Trojan boys soccer beats Easton, 2-0
With three championships being decided at the Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall last Thursday, Parkland was hoping to leave with gold medals in all three games. By the time the boys soccer team took to the field, the Trojans knew of the losses suffered by the field hockey and girls soccer teams and weren't about to let a third title slip away.
It didn't take long just 18 seconds for Parkland to get on the board when Byron Derti found himself in front of the net with a ball bouncing toward him.
The freshman forward didn't miss the opportunity and headed the ball toward the top of the net and past goalkeeper Ben Boothe. The goal was the first of two that the Trojans would score in their 2-0 win over Easton for the Lehigh Valley Conference championship.
"We knew we were going to have to play hard, because they certainly weren't going to just give the game to us, but we worked hard as a team and got the W," said Derti.
While Derti's goal was perfectly timed to get Parkland going, the Trojans' second goal also came at a crucial point. With Easton giving constant pressure in the second half, Parkland needed some insurance and found it when Ahmad Awadalla headed a shot past Boothe with just under 19 minutes left in the game to give Parkland its two-goal advantage. Charlie Kile was awarded with an assist on the play.
"They were putting a lot of pressure on us," said coach Patrick Birns. "They try to score a lot on restarts and we knew that about them. They're a very physical team and I thought we handled that pretty well."
The physicality of the game came to the forefront in the second half as both teams collected yellow cards, including one on Birns. With Parkland up 2-0, Boothe and Balal Mohamed got tangled in front of the Easton net and Easton's Eric Bowers wound up kicking Mohamed, according to the officials. Mohamed was awarded a penalty kick, but missed the shot, giving Easton hopes for a comeback.
"It was just both teams going at each other and getting frustrated with each other, but I think it's just all part of the game and it happens," explained Derti of the physical play.
The Trojans now head into districts where the road will get tougher and tougher. Last season, Parkland lost to top seed Stroudsburg in the District 11 semifinals and Derti believes this year's team is primed for success.
"I think we can go pretty far, if not win it all in districts, with the way we've been playing in leagues," said Derti.
Parkland earns the No. 2 seed in the Class AAA bracket and will open play Friday in Orefield against the winner of the Easton-Liberty match up. A win would put the Trojans in a semifinal game next Tuesday, most likely against No. 2 seed Pleasant Valley, which faces the Pocono Mountain East-Allen winner in the Friday's quarterfinals.
Mountain Valley Conference champ Stroudsburg earned the top seed again. The Mounties are on the same side of the bracket as No. 4 Emmaus and No. 5 Northampton.