May 31, 2018
By: Gwen Begley
There is a reason why we haven’t seen a District XI lacrosse team get past the first round of the PIAA state playoffs in quite some time. The answer lies within scheduling and District One.
District XI only advances one boys team to the state tournament. The unofficial reason is because they aren’t as good as other districts, and usually can't rise to the level of competition of others. The official reason, is that other districts are much larger, and therefore have more teams advance. The team that does make it to the tournament, usually gets handed a District one team, and that’s usually all she wrote. That all changed on Tuesday night.
The Parkland boys lacrosse team won their first ever PIAA state playoff game in program history. They also won the first state playoff game for a District XI team since 2011, when Allentown Central Catholic defeated Wyomissing 13-7. This all came at a very big surprise to me and I will gladly admit that I was very wrong about how this game would play out.
My prediction was that Parkland would get crushed by the fourth place team out of District one, Upper Dublin. This is purely based on the fact that District One teams have chewed up and spit out District XI teams for the past seven years. I am from District one and I know how lethal they are in lacrosse, especially Upper Dublin.
Looking up their stats prior to Tuesday nights game, you would think the Trojans didn’t have a chance. One of their players holds the national record in career assists. Another has the state record in career goals. Their faceoff specially has gone 78 of 88 so far this season. All roads pointed to a dominating victory for the Cardinals.
Boy was that way off point......
The game started off with both teams trading goals and then boom, the flood gates opened for Parkland. Five straight, than six straight, and suddenly a 14 to seven win against a District One team. I knew Parkland was good, but on Tuesday night, they were spectacular. Yeah they got a little too comfortable in the second half, but luckily for them they could afford to.
This is huge for boys lacrosse in the Lehigh Valley, because not only did the Trojans advance, so did the Allentown Central Catholic Vikings. They have both made it over one hump, and now its onto the next, which has never been done by a District XI team before. Both Emmaus and Central Catholic have gotten close, but not close enough. The Vikings will be the first Lehigh Valley team to try and make history when they take on District One 2A Champion Bishop Shanahan who dominated South Western 18-4 during their first round matchup. That game will be at noon at Exeter High School on Saturday, one of quite a few games the Lehigh Valley will have representation in at that sight.
The Parkland girls will enter their first ever quarterfinal appearance taking on Garnet Valley at 2pm. Then its time for the Parkland boys to enter a duel with Lasalle College in the nightcap at 6pm. The Explorers finished up their regular season as the three time Philadelphia Catholic League champions, then went on to win the District 12 title. It will be another tough task for Parkland, but they’ve proved me very wrong before. Only time will tell if history can continue.