According to many of the Parkland boys lacrosse players, 2016 was a successful year. Even though the Trojans did not achieve their end goal of a District 11 championship, they were one goal away from that elusive title, and advanced further than some Lehigh Valley lacrosse fans thought that they would.
“Playing for the Parkland program has truly been a blessing,” said senior goalie Joey Stevenson. “The coaches were awesome and the guys were a lot of fun through all four years.
Andrew Hillman graduated Tuesday night and is headed to Columbus, Ohio, in two months. But before that the Trojan alum can reflect on his boys volleyball career, one which saw the Ohio State commit accomplish a lot of success and garner a ton of accolades along the way.
Hillman was one of 12 graduating seniors from the 2016 Parkland team that won four straight league titles, three consecutive District 11 titles and a PIAA championship. They were three match wins from back-to-back state titles, but fell in the last game to eventual state champ Hempfield two weeks ago.
When Parkland boys basketball fans last saw their team, the Trojans were playing in the PIAA tournament with a team that featured four seniors who were all returning starters from the previous season.
Head coach Andy Stephens is tasked with replacing those four and two other seniors who gave him minutes off the bench.
Last Thursday night at Cedar Beach park in the Stellar Summer League, one of those returning players stepped up and help lead Parkland (5-1 overall) to a 56-35 win over Nazareth.
They knew they were bound to meet each other again. The Parkland and Hempfield boys volleyball teams played in a tightly contested four-match set a year ago in the PIAA state semifinals. They met in the same gym this year in the quarterfinal round. But this time, there was a different result.
The Trojans (20-2 overall) could not get out of an early hole in the fifth game, losing to the Black Knights 18-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-19 and 15-5 last Saturday afternoon at Exeter High School, ending their quest at a second straight state championship.
The Parkland girls lacrosse team was back in the PIAA tournament for the second time in program history, and the first time since 2014. After beating Easton to win the District 11 title, the Trojans advanced to the state playoffs led by a senior-laden lineup, with all six as starters.
Sage Barnett, Alex Borelli, Ana Emrick, Cat Gaffney, Lexi Rice and Sarah Stagaard all played in their final game last Wednesday evening at Northampton High School’s Al Erdosy Stadium in a 16-7 loss to Bishop Shanahan in the first round of the state tournament.
The last time the Parkland and Southern Lehigh boys lacrosse teams played, back on May 3, it was a one-goal game with the Spartans winning 14-13.
Last Thursday night at Northampton High School’s Al Erdosy Stadium, there was a very similar result, but this time a lot more riding on the game.
It was the ending that the Parkland girls lacrosse team was hoping for, just maybe not the opponent. The Trojans (17-5 overall) wanted a chance to win another District 11 championship, but they would have liked to have faced Southern Lehigh, the team that beat them in the final a year ago. The Spartans were also the last District 11 opponent to get the better of Parkland.
It was a familiar atmosphere last Wednesday night at Easton Area Middle School.
For the third consecutive year, the two teams battling for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title, were the top two teams in the league all year. And once again, top seeded Parkland got the better of second seed Emmaus in three games (25-15, 25-20, 25-18).
It was the second time this season that the Green Hornets (15-2 overall) were swept by the Trojans (17-1 overall) as the defending state champs achieved the first of three primary goals for this season.
The Parkland and Emmaus girls lacrosse teams met for the third time this year when they squared off last Monday night in the District 11 semifinals at Northampton High School’s Al Erdosy Stadium.
Ten first-half goals, and a stout defensive unit, guided the Trojans to a 14-9 win over the Green Hornets in the district semifinals.
It was the Trojans’ third straight win over Emmaus this season.
Parkland boys lacrosse head coach Brad Schifko could be heard in the post-game huddle telling his players that nobody outside of their program had any faith in them or believed that they would win.
But high-intensity play on both ends of the field led the Trojans to a 12-7 win against top seed Easton Tuesday night in the District 11 semifinal at Northampton Area High School’s Al Erdosy Stadium.
It was the second win for Parkland in the district tournament, after falling in their first game last year. They took down rival Emmaus 14-6 last Thursday in the quarterfinal round.