Field hockey falls to Emmaus in title game
Parkland started the season with a young team after losing a number of key players to graduation. The team's youth showed early in the season, but as time went on, the Lady Trojans started to gel and wound up not only reaching the Lehigh Valley Conference playoffs, but also playing for the LVC title.
In their way was nine-time defending champion Emmaus, which fought off the up-and-coming Lady Trojans in a 5-0 game.
Parkland opened the season losing two of its first three games but then rattled off five straight wins and stayed strong through the rest of the regular season.
The Trojans finished 13-7 overall and 10-4 in the LVC, winning the conference's North Division and entering the playoffs as the number-three seed. From there, the Trojans downed Liberty (12-7, 11-3) to make it to the final against Emmaus.
"We lost a lot of seniors last year and we had great upper classmen leadership this year and a lot of younger kids stepped up," said coach Michelle Steele. "Plus, we have a strong freshman class, so the future is bright and we fought hard [against Emmaus]."
Parkland knew that it would likely be facing Emmaus (20-0, 14-0) in the finals, but never was in awe of any of its opponent.
"It's tough," said Steele. "But every day we bring the same game plan to practices and bring our A game and no matter who they are, we try to defeat our opponent."
With district playoffs being the next step, it's almost like a new season for Parkland and Steele believes that her team has the potential to be a dark horse and surprise some teams thanks to the hard work and dedication that her players have shown.
"We're tough. These kids fight hard, they have a strong work ethic and they're scrappy," she said. "They fought hard out there for the whole 60 minutes and I'm proud of them."
Emmaus coach Sue Butz-Stavin also believes that Parkland has the potential to keep getting better and better.
"They're already a good team and they played much tougher in the second part of the season and they played tougher in the second-half of the game," said Butz-Stavin. "They're young and they're very well coached."
Parkland moves on to Saturday's first round of the District 11 Class AAA tournament as the No. 4 seed. The Lady Trojans will face the winner of Wednesday's pigtail matchup between No. 5 Nazareth and No. 12 Pocono Mountain East.