Bears fall to Parkland in D-11 lacrosse semis
Juliana Lopez (6) of Pleasant Valley looks for a teammate during Monday’s District 11 lacrosse match against Parkland. DON HERB/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
NORTHAMPTON — The Pleasant Valley girls lacrosse program has been around just four years. But in every passing year, it has gotten better.
None more so than the 2019 season.
The Bears qualified for postseason tournaments in both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 Class 3A — and made it to the final four of each — but they met defending conference champion Easton in the EPC semifinals, and Monday night had to play defending district champion Parkland in the D-11 semifinals.
It was the ultimate in tough draws.
Last night at Northampton Area High School’s Al Erdosy stadium, Pleasant Valley squared off against a hot Trojan team playing its best lacrosse of the season, winning the EPC title in their last game. A young and shorthanded Bears team was overwhelmed early and dropped a 21-7 decision.
“We had a great season, and I’m so proud of all of the girls and our staff,” said Toni Bush, who has been the only head coach at Pleasant Valley since the program began. “We finished with 14 wins — the most in program history. And it’s so great to do that with such a young team. We set our goals at the beginning of the year and met them.
“We would’ve liked a better turnout tonight, but we knew we were playing a great Parkland team. I’m so proud of them though with having such a small team and being so young. They knew they had to dig deep all year, and they did.”
The Bears were playing without starting midfielder Alexandra Bush and had just two healthy subs on the sideline, where Parkland could almost field a second team.
Hayle Stintsman and Juliana Lopez, the league’s leading scorer, formed a dynamic scoring duo this season. They both scored three goals to lead the Bears offense, while Brielle Mcinaw added the other goal for Pleasant Valley. The Bears scored just twice in the opening half, but heated up in the second, finding the back of the net five times with Lopez getting three and Stintsman two. Lopez also contributed an assist.
“They’ve really started working well together towards the end of the season,” Bush said. “With Alex being injured, Hayle and Jules had to step up, and they did a great job of it.”
Parkland scored the game’s first eight goals in a span of 14:53 to take a comfortable lead, one it would hold throughout the game. The Bears were never able to get closer than seven goals for the final 35 minutes.
Goalie Danni Reino finished with nine saves.
“To be able to get the experience of playing in the postseason against teams like Parkland and Easton is only going to help us moving forward,” said Bush. “We took some big steps as a program this season, and I’m hoping for more of the same next year.”
THE PACK IS BACK ... Pleasant Valley will return almost every starter next season, as it will only lose two seniors.
SEIZING MOMENTUM ... The Bears finished with their best season in program history at 14-5, and with more than 85 percent of their roster returning next season, there is plenty of momentum in the program. Pleasant Valley finished in first place in the EPC Mountain Division, ahead of Nazareth and Northampton.