Usually when a team holds a 1-0 lead in soccer, especially in a playoff game, there’s a little bit of nail-biting going on, but that’s not the case with Parkland. Their nails are in no danger of being chewed off, because they simply don’t play nervous soccer even with a one-goal lead. That’s how Parkland, 19-1 overall, staved off Nazareth to win 1-0 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals at J. Birney Crum Stadium Tuesday night.
The Parkland football team bounced back from its first loss of the season with a dominating win at Easton last Friday night. Now this weekend, the Trojans will face another test and look to take down Freedom (7-0), the only remaining unbeaten team in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
A week after the Trojan defense was burned by Liberty for 41 points, it did not allow a touchdown from the Red Rovers in taking a 21-3 victory.
If game one was any sign of what was to come, it was going to be a long night for Parkland at the Hornets Nest at Emmaus High School last Monday night in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game for Parkland.
It went to the final point, and every ball hit over the net received loud cheers from the large crowd in a playoff-like atmosphere, where pink was the color of choice for breast cancer awareness.
But Parkland showed why it is the defending PIAA champions and ranked as the top team in the state.
Following losses to Emmaus (3-0) and Liberty (2-1) on back-to-back days last week, the Trojan field hockey team had hopes of putting that mini skid behind them on Tuesday night in their final regular season road game.
Behind an all-around game from Grace Royer (2 goals, 1 assist), Parkland (10-6-1 overall, 6-5-1 in EPC) built a quick 2-0 lead in the first half and held on for the 3-1 decision over Nazareth (8-9, 4-9). The win strengthens the team’s position for a district playoff spot set to begin after next week’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Tournament.
No one, not the East Stroudsburg University coaching staff or the players, could have envisioned how last season played out. Especially after a 1-0 shutout loss against Kutztown in the Warriors’ season opener.
But the ESU women’s soccer team didn’t just respond from that loss. The Warriors put together a historic season on the field that ended with a spot in the record books.
The Parkland and Emmaus soccer programs are two of the better programs in the Lehigh Valley, so when they get together, great things tend to happen. In their first meeting of the season, the two teams played to a scoreless draw through two overtimes. The second meeting wasn’t much different.
Through the first 73 minutes of regulation, neither team was able to break through with a goal until Emmaus took advantage of a bad bounce and went up 1-0. That lone goal stood up for the Hornets, who walked off their home field with a win.
Alec Cwienkala had every reason to be bitter about Monday’s District 11 Championship Golf Tournament.
One bad break resulted in Cwienkala missing the cut for regionals by a single stroke.
But instead of wallowing in misery, the Trojans’ top player took it in stride.
“I wouldn’t say it’s easy but I just feel like you have to look at the positives,” he said. “Especially after playing so well. It’s rough to lose by one but I played well.”
In week 5 against Whitehall, Parkland faced its first deficit of the season. However, it didn’t take the Trojans long to erase that and take a lead against the Zephyrs.
But last Friday night in Parkland’s week 6 game at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium, it was a different story.
Liberty (5-1) scored 34 unanswered points and held on late to defeat the Trojans and hand them their first loss of the season 41-34.
Head coach Jim Morgans and the Parkland football team is checking the weather channel and hoping for a better environment on the turf as it travels to Bethlehem Area School District Stadium to face Liberty (4-1) Friday night.
Last Friday the Trojans had to come from behind for the first time all year, due in large part to sloppy conditions in the rain and wind to take down rival Whitehall 42-28.
Like Whitehall, Liberty’s offense runs through its senior quarterback. Doug Erney threw for four touchdowns last week as the Hurricanes held on to defeat Emmaus 34-31.
Maybe it was the rain, or the mud, or the wind. But none of the players or coaches will say it was.
Maybe it was the rivalry. That’s more likely the answer.
Whatever it was really had the Parkland football team in a funk last Friday night. The Trojans faced their first deficit of the season, down 8-0 and 14-13 to Whitehall before senior quarterback Devante Cross led the charge in a comeback for a 42-28 win at Parkland School District stadium.