Lady Trojans top Emmaus
In a game dominated by Parkland through most of the play, the Lady Trojans pulled off a 1-0 shutout of Emmaus in the District 11 soccer semifinals. The win guarantees Parkland a spot in the PIAA tournament and also a shot at a third straight district title when they face Easton Thursday night. The Lady Rovers (16-4) reached the finals by virtue of a 1-0 double-overtime win over Whitehall (17-4) in the other semifinal matchup. Parkland and Easton didn’t meet in either the regular season nor the postseason.
Parkland (21-2) controlled play through the first half of the game and outshot the Hornets 3-1, with seven corners compared to zero for Emmaus. Just four-minutes into the game, Ava Hanna put a shot a foot above the crossbar and later in the first half, Zoe Schutter launched a shot that also sailed just over the crossbar. Schutter had another shot that goalie Alexa Ryan made a diving save to stop.
Emmaus’ best scoring opportunity came with 10:22 left in the first half when Kellie Reith blasted a shot on goal that was blocked by goalie Zia Reed. The shot knocked Reed off her feet, but Emmaus (11-6-2) wasn’t able to get a follow-up shot as the ball rebounded away from Reed.
“We were dominating the first half so much and were getting such quality chances, I just felt that it was going to be a matter of time,” said Parkland head coach Al Haddad. “Our girls weren’t pressing. We just told them at halftime to keep up the pressure and something would break for us.”
That break came with 22:19 left in regulation when Ava Schaller made a quick cut inside from her position in the corner and fired a shot from 18 yards out. The ball sailed just past the outstretched arm of goalie Alexa Ryan as she dived to make a play.
“It felt good,” said Schaller of her game-winning shot. “I saw it sailing to the top and I thought that it might go in and when I saw it go in, I was really happy.”
Schaller suffered a fractured tibia in the first 10 minutes of Parkland’s opening game last season and didn’t return to the field for the Lady Trojans. She was determined to return to a prominent role with the team for her junior season. She has done just that, with her goal against Emmaus being her 18th of the season.
“She had a great offseason with club and she gained a tremendous amount of confidence,” said Haddad. “She did really well in her freshman year and then to lose that sophomore year was tough for her. She was determined to come back this year and be the go-to girl and that was just a great shot.”
The Parkland defense held Emmaus to just two shots in the game as the Trojans continued to dominate throughout the second half. While the defense held Emmaus at bay, the Parkland offense just continued to put shots on goal without pressing or getting frustrated at the lack of goals. Parkland finished with 14 shots on goal in the win.
“I don’t care what level of soccer you play, you just can’t defend for 80 minutes, something is going to crack through,” said Haddad. “The girls had patience and continued to keep the game plan and possess and probe. Hats off to Emmaus’ defense for keeping them in the game, because based on the play, this game could have been very different.”