Spartans beat Trojans for girls lax district title
Coming into last Friday afternoon's game against Southern Lehigh, the Parkland girls lacrosse team knew it was going to be in for a battle for 50 minutes. The Spartans (17-3) had beaten the Trojans (17-5) twice during the regular season, but the Lehigh Valley Conference champions had found some momentum in the postseason.
However, Katelyn Ambrose tallied a game-high four goals for the Lady Spartans, and Parkland's explosive offense was held in check as the Trojans fell 9-7 in the District 11 final at Emmaus High School.
"We played well in certain aspects," Parkland head coach John Seitzinger said. "But we just didn't have enough possessions. They play a defensive style a lot like ours and it was what we expected. We just couldn't get enough possessions because of turnovers."
Kelsey Carlon and LVC MVP Sophie Castillo opened up the scoring within the first five minutes of play.
But that lead did not last long. Southern Lehigh used five straight goals, including three from Ambrose, to take a 5-2 lead, and never trailed the remainder of the game.
"If we get more possessions, we score more goals and we win the game," said Seitzinger. "That's what it comes down to. There were a couple of critical ground balls that we didn't come up with. In lacrosse it comes down to winning ground balls, and we didn't pick up enough of them."
Parkland's Sarah Staggard scored two of her three goals late in the first half to stop the Spartans run, and Carlon added a fifth goal, but the Trojans trailed 7-5 at intermission.
It could have been a bigger deficit if not for the play of goalkeeper Molly Diamondstein, who made eight of her 12 saves in the first half.
"Molly played great today, and I can probably name only one other game that she didn't play as well as she did today," said Seitzinger. "She's had a great season, and she made a lot of great saves that kept us in the game."
Parkland closed to within 7-6 early in the second half with a Staggard goal, but the scoring pace slowed down and Southern Lehigh opened up a 9-6 lead on a Bridget Cerciello goal with 9:49 left.
The Trojans final goal came with 6.9 seconds remaining, when Cathleen Gaffney found the back of the net.
Carlon added three assists to go along with her two goals, and Castillo also contributed an assist for Parkland, which finished one game shy of the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
A season of 17 wins and a league title is not something to hang your head about.
"The league title was another milestone, obviously," Seitzinger stated.
"We put districts on a little bit higher pedestal than that, but we fought through a lot of adversity this year. I'm more proud of these kids than any team that I've coached. They're my heroes the way they demonstrated on the field."