Even with the WPIAL boys soccer playoffs more than a month away, Seton-La Salle and coach Mike Thomas already have a playoff game behind them.
It feels that way, at least, after they played Sewickley Academy last week and won, 5-1.
"Everytime we play them in the section, it's like a playoff game," Thomas said. "We get two cracks at Sewickley in the regular season, and it prepares us, like, 'Hey, here's a team we'll see in the playoffs.' "
It's a safe assumption to make. Since the Single-A classification was added to PIAA boys soccer in 2000, no two WPIAL Class A teams have been as consistently dominant as Sewickley Academy and Seton- La Salle.
Since then, Sewickley has won four WPIAL Class A titles, one PIAA title and was a state championship runner-up. In that same span, Seton-La Salle has won three WPIAL Class A titles and two PIAA championships. And after Greensburg Central Catholic won consecutive WPIAL titles in 2003 and 2004, Sewickley and Seton have alternated WPIAL championships every year since Sewickley won in 2005.
Now, as Section 3-A foes, they play each other at least twice a year, providing periodical regular-season benchmarks leading up to the real playoffs.
"The first game always shows our progress from the preseason. So, you can rate, by the time the Sewickley game comes, if we're on the right track," said Thomas, who was an assistant under Aaron Panczyk before taking over this season. "Usually, that second game around is who's going to be the section champs. I know the players and coaches love getting ready for one of those games."
Sewickley and Seton play different styles of soccer and, similarly, have been successful in their own ways. …