Girls soccer season ends with playoff PKs
Every year the debate over whether or not it’s a good idea to end playoff soccer games with penalty kicks arises.
This year, the Lady Trojans are part of the discussion as they came up just short of a trip to the PIAA semifinals because of a game decided on penalty kicks. Parkland fell to Pennridge 3-2, losing the penalty kick phase by a 4-3 score.
Things opened well for Parkland with two quick goals before the midway point of the first half.
Ava Schaller and Madi Warminsky scored for a 2-0 Parkland lead. The goals held up until the second half when Pennridge got two goals in the final 15 minutes of the contest to tie the game 2-2.
After two scoreless overtime periods, the two teams went to penalty kicks to decide the outcome.
“That’s the debate every year, but for better or worse, it’s what we’ve got,” said Parkland coach Al Haddad of penalty kicks.
Pennridge got its first goal from Ashley Groeber and with new life, the Lady Rams continued to press until Lauren McIntyre fired a shot into the net with just over three minutes to play to tie the score.
Pennridge went on to beat Ephreta in the semifinals and will now face Souderton for the state championship on Saturday. Souderton had also won its quarterfinal game against Seneca Valley on penalty kicks.
Parkland finished the season with a 23-3 record and come into next season as the reigning East Penn Conference and District 11 champions. The conference championship was the fifth straight and seventh out of the last eight for Parkland, while the district title was the third straight for the Trojans.
The team suffered season-ending ACL injuries to three players this fall. It saw a 70-game win streak against EPC opponents end with a loss to Emmaus early in the season. The loss of the streak actually helped Haddad to gauge just how good his team was.
“Coming back from that loss was important and it showed just how tough these girls are because they didn’t hang their heads, they went right back to work and didn’t let it dictate the season,” said Haddad. “Same thing with the injuries, they just went to work and other girls stepped in and we just fought with what we had.”
This year’s roster featured eight seniors – Louise Gottwald, Ava Hanna, Gia Litz, Tori Maybruck, Brooke Penrod, Lindsay Reightler, Madi Warminski and Gabby Wilby – many of whom contributed significant minutes of playing time this season.
“This group of seniors was a joy to work with,” said Haddad. “They worked hard, they helped develop the players behind them and they kept things fun for the team. They brought a great work ethic and they’ve passed that along to the other players.”
The good news is that Parkland had a number of underclassmen contribute significant minutes this season, giving the Trojans some experience to lean on coming into next year. They also return goalkeepers Teresa Gonzalez, a sophomore, and Zia Reed, a junior.
“This season was a great example of why we look to get playing time for younger players,” Haddad said. “We had injuries and needed to fill some spots and we didn’t have to put players out there who were unfamiliar with what we do or hadn’t played much for us.
“It’s never easy to get past injuries, especially three season-ending injuries to key players, but having other girls ready to go certainly makes it easier.”