive threat.
Division II: With Hampton now in Division I, the odds-on favorite for a North-area team to advance to the playoffs appears to be Butler, which reached the semifinals with a 13-8 victory in the quarterfinals over Quaker Valley. In the semifinals, Butler lost a heartbreaking 12-11 decision in overtime to Greensburg Central Catholic.
Another team to be considered is Shaler Area, which fell to Chartiers Valley, 11-3, in the quarterfinals. Butler (11-7) was ranked 11th in Laxpower.com's final rankings in 2012, and Shaler Area (7-8-1) was ranked 21st of the 38 boys teams in Western Pennsylvania.