Every year the debate over whether or not it’s a good idea to end playoff soccer games with penalty kicks arises.
This year, the Lady Trojans are part of the discussion as they came up just short of a trip to the PIAA semifinals because of a game decided on penalty kicks. Parkland fell to Pennridge 3-2, losing the penalty kick phase by a 4-3 score.
Things opened well for Parkland with two quick goals before the midway point of the first half.
After every Parkland girls soccer win, head coach Al Haddad hands out mini Snickers bars to his players. He continues that at practice from time-to-time, so his players decided it would be appropriate to show up for practice on Halloween and do a little trick or treating. They left their warm up gear in their backpacks and showed up in Halloween costumes. It turns out that the day after Halloween, they got their real treat - a fourth straight district championship thanks to a 5-1 bombarding of Easton.
The seniors on this year’s Parkland field hockey team were freshmen when head coach Lizzie Millen took over the program for the 2015 season. The team has played well for Millen over the four years, but the one thing it hasn’t been able to do is beat rival Emmaus.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, they drew Emmaus in the first round of both the EPC and District 11 playoffs and had their season ended with a 7-0 loss in districts. The teams also met in a regular season finale in which Emmaus won 9-1.
In a game dominated by Parkland through most of the play, the Lady Trojans pulled off a 1-0 shutout of Emmaus in the District 11 soccer semifinals. The win guarantees Parkland a spot in the PIAA tournament and also a shot at a third straight district title when they face Easton Thursday night. The Lady Rovers (16-4) reached the finals by virtue of a 1-0 double-overtime win over Whitehall (17-4) in the other semifinal matchup. Parkland and Easton didn’t meet in either the regular season nor the postseason.
The Trojans came out firing thanks to a goal by junior Jackson Vanderpool less than two minutes into their District 11 semifinal game, but Emmaus responded well and finished Parkland’s season with a 3-2 win in a game played at Whitehall High School’s sports complex. Emmaus will now face Freedom in the district championship game.
Playing against arguably one of the hottest teams in the Lehigh Valley, Parkland stayed calm throughout a scoreless regulation and then found a shot about a third of the way through overtime to pick up a 1-0 win over Nazareth in Saturday’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title game. The win gave the Lady Trojans their fifth straight EPC championship.
Throughout the game, Parkland (16-2) had the better of play, but Nazareth was no slouch. The two teams seemed to keep much of the play in the middle of the field with both teams making an occasional run on the other team’s goal.
The Parkland and Easton football programs have a lot of rich tradition of winning. At least one of the two teams has played in the district final every year since 1996.
But when squaring off against each other on the gridiron over the last half decade, the results have been rather one-sided in favor of the Trojans.
Parkland had won the last seven meetings dating back to the 2014 season, including a couple of games in the district tournament. It had also outscored Easton 235-37 in that span.
But that all changed last Friday night.
“This is a sweeter victory than anything else.”
That’s how Parkland coach Al Haddad summed up his team’s fifth straight Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship Saturday after beating Nazareth 1-0 in overtime.
While Haddad wasn’t going to compare his current team to previous teams, he was quick to talk about how satisfying this year’s win is and the fact that it feels a little more special than the others because of the adversity that the team faced during the regular season.
The Parkland girls soccer team was looking for a little bit of revenge against Emmaus Monday.
The Hornets snapped the Trojans’ 70-game District 11 winning streak earlier this season.
In the bigger picture though, the game between the two rivals held a lot of meaning in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference as both teams look to fit into the conference playoff picture as the regular season winds down.
Parkland (12-2-0 EPC, 14-2-0 overall) got both the revenge it wanted and the key win it needed by topping Emmaus 3-1.
Nobody knew it at the time, but a 1-0 loss to Whitehall on October 24, 2014 turned out to be the last time that Parkland lost to a District 11 opponent for almost four years. The Lady Trojans won 70 straight games when they were paired up against a team from their own district.
That streak came to an end last week when Emmaus beat Parkland 2-1 at Memorial Field at Emmaus High School.