The Parkland girls volleyball team hasn’t just been a frequent visitor to the state playoffs. It has been a postseason stalwart that’s put together lengthy postseason runs, including PIAA titles in 2014 and 2015.
This season’s team played its way into the state semifinals and there was a feeling of accomplishment for the Lady Tigers with only two returning starters.
For three quarters, it looked as if the Parkland football team and its seniors would be playing in their final game of the 2017 season. But just as champions do, the Trojans fought until the very end and came for the win.
The Nazareth volleyball team was playing some of its best volleyball all year heading into the District 11 Class 4A final last Thursday night at Whitehall High School. The Blue Eagles won three straight district matches, including against top Eastern Pennsylvania Conference members Emmaus and top seed Liberty. But, they met an even hotter team in postseason play.
Third-seeded Parkland defeated the fifth-seeded Blue Eagles in four sets by scores of 25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22.
Because of a quirk in the rules, only one team from District 11 earned a spot in the PIAA Class 4A soccer tournament this season. That made the District 11 championship all the more important and Parkland didn’t miss its chance to gain an invitation to states, downing Emmaus 2-0 to become the district champion.
Josh Kiser broke the ice with a goal 17 minutes into the game to give Parkland early momentum. That was be the only goal that Parkland would need, but the Trojans added a second with just over 20 minutes left in the game.
In just her first year running cross country, Parkland’s Maddie Zaun nearly tasted what the PIAA cross country meet was all about. She was one place shy of earning a trip to states a season ago.
But since that moment, she mad a promise to herself to reach Hershey in her second season. She came through on that promise last weekend.
In the biggest race of her career, on the most coveted stage for high school runners, Zaun capped a junior season in impressive fashion. She ran a time of 20:13 to pace the Parkland girls runners, placing 73rd out of the Class 3A 212 participants.
Senior leadership is great, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a young player come through with a big play in a big spot. That’s exactly what Jocelyn Fowler did when she took a corner kick for Parkland in the second overtime of the District 11 championship and played it perfectly, leading to the winning goal in a 1-0 game.
Why let a freshman take such an important kick? It turns out that Fowler was simply in the right place at the right time.
Parkland and Easton in the District 11 football playoffs. That’s nothing new, and it’s music to the ears of Trojans and Red Rovers fans, along with unbiased high school football fans in the Lehigh Valley.
These two teams have met in each of the last five district tournaments, with Parkland coming away as the victor in every one of them.
Each game has been close, however, and the two teams battle until the very end in this rivalry of two of the most successful programs in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11.
Patrick Birns isn’t fond of having to play teams over and over again, but as expected, his Trojans team is going to be facing Emmaus for a fourth time this season in the District 11 Championship. The meeting was set up when Parkland downed East Stroudsburg South 4-0 Tuesday night at Nazareth High School.
The Parkland girls volleyball team made quick work of Freedom last Tuesday night in the District 11 Class 4A semifinals at Allen High School’s Sewards Gymnasium, and now they find themselves one match win away from another district championship.
The Trojans dispatched of the Patriots in straight sets, winning 25-14, 25-15, 25-15.
After No. 7 seed Freedom beat second-seeded Delaware Valley in the quarterfinals, it met a Parkland program that is seasoned and vastly experienced in the postseason.
Both the Parkland and Liberty football programs have come a long way since their last matchup, back on week 3 of the regular season on September 8.
The Trojans (10-0 overall) have improved their passing game and overall defensive play, and the Hurricanes (4-6) have played better than their record indicates, winning on the last day of the season over rival and sixth-seeded Freedom.
The two will face off in the District 11 Class 6A quarterfinal round Friday night at Parkland School District Stadium.