Trojans earn tie with Emmaus
The saying goes that to be the best, you have to beat the best. The Lady Trojans didn't beat Emmaus, but they did battle them to a 1-1 tie, gaining a lot of respect for putting a blemish on Emmaus' season after the Lady Hornets came up just shy of a state championship last year.
The two teams were scoreless at the half, which in itself was an accomplishment for Parkland (4-2-1 overall, 3-1-1 EPC), since Emmaus had scored in each half of every game it played this season. When Brooke Sherwin fired a shot past goalie Tori Laczo for her fourth goal of the season, she also accomplished another milestone; the first goal against Emmaus this season.
"Stats like that, I don't even pay attention to too much," said Parkland head coach Michelle Steele. "I just know the game plan that we have to follow and play hard and play together, talk, pass, play as a team. The team is going to win, not an individual. I don't even care that it was a tie. We dominated that entire game, that was an amazing game."
Parkland did control the play through most of the game, with the main exception coming just after Sherwin's goal. Emmaus (5-0-1, 5-0-1) fired right back just over a minute later when Kira Koehler scored for the Lady Hornets to tie the game 1-1. From there, Parkland went back on the attack and while the Trojans weren't able to get a go-ahead goal, they were able to keep Emmaus from getting many good looks for shots and outshot Emmaus 16-6. Goalie Sydney Cope made five saves for Parkland and Hannah Pany provided the assist on Sherwin's goal.
Parkland's Grace Royer found herself drawing double-coverage at times, but was able to control play and set up teammates with quick passes while stopping Emmaus drives before they had a chance to develop. Royer believes that the tie was just what her team needs and will be a spring board for the rest of the season.
"This tie is really big for us," said Royer. "They're our biggest rivals and we needed to tie or win a game against them and we finally got it, our team pulled through."
The newly named Skyline Division, which includes both Emmaus and Parkland, also has Whitehall (6-1-1, 4-0-1) and Northampton (5-2, 4-2), which are also tough teams. In fact, every team in the division has at least a .500 record so far in the season. That tough schedule is a plus for Parkland.
"Honestly, it makes us tougher," said Steele of the tough schedule. "This group is very mentally tough. We don't make excuses. We don't complain. We just go out there and fight hard every day and this is a perfect example.
"We are tough and I always say to the girls, '11 strong out there.' They might have one or two dynamite players, but we're 11 tough out there. That was a great game; we fought so hard."
Royer believes that the family atmosphere that Steele has stressed is a key component that makes the team tough to beat.
"Our team really bonds on and off the field, so it's been easy for us and we communicate a lot and that's really important for us. When we're on the field, we communicate and we know where everyone is and it helps us play better and makes us a better team," stressed Royer.
With plenty of tough games ahead, Parkland is hoping that tying Emmaus is going give the team the confidence it needs to go along with its tough style of play. Steele, who is in her third season at the helm of the Lady Trojans, likes the improvement that she sees in her team.
"We have everything we need now, including that extra confidence to let us know that we can do this. It was great," said Steele.