PHS field hockey wins 13 straight
And the beat goes on.
Parkland field hockey extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over Northampton. While the three-goal victory may sound kind of easy, it was anything but easy.
While Parkland had an early edge in controlling play, Northampton regrouped and came out playing a much crisper and more physical game from midway through the first half until the final horn.
Parkland had an early goal waved off, but seemed undaunted by the call. They were able to pass and dribble through the Northampton defense for good looks at the cage, but Northampton goalkeeper Cassie Borzillo turned away shot after shot. Aubrey Semler attempted to fire a laser through the goal cage from just inside the circle, but the ball went just wide.
Finally, it was a freshman that came through for Parkland when Lanie Walker hit from close range to give her team a 1-0 lead with just under 14 minutes to play in the first half.
“One of our midfielders hit it down field right to Maddie Molchany, and she hit it to the goalie and I just tapped it in,” said Walker of the opening goal.
Walker wasn’t on the varsity roster to start the season, but has been getting more and more playing time recently and has handled the added work load well for the Trojans.
“Lanie has really stepped up recently, so we’ve been trying to throw her in to see what she can handle,” said Parkland head coach Lizzie Millen. “We don’t always know what we’re going to get, but we’re always happy to see her find her way on the field, especially with the other girls on the line. We have two seniors on the line, so it can be tough to figure out your place with those other players.”
Immediately after the goal, Northampton used a timeout to regroup and came out playing much better, cutting off some passes and getting some pressure into the Parkland defensive zone.
“I kept saying ‘I need a goal.’ It was very intense,” Millen said with a laugh. “Northampton played us very tough and they’re always a scrappy team and you know that going in. They just always play very hard and I knew my girls were aware that it was going to be like that, but mentally, I’m not sure they were prepared for what they were going to endure.”
There was a collective sigh of relief when junior Ashley Young put the ball past Borzillo and into the lower right corner of the goal with 8:07 left to play. Semler was able to hone in her sights and found the back of the goal with 2:37 left in the game to give Parkland even more insurance.
Parkland is now 12-0-1 overall and in the East Penn Conference this season.
The toughest part of the schedule is still ahead. On Tuesday, Parkland faces undefeated Emmaus, winners of 30 straight District 11 titles. Parkland has lost 11 straight games to Emmaus, including losing three games in six days last season when they lost the season finale and then fell to the Hornets in the first round of both the EPC and District 11 playoffs. Back on September 12, 2014, the two teams tied early in the season, which was the last time that Parkland didn’t lose to Emmaus.
“This year, I think we have a really good chance of winning,” said Walker.
The Parkland team and coaches took in an Emmaus game recently to scout the competition. There is a definite intensity to the game for Parkland since it’s taken on a different meaning this year.
“We’ve never been this successful going in, so with that in mind, I definitely believe that the girls have more confidence and that’s hopefully going to pay some dividends in the game,” said Millen of this year’s game. “Emmaus is skilled. Every player is skilled, so it’s about capitalizing on those 50-50 moments, those scrappy moments and whoever wins most of those is going to win the game.
“There is such a legacy with that program and we’re hoping to build to that point and to see them come this far in my five years has been frustrating at times, but really rewarding. We’re just hoping that we can find the success that they are working so hard to earn.”