East Penn Press

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CHUCK HIXSON/THE PRESS Charlie Jerry fights off a Freedom defender. CHUCK HIXSON/THE PRESS Charlie Jerry fights off a Freedom defender.

Boys soccer team clicking at the right time

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in HS Sports

After playing 80 minutes of soccer and neither team scoring, it took Emmaus' A.J. Bishop just 34-seconds to give the Hornets a 1-0 win over Freedom on Monday. The scenario that led to the goal was the same that Emmaus has used several times this season. Ben Roda led Bishop toward the goal with a precision pass and Bishop was able to beat the goalkeeper.

The goal was Bishop's 13th of the season, by far, the most on the team.

"They've played together a lot since they were kids. They're together a lot outside of school and they know what to expect from each other," said coach John Cari.

The win put Emmaus at 8-3-1 on the season and gives the team a five-game unbeaten streak. The meeting with Freedom could have been a playoff preview for the two teams, with Freedom now at 8-5-0 on the season.

"They're a good team and this could likely be a two-three matchup. That's one reason why this was such an important game," said Cari.

With their recent stretch of play, Emmaus is close to clinching the LVC West Division. While their play has gotten much better over the past five games, Cari believes there is still work to be done.

"I don't think we should be satisfied with where we are right now," said Cari. "We can still be better. We can still improve on some of the things that we do, but we're playing very well."

Defensively, the shutout against Freedom was goalkeeper Kevin Fine's sixth of the season and Emmaus' third shutout in a row. On the season, Fine has allowed just 13 goals in 12 games this season.

As for Bishop, the Hornets are glad that he's back after spending a school year at the Phelps School. His return has been a huge boost to the Emmaus offense. Bishop is glad to be spending his senior season back with Roda and his teammates at Emmaus.

"Ben and I sort of know what to look for from each other. We just know how the other one plays and what we can do," said Bishop. "That goal today [against Freedom] was all Ben. He just put the ball out there in the perfect spot and made it really easy."

With five games remaining - four of them against LVC opponents - the season is winding down. First up this week is Northampton, another team that could be postseason bound, and after that comes three division games with Allen, Dieruff and the LVC season closer against Central Catholic.

"We're close to clinching the division," said Cari. "That's just the first step though, because there's a lot of soccer after that and it gets tougher and tougher."