Boys soccer hands Hornets first loss
An Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer match is always a tough one and the latest battle certainly didn't disappoint, with Byron Derti firing a shot past Emmaus goalie Ethan Lang in overtime to give Parkland a 1-0 win over the previously undefeated Green Hornets.
The two teams battled in their first regular season meeting, with Emmaus taking a 1-0 win on their field and the Trojans weren't going to let that go unanswered. Both teams had some opportunities through regulation, but Parkland generally ruled the play, with most of the action coming on the Emmaus side of the field. When Emmaus did get opportunities, goalkeeper Evan Bleiler was up to the challenge and turned away nine shots in the win.
"I felt that they were a little more passive in playing our passing lanes and letting us pass,"said Parkland head coach Patrick Birns. "Where the last game, they were all over us. They didn't play their typical Emmaus swarming all over the ball. I think the field had a lot to do with that. The field's a mess, so it really changed things up."
The game wasn't as physical as their first meeting, but both teams did have issues with the officiating that resulted in Emmaus Parker Landis being given a yellow card in the first period and Parkland's Ahmad Awadalla being warned by an official later in the game.
The win moved Parkland to 12-4 overall and 10-4 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference on the season. The Trojans have already clinched a spot in both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Playoffs and in districts.
"It's been a very difficult season for me, emotionally," said Birns. "I think we have so much more potential that we're just not playing at. We're just not quite there. We're very deep, but we just haven't found that we're working on all cylinders for 80-minutes and today was pretty close to that.
"It was one of those games where I couldn't pick out that guy who didn't make that recovering run or didn't make a through run that was going to drag somebody through to open up space. Everybody was really doing that. Hopefully, this gets us going for playoffs. We've got two huge games coming up."
Those games are against division rivals Nazareth (10-5, 10-4) and Whitehall (6-7-1, 5-6-1), to close the regular season at home on Thursday. Earlier in the season, the Trojans downed Nazareth 1-0 and beat Whitehall 2-1, leaving both teams looking for revenge the second time around.
The EPC playoffs are slated to start Saturday, with Parkland likely to host a first round game.