Hornets hand Trojans first loss this season
The Parkland field hockey team fought through every game this season and came to its penultimate East Penn Conference game of the season with just one lone tie as a blemish on its record. Coming into Tuesday night’s matchup with perennial power Emmaus, the Trojans 13 wins were the most in a season for them since 2010 when they also won 13 regular season games.
Against Emmaus (18-0-0 overall, 16-0-0 EPC), the Trojans came out strong with a swarming style defense, but eventually, they wore down and the Hornets were able to put up six unanswered goals to beat Parkland 6-0, handing the Trojans their first loss of the season while preserving Emmaus’ undefeated season.
Parkland (13-1-1, 13-1-1) was able to kill off four penalty corners to keep the game scoreless midway through the first half. Emmaus finally converted on a corner when Maddie Bruns found herself in front of the net with the ball and an open look. She fired it home for a 1-0 lead. Emmaus converted another penalty corner and made it 2-0 going into the half.
“Our defense played well and we did a good job against them on corners, but eventually, they’re going to find some openings if they keep having opportunities,” said Parkland head coach Lizzie Millen. “We just gave them too many opportunities.”
Rachel Herbine would add three second half goals and Mackenzie Bruns added another to make it 6-0 in favor of Emmaus.
“We knew we had to try to stop Rachel and Annika [Herbine] and at least limit the damage they could do,” said Millen. “Early on we boxed them in pretty well and contained them, but they found ways to get open in the second half and make things happen. It’s just what good teams and good players are able to do.”
While Emmaus continued to be awarded penalty corners, the Lady Trojans didn’t get their first penalty corner until there was just over two minutes left in the game. The corner resulted in their second shot on goal of the night, but they were unable to get either into the cage.
The loss leaves Parkland as the number-two seed in the EPC playoffs, which begin Saturday. They will host Stroudsburg (10-7-0, 10-6-0) in the opening round, while Emmaus will host Whitehall (10-7-0, 9-7-0).
In districts, the picture isn’t quite as clear. Parkland still has two games remaining against East Stroudsburg South (4-13-0, 4-11-0) and Southern Lehigh (17-0-0, 16-0-0) and could wrap up the number-two seed behind Emmaus with wins in both games or they could sink lower with a loss in either or both of the games.
Ending the season with games on three straight days isn’t ideal, especially when two of those three games are against teams that are undefeated and are among the better programs in the Lehigh Valley. The competition level will certainly prepare Parkland for the competition they’ll face in the postseason.
“You have to play good teams like that,” said Millen. “Emmaus, of course, is a conference opponent and we have Southern Lehigh as a nonconference game. It lets you know where you’re at going into the postseason and provides a high level of competition for down the road.”