Winning looked effortless for Parkland during Saturday’s East Penn Conference volleyball championship. The Trojans swept past Liberty 25-18, 25-13, 25-16 to claim their sixth straight league title, dating back to the former Lehigh Valley Conference.
For head coach Mike Krause, Saturday was another notch in their belt on their already perfect season.
“We try to focus on just playing,” said Krause. “Our goal is to just do your job and implement the strategy we’ve put forth in every game. That keeps their focus on what their job is, more so than the outcome of the match.”
It was a goal the Parkland boys cross country team had set back in the summer. The Trojan harriers knew they had the talent to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
Following an unbeaten regular season at 17-0, Parkland accomplished that feat by capturing the EPC Cross Country Championship Meet team title last Tuesday at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Club. Four Trojan boys finished in the top 10 runners to edge Easton by nine points in the team standings.
This may be coach Lizzie Millen’s first year on the job, but there’s no denying that she knows how to work with her players. Key reminders from Millen played a big part in Parkland’s 1-0 win over Pocono Mountain East in the first round of the District 11 Class AAA field hockey playoffs.
After playing a scoreless first half, Millen sat her players down at intermission and reminded them about the game plan that they came into the game with, but had somehow strayed from during their first 30 minutes on the field.
In a matchup of two of the top teams contending for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference South Division, special teams play was a vital aspect last Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium.
Parkland began three of its first four drives on Freedom’s side of the field, and they took advantage, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal in building a 17-0 lead right out of the gates.
The Patriots couldn’t dig themselves out of the early hole, dropping their first game of the season 38-7.
Three weeks ago the Parkland football team was in a bad spot. Getting beat by Liberty at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium, there seemed to be nothing good that the Trojans could do. It was the first loss of the season, and one that stings to this day.
“What happened to us a couple of weeks ago, we challenged the kids,” said head coach Jim Morgans. “They expect it to come from us, but our leadership, our captains, they were embarrassed by that. They stepped up their game.”
There’s a little-known fact about Humpty Dumpty: he would be able to coach the Parkland boys soccer team even in a conference final. At least that’s what assistant coach Scott Mang said about taking over the team for a game while head coach Patrick Birns served a one-game suspension. Mang did a solid job in leading Parkland to a 3-2 win over Pocono Mountain East and the fourth conference title in seven seasons for the Trojans.
Parkland’s top two singles tennis players paired up for last week’s District 11 doubles tournament.
Patricia Yao and Madi Staiman earned the No. 7 seed in the tournament and won their first two matches last Wednesday before falling to the No. 2 see Friday in the quarterfinal round.
“To make it to the quarterfinals in district doubles is definitely a great accomplishment, especially give their youth,” Parkland head coach Michael Haingston. “They haven’t had a chance to play a whole lot of doubles together.
In Parkland’s loss to Liberty in week 6, the Trojans didn’t look like the same team that took the field the first five weeks of the season. The loss two weeks ago had ugly moments on both sides of the ball, but it was the Parkland defense that could not stop the Hurricanes when it needed to most.
Last Friday night was a different story. The Parkland defense showed up to play and dominated Easton, forcing five turnovers and not allowing the Red Rovers to reach the end zone in a 21-3 victory at Cottingham Stadium.
The good news for Parkland field hockey is that it qualified for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament. The bad news is that they it drew top-seeded Emmaus in the first round and lost 4-1.
Sophomore Allie Bianco scored the lone goal for the Lady Trojans with 17:50 left to play.
Back to the good news, Parkland (6-7-1 EPC, 10-8-1 overall) has some time to prepare for the District 11 Class AAA playoffs, which begin next week.
Parkland and Emmaus combined to score one goal in their two regular season meetings, but the Trojans erupted – if you can call it that – with two goals in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals to beat the Hornets 2-0 and advance to the conference championship against the Pocono Mountain East Cardinals, who are now 16-2 in the EPC and 18-2 overall on the season.
The Cardinals downed Stroudsburg 2-1 in overtime in the other EPC semifinal.