The Talbots are early favorites.
With Canon Mac out of the picture, the D2/AA title contender picture becomes a little clearer.
As a reminder, the new alignment is as follows:
- Chartiers Valley
- Quaker Valley
- Seton LaSalle
- South Fayette
- Winchester Thurston
- Aquinas Academy
- Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic
- Greensburg CC
While the title picture might be easy to forecast, who gets into the playoffs is a bit murkier. Per WPIAL website: The top four (4) teams in each AAA section and the top six (6) in each AA section will enter the WPIAL tournament.
It is easy to argue that that some D2 teams that were forced to move up to D1/AAA will struggle. No one is going to disagree that certain teams are not appropriate section competition for the Mt. Lebanons and North Alleghenys of the world. However, allowing this many (12) teams to participate in the D2/AA playoffs is a good thing for the game in Western PA. With twelve of seventeen teams participating in the playoffs, 70% of D2/AA teams will experience the post season, perhaps many for the first time this spring. The hope is that this lacrosse experience will galvanize programs to want to improve for 2018 and so on and so on. Perhaps where there is fear of schools canceling their programs at the D1/AAA there should also be hope at the D2/AA level.
Note 1: There is a PIAA rules meeting at the end of February which should clarify how exactly the playoff bracket will look. Imagine there could be some frustration if the two best teams in Pittsburgh are from the same section and have to play each other in the semifinals instead of the finals.
Note 2: Definitely referring to the classes as D1/AAA and D2/AA for another month or so.
Without further ado, here is a D2/AA title poll from a couple of weeks ago.
Lots of folks high on the Hampton Talbots who hung tough with the Fighting Planets until a second half spurt aided by faceoff play put the game out of reach. However, Mars returns the bulk of their face off unit and many upperclassmen who contributed to last year’s title run. All Section middies Joe Horvat and Ben Lewis, currently having a great hoop season, will be tasked with replacing the scoring production of Blake Thompson. All Section defender Joe Cronagle is back. Keep an eye out for junior defenders Kyle Anderson and Kam Angeletti.
Hampton doesn’t have many 2018s who saw varsity time during their 2015 WPIAL championship season as a dominant senior class led by Nick Grabowski, Seve DiBucci, Nathan Hyre, Luke Andersson, Chris Geraud took up much of the game day reps. But, Isaac Capezzuti and Richy Myros contributed that season with Capezzuti being a started since freshman year. Of course, Hampton being in the 2016 finals doesn’t mean their roster is completely devoid of players with big game experience. All Section middie Luke Molingowski is back for senior year. How they replace long term defensive contributors Brad Gable and Andrew Wood and compete at the face off X is a bigger challenge.
Moon has two D1 commits in Calvin Sargent (Cleveland State) and Carter Amorose (Robert Morris). Not many D2/AA teams have the personnel to push back against that kind of talent. Moon was one of just three teams to score 10 or more goals against Mars. Key graduation losses include All Section players Ben Price at attack, Sal Pollastro at middie, and Ryan Lee at goalie.
Quaker Valley gave up 15.16 goals per game in their six losses. However, three of those loses were to D1 teams and the others came against Chartiers Valley, D2 runner up Hampton, and D2 champ Mars. Replacing All Section LSM Andrew Lape could prove difficult, but we’re very high on their offense led by junior attackman Jake Giotto. The Quakers went on an eight game winning streak including a playoff win over Canon Mac before bowing out to Hampton.
Key Games (Not all completed schedules have been posted)
3/28 Moon at Hampton
4/24 Mars at Moon
5/09 Quaker Valley at Moon