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Parkland escapes Perkiomen Valley 8-7 on called-off buzzer-beater

NORTHAMPTON >> It was the most dramatic empty-net goal you’ll ever see.

Except it wasn’t.

In the waning moments of Tuesday’s PIAA Class 3A first round game between Perkiomen Valley and Parkland, Trojans goalie Brie Barraco carried the ball out all the way across the mid line trying to kill out the clock and preserve Parkland’s one-goal margin. But Perk Valley’s Paige Tyson checked the ball loose and set off a buzzer-beating sequence that had PV’s Riley McGettigan wide open and firing the ball into the empty Parkland goal as the clock plummeted toward 0:00.

Referees judged McGettigan’s shot to have been out of her stick but not across the goal line before the buzzer as Parkland escaped Perkiomen Valley, 8-7, to advance in the PIAA 3A playoffs at Northampton High School.

Perkiomen Valley’s Kate Hickey, left, Caitlin Leap (24) and Riley McGettigan (16) celebrate after McGettigan scored what they believed was a buzzer-beater to send the game to overtime. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

“This is going to sting,” Perkiomen Valley junior Tyson said. “It was definitely a tough one, a rough way to go out. We definitely left it all out there. I just wish we could have come out on top.”

Camryn Barnett scored Parkland’s last two goals including the eventual game-winner with five minutes to play as part her four-goal, one-assist performance. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Most Valuable Player was relieved to have the final call go her team’s way as it advances to face District 1 champion Garnet Valley – a 12-10 winner over Downingtown East Tuesday – in a Saturday quarterfinal at a site and time to be determined.

“Overwhelmed to say the least,” Barnett said. “It was a hard-fought game from the first whistle to the last. We did really well.”

“It was a close one,” Barnett said of the final play. “We have the group of refs there to do the job and I think they made the right call. It was close.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Kat Kelley weaves through traffic after picking up a loose ball in the PV defensive end against Parkland. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Close doesn’t count in the single-elimination state playoffs, which spelled the end of Perkiomen Valley’s season. Nevertheless, it was a season that extended longer than most expected after the Vikings (15-7) earned their first state tournament berth with three wins in the District 1 playoffs, including upsets of No. 5 Harriton, No. 4 Central Bucks West, and playing within two goals of champ Garnet Valley.

“This is an incredible group of young ladies who really believe in themselves and each other,” PV head coach Lisa Clark said. “Our mantra, especially coming into the postseason, was, ‘You have nothing to lose. You’re underdogs and all that you have to do is fight for each other.’ And they’ve really taken that to heart. That’s what has gotten them this far, that they truly care about each other and how they play.”

Tyson had three goals and four draw controls, fellow junior McGettigan had a goal, two assists and three draw controls and Kate Hickey had three assists. Single goals were scored by Kat Kelley, Anna Dawson and Cailtin Leap.

For Parkland, Abby Pope matched Barnett’s four goals while Mackenzie Roth had three assists and four draw controls.

Perkiomen Valley’s Anna Dawson has the ball hit her head after she checked the ball free from the stick of Parkland’s Jill Bushinsky. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

The Trojans had a hot start matching the heat of the day, bursting to a 4-0 lead over the first 16 minutes. Perk Valley came to life after a timeout and scored three quick goals to get within 4-3 with 5:37 left in the first half.

“We definitely started off slow. But once we started scoring we got a lot of momentum and were coming up with draws and 50-50s. The energy and effort got a lot higher,” Tyson said. “We all just calmed down. We knew we were beating ourselves.”

Pope scored on tough catch-and-shoot in traffic for a 5-3 halftime lead.

PV came out strong in the second half and got its first lead, 6-5, on a Tyson score before Parkland made a run of its own, Barnett cashing in on a crafty cut after a long Vikings’ defensive stand to lead 7-6 with 10:40 to play.

“The biggest thing was possession and not overthinking our plays,” Barnett said. “Since it’s so hot we really knew we needed to take time off the clock and really to work it around for a good shot and that’s what we did. Our defense and goalie worked their butts off to make great stops. I feel like all had key spurts to win the game.”

Perkiomen Valley’s Paige Tyson shoots against Parkland during the first half. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Barnett’s fourth goal that extended the lead to two proved decisive despite PV’s rally that saw Hickey connect with McGettigan to make it 8-7 with 2:59 left, all leading to the wild final minute that saw Parkland escape in the nick of time.

Despite the loss, the narrative around Perkiomen Valley girls lacrosse changed over the past three weeks.

“Our chemistry is better than it’s ever been,” Tyson said. “We’re all really close and we really want it. We knew we’d be underdogs coming into the season and we were determined to not be at the bottom. We had a lot of fight in us this year and knew that we were capable.”

Loses through graduation will occur, but with a largely junior core, more bright days seem on the horizon for the Vikings.

“Losing these seniors – Caitlin Leap, Meg Wagoner, Kristen Tornetta, Alex Blomstrom and Grace Lindberger (injured) – is tough because they’re a group that has been the heart and soul of this team,” Clark said. “We’re going to have to find some new heart and soul, but with the talent we have coming up and the experience we’ve gained, as we go on I don’t think we’ll be making the same mistakes. We’ll be capitalizing on the mistakes other teams make and be a strong group over the next couple years.”

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