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Dang, Hornets oust Trojans from playoffs

Tuesday night at J. Birney Crum Stadium, Parkland and Emmaus played their typical close, physical game in the semifinal round of the District 11 boys soccer tournament.

The Trojans managed to become the first East Penn Conference team to score more than one goal against the Hornets, but Emmaus was able to get the third goal of the game with 3:25 remaining in the first overtime period for a 3-2 win.

Things started out with the Hornets misfiring on some opportunities, including putting a direct kick just over the crossbar with 15:25 left in the first half. Meanwhile, Parkland was given a direct kick a short while later and although it was initially defended, Sam Masenheimer, who took the kick, took control of the rebound off a wall of Emmaus defenders and was able to slide a pass to teammate Logan Thrash, who fired on goal and gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead.

Parkland never trailed throughout the game, but Emmaus never allowed the Trojans to take a two-goal advantage or to enjoy the lead for too long.

Just minutes after Parkland got the first goal of the game, Emmaus tied the game on a goal from Marcus Puentes with less than four minutes left before halftime.

Neither team held much of an advantage in the second half, but Parkland again got a go-ahead goal in the second half and again, it was Masenheimer playing a rebound that put Parkland ahead.

The senior midfielder took a rebound off the hands of goalie Colin Wilson and put it into the back of the net for a short-lived 2-1 lead.

Just 25 seconds later Ryan Kiernan scored for Emmaus to again tie the game.

“You always know that Emmaus isn’t going to quit, right?” said Parkland head coach Scott Mang. “They got that first goal pretty quickly after we took a lead and then they did it to us again late in the game when they came right back to tie the game. I don’t know if we were just celebrating a little after those goals or what happened, but they just kept coming at us tonight like they always do.”

The game nearly ended in regulation, but Parkland goalie Daniel Sipling made an athletic play to tip a shot over the crossbar and onto the top of the net. As regulation went under the six-minute mark, Emmaus had another shot kiss the crossbar and go over the net.

The golden goal for Emmaus came off a set piece from the Hornets when they were awarded a corner late in the first overtime period. Brayden Dang, who is known more for his defense than his scoring, found himself in a crowd of players at the mouth of the goal and was able to break through the crowd to put the ball into the goal and end the game.

The loss ends the season for Parkland (19-4-0) while Emmaus (18-2-1) will play in Thursday night’s finals against fourth seed Freedom, who upset top seed and EPC champion Northampton 5-3 to advance to the finals. The Hornets advance to the district final for the 13th consecutive season.

“It’s tough to lose this way but somebody has to go,” said Mang. “I told the guys that unless you’re a state champion, you’re going to lose [the last game of the season]. Last year we had what they’re feeling right now when we beat them in the finals and this year, we have what they felt. Soccer can be a cruel game like that.”

The Trojans lose eight seniors – Luke Blenis, Richard Castillo, Josh Daniels, Trevor Grice, Zach Ironside, Jack Maier, Sam Masenheimer and Logan Thrash – but return a solid crop of players who picked up quality minutes this season for Parkland.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland's Sam Masenheimer scored one goal and assisted on another in the Trojans' 3-2 loss to Emmaus in Tuesday's district semifinal.