Girls soccer falls to Parkland in District 11 semifinal
Sarah Oswald knows a thing or two about soccer. At halftime of the District 11 semifinals, after observing 60 minutes of play between her team and the Lady Trojans from Parkland, she predicted that the scoreless game would need just one goal to determine a winner. She was right. That goal came from Parkland in a 1-0 game that sent the Trojans on to the district championship and ended the season for Emmaus with an 11-6-2 record.
Both teams had opportunities, including when Zoe Schutter twice had good looks at the goal and came away empty both times in the first half. The first time, goalie Alexa Ryan dove to make a big save and the second shot sailed harmlessly just over the crossbar.
Emmaus’ Kellie Reith also had a good look at the goal but Parkland goalie Zia Reed made a nice save on the shot.
The second half opened with Ava Hanna putting a shot high on the Emmaus net and Ryan leapt high enough to deflect the shot up and over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless. Later in the half, Ava Schaller launched a shot from about 50-feet out that Ryan couldn’t save, giving Schaller her 18th goal of the season.
“You can’t fault the effort of these kids, every single one of them,” said Oswald. “They executed the game plan and came with a bit of attacking personnel and a bit of a defensive change that we wanted to execute and they were fantastic. We had a ton of opportunities to finish but Ava Schaller found a bit of an opening for the goal, so kudos to her.”
Emmaus was only able to muster two shots on goal, with Reed being credited with one save and Teresa Gonzalez, who played the second half of the game, being credited with the other. Parkland had 13 shots on goal, with Ryan making one save after another.
While the shots on goal were pretty high for Parkland, the Emmaus defense overall played well, with many of the shots being from long distance or weaker shots that resulted in easier saves for Ryan.
“Our back line was excellent,” said Oswald. “We worked extensively on how important it was for our back line to stay tight and not allow seems down the middle and we wanted to keep everything wide. That’s exactly what they did. Anything that was served into the box they handled, so the back line play was excellent and probably the best I’ve seen them play all season.”
While the season ended on a frustrating note, players and coaches can look toward next season with excitement. The team loses seven seniors from its roster this season, but has 16 juniors returning for the 2019 season.
“That junior class is excellent and there’s a ton of talent in there and kids with varsity experience,” said Oswald. “Our kids coming from the JV level to varsity, I believe will be able to fill right into the spaces that we’ll have.
“We also have kids who are playing quality club soccer at higher levels, so that’s going to help them as we move through and prepare for next season.”
As for Parkland, it went on to beat Easton to win its third straight District 11 championship. Both Easton and Parkland earned spots in the PIAA tournament, which opens this week.