Boys shut out Bears, 3-0
Since the final game of the regular season, the Parkland boys' soccer team had not allowed a postseason goal in three matches heading into the district semifinal matchup against Pleasant Valley.
And while the postseason games continue to increase in meaningfulness, the Trojans put together another standout effort defensively against the Bears.
In Tuesday night's District 11 3A boys soccer semifinals at Emmaus High School, the No. 2 seeded Trojans used a 3-0 victory over the No. 3 seeded Bears to advance to the district finals.
Now in four postseason matches-two conference and two district matches-the Trojans have posted shutout victories in every game.
"All playoffs as a whole, we've played great," said Kyle Stengel. "From our defensive center-mid to all four backs, it's been clicking completely. We've had four straight shutouts now. I feel completely confident with my backs at this point."
Emmaus won their district semifinal matchup against Stroudsburg, 3-0, and the Trojans and Hornets will meet on Thursday to determine the district champion.
"The kids will have fun with it," head coach Patrick Birns said. "I know Emmaus wants another shot at us. It's a rivalry game, so you don't have to get your kids up, which is good."
Nicholas Eckhart scored early in the second half to put the Trojans up by two goals, and put even more pressure on the Bears to tally a score. After a pass from Ahmad Awadalla on a free kick, Eckhart got a foot on the ball in front of the Bears' goal, and his goal with 34:20 remaining made it 2-0.
A little more than 11 minutes later, the Trojans added another goal for good measure. As Diego Martinez approached the Bears' goal, his strike into the left side of the net made it 3-0 with 22:46 to play.
"In the second half, I think we really controlled the flow," Birns said. "If you look at it, they really didn't have many scoring opportunities on us. But we seemed to have a bunch, and their keeper made a great save. The one he got hurt on, he made a really great save."
Stengel broke a scoreless game midway through the first half that began the Trojans' scoring. After a deep free kick that landed near the Bears' goal, Stengel got his foot on the loose ball, and put it in the back of the net with 24:56 remaining in the half.
"They're definitely a physical team, and they play a physical game," Birns said. "I thought the first 20 minutes, we kind of controlled things. Then the last 10 minutes of the first half, they really took it to us even though we had a 1-0 lead."
The Bears defeated Pocono Mountain East in penalty kicks in the district quarterfinals. The Trojans, meanwhile, used a 1-0 victory over Liberty in the quarterfinals to set the stage for Tuesday night.