Parkland avenges early-season loss
Back on Sept. 6, nearly a month before their most recent meeting, the Emmaus girls volleyball team got the better of rival Parkland, coming back from down two sets to one, and getting an important early season win over a team that it has not found much success against of late.
But that was in the friendly confines of the Hornets Nest. Last Monday night, it was a different story.
The Trojans played with a ton of energy, not wanting to give up their home court advantage or be swept during the regular season, and won the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Skyline Division rematch by scores of 25-20, 22-25, 25-21 and 25-20 to hand the Green Hornets (13-1 EPC) their first loss in the conference.
“I always love playing in environments like this one tonight,” said head coach Gwen Millets of the lively crowd Monday at Parkland Gymnasium. “We have a home court advantage like this that we use. It’s good for the sport when so many people come out to support their team and are cheering loud. It felt like a playoff game.”
Parkland’s only loss in the league was to Emmaus. The teams will almost surely meet again come postseason time.
“We’re very similar teams in that we both have very good volleyball players that know how to compete,” Millets said. “These matches are always fun to be a part of.”
Parkland led for a majority of the first set. When the score was tied 9-9, the Trojans tallied the next point and never trailed from there. Emmaus answered by winning a pivotal second set to avoid going into a 2-0 hole.
The Trojans erased an 11-6 lead by the Green Hornets to take set three and hold all of the momentum. Emmaus also led in the fourth set, the last of which was at 14-13 before Parkland scored the next five points to take control and finish off the match.
“I thought we played really well tonight. They just played a little bit better,” said Millets. “Both teams played with a lot of energy which was great to see. But they (Parkland) were really up for this one.”
Senior Caroline Bond finished with six kills, 38 assists and 18 digs. Junior Macy Van Den Elzen tallied 17 kills, six digs and three service aces, and Jaya Bhagat had 14 kills and four digs. Rebecca Dalstad and Kelsie Baus recorded 26 and 12 digs respectively.
Emmaus finishes out the regular season with some difficult matches against Nazareth (Wednesday), Whitehall (Thursday), and Central Catholic in the regular season finale on Monday.
Before the match at Northampton last Thursday night, the Green Hornets and Kids showed support for Northampton head coach and Emmaus graduate Jess Finlayson, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in June.
Instead of wearing the team colors of each school, Emmaus and Northampton, and fans at the game, sported gray for the fight for cancer. Other schools such as Whitehall and Central Catholic also united for the cause.
“No one should ever have to go through something like that,” said Millets, who coached Finlayson and currently coaches her half-sister Becca Dalstad, a senior libero on Emmaus. “We love Jess and will always be here for her and her family”