Boys Soccer Playoff Preview (Class AAA Semifinals): Bethel Park vs. Upper St. Clair

Written by Stephen Catanese on .

Top-seeded and defending PIAA champion Upper St. Clair entered the 2013 season as the odds-on favorite to capture the WPIAL title. Nothing they've done has changed that, piecing together a tidy 18-0-1 record and outscoring opponents 97-11.

But to reach a third consecutive WPIAL final, they'll have to get by Bethel Park. which, like Upper St. Clair, is looking to lay claim to its third WPIAL title in the last decade.

They'll meet tonight at Baldwin, with kickoff at 8:00.

Upper St. Clair emerged victorious in their only other meeting this season, securing a 2-0 victory at Highmark Stadium.

After a shaky end to the regular season, fifth-seeded Bethel Park (15-4-1) has earned tight victories over two of the tougher sides in the WPIAL tournament – defeating Kiski Area in a shootout and knocking off No. 4 Central Catholic 2-1 after extra time. Matt Kotkiewicz's goal just after the start of the extra period was the game-winner.

T.J. Gallagher is one of the Black Hawks' top players while Nick Schindehette has emerged as a hard-working source of offense at forward.

After a first round bye, Upper St. Clair defeated Mt. Lebanon 4-1.

Thirty-goal scorer Joel Hart leads Upper St. Clair's potent offense, while Troye Kiernan is one of the top midfielders in the state.

Upper St. Clair last won the WPIAL title in 2011. Bethel Park won back-to-back WPIAL championships in 2006 and 2007.