Parkland Press

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONParkland’s Dawson Berger (3) has moved from his defensive role to a scorer this year. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONParkland’s Dawson Berger (3) has moved from his defensive role to a scorer this year.

Boys soccer wins first four games

Thursday, September 14, 2017 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

While Josh Kiser has taken the early lead as a goal scorer for Parkland, three other players have tallied multiple goals this season a total of 11 different players putting the ball in the net for the Trojans. On Monday, Dawson Berger led the scoring with two goals as Parkland downed Whitehall 5-0 to win its fourth straight game without a loss.

Parkland is averaging just over five goals per game, but some of the credit for that goes to the defense that has been so stingy that its allowed just two shots on goal in the last three games and eight all season. Having a strong senior goalkeeper helps Parkland to do some things a little differently on offense.

“We’ve got Jake Varrato back there and we have all the confidence in the world in him,” Trojan head coach Patrick Birns said. “We’re going to send numbers forward and we’re going to get countered on, but I think as long as we communicate and stay composed, we’ll be okay. They tried to play a long-ball counter on us and they had a couple opportunities, but I thought we dealt with it pretty well.”

Berger’s emergence offensively has come because of hard work that he’s put into his game and making the transition from being a defensive player to being part of the Parkland offense. The senior, who will continue his soccer career at Lehigh next fall as he pursues a degree in engineering, has grown comfortable in the new role thanks to the help of his teammates.

“I’ve been working a lot on my first touch and my finishing, because I’ve been playing defense my whole life and this is something new,” he said. “I’ve definitely had a lot of help through the people on the team and it’s not like it’s one guy, it’s the whole team.”

The balanced scoring is something that every coach would like to see from his team and Birns is no exception. Coming into the season, he noticed that his team had some slight divisions that he needed to work on eliminating and with the help of the players, he’s been able to get everybody together, which plays into the success of the team.

“It’s always a concern when you bring a lot of guys who play on different club teams back together,” said Birns. “A lot of these guys went to middle school, elementary school together and we did have our little groups early in the year, but now, it doesn’t matter who is on the field. We’re scoring goals. Even guys who are coming off the bench for us are scoring, so that’s exciting.”

“We’ve been together since elementary school and have all played together a lot, so we have a pretty good chemistry going,” said Berger. “The ones who didn’t play together, we’re doing well in bringing them in, too.”

The Trojans lead the Skyline Division at 4-0, Central Catholic is 2-0 and Emmaus is at 3-1. The Hornets only loss came in the season opener against Parkland. In the coming week, Parkland will host Easton (2-2, 2-2) after a game at Freedom (4-1, 4-1).