Molchany’s goals send field hockey to EPC championship
As the time expired on the scoreboard at Whitehall High School Tuesday evening, the Parkland field hockey team rushed the field and celebrated.
No, the Trojans didn’t win any hardware, yet. But the program achieved a first for all of the team’s players and it’s head coach.
Senior Madison Molchany scored two goals and sophomore goalie Tess Garchinsky and her defense stepped up when they needed to most in the second half as Parkland defeated Easton 2-1 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals.
It’s the first finals appearance for fifth-year head coach Lizzie Millen and her players.
“We knew this was going to be a big year for us, we just didn’t know how big it was actually going to be,” said Millen. “To see how far we’ve made it so far, we’re just ecstatic. But we aren’t looking ahead. We’re rolling with it and playing one day at a time.”
Molchany recorded her first tally of the game with 18:18 left in the opening half when she found herself in front of the cage and slotted home a shot to score the game’s first goal.
The lead did not last long, however, as the Red Rovers got onto the scoreboard 4:03 later as Lanie Stem found the back of the cage to tie the score 1-1.
But once again, Molchany broke through, scoring her second goal of the game, which proved to be the game winner 5:21 before halftime.
“We always tell them to put shots on cage and anything can happen,” Millen said. “Maddie did that tonight and was in the right spot for her goals.”
In the second half, Garchinsky and her defense came up big, not allowing the tying goal as Easton outshot Parkland 6-3 during that 30-minute span. Garchinsky finished with four saves on the night.
“Our defense has always been a strong point for us this season and they definitely displayed it here today,” Millen said. “I think Tess was a big part of it tonight and had a great game. For being just a sophomore and being a first-year varsity starter, she’s really come on strong towards the end of the year and understood her own game. It shows now in big games like these in big moments how she handles herself.”
In the quarterfinal round, second-seeded Parkland defeated Stroudsburg. It was an important win for the program, not only to advance to the semifinals, but because the Mounties have continuously been a thorn in the Trojans side in the postseason in the Millen era.
“This was my first year beating Stroudsburg, and we beat them twice,” said Millen. “We’ve put in the work over the years and the girls in the program understand the way we want them to play. It took time and repetition to get to where we wanted them to be. Now we’re able to win these close games when we were the ones losing those one-goal battles.”
The Trojans (16-1 overall) earned the No. 2 seed for the league playoffs and opened the postseason with a win 4-0 over Stroudsburg Saturday in the quarterfinal round.
Parkland will take on top seed Emmaus in the EPC final Thursday.