EHS stuns Trojans in title game
The Parkland boys lacrosse team has not only been a thorn in the side of Emmaus over the last couple of years, but it has also given the same feeling to every other District 11 boys program.
The Trojans had won the last two district championships, and grabbed a couple of Eastern Pennsylvania Conference titles along the way. They entered this year’s district title game undefeated at 20-0.
But this was a different year, and the Green Hornets wanted to turn the tide. The Hornets had won three straight championships from 2013-15 and had a team this year capable to returning the program to the championship level.
It even took Emmaus more than four quarters to come out on top as the two teams went to overtime before senior Evan Bhagat found the back of the net 1:14 into the extra period to send the Green Hornets, and some of their fans, into celebration mode, storming the field after a 7-6 victory last Friday night at Lehigh University’s Ulrich Sports Complex.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Bhagat said. “We knew that Parkland has been the favorite the last two years, but we knew that we were right there with them this year. We could tell in the regular season that it was close between us. Today, we proved that we’re the better team.”
Bhagat scored a game-high three goals, none bigger than the golden-goal to send Emmaus (15-7 overall) into the PIAA Class 3A tournament and end Parkland’s season.
Bhagat ran toward the net in the middle of the Trojans zone, took a pass from Bailey O’Connor, and sent home the winner with a forceful shot.
“I saw Bailey with the ball,” said Bhagat. “I saw my (defender) take a step back. I cut for it, (Bailey) just fed me and I finished it. I knew I gave it a good shot. I got laid out, so I didn’t get to see it go in, but it felt great coming off my stick.
“It was sheer adrenaline. My teammates swarmed me. It was a dog pile. It felt amazing.”
After the first quarter it looked as if it was going to be another Parkland championship run, as the Trojans led 2-0. But the Hornets owned the second quarter and took control of the game, outscoring the Trojans 3-0 to take a 3-2 advantage into halftime.
The score was 4-4 after three quarters and was 5-5 in the fourth when Emmaus’ Michael Leschinsky scored off a feed from Zach Whalen with 4:31 remaining in the contest. But Parkland would not go away and knotted the score at 6-6 with 1:10 left in regulation. Parkland even had a chance to score in the final possession, but a shot failed to go in.
Bhagat and Emmaus then made sure to make quick work of Parkland in overtime.
“Today, we finally focused on our time of possession,” Bhagat said. “Our defense had its matchups. It was a good, hard win. It was a low-scoring game, but we pulled through.”
Emmaus me District 12 runner-up, St. Joseph’s Prep, in the PIAA First Round on Tuesday.