Hornets reach state semifinal
After an hour-and-a-half bus ride to Central Columbia High School for the PIAA Class AAA field hockey quarterfinals, Emmaus came out a little flat against Wilkes-Barre Coughlin. A second-half surge turned the game around and the Lady Hornets enjoyed the ride home after beating the Crusaders 5-1 to advance in the state playoffs.
“We just didn’t have the mojo going,” said head coach Sue Butz-Stavin. “We did some things, but we were a little careless with the passes and stuff. Once things started clicking a little better, we drew a few more corners and finished”
Meredith Sholder scored her first of three goals at 22:59 of the first half on an assist from Maddie Dorn to give Emmaus a 1-0 edge. With just a minute to play before intermission, the Hornets got on the board again with a goal from Maddie Orobono, assisted by Sholder, and it looked like Emmaus would have a nice 2-0 lead to enjoy at halftime.
The Crusaders didn’t hang their heads and Kyra Wozniak broke through with Coughlin’s only goal of the game just 34 seconds before halftime. Unfortunately for Coughlin, Wozniak’s goal was a ringing alarm clock for the Lady Hornets.
“In the first half,” said Sholder. “We looked kind of dead and once they scored, we knew that we couldn’t take it lightly anymore and we really needed to show them that they can’t just stay with us. We really stepped it up and really took control of the game in the second half.”
Sholder added two unassisted goals in the second half and Leah Zellner added another off an assist from Kira Koehler to make it a 5-1 game.
Sholder, who is now just one goal shy of tying the school record for career goals, would have reached the milestone if not for a held whistle in the first half. It appeared that Sholder had scored, but the ref held the whistle on a foul call and the goal was waived off, with Emmaus having a corner because of the foul.
“It happens,” said Sholder. “The big thing is that we won the game, so in the end, it wasn’t a factor.”
Standing at 157 career goals as a junior, Sholder will not only break the school record, but is likely to hit the 200 goal mark before her high school career is finished. While the record is important to Sholder, she’s more interested in what she can do to help the team win, which is evidenced by her penchant for picking up assists this season. In addition to her 62 goals, Sholder has notched 40 assists.
“It’s in the back of my head sometimes, but I try not to think about it or let it worry me,” she said. “I try to take it one goal at a time and worry about helping my team and playing with them and doing whatever gives us the best opportunity to win.”
Emmaus will now face Penn Manor at Exeter High School in Reading in the semifinals. The two teams were supposed to square off during the regular season, but the game was rained out and wasn’t able to be rescheduled. A win over Penn Manor would put the Hornets into Saturday’s PIAA finals at the Zephyr Sports Complex at Whitehall High School.
“We’ve played at Whitehall so many times, it’s basically a home field advantage,” said Sholder. “It would be nice, because it won’t be like today where we had to drive out here an hour-and-a-half away, so I’m excited about the opportunity to reach the finals.”