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Big second half lifts Emmaus over PHS

Parkland boys soccer head coach Patrick Birns couldn’t have asked for a better start against one of the East Penn Conference’s top teams last week in rival Emmaus.

But despite that momentum and an early 1-0 lead, Birns expected Emmaus to come out of halftime looking like a different team. And the Hornets certainly did.

Emmaus tied the game not even four minutes into the second half, then punched in the go-ahead score just before the midpoint of the second half. The Hornets held on for the 2-1 win last Wednesday night, to even their season series after Parkland took the first game of the season back in September.

“I think in the second half we just committed too many fouls because we were a little lazy on defense,” Birns said. “We’re behind the guy instead of where we needed to be on goal side. We tried to talk about it at halftime and challenged them, but we gave up too many fouls.”

Tied at 1-1, Emmaus’s speed and ball movement were on point coming out of intermission. The Hornets, however, earned a bit of a break when Parkland was called for a handball inside the box.

Thomas Hanvey took the penalty kick and ripped it by Trojan goalie Victor Baran for the equalizer.

“The second half, the first 10 minutes was all theirs,” Birns said. “They kept coming at us, coming at us and coming at us. They are a restart team, and that is what they do. Because they were playing a little bit higher pressure and moved some guys around, the second half was the difference.”

Emmaus built off that easy goal early in the second half. Not even 12 minutes later Eric Johnson placed a perfect ball in front of Parkland’s goal, and Alex Aiken was there to head the ball into the back of the net.

Parkland was outshot 5-3 in the second half and struggled to match the Hornets’ energy to open the final 40 minutes.

Early on, however, it was all Parkland, especially in the hustle category. Following Justin Douglas’s shot that was saved by Hornet goalie Alex Tomasello, Jordan Madise cleaned up a loose ball in front of the goal to put the Trojans ahead in the 20th minute.

“I think the first 10 or 15 minutes, the pace we were playing at and how quick we were playing was great,” Birns said. “We were able to find a lot of space in their shape, and then I thought we held the ball too long in the second half. We took too many touches instead of just keep moving it.”

Parkland fell to Northampton two days later, 1-0.

The Trojans close out the regular season at Whitehall on Thursday at 7 p.m. The EPC quarterfinals are set to begin on Saturday. Time, opponent and location will be determined after the regular season concludes on Thursday.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland's Zackary Vozzo and Yuzuki Morales (22) batte for a ball during an early-season game against Central Catholic. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_