Parkland eliminates Pleasant Valley
NANCY SCHOLZ/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Justin Habick moves the ball ahead of Parkland's Nicholas Eckhart during Tuesday's District 11 AAA Boys Soccer semifinal.
EMMAUS - Pleasant Valley boys soccer coach Chris Pachuta understood the type of team that Parkland was heading into their district semifinals matchup against the Trojans.
Despite their best effort until the final whistle, the Bears fell to the Trojans. The Trojans scored two second half goals, and defeated the Bears, 3-0, in Tuesday night's District 11 3A boys' soccer semifinal.
"We knew that they were good," Pachuta said. "It's not that we lost to an inferior team, or we were the inferior team. I thought we gave as good as we got at points.
"Obviously you want to win games in districts and you want to make runs. This is the first time that we as a program went to the district semifinals since 2005 I think, so that's a big deal for us."
Nicholas Eckhart scored early in the second half to put the Trojans up by two goals, and put even more pressure on the Bears to tally a score. After a pass from Ahmad Awadalla on a free kick, Eckhart got a foot on the ball in front of the Bears' goal, and his goal with 34:20 remaining made it 2-0.
A little more than 11 minutes later, the Trojans added another goal for good measure. As Diego Martinez approached the Bears' goal, his strike into the left side of the net made it 3-0 with 22:46 to play.
"Two set piece goals really put you under," Pachuta said. "We knew that about them, and we knew they were dangerous on them. It happens sometimes, unfortunately."
Stengel broke a scoreless game midway through the first half that began the Trojans' scoring. After a deep free kick that landed near the Bears' goal, Stengel got his foot on the loose ball, and put it in the back of the net with 24:56 remaining in the half.
"They're definitely a physical team, and they play a physical game," head coach Patrick Birns said. "I thought the first 20 minutes, we kind of controlled things. Then the last 10 minutes of the first half, they really took it to us even though we had a 1-0 lead."
The Trojan defense hadn't allowed a goal in their three postseason games heading into their district semifinal match against the Bears. Much of the same was the case on Tuesday night, however, as none of the Bears' seven shots produced any goals.
"Once you hit the semifinals and you hit finals of any competition, from the youth level to the World Cup level, and you have two evenly matched teams, there's not going to be a lot of opportunities," Pachuta said.
Despite falling in the Mountain Valley Conference semifinals, the Bears have put together a solid season that included a perfect 12-0 record in conference play.
The Bears defeated Pocono Mountain East in penalty kicks in the district quarterfinals. The Trojans, meanwhile, used a 1-0 victory over Liberty in the quarterfinals to set the stage for Tuesday night.
"With this group of seniors, not that you want to say you expect more, but you definitely had the idea of a district final on your mind," Pachuta said. "When you have the season that we've had, it's kind of disappointing. It's going to be odd tomorrow waking up, and realizing there's nothing to do because it's over when it's never been over. We've always been around for that whole time."