Field hockey team expects more in 2019
Parkland field hockey finished last season with a 10-8 record in head coach Lizzy Millen’s fifth season.
The record was good enough to get into both the East Penn Conference playoffs and the District 11 tournament, but unfortunately, the Lady Trojans had the misfortune of facing juggernaut Emmaus in the first round of both the conference playoffs and districts, exiting early in both.
In fact, Parkland had to face Emmaus three straight games after wrapping up the regular season against the Hornets.
“You never want to have to play them three times in a row,” said Millen about the division rival. “They’re just so strong and we drew them in the first round both times, so we knew it was going to be tough.”
This season, the task is to build on last year’s success and look forward to a deeper run in both the conference and districts. Parkland started strong last season, but then fell on tougher times late in the season, causing the Trojans to fall in the seedings.
“We played really well for a while last season, but we weren’t as strong late in the year,” admitted Millen. “Our offense sort of went away for a little.”
The good news is that Parkland lost just four seniors from last year’s roster and has much of the team returning this season. With nine seniors on this year’s roster, including many of the main scorers, an offensive slump doesn’t figure into the plans, so an extra win or two certainly isn’t out of the question.
Midfielder Aubrey Semler, who was named to the EPC All-Star team and the All-State second team of all-stars for her performance last season, is back for her junior year and will once again be counted upon to be a driving force. Semler already has a commitment to attend Penn State and continue her playing career there once her high school career is completed.
“Aubrey really took on a big role for the team last season and she handled all of the pressure really well, so there’s no reason to think that she can’t repeat that performance this season and even go beyond what she did for us last year,” said Millen.
The rest of the midfield and forward lines have a distinctly senior feel to them, with seniors, Sierra Marsteller, Maddie Molchany, Anna Yeager and Olivia Vaccari, who has a commitment to continue her playing career at Temple. The group is experienced and gives Millen a lot of offensive potential.
The defense features senior Erica Steele and Isabelle Cincera, but will be missing Mia Coval, who won’t be in action this season. In goal, sophomore Tess Garchinsky takes over for Parkland.
“We have a lot of players with experience, but you always have to mix in some younger players,” noted Millen. “A lot of the younger players might not have a ton of varsity experience, but they’ve played a lot of club field hockey and have done well at that level.”
The EPC has become more competitive over the past couple of seasons with teams starting to emerge in an effort to run down perennial favorite Emmaus, which captured its 30th straight District 11 title last season and has 12 state championships to its credit.
Last season, Parkland was one of eight EPC teams to finish the season with 10 wins.
“I think there has been a little more parity in the league and even conference-wide,” said Millen. “You’re starting to see teams play more competitive games against each other and have higher expectations for themselves and that’s the situation that we’re in. We expect more from our team each season and we’ve given ourselves something to continue building on.”
The season opens Friday at home against Pocono Mountain West and continues with the first road game of the season next Tuesday at Pocono Mountain East.