Parkland Press

Monday, October 23, 2017
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBOlivia Vaccari battles a Freedom player for the ball during Parkland’s recent win over the Patriots. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBOlivia Vaccari battles a Freedom player for the ball during Parkland’s recent win over the Patriots. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland’s Maddie Molchany gets the ball into the circle against Freedom. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland’s Maddie Molchany gets the ball into the circle against Freedom. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_

PHS field hockey downs K-Kids

Friday, October 13, 2017 by CHICK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Parkland didn’t come out showing its best against a tough Northampton team in field hockey. Northampton seemed to be picking up some momentum throughout the first half and was working through the rugged Parkland defense to get some scoring opportunities, but goalkeeper Brie Barraco turned away shots to keep the game scoreless until the Parkland offense could figure things out. The result was a 2-0 win for Parkland (9-5-1 EPC, 9-7-1 overall).

“It was really just our decision-making,” said Trojan head coach Lizzie Millen. “The girls get into this mindset of just smashing it down the field and using brute force and it’s not the style of hockey that we want them to play.”

The game was scoreless at the half and much of the second half saw the two teams battling back and forth looking to gain an advantage. Millen called a time out and let her players know exactly what the problem was.

“During the time out, I talked to them and said ‘guys you’re doing this to yourself,’” she said. “Once we got back into our style of hockey, that’s when we picked it up and it obviously produced for us, so that was excellent to see.”

Aubrey Semler scored with 10:50 left to play and less than five minutes later, Sierra Marsteller scored to give the Trojans some breathing room on their way to the win.

“I just got the pass and shot it,” said Marstellar. “We’ve been communicating a lot more and using our passing options a lot more and it’s been working.”

“The girls are starting to understand not only how to play with each other, but also to understand their position in general and their level of comfort with each other has really grown,” said Millen. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, so I’m happy to see it come about.”

As for Barraco, she continues to hold her spot as possibly the best goalie in the Lehigh Valley. She will play her next season at Penn State.

“On one hand, I’m going to definitely miss playing with these people,” said Barraco. “But on the other hand, I get to move on to the collegiate level at Penn State. I’m a little bit nervous, but I know the incoming class is great and they’re mostly players out of the Lehigh Valley, which is great because I already know a lot of them.”

Barraco credited the defensive players in front of her with contributing to her success and allowing her to be aggressive in stopping shots.

“It’s really awesome, because I know that if I come out, my defense will always have my back,” said Barraco. “Kelsey Higgins is one of the best defenders that I’ve ever played with and she had a defensive save today, so it’s great having that help.”

After starting the season 1-3-1, Parkland worked its way back and the win over Northampton was its fourth straight and fifth out of the last six.

The formula has been simple: don’t let the other team score. In all nine of Parkland’s wins, Barraco and the Parkland defense have held their opponents scoreless. Even with a young group on offense, Parkland has outscored opponents 38-18 this season.

“We had a rough start at the beginning of the season, but we got all of that out of our minds,” said Barraco. “That loss to Liberty was a turning point for us because we sat down and said ‘we need to pick it up and win the majority of our games to get into the postseason.’

“This was the win that we needed to get to the postseason and I think everybody picked it up together and our passing was incredible and our communication was great.”