Girls soccer season ends
The Lady Trojans opened up their PIAA first round game against Cumberland Valley with a three-goal barrage in the first 10 minutes of the game, but remarkably, it wasn’t enough.
The Eagles came back with four second-half goals and a 4-3 win. The loss eliminated Parkland from the state tournament.
For a team that allowed just five goals all season coming into the game, the offensive outburst by Cumberland Valley was certainly unexpected.
The game-winning goal from Rachael Dorwart came with just nine seconds left to play, in a game that looked destined for overtime. Dorwart’s shot was high and over the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Regan Allsop, who spent all 80 minutes of the game making one big save after another.
“She made some great saves tonight,” said Parkland head coach Al Haddad. “We told her she was going to have to come up with some big ones today and she came up with more than her fair share. She shouldn’t have had to come up with that many, but I can’t question my defense, because these girls have played phenomenal soccer all year long.
“You just can’t defend for that long against that kind of quality.”
Dorwart’s game-winner was her second goal of the game. Her first tied the game at 3-3 with just over five minutes to play. Anna Hull and Jaimie McInroy scored the first two goals for the Eagles.
The four goals allowed in one half were just the second time a team had accomplished that against Parkland. The first time it happened also came in the first round of the 2012 PIAA playoffs, when Neshaminy notched four goals.
Parkland’s opening salvo started just three-and-a-half minutes into the game when Brooke Schutter scored her first of two goals on the night. Schutter’s second goal came four minutes later on a penalty kick and Rachel Medlar capped Parkland’s barrage with 30:51 left to play in the first half when she fired a rocket past goalkeeper Sydney Bruckner from 25 yards out.
“We felt that if we attacked with high energy and high quality right away, that we could get on top,” said Haddad. “I would have never guessed that we would have caught them with three in the first 12 minutes, or whatever, I would have never dreamed that.
“We talked at halftime about the fact that this team has the capability of scoring four and that we had to try to continue to do our best, and they did, but Cumberland Valley was just a little bit better.”
A key to the game was an injury to junior Carly Shaffer, who went down in front of the Parkland goal three minutes into the second half. Shaffer was taken off the field on a stretcher, with her teammates obviously concerned.
“I don’t want to blame it on that,” said Haddad. “I think the reality is, the effort that our girls put forth in the first half made Cumberland Valley reach deep and bring out the very best that they had to offer. I think that’s a testament to our girls, what a wonderful season they had. I’m just so proud of them.
“Obviously, they’re very concerned about Carly; she’s going to be fine. They got a goal shortly after that, did that rattle us? I don’t know. I don’t want to take anything away from Cumberland Valley, they just played a phenomenal second half.”
This year’s team featured just two seniors (Allsop and Jenn Guetzlaff), giving Parkland a lot of young players that developed well throughout the season and are poised to help the Lady Trojans again next season.
“They’ve been phenomenal leaders and great captains on and off the field,” said Haddad of his seniors. “With only two seniors, sometimes you think maybe all of the underclassmen will overtake them, but the younger girls followed them. They’re just two phenomenal young ladies.
“What we were trying to share with the girls is that there’s no guarantee that we get back here. There have been many years that I fully expected to make it to the state tournament and we didn’t make it through districts.
“I’ve been there six times and won three of them, so there is no guarantee that we get back. We try to get them to understand that they have to make the best of it and there’s no doubt that they did. They had a phenomenal year.”