Boys bounce back from loss to ACC
After a season-opening setback to rival Central Catholic, the Parkland boys lacrosse team responded with a nonconference win over Wilson West Lawn three days later, beating the Bulldogs 9-5 last Saturday at Parkland High School.
While the 14-12 defeat to the Vikings was one that may have gotten away, it did not sting for too long for the Trojans (2-1 overall, 1-1 EPC).
“Honestly, while I tip my hat to Central, as those players played their butts off, we gave that one away,” said head coach Brad Schifko. “We as a staff failed to make some critical adjustments, and we failed, at times, to execute the way we’re capable of. However, they’re very talented offensively and we cannot ever get complacent when they have as much firepower as they do.
“Sometimes stubbornness contributes to failing to adjust. Sometimes it’s an overconfidence in the players and schemes we have, that despite the situation, they’ll find a way to make the necessary play to preserve a win. My takeaway from the Central game is pretty simple, ‘championships are never won in March.’ The season is a marathon, not a sprint. We learned exactly what we cannot do, and I guarantee we’ll be a better team because of that loss. We’ll see them again (possibly multiple times) and we’ll be ready.”
Parkland proved its coach’s words in its next game, outscoring the Bulldogs 5-2 in the second half after leading by just one goal (4-3) at halftime.
The third quarter was pivotal in the Trojans taking over the game. James Cipolla scored two of his game-high four goals to spark the run.
“We were able to come out strong in the second half, something that we have not historically done very well,” Schifko said. “Our attack really took advantage of some opportunities, and got us going. When we’re patient offensively, we’re difficult to defend.
“It’s really a good-better-best situation. We can get good shots any time, but when we work to get better chances, ultimately settling for the best opportunities, that’s when we’re really playing unselfish. Additionally, our defense played exceptionally well, and really took a step forward in this one.”
The Parkland defense, led by goalie James McLaughlin (eight saves) held Wilson in check the final two quarters.
Schifko likes to schedule out of conference games like this one against perennially tough opponents in the state to prepare his team for the rugged conference and district schedule they face.
“Wilson is one of the best teams not only in Central PA, but in the state,” said Schifko. “They continue to have really strong teams year-after-year. We really enjoy the challenge of playing them because we know it will always be a tough match-up, but it also usually serves as an early season barometer for here were at.
“Having two tough games out of the gate, hopefully, will serve as a springboard for future success. Having those early matchups really tests our composure, and helps us deal with adversity early-on. Win or lose, these experiences are invaluable to our continued growth and development, both as a staff and a team.”
Parkland followed the win over Wilson with a 24-2 victory against Liberty Tuesday. The Trojans were scheduled to face Southern Lehigh (Wednesday) and Pleasant Valley (Thursday) before finishing the week with a game against Nazareth.