Rivals Parkland and Emmaus met for the District 11 championship in boys soccer last Thursday at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown.
The two teams are very familiar with each other, having played three other times this season, including in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, with the two teams playing to a scoreless tie in the first meeting and then splitting the next two games. With a trip to the PIAA playoffs on the line, Emmaus came away with a 2-0 win over the Trojans last week.
You can never count out a champion until the final whistle, or in this case the final point. Although it did not lose a game in the district championship match, the Parkland girls volleyball team was challenged by an upbeat Nazareth squad that jumped up and down and celebrated each and every point.
But in the end, the top seeded Trojans got the better of the Blue Eagles by scores of 25-17, 25-17, and 25-20 to win the District 11 Class AAA title for the fifth time in six years.
Even when they weren’t at their best, the Trojans found a way to win.
The Parkland football team bounced back nicely from a tough loss to Liberty a little over a month ago to finish the regular season on a high note at 9-1. The Trojans earned a co-championship in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. It’s their first title in the two-year old league.
With one goal achieved, Parkland has its eyes set on defending its district title when it opens the subregional playoffs Friday night against seventh seeded Delaware Valley. The No. 2 seed Trojans have faced Warriors several times over the last four years.
Two weeks ago, Parkland junior Hailemichael Geiger finished the district cross country meet in ninth place. Unfortunately, he was facing an iron deficiency at the end of that race that required immediate medical attention.
About a week and a half later, Geiger returned on the biggest stage of the season at Saturday’s PIAA Cross Country Championships in Hershey. And he capped his season with arguably his best performance of the fall.
For a team that focuses on defense, the Parkland girls soccer team showed a whole lot of offense to win the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship, downing Pleasant Valley 5-1 last week in a game played at Nazareth’s Andrew S. Leh Stadium. The win gave the Lady Trojans (20-1) their second straight conference title and their fourth in the last five seasons.
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.”