East Penn Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBEmmaus’ Andrew Gaines tries ot control the ball in between a pair of Parkland players. Copyright - DonHerb                                               PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBEmmaus’ Andrew Gaines tries ot control the ball in between a pair of Parkland players. Copyright - DonHerb

Emmaus falls to PHS in season opener

Monday, September 11, 2017 by CJ HEMERLY Special to the Press in Sports

The Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer teams have been putting aside their heated rivalry, and instead have been coming together of late to play for a good cause.

For the fifth straight year, the Green Hornets and Trojans met on the field the Red Card Cancer Game, showcasing awareness for the illness and helping out a local family in need.

The teams wore uniquely colored shirts in pre-game warm-ups, and posed for a photo following the game with the words ‘Fight Cancer.’

The meaning of the game was a win, but the outcome wasn’t as good for Emmaus.

Parkland scored a goal in each half, and for the most part shut down the defending district champion Emmaus’ attack, winning the season opener for both teams 2-0 last Friday afternoon at Memorial Field.

The Hornets came out sluggish in the first half. The Trojans controlled possession and chances on goal, while Emmaus could not get anything going in the offensive third.

“We played slow and that put us in a hole early,” said Hornet head coach John Cari. “That’s always tough to be the one scored on first, especially in the opening game. But I’m happy with the way they responded and made adjustments.”

With Parkland controlling the play in the midfield, the Trojans were able to string together quick and successful passes to create their chances.

Early on in the sixth minute, junior forward Cavin Geiger received a pass and lifted his right foot to give a quick flick to senior forward Josh Kiser standing inside the box. Kiser took one touch and fired a shot quick and low that just got under the arms of a diving Emmaus goalie Sam Cho (2 saves).

The Trojans outshot the Green Hornets 4-0 in the first half and held onto that one goal lead into halftime.

But Cari made some second half adjustments. His players created more opportunities on net and took more of the shots on goal and gave themselves a chance to get back into the game.

“I think we were able to put more pressure on them because of some changes we saw,” Cari said. “It was unfortunate with the goals they scored, maybe we could’ve prevented those. But they went in and we weren’t able to finish like we would’ve liked too.”

But Parkland senior goalie Jacob Varrato is a returning Eastern Pennsylvania Conference All-Star, and once again was difficult to score on. In the 58th minute, he stoned a breakaway opportunity by senior midfielder Max Hirschhorn.

With the shots not finding the back of the net, the Hornets found themselves in a bigger hole in the 66th minute when Connor Burke took a shot that was blocked off a defender but landed right to him. He then took a quick kick and slotted a goal into the corner to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.

From there, the Parkland defense held firm and watched the clock run out for the win. The Trojans last game of 2016 was also against Emmaus, a game won in penalty kicks by the Hornets in the District 11 final.

Emmaus has home games against Whitehall and Nazareth on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, before a showdown at Central Catholic on Monday, September 11.