Trojans beat Emmaus
Parkland ended the boys lacrosse regular season Monday night with another statement win and a nearly unblemished record that will go into the books as the team’s best ever.
The Trojans finished 17-1 overall and 12-1 in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference play. Since a loss to Central Catholic in the second game of the regular season, back on March 30, they’ve reeled off 16 straight wins.
The win streak includes a payback win against the Vikings last week as well as wins over perennial state tournament teams like Cumberland Valley, Hershey and Manheim Township.
The win streak also includes a pair of wins over rival Emmaus, including the one Monday night that ended the season for Parkland with a 12-9 victory on the Hornets’ home field.
“I think we’re playing really good lacrosse right now,” said Trojan head Brad Schifko. “This is the best regular season we’ve ever had in the history of our program. We’re hoping to ride that momentum right into league playoffs and into districts, and, if we’re fortunate enough, to also get a state playoff berth, which also has never been done.”
Parkland has been runner up in districts three times and has been the top seed in the tournament two times. But the Trojans are seeking their first district title and first trip to states and looking like a team ready to make that goal a reality.
“We started slow at the beginning of the season,” said Trojan sophomore defender Alex Albertson. “I think we’ve got some fire going into these playoffs. We took an early loss to Central and I think everyone has been motivated since then to get better every game.”
Monday’s win over Emmaus gave the Trojans the top seed for the league playoff tournament, which begins Thursday.
Parkland grabbed the early lead Monday on Luke Summers’ first of four goals in the game. Emmaus answered to make it 1-1 moments later, but goals from James Cipolla and Gavin Saylor put Parkland back in front 3-1.
Emmaus cut the lead to 3-2 before Albertson and Emmaus’ Jared Baker each scored late in the first quarter to make it 4-3 after one period.
The Hornets’ Josh Babbitt tied the game in the second quarter, but Summers responded with another tally for the Trojans and a 5-4 lead.
Emmaus’ Tyler Corpora scored the 97th goal of his career to knot the game at 5-5 with 5:20 left before halftime, but Summers got free again for a strike for a 6-5 lead less than a minute later. An Emmaus goal sent the game to halftime at 6-6.
Parkland’s Ian O’Neill put his team back in front with 4:50 left in the third quarter, but Corpora scored again to make it 7-7 before Andrew Albertson put his team back ahead with 2:17 left before halftime.
The Trojans stayed in front the rest of the way. Summers and Saylor added goals early in the period, but Corpora wouldn’t let his team go down without a fight. The University of Hartford-bound senior scored two goals, including the 100th of his career, to get his team within a goal of tying the game with 1:42 left.
Parkland found the back of the net two more times in the final minute as Cipolla and Dru Miller added insurance goals.
“I think we played great,” said Summers. “We knew coming into this game it was going to be really tough and we were going to have to grind the whole game.”
While Emmaus tied the game five times, Parkland’s defense never let the Hornets take a lead.
“We got a tremendous effort from No. 5 (Summers),” said Schifko. “Luke did a phenomenal job of getting us going, riding his energy offensively and taking his lead. Defensively, our whole back line, led by Alex Albertson, did a phenomenal job. Logan Barlok and Dylan Rahm all stepped up. James McLaughlin made some huge saves down the stretch. A crucial piece was Andrew Alebertson facing off tonight. He did a phenomenal job.”
Parkland’s defense might be youthful with sophomores Rahm, Alex Albertson and McLaughlin in key positions, but the unit has withstood nearly every test it’s been put through this season.
“In the beginning of the season everyone was calling us young, inexperienced,” said Alex Albertson. “But I think that everyone used that as motivation to do well this year. We’re doing really well as a team. Our chemistry is great. We’ve been playing with each other since we were young. Everyone just works well together.”
“We definitely have one of the best defenses in the league,” said Summers, a midfielder. “We play as a team every game. Our goalie standing on his head in the cage bumps our defense up to a whole new level.”