Parkland Press

Monday, October 23, 2017

Field hockey plays Emmaus to OT

Thursday, September 21, 2017 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Any team going into Memorial Field to play Emmaus in field hockey knows that it has a tough task ahead. The Hornets are two-time defending state champions, they’ve won 63 straight games and coming into their meeting with Parkland had outscored their opponents 64-0 this season.

Meanwhile, Parkland has a roster filled with underclassmen and some starters working their way through their first varsity season. It set up somewhat of a David and Goliath matchup for the two teams and while Parkland didn’t come away with a win, the Trojans did make a huge statement about just how good they can be.

“We wanted our girls to understand that they can be as competitive as they want to be,” said coach Lizzie Millen after the 2-1 overtime loss to Emmaus. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we can compete with anybody as long as we play our game and that’s what we’re always preaching. It just depends on if they buy into it.”

Coming into Saturday’s game, Parkland had dropped five straight games to Emmaus since playing them to a 1-1 tie almost three years ago to the day. While they didn’t come away with a tie, this year’s team may have played an even tougher game than they did three years ago.

The highlights of the game came from one senior and one freshman.

Goalie Brie Barraco was simply amazing in goal for Parkland, making 36 saves in the game, many of them being diving stops on balls to either side of the goal cage. The effort was especially impressive since Barraco wasn’t feeling too well the morning of the game and at one point during the game was holding her stomach after some acrobatic saves.

“She played lights out,” said Millen. “She was amazing. She was nervous at the beginning, because she had a headache and was feeling ill, but she always comes to play and is a competitor and wants to play. You see that in how she plays and in her second effort.”

Freshman Aubrey Semler scored Parkland’s goal with 14:37 left to play in regulation. Emmaus had turned a scoreless game at halftime into a 1-0 lead when Joy Muller scored just over three minutes into the second half.

The two teams then battled until Semler knotted the game with her goal, the first allowed by Emmaus this season.

Parkland (4-4-1) endured a stretch of four straight games without scoring a goal earlier this season, picking up a tie and losing three games by a combined score of 10-0. After that, the Trojans won two consecutive games by shutouts before facing Emmaus.

The intense rivalry between Emmaus and Parkland may have had something to do with the performance, but Millen has seen something more than that when she looks at the difference in the team.

“We started to gel,” she said. “We really had a rough patch last week and it took a long time for us to understand how to play together. Then this week everything just started clicking. Seniors are really stepping up and our captains are being more vocal and we’re seeing a lot more maturity.”

Parkland responded with a 4-0 win over Bethlehem Catholic on Monday. Parkland now faces four road games in a row at Freedom, East Stroudsburg North, Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg South. They’ve also circled October 11, the last game of the season on their calendar, for their rematch with Emmaus.

“We’re excited to seeing them again,” said Millen. “Because we want to be playing this premier level of hockey all the time.”