PHS field hockey falls to Hornets
Parkland field hockey is off to a strong start this season under new coach Lizzy Millen. With a conference record of 3-2 and an overall record of 6-2, Parkland enters a stretch of the schedule that will test the team against stiff Eastern Pennsylvania Conference competition.
The Trojans came into the week facing a string of six straight games against EPC rivals. They opened the week with an 11-0 win over East Stroudsburg North (1-4, 1-6) on Monday. The string continues with a trip to Stroudsburg (6-0, 6-1) Thursday afternoon, followed by Pocono Mountain East (2-3, 4-3-1), Nazareth (5-3, 6-3), Whitehall (6-0, 7-0) and Northampton (2-5, 3-5). Those final three games are crucial because they’re not only conference foes, but are all games within the Skyline Division.
Millen has seen her team gain confidence along the way with each win and believes that they’re ready for whatever competition comes their way, no matter who or how good that competition might be.
“The girls are working really hard and our opponents are going to be really good,” said Millen. “So we’re just going to keep focusing on us and not worry about who we’re playing and just keep our game sound.”
Parkland’s two losses to conference rivals were against Liberty (3-2, 4-2) earlier in the season and against Emmaus last weekend. Emmaus (7-0, 7-0) has dominated not only conference play, but has won 26 straight District 11 championships coming into this season.
Last season, Parkland shocked the Hornets when the teams played to a 1-1 tie on the grass field at Parkland High School. Emmaus won the rematch played on turf later in the season and was able to grab a 5-1 win back on the turf again this season in the first meeting of the two teams.
“We weren’t ready for their speed and how aggressive they were,” said Millen. “It took some time for us to adjust to that, but I think we did rise to the occasion. Our decision making, because they were so fast, we just weren’t able to make our decisions on the ball fast enough.”
Even with the loss, the team remains confident and ready to build on its strong start to the season. Having a young team and a new coach has put pressure on the senior class to prove its leadership skills and the upper class has responded well. Even though the team has just three seniors - Maddie Pope, Rachel Rizzetto and Gigi Stephens – those three have proven their ability to lead and the younger players are gaining a lot of experience.
“The strength of our team is coming from our seniors,” said Millen. “They really lead the team. They’re always positive. They work really hard and it sets a high standard for the whole team.”
Rizzetto is second on the team with five goals and leads the team with three assists. Junior Grace Royer has six goals to lead the team on the season.