Article By: CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press
Senior leadership is great, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a young player come through with a big play in a big spot. That’s exactly what Jocelyn Fowler did when she took a corner kick for Parkland in the second overtime of the District 11 championship and played it perfectly, leading to the winning goal in a 1-0 game.
Why let a freshman take such an important kick? It turns out that Fowler was simply in the right place at the right time.
“Our outside backs take the corner kicks, so she just happened to be the one,” said Trojan head coach Al Haddad. “Jocelyn actually plays a softer ball, and Kali [Lauer] on that side hits a driven ball and so sometimes the girls don’t necessarily want to head the driven ball. The best thing for a coaching staff is that we just trained this again yesterday. It went just like we drew it up, except that the small girl got it instead of the tall girl.”
That small girl was senior Helen Flynn, who headed the ball and then just let things play out perfectly for Parkland.
“It hit me and then hit the Emmaus player that was on the post,” said Flynn. “It came right from the corner to me and then I hit it and it went off of her.”
The goal was the only one in 105 minutes of soccer that Emmaus and Parkland played looking to decide the district championship. Both teams, particularly Parkland, had other opportunities, but defense was ruling the day and nobody was able to get anything past either goalie.
“When we play Emmaus, it’s always a good game,” said Flynn. “They always bring their best and they want to beat us, obviously. We know they’re going to bring their best game and we keep the intensity up and if we pass well, we know we’re going to get the ball in the back of the net.”
One of the keys for Emmaus was to shut down Brooke Schutter, who had scored two goals in each of this season’s three previous meetings between the two rivals. This time around, Emmaus kept Schutter from putting the ball in the net, but Schutter found other ways to help.
“She knows what to do if she is going to get doubled or even man-marked tightly,” said Haddad. “Rachael Miller played a tremendous game on Brooke and they did a tremendous job on Brooke in the EPC semis, too.
“Brooke understands that when that happens, she’s got to just dish the ball off and trust that her teammates are going to get the job done and that’s what she did.”
The win gave Parkland a first-round PIAA tournament game at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, but unfortunately for the Trojans, it would be their last game of the season. Neshaminy, the third-place team out of District 1, was able to pull off an upset and hand Parkland its first loss of the season and end their dream of a state championship.
Schutter, in what would be her final high school game, scored the 101st goal of her career in the 2-1 loss to Neshaminy. Schutter leaves as the school’s all-time leader in goals scored.