The defending PIAA Class 3A champion Parkland boys volleyball team is off to the start it were hoping for. The Trojans came fast out of the gate, going 17-1-2 in their first 20 matches, including wins over Derry High School (No. 5 in state in Class 2A) and Pennridge (No. 3 in Class 3A). The only defeat came last weekend against Northeastern (No. 1 in Class 2A) in the Bobcat Invitational Tournament, which the Trojans finished second overall.
Following a 10-5 loss last Saturday morning to Wilson-West Lawn, Parkland boys lacrosse head coach Brad Schifko wanted his team to respond.
The team bounced back in a big way with a 17-1 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference victory against Freedom last Monday afternoon at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
“We came out flat and played like that all game,” Schifko said of the Saturday loss. “I couldn’t understand it because I know what this team is capable of, and they showed that here today [against Freedom]. This is what I expect of them every game.”
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. That is a saying that Parkland girls lacrosse head coach Dawn Cipolla is living by early on in 2016. She made sure that quality competition from outside of the area was on the schedule for the early part of the year to prepare her team for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 portion of the season.
When the Parkland boys lacrosse team lost to Easton 8-6 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference final a year ago, nobody around the program dropped their head. They expected to be there and to win that game, but also knew better things were coming.
But with an upset in their next game against Central Catholic in the District 11 first round, the Trojans season surprisingly ended earlier than most had hoped.
When a team wins its conference championship, and is one win shy of a district title, there is usually not much of a rebuilding process the following year.
That is true to an extent for the Parkland girls lacrosse team, which finished 2015 at 19-3 and earned last year’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship. The Trojans were runner-up in the District 11 playoffs to Southern Lehigh.
Each year the high school basketball season wraps up with a special event, not only for senior players, but also for a group of youngsters who may never get the chance to suit up in a varsity basketball game.
The 41st annual All-Star game was held last Saturday at Northampton Community College and featured representatives from 35 high schools around the Lehigh Valley. The Classic raises funds to support Via of the Lehigh Valley’s services for children and adults with disabilities and promotes community involvement.
Jim Morgans is a Lehigh Valley guy. He did not spend his whole life here, but he made his mark.
After graduating from Allentown Central Catholic in 1964, Morgans headed down south for the next five years of his life. He attended junior college in Texas before finishing up his business degree and enjoying a football playing career in Louisiana.
But it was always about the Lehigh Valley, and Allentown in particular, that Morgans wanted to be a part of. And he loved football.
For the last couple of seasons the Parkland softball team has been led by an experienced battery. Their pitcher and catcher seemingly had a ton of varsity experience under their belts each and every year. But in 2015, the Trojans relied on the arm of a sophomore.
Aubree Fritzinger did not disappoint, going 27-1 and posting a 1.41 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 27 walks in 154 innings in her first year as a varsity starter leading. She helped Parkland to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, District 11 and PIAA state titles, their first one since 2009.
The Parkland baseball team will have a whole new look when it opens the season on March 30 at home against Easton.
Not only did the Trojans graduate a ton of major contributors, including Eastern Pennsylvania Conference MVP Chris Rabasco, and All-EPC pitcher Connor Higgins, former head coach Tony Galucy resigned to spend more time with his family.
The Parkland boys volleyball team went as far as any team could last year, and won more games than any other team in program history has.
When the Trojans knocked off District 7 champ Fox Chapel 3-1 in the state title match, Parkland capped a perfect season at 24-0.
And with a majority of that team returning, the Trojans have their eyes set on repeating.