Senior Roda boots boys past Nazareth
The Hornets' soccer team is extremely happy that A.J. Bishop is back with their team after a season without him. Having said that though, they found a way to pick up a win against Nazareth, thanks mainly to senior Ben Roda, who picked up a goal and an assist in the win.
There's no denying that Bishop has been the team leader offensively for the Hornets. Through the five games that he's played, Bishop has already amassed eight goals and an assist after a somewhat slow start. Bishop scored once in the first three games, but then put up a four-goal effort against Dieruff and returned to the lineup with three goals against Whitehall this past weekend.
For Roda though, it's been somewhat of a steadier pace. Not only is Roda playing in his senior season, he's one of the team's captains and is very well respected for his performance on and off the field.
"Ben's played hard for us and I think his leadership really shows on the field. He's very focused on the game and it shows in his results," said coach John Cari.
Roda believes that this team may have gotten off to a slow start, but he also believes that they've gotten themselves regrouped and can make up for some of the damage that their 0-2 start did. The 2-1 loss to Allen a team that the Hornets had beaten 10 straight times sent a message to the players on this team that they needed a lot more discipline and focus if they were going to have a successful season.
Roda finished fourth on the team in points last season with 24, but the players who were ahead of him Patrick Groh, Blair Geiger and Stevie Castellani all graduated, leaving Roda as the go-to guy. He's gotten help from the return of Bishop, but the losses seemed to leave a gap not only on offense, but in team motivation and leadership, a role that Roda is now filling for Emmaus.
"Losing a lot of seniors that motivated us last year was hard, but we've definitely bounced back from Allen," said Roda. "I think that we can make it to districts and into states again this year. Coach says we're just as good as last year and we just have to stay focused."
Since that 0-2 start, Emmaus has rattled off four straight wins. Two of those wins have come against Dieruff and Nazareth, who have a combined record of 2-13 this season, but two were against Central Catholic (4-3) and Whitehall (4-1-1). A true test will come Wednesday night when the Hornets play at Parkland, a team that has opened the season 6-0.
"We showed some heart and aggression," said Cari after beating Nazareth 2-1. "I think we still have more talent out there, but we did play well and it was a good win."
After the showdown at Parkland, Emmaus is home Friday night against Easton and then have a quick turnaround for a Saturday morning game against Wilson West Lawn and a road game at Liberty next Tuesday.