A pair of Lady Hornet teams makes summer soccer playoffs
With the semifinals of the Lehigh Valley Summer Soccer League girls playoffs taking place Wednesday, four area teams are fighting for a chance to become champions.
Unfortunately for both Emmaus teams, their runs ended in the quarterfinal round on Monday at Lehigh University.
Lady Hornets 1, made up of seniors and a mix of freshmen and sophomores, came up a goal short against Central Catholic, 2-1. Lady Hornets 2 is comprised of mainly juniors, sprinkled in with freshmen and sophomores as well; they fell to Salisbury, Group B’s top seed, 2-0.
“In the first game we had only one returning varsity player,” said head coach Sarah Oswald. “Our goalie ended up getting injured in one of the games and couldn’t play. We had three sophomores on the field and the rest were freshmen.”
Lady Hornets 1 finished the regular season as the top seed, going 6-0-1 in the regular season’s more competitive A Group. Going up against the No. 4 seed in Group B, many would have anticipated the Hornets moving onto the semifinals.
But with a relatively inexperienced group going against Central Catholic’s varsity team it expects to suit up this fall, Oswald was pleased how her group held its own.
“It’s fantastic exposure to them to what a varsity team looks like,” Oswald said. “The Central Catholic team we played tonight was basically their returning varsity players that they are going to have this season. And to come out with only a 2-1 deficit shows amazing things for the incoming class that we have. They held their own.”
Central Catholic struck early with a goal in the opening minutes to put the Hornets in an early hole. Another quick goal to begin the second half made a comeback even more difficult. But Sionnuir Nikthoclain was able to find the back of the net and cut Central’s deficit in half.
“I know they are stepping onto the field without kind of the senior leadership that they’ve had this season,” Oswald said. “I do think the lack of experience at a higher level, and the mentality part of what it’s like to climb out of a deficit is a bit of an issue.”
Lady Hornets 2 went 4-3 in Group B play this summer and defeated Liberty in the first round of the tournament by a 5-0 final score. Salisbury, a team that hasn’t lost in the summer season, provided a bigger challenge.
“The second [goal], we had pressed some more kids forward and pulled somebody out of our back line,” Oswald said. “It was just a counterattack. We were looking to get forward.”
When the two sides come together, as they do for speed and agility sessions three times a week, Oswald can see the potential that lies ahead. She won’t have to wait much longer for the two teams to take the field at the same time this fall.
“I’m really impressed with where the kids are at,” Oswald said. “I think we are ready to enter the season, and start looking to fine tune everything. They are really committed to this offseason.”