Pope scores game-winner vs. Kids
Last season, Parkland just couldn’t beat Northampton in field hockey. The Konkrete Kids downed Parkland three times, including in the District 11 quarterfinals, by a combined total of three goals. This season, things have changed. The Lady Trojans downed Northampton 4-1 in the first meeting of the two teams and then picked up a 1-0 overtime win over Northampton Monday at home.
The game seemed to be one long penalty corner for Parkland (5-4-1 EPC, 8-4-1 overall) that saw them come away frustrated and scoreless. Finally, with 45-seconds remaining in overtime, on yet another corner, Jenna Lysakowski got the ball to Maddie Pope at the corner of the cage and Pope whipped it home for the game-winner.
“Definitely in the beginning of the season, we had trouble connecting on the corners, even just executing them in general, but I was a little surprised with the amount of corners that we had and the lack of success on them. It’s definitely something to work on,” said coach Lizzie Millen.
When Parkland wasn’t busy taking corners, they were handing out some frustration of their own. Much of the frustration actually came when Northampton (6-6, 7-6-1) was able to close in and get off a shot, because goalkeeper Brie Barraco wasn’t going to let anything past her. For her part, Barraco was having a great time turning away shot after shot in the tight contest.
“I love them,” said Barraco of tight games. “I hate just sitting in the goal and doing nothing. My adrenaline is so up and I love these kind of games.”
The adrenaline was definitely pumping when Northampton’s Emily Henry lined up for a penalty shot against Barraco. Henry put the ball to the lower right corner of the cage and Barraco simply batted it away to preserve the scoreless tie.
“I got a little lucky,” admitted Barraco. “Because she kind of flubbed it. I just had to be ready and be sure that I didn’t mess up a semi-easy save on a penalty stroke.”
Barraco bravely ventured far in front of the net to make save after save, many where she had to dive to make the stop.
“I’m confident in my defense that when I come out, they know to drop back and they have my back if they still get it around me. I have total confidence in my defense,” Barraco said.
The win gives Parkland added confidence and served as a bit of payback for their struggles against Northampton last season. Millen believes the best part of the win is that they’re showing they can play well against tough teams.
“It’s a great testament to how the girls have been working this whole season. Northampton’s a good team, so it’s a good win under our belt just to be able to beat a team like that. They’re a tough team, they work very hard and they’re very aggressive, so it’s a great win to have,” said the first-year coach.
Tomorrow afternoon is another chance to beat a good team. The undefeated Emmaus Hornets (11-0, 12-0) come to Parkland for the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Earlier in the season, Emmaus downed Parkland 5-1, but both sides remember that last season, Parkland tied Emmaus 1-1 on the grass field at Parkland and would like to go one step further this season and pick up a win.
“Every team is an opportunity, no matter what surface we’re on. It just depends which team comes up to play that day. I’m confident that they’ll be very excited to play them on our turf. It’s one of our last home games, so I’m sure they’ll want to go out with a bang and they’ll be very excited,” said Millen.
After Emmaus, Parkland has road games at Liberty (7-4, 8-5) and Nazareth (6-7, 7-7) prior to ending the regular season at home against Whitehall (9-1, 11-1) next Thursday.