With just a week and a half remaining in the high school girls soccer regular season schedule, both the races for the Wyoming Valley Conference crown and the District 2 girls soccer playoffs are beginning to look clearer after this past week’s contests.
The WVC was looking like Dallas’ to lose after going through the first seven games – against many of the top teams – without allowing a goal. But then on Sept. 27, reigning champion Berwick stunned the Mountaineers with a 2-1 road victory.
The win put Berwick in the driver’s seat for a second consecutive division title despite not having played the toughest part of its schedule. Coughlin’s defense put a dagger into the Bulldogs’ plans with 1-1 tie Wednesday at Crispin Field.
The game turned out to be one of the most exciting of the season with Berwick’s Bri Floryshak and Coughlin’s Nora Fazzi both scoring long-distance strikes in the final five minutes of regulation. The Crusaders’ Paige Davis and Berwick’s Allison Rinehimer put on a goalkeeper clinic down the stretch to ensure the stalemate.
Berwick’s tie now gives Dallas a two-point edge down the stretch. The Mountaineers (9-1, 27 points) have a soft schedule down the stretch with games against Nanticoke (2-7), Wyoming Area (3-7), Meyers (0-10) and Tunkhannock (3-6) remaining. If Dallas wins out, it will win a conference/division title for the second time in three seasons.
Coughlin currently sits atop of Dallas in the WVC standings with one more game played. The Crusaders would need to win out and have a Berwick loss, Dallas loss and a Wyoming Valley West tie/loss to compete for a title.
The race for District 2 playoffs begins and ends with Class 2A. Twelve of the 15 WVC girls soccer programs are classified as 2A, while the remaining three are assured of automatic district playoff spots.
Wednesday was Dallas’ lucky day as No. 7 Scranton Prep suffered a 3-2 loss to Wallenpaupack to move it to the top of the district standings as well. If the Mountaineers – the lone WVC team to receive stat votes in the latest Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association poll – win its remaining four games, it will also be the top team in the district playoffs.
The top-five WVC and top-two Lackwanna League teams will be assured of a spot in the eight-team 2A tournament. The sixth-best WVC team will host the No. 3 Lackawanna school in a play-in game.
That leaves one WVC team to be left out in the cold. All but seven teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, and the top-six clubs are the same that qualified for last year’s playoffs.
On the outside looking in is Crestwood with a 5-5 record and 15 points. The Comets upset Coughlin with four goals in 20 minutes earlier in the season but suffered three one-goal losses to Wyoming Valley West, Tunkhannock and Pittston Area. If the Comets can get past Berwick on Wednesday, an Oct. 15 match with Holy Redeemer could decide the final playoff spot.
Berwick (8-1-1, 25 pts) could contend for the second seed with the Classics (8-1-1, 25 pts). Coughlin (9-2-1, 28 pts), Pittston Area (6-2-1, 19 pts), Holy Redeemer (7-3-1, 22 pts) and Lake-Lehman (8-3, 24 pts) will compete for home games and for the lucrative top five WVC slots. In the Lackawanna, Valley View (7-3, 21 pts) is nearly assured of a district slot. Western Wayne (4-6, 12 pts) and North Pocono (4-5-1, 13 pts) will likely vie for the play-in game from the north.
In Class 3A, Wyoming Valley West (8-2, 24 pts) currently sits third behind Wallenpaupack (9-1, 27 pts) and Abington Heights (8-1-1, 27 pts) in the seven-team field. Hazleton Area (1-11) is assured of a spot in the playoffs after making a surprising upset over Delaware Valley in last year’s playoffs.
In Class A, Wyoming Seminary’s seeding depends largely on the outcomes of the next few games. The Blue Knights are among four teams with two wins under their belt and could fall anywhere from Nos. 6-8 depending on how they fair against Tunkhannock, Crestwood and Hanover Area.