Trojans beat Emmaus for D-11 title
The Parkland and Emmaus boys soccer teams are no strangers to each other and their meeting in the District 11 finals wound up being a hard-fought 2-0 win for Parkland that propelled the Trojans into the PIAA Tournament.
Picking up the win was especially satisfying for Parkland, because it was without senior Belal Mohamed due to injury that he suffered in the semifinal game. The Trojans also had a couple other players banged up and suffered some injuries during the game, but were still able to come out on top.
"We survived," head coach Patrick Birns said. "We had some guys who were banged up and didn't play and we had some guys cramping up in the end and we played a lot of guys and played guys in spots where they usually don't play. The kids bought into picking each other up when they needed to and we needed that today. It was a great win."
The two teams battled for just over 33 minutes in a scoreless game before Ahmad Awadalla scored on a direct kick with 6:48 left in the first half. The goal came less than a minute after Parkland nearly converted a direct kick into a goal, but Emmaus goalie Ethan Lang made a leaping save to keep Parkland off the board temporarily.
Emmaus controlled much of the attacking and both teams fired shots either just over or just wide of the net. The Hornets had one of their shots bounce off the crossbar and had another goal disallowed on a controversial call in front of the net.
"There were a lot of challenging shots, the one hit off of the crossbar," said Parkland's junior goalkeeper Evan Bleiler. "I did what I wanted to do and the Emmaus team gave us a lot of good competition and I thought our team excelled and we came out and we finished."
As Emmaus tried to fight back from a one-goal deficit, Parkland mounted some pressure. With just under a minute to play, Byron Derti played a rebound that bounced off of Lang when he came out of the net to make a play. Derti put the ball squarely into the net with Lang on the ground well in front of the net.
Derti's goal put the game squarely into the win column for Parkland.
"We really didn't mount much of an attack and they were all over us," said Birns. "We survived tonight and I'm just happy that we did and that second goal just gave us a lift."
The win gave the Trojans the District 11 championship trophy to go along with their Lehigh Valley Conference championship.
Bleiler made five saves on the night as the Trojans outshot Emmaus 8-5.
"It was an amazing game and I wouldn't trade it for anything," said Bleiler.