Field hockey makes strides vs. EHS
When Parkland took on top seed and unbeaten Emmaus in the first round of the East Penn Conference field hockey playoffs, the Trojans couldn’t have been more prepared. Just three days earlier, the two teams squared off in the regular season finale.
And despite being shut out this time around against the a dominant Hornet team, Trojan head coach Lizzie Millen saw her team play much better with the lights brighter.
As for Emmaus, it stayed perfect on the season and advanced to the semifinals round. The Hornets (19-0 overall; 16-0 in EPC) scored three first half goals, and Emmaus’ defense pitched its 16th shutout of the season to defeat the Trojans, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon at Emmaus’s Memorial Field.
“Even from Wednesday’s game it was drastically different,” Millen said. “The nerves definitely got to the girls in the first game. We had a lot of our key players just not playing their best games. Now that they were kind of acclimated to the speed of the game and the field, it showed. It was a comfortability thing. They were ready to go this time and knew what to expect.”
The Trojans (10-7, 10-6) fell to Emmaus 8-1 in the regular season finale. It was just the third goal the Hornets let up all season.
Emmaus head coach Sue Butz-Stavin acknowledged it wasn’t the Hornets best game offensively, but it did enough in a win-and-advance situation.
Roughly 11 minutes into play, Annika Herbine broke the Hornets free with a deep shot into the back of the cage. A few minutes later, Emmaus struck again when Kayla Kisthardt lined up a shot and ripped one by Trojan goalie Mackenzie Galucy at the 13:14 mark of the opening half.
“We just took the time to study our own play in comparison to theirs,” Millen said. “We changed up a few of the things that we personally do with our press and our defensive corners so we can adjust to their offense.”
Kacie Patton added one more for Emmaus right before halftime to put the hosts in front 3-0 with just under four minutes remaining until intermission. And despite the 9-0 Hornet advantage in the shots on goal category in the first 30 minutes, Parkland felt as if it had a chance coming out of the break.
And it showed. Parkland showed a sense of urgency and aggressive play early in the second half. After no opportunities on goal in the first half, Aubrey Semler had two clear chances on goal early that would have once again put Emmaus into unfamiliar territory.
However, both shots were saved by Hornet goalie Claire Nielsen to keep the Trojans off the scoreboard. And moments later, Riley Baughman set up Herbine for her second goal of the game to all but put Parkland out of reach.
“I think their defense just works so well as a unit,” Millen said. “Every time one person steps up, they are always going with numbers. Even if you get past that line, the next group is right there like an army. They are ready to go.”
Emmaus went on to beat Liberty in one semifinal game, while Easton won the other Tuesday. The two teams will square off on Thursday night in the championship game at a time and place to be determined.