PHS opens with win over rival Hornets
The Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer teams have been putting aside their heated rivalry, and instead have been coming together of late to play for a good cause.
For the fifth straight year, the Green Hornets and Trojans met on the field the Red Card Cancer Game, showcasing awareness for the illness and helping out a local family in need.
The teams wore uniquely colored shirts in pregame warm-ups, and posed for a photo following the game with the words ‘Fight Cancer.’
The meaning of the game was a win, and the outcome was just as good for Parkland.
The Trojans scored a goal in each half, and for the most part shut down the defending district champion Emmaus, winning the season opener for both teams 2-0 last Friday afternoon at Memorial Field.
It was just the start to the season that the Trojans wanted, especially after the way 2016 ended, losing in the district final to Emmaus.
“It’s great to get back out here and have a strong start to the season,” said Parkland senior forward Josh Kiser. “Especially after the way things ended last year, we wanted this one bad. It’s a great group of guys we have, and a lot are back from that team, so we’re hungry.”
Head coach Patrick Birns starts seven seniors, led by Kiser up front, captains Dawson Berger and Bryce Evans, and senior captain goalkeeper Jacob Varrato.
Parkland got out to a fast start and controlled possession and chances on goal, while Emmaus could not get anything going in the offensive third.
With Parkland controlling the play in the midfield, the Trojans were able to string together quick and successful passes to create their chances.
Early on in the sixth minute, junior forward Cavin Geiger received a pass and lifted his right foot to give a quick flick to Kiser standing inside the box. Kiser took one touch and fired a shot quick and low that just got under the arms of a diving Sam Cho.
The Trojans outshot the Green Hornets 4-0 in the first half, and held onto that one goal lead into halftime.
“We were able to move the ball around really well and get everyone involved,” Kiser said. “Stringing together the passes that we were able to really helped us get good shots on the goal.”
Just as they always do, the Hornets wouldn’t back down. They created more opportunities on net and took more of the shots on goal and gave themselves a chance to get back into the game.
But Varrato is a returning Eastern Pennsylvania Conference All-Star, and he was difficult to score on. In the 58th minute, he stoned a breakaway opportunity by senior midfielder Max Hirschhorn.
With the shots not finding the back of the net, the Hornets found themselves in a bigger hole in the 66th minute when Connor Burke took a shot that was blocked off a defender but landed right to him. He then took a quick kick and slotted a goal into the corner to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.
From there the Parkland defense held firm and watched the clock run out for the win.
“Jake had some great saves, which kept us in it,” said Kiser. “The defense really did their jobs and contained their marks to limit the chances.”