Boys lax beats Rovers, faces Hornets in final
It looked as if Parkland was out to make a statement after losing a heartbreaker to Central Catholic in last week’s East Penn Conference championship game.
Message received loud and clear.
The top-seeded Trojans scored the first four goals, led by five at intermission, and disposed of No. 4 Easton on Tuesday night at Northampton High School’s Erdosy Field. The win advances Parkland to Thursday’s District 11 Class 3A championship against Emmaus where it will look for that elusive title.
“I told them we aren’t practicing [the day after the Central Catholic loss],” head coach Brad Schifko said. “And the captains and seniors contacted me and said that’s not acceptable, we want to practice. I said all right, that’s what we’ll do. And we got right back on the field.”
It didn’t take very long for the Trojans to strike Tuesday against Easton. Braden Groff set up Ian O’Neill for the first of his three goals just 1:27 into play. Andrew Albertson ripped a shot into the back of the cage just eight seconds later.
Parkland doubled its lead to 4-0 after Gavin Saylor and Greg Santa-Anna scored back-to-back goals within three minutes. The Trojans could have coasted the rest of the way to a championship game appearance and a win that marked the most for any Parkland team in program history.
“I would say probably the most complete game we played all season long was against Manheim Township, but this was pretty close,” Schifko said. “We won the battle at the X today. Andrew Albertson did a phenomenal job. Obviously Luke Summers did a tremendous job offensively.”
The Trojans, which led 5-1 after the first quarter and took an 8-3 lead into halftime, may have been tested ever so slightly in the third quarter after Easton got within 9-5 with 5:36 to play in the period. But Summers, who scored three in that quarter alone, scored the final two to push Parkland’s lead back to 12-5 with just 12 minutes to play.
“We sometimes have a third-quarter lull. That’s what our coach likes to call it,” Summers said. “We come out a little slow and everything. I kind of took it into my own hands and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. I wanted to get everyone fired up.”
A year ago, the Trojans were ever so close to capturing the program’s first district title. Instead, Southern Lehigh had other plans in the final minutes of overtime in the district championship.
“Last year we got there and fell short in the last minute and some change of that game and had that one,” Schifko said. “To let that one slip away was tough.”
Parkland will take on Emmaus for a fourth time this season when they meet in Thursday’s title game at 7 p.m. at Lehigh. Parkland has won all three match ups.