Girls stay unbeaten in EPC play
Ho-hum, another shutout for the Parkland girls soccer team.
This time, it was a 2-0 win over Nazareth (7-2-1 EPC, 8-3-1 overall) for the Trojans 10th straight win and eighth straight shutout. Chelsea Hudson and Emily Piston scored for Parkland, while goalkeeper Regan Allsop turned away the only three shots that she had to face, thanks to a stifling defense in front of her.
Senior Jenn Guetzlaff – one of just two seniors on the roster – has a good view of how the team is playing and she thinks that the talent level and the level of play that this year’s team has shown may be the best she’s seen during her career.
“I think that we’re right on track and doing really well,” Guetzlaff said. “My freshman year we had a really good team and I think we’re right up there with them.”
Guetzlaff’s freshman team from the 2012-2013 season beat Easton to win the Lehigh Valley Conference Championship before downing Whitehall to win the District 11 Class AAA title. The winning didn’t stop until the first round of states when Parkland dropped a 4-2 decision to Neshaminy.
“I think our passing sequences are getting a lot better,” said Guetzlaff. “We’re working together and we’re definitely working on finishing and it’s definitely getting better.”
“I’ve been around this program an awful long time and I don’t think there’s been a collective group as a team that’s as technical,” said head coach Al Haddad about his 11-1 team. “We’re sound from player-one through player-21 and our speed goes well into player-15 or 18, so it’s a strong team. We still have a lot of work to do, because there’s some tough competition out there.”
Those strong passing sequences that Guetzlaff talked about are something that doesn’t come by chance. Haddad stresses fundamentals and technical skills to his players and makes sure they’re well-schooled in those skills. Haddad believes it’s important not just because it’s a key part of the game, but the fact that the team is one of the few playing on a grass field, makes those skills even tougher to develop, but more important for his team to perfect.
“Every single day, we will take anywhere from the first 35-to-45 minutes of practice and just work on our technical skills,” said Haddad. “All of our home games are on grass and it’s a nice field, but it’s not a flat surface, so we’ve got to be able to play on that type of a surface and knowing that most of our opponents play on turf, so they may struggle on grass.
“We focus on our technical skills and the passing sequences, so I’m really happy to see that there are some great four-, five-, six- man combinations here and that’s really fun to watch.”
Parkland (11-0, 11-1) hosts Northampton (2-5-2, 2-6-2) Friday before playing a nonconference game against Northwestern Lehigh (7-1, 9-1) Saturday. Next week, Parkland plays at Central Catholic (7-3, 9-3), a team it defeated 2-0 earlier in the season. Parkland also has two games remaining against rival Whitehall (8-0-1, 8-0-1), who beat the Lady Trojans for last year’s District 11 championship.
“We can keep winning,” said Guetzlaff, who plans on going to college to major in chemical engineering. “We’re mentally there and we want to win and we definitely don’t want to go out again in districts like we did last year.”