St. Benedict’s boys, Bearden girls remain FAB 50 No. 1s
Pennsylvania earned the nickname Keystone State in the early 1800s since it was in the middle of the 13 original colonies and home to so many important events, including the Signing of the Declaration of Independence.
This fall, Pennsylvania is becoming the Key State for boys and girls high school soccer.
Although St. Benedict’s (N.J.) boys and Bearden (Tenn.) girls top the FAB 50 rankings, Pennsylvania features four Top 15 boys teams and six girls teams in the first 16 of this week’s FAB 50 rankings. A volume such as that is seldom in the FAB 50 and the only fall states capable of matching such a feat are New Jersey and New York, which both have similar setups with high-level private school programs playing alongside quality and large public school teams.
In this week’s boys ranking, Pennsylvania public school powers No. 7 Seneca Valley, No. 10 Conestoga and No. 12 Lower Merion ultimately will play it out on the field as all four compete in the PIAA Class 4A ranks. No. 15 Shipley School, meanwhile, will play for the Pennsylvania Independent Schools state tournament, which is separate from the PIAA. The influx of quality PA girls teams is really no surprise. Class 3A powers Mars, ranked No. 2, and Moon, ranked No. 5 — both from the Pittsburgh area, won state titles last year and both are stocked with Division I-bound players. No. 10 Avon Grove, No. 12 Conestoga and No. 15 Neshaminy are a combined 44-1-4 with the one loss coming from Avon Grove’s win over Conestoga. All three will take part in the District 1-AAAA playoffs, meaning at least two will have to lose. In addition, it’s possible all three could qualify for the state tournament, as well. At No. 16, Springside-Chestnut Hill has several Division I-bound players who won a club national title over the summer. Springside-Chestnut Hill’s lone loss is to Conestoga and it tied the No. 2 team in New Jersey, again showing the depth at the top of PA this fall.
In due time, it is very possible several of these teams will lose their way out of the lofty rankings. But for the time being, it’s safe to say Pennsylvania soccer is at an all-time high relative to its fellow fall-playing states.