East Penn Press

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CHUCK HIXSON/THE PRESS Esther Younger (left) and goalie Katie Thomas sandwich Whitehall's Milena Nino on a corner kick. CHUCK HIXSON/THE PRESS Esther Younger (left) and goalie Katie Thomas sandwich Whitehall's Milena Nino on a corner kick.

Injuries hit girls soccer

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in HS Sports

Emmaus girls soccer coach Rob Rooney's team is battling through a number of key injuries, but he's not using that as an excuse for his team's 2-3-1start, including 2-2-1 in the Lehigh Valley Conference.

The latest loss came in the Don Hunt Memorial Tournament played on Emmaus' home turf, when the Lady Hornets lost to Whitehall in a physical 3-1 game.

Whitehall players received two yellow cards during the game for their physical play, which was exactly the type of game that Emmaus couldn't afford to get into with all of their injuries. Again, Rooney wouldn't use Whitehall's style of play as an excuse, but does see some issues with how his own team has played lately.

"We've had a terrible tendency against Rock North and Nazareth and then against Whitehall, where we've given up goals in the first 10 minutes and it's a real uphill battle from then. It's something we have to fix," said Rooney.

Against Whitehall, the Hornets were down 3-0 before they were able to work their way onto the scoreboard. Mandy McCarthy scored her fourth goal of the season to cut the Zephyrs' lead down to two, but it was all the offense that Emmaus could muster on the day.

The Hornets almost got a second goal when the Whitehall goalie left the net to make a play and Emmaus stole the ball and countered with a quick shot. If not for a sliding save effort by Whitehall, the Hornets would have had their second goal, but the Zephyrs covered up the empty net well enough to avoid any damage.

"By the time we played our way back into the game, I thought we were better than them in the second half, but when you're already down 3-1, what difference does it make?" said Rooney.

After scoring 15 goals in their first two games against less talented opponents, the Hornets have shown that offense can be a bit of a challenge for them, having put the ball in the net just four times in their last four games.

Injuries to Devyn Hannis and Liz Waring have certainly hurt the offensive skill level. Harris should return this week, while Waring is at least another week to 10 days from playing.

"We're just not generating enough chances," said Rooney. "That play at the end of the game, their kid comes back and makes a save; there were literally three, four chances at the end of this game. If you score one of them, the tenor of the game changes."

Junior Kay Gustafson started in goal against Whitehall (7-0, 5-0) and is splitting time with senior Katie Thomas. Rooney wouldn't comment on which goalie will get the lion's share of starts over the rest of the season, but is committed to using both goalies.

"We've got two goalies and we'll play them both," said Rooney.

The Lady Hornets have three league games in the next week, starting with a matchup Wednesday at home with Parkland (4-2, 3-1), before playing at Easton (3-3, 3-2) on Friday and at home against Liberty (1-6, 1-4) next Tuesday. They also have a non-league game at Wilson West Lawn Saturday.