Girls battle undefeated Trojans to double OT
Even though Parkland has gone undefeated so far this season, one could make an argument that Emmaus (15-8-1) had the momentum coming into the District 11 Class 4A girls soccer championship, thanks to dominating the second half of play against the Lady Trojans in the league championship. Emmaus played a near-perfect game last week, taking Parkland to double-overtime before falling 1-0 to finish as the silver medalists in District 11.
“We didn’t really talk about a game plan coming into this one,” said coach Sarah Oswald. “Because of how well we played against them in the second half of the semifinals in the EPC championship, we just said ‘look, you know what needs to be done and you’ve done it before, and that’s the same thing that we’re going to need.’ So, a game plan wasn’t really what we talked about today, but it really was the effort and the attitude and the grit that it takes to win a game like this tonight.”
The winning goal came off a corner taken by freshman Jocelyn Fowler that Helen Flynn headed toward the goal. The ball then deflected slightly off an Emmaus player and then off the fingertips of goalie Alexa Ryan.
“When a ball is put in a dangerous spot and there’s a bunch of kids in the area, it’s either going to go in or out and it found the back of the net today,” said Oswald. “It’s unlucky for us based on the effort that we gave today.”
In the three previous meetings between Emmaus and Parkland, Brooke Schutter, the conference MVP, scored two goals against the Hornets. In the latest battle, Schutter was held scoreless, which doesn’t often happen to the Duquesne University recruit who has topped the 100-goal milestone in her high school career.
“All of our four backs tonight were excellent in keeping the plays in front of them, staying close and making them play wide, which is where we want them to play,” said Oswald. “Brooke’s a fantastic forward and she’s hurt us a bunch in her four years at Parkland and that was one player that we really wanted to manage tonight. She had some shots and opportunities, but they weren’t the quality ones that she’s seen before. Grace [Eisenhard] and Rachael [Miller] as our center-backs did a fantastic job and they’ve been playing against the best forwards all year and do a fantastic job.”
Emmaus now enters the state playoffs where it will have a slightly more difficult road than it would have had if the Hornets were to have won districts. Instead of playing close to home, they traveled to Upper Perkiomen High School in Pennsburg for their first-round match against Spring-Ford, the runner-up from District One. That game was played after Press deadline.
The Hornets are playing well and have garnered a lot of respect from opposing coaches, including Parkland’s Al Haddad who noted the determination and improvement in Emmaus since having played them in the season opener, which Parkland won 5-0.
“I believe this is the best that we’ve played all season,” said Oswald. “The kids have bought in and have started believing in themselves like the coaching staff has believed in them all season. We knew this was a talented team and a special group, but they had to see it and believe it for themselves and that’s the effort that we’re seeing. They play together well. They believe in themselves and believe in each other and it’s really, really fun to watch them play right now.”