Girls soccer ends Trojan win streak
Emmaus coach Sarah Oswald obviously had a big smile on her face after her team beat rival Parkland 2-1 last week. As someone whispered something to her, the smile somehow got even bigger. What she was told was that the win by her team snapped a 70-game Parkland win streak against District 11 opponents.
“I had no idea about that streak,” said Oswald. “It just feels good to get a good win and this is a team that has consistently come after us and has had the better side of the draw and we were able to put our best effort on the field.”
There were two keys to the win for Emmaus. The first was getting off to a fast start, which the Hornets did when Grace Eisenhard fired a free-kick from 25 yards out that sailed over the head of Parkland goalkeeper Zia Reed to put Emmaus up 1-0.
“I just took a deep breath, put my head down and struck it,” said Eisenhard, a junior. “I was trying to aim for the corner and it got high.
“We came out really hard and finished well. It was important to set the tone to tell them that we’re ready to play and had worked hard. We needed this win.”
The second key was communication. Kellie Reith put Emmaus up 2-0 with 15:07 left to play in the first half. Parkland came back with a goal from Louise Gottwald with 4:17 left to play in the half.
When the teams came out for the second half, the Trojans were on a mission to tie the game and put a lot of pressure on goalie Alexa Ryan and the Emmaus defense. The Hornets withstood the pressure and consistently found ways of clearing the ball out of their defensive zone.
“With the amount of backs that we substituted into our back line, we had to communicate,” said Oswald. “There were players that we had not featured in a varsity game and this was the first one that they were featured in. Morgan [Dill] and Liz [Andronis] were excellent tonight and they have not really played in varsity games before; I was super impressed with them. When we continue to rotate that back line, we have to communicate. They have a really good attacking presence and we had to know where they were and what was coming at our goal.”
The strong defensive performance was augmented by the outing by junior goalkeeper Alexa Ryan, who made one diving save after another to prevent Parkland goals.
“Alexa was fantastic,” said Oswald. “She made really difficult saves and made the saves that she was supposed to and she really gave us a presence of consistency in our goal. Every game she impresses me a little more, so I don’t think this is all we’re going to see from Alexa.”
The win against Parkland was the first victory over the Trojans for Oswald as a coach. Last season, Parkland beat Emmaus four times, twice in the regular season and then twice in the postseason.
The win also put a bull’s-eye on the backs of the Hornets.
In their follow-up game against Nazareth, the Blue Eagles were the team coming out strong and they scored four times to shutout Emmaus 4-0 to hand the Hornets their first loss of the season. Against Parkland, Emmaus converted two of their three shots on goal. They were again limited somewhat in shots against Nazareth, being outshot 16-7.
Parkland coach Al Haddad wasn’t unhappy with how his team played and credited Emmaus with coming up with a game plan that led them to the win.
“You have to congratulate them,” said Haddad. “They’ve been getting tougher and tougher every time that we play them and today they played a great game and had a good plan that they executed well. Hats off to Sarah and her team because they played a great game.”