Trojans’ depth too much for Tigers
Northwestern put together a tough challenge for the undefeated Parkland girls soccer team Monday night, but in the end, the Trojan’s depth became a big factor in the game as they took a 3-0 win over the Tigers.
Throughout much of the first half, Parkland (14-0-0 EPC, 16-0-0 overall) controlled play and fired some tough shots at goal keeper McKenna Amey, who was up to the challenge of having to dive for many of the saves that she made throughout the half.
“Kenna had a great game tonight,” said Northwestern head coach Kelly Bleam. “It was nice to see her challenged as much as she was and it was great to see Kenna so focused and stay in the game all night.”
With 6:59 left in the first half, Parkland was awarded a free kick taken by Penn State recruit Brooke Schutter, who fired the ball into the upper corner of the net just out of the reach of Amey to put Parkland up 1-0.
At halftime, Northwestern (9-1-1 Colonial, 14-2-1 overall) regrouped and came out on the attack, pushing much of the play into Parkland’s defensive zone early in the half. Just 25 seconds into the half Northwestern got its first shot on goal, but senior goalie Julia Buchman was able to tip it over the crossbar, leaving Northwestern with their first corner opportunity of the night and allowing them to keep pressuring Parkland.
Eventually, the Trojans regained control of the game as their depth started to wear down the Tigers on a hot, steamy night.
“I wish we had a little more depth, but I feel like the girls made some awesome adjustments at halftime that we were able to implement,” said Bleam. “Unfortunately, we ran out of steam and some things fell apart, but we’ll have that.”
The falling apart portion of the game came when Helen Flynn was able to fire a shot past Amey with 17:55 left to play to put Parkland up 2-0. The goal put the Tigers on their heels and just over two minutes later, Gabby Wilby scored to put the Lady Trojans up 3-0.
“We had a hard time matching up with some of their size and strength in their defensive end of the field versus our attacking players, which I’m sure that everybody would say that their size and strength is tough to match up with,” said Bleam. “Our inability to keep some fresh legs on the field was tough, but we are the team that we are and being small is one of the things that we have to overcome to be a successful team in the postseason.”
Bleam was anxious to put her team up to the challenge of playing the undefeated Lady Trojans and overall, was happy with the way that they responded. The game coming at this point on the schedule gives the players the opportunity to tune up for tough challenges in both the league and District 11 tournaments.
“It was a great challenge for us going into the postseason next week and good for us to see a team that does all of the little things right all the time in Parkland,” she said. “It reminds the girls of what those little things are and what we have to do to be sure that we’re effective in the postseason.”
The Tigers have wrapped up a spot in the Colonial League playoffs and could be seeded as high as first or as low as third. If Palisades (9-1-0, 15-1-0) and Northwestern tie, the Tigers would be the top seed because of their 2-0 win over the Lady Pirates during the regular season. If Northwestern, Palisades and Salisbury (8-1-1, 11-3-2) all wind up tied, it gets messy and could be determined by the outcome of the remaining games on the schedule.
If Salisbury downs both Moravian Academy and Southern Lehigh and still winds up tied for second with Northwestern, the lady Falcons would be the second seed thanks to their win over Northwestern during the regular season.