Parkland Press

Monday, December 9, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland’s Mikayla Brunnabend chases a loose ball during the league title game. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland’s Mikayla Brunnabend chases a loose ball during the league title game. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_

Hornets get past Trojans in EPC final

Thursday, October 24, 2019 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Parkland field hockey advanced to the East Penn Conference finals last week looking for its first conference championship since 2003.

Unfortunately for the Lady Trojans, they ran into Emmaus, which was able to take a 3-1 win over Parkland to record its fifth straight EPC championship.

While the Hornets were able to dominate much of the play, Parkland made the most of its opportunities and the game was tied 1-1 for most of the contest.

The Parkland defense made a point of containing Emmaus’ Annika Herbine, who had 48 goals on the season coming into the game. When the Hornets did get in position to get a quality shot, goalkeeper Tess Garchinsky was there to make the stop, putting on an impressive display to keep Parkland close.

“She was phenomenal, honestly,” said Trojan head coach Lizzie Millen about her sophomore goalkeeper. “For as young as she is and for how she has stepped up and progressed every game this season, I was shocked with what she produced.

“She made some big plays and she made some minor mistakes, but that’s how the game went. Overall, I am super impressed with how much she’s grown this season.”

In the first 14 minutes of the game, Emmaus collected eight penalty corners, but scored on just one of them when Maddi Bruns took a pass from Abby Burnett and pushed it past Garchinsky for the early 1-0 lead.

After the first 14 minutes, Emmaus wouldn’t get another penalty corner for the rest of the first half and nearly four minutes of the second half.

Parkland’s first corner of the game didn’t come until the clock was down to 14:15 left in the first half and the Trojans weren’t able to convert on the opportunity. Shortly after that opportunity though, Parkland’s Erica Steele was in the right place to tap a ball past Emmaus goalkeeper Bailey Teitz to tie the game.

“[Steele] got the tip, but also on defense, she had an amazing game,” said Millen. “I was really happy with how [Steele] played and how she took a leadership role out on the field.”

Much of the second half saw both defenses stopping their opponents from getting too deep into their territory. Parkland had an especially difficult time attempting to get shots on goal and Millen called a timeout with just over six minutes left in the game.

Emmaus made a strategic change during the timeout, switching Herbine and Burnett’s positions. The change worked and both players picked up late goals within a minute of each other to put the game out of reach.

“We really had to evaluate our press and how we attacked them last time,” said Millen. “We were kind of set up for more of a large-hitting team and Emmaus is much more skilled and they pass a lot more than other teams in the league, so we had to reassess what we were doing in the press and that really worked for us. It held them back for an extended period of time and we even got a goal out of it.”

The final numbers showed that Emmaus had 23 shots on goal, compared to just the one by Steele that was parlayed into Parkland’s lone goal. Emmaus also had 17 penalty corners in the game, compared to just six for Parkland.

Parkland seniors Maddie Molchany and Olivia Vaccari, who assisted on Steele’s goal, were both named EPC First-Team All-Stars. Steele and junior Aubrey Semler were both placed on the conference’s Second-Team of All-Stars.

Parkland comes into the District 11 tournament as the number-two seed and will play seventh seeded Stroudsburg in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The situation is the reverse of when the two teams met in both the conference and district playoffs three years ago and the Mounties downed Parkland 1-0 in both games to ultimately end their season. As for the Parkland and Emmaus rivalry, the two teams could meet for a third time should they both continue on to the district finals.

“We’re hoping to see them again,” said Millen of a potential rematch with the Hornets. “The girls are great about adapting and they study film constantly, so the fact that we were able to incorporate a lot of things was really amazing.”