Field hockey survives OT final
The annual tradition of Emmaus field hockey winning the District 11 championship continued last week when the Hornets downed Easton 2-1 in overtime to win their 29th straight district championship. Now, the team turns its focus to winning its third straight PIAA championship.
The win over Easton didn’t come easily, with Emmaus battling a number of illnesses and injuries. Emmaus was without Olivia Krogermeier, who is battling a calf injury and wasn’t cleared to play, but was cleared to shoot a penalty stroke if the opportunity presented itself.
Krogermeier did got a chance to take a penalty stroke, but for the first time this season, was turned away. The Hornets believe that Krogermeier will be cleared to play for the state tournament.
Leah Zellner went through testing prior to the game and was cleared to play after suffering an ankle injury earlier in the postseason. The Hornets were glad to have Zellner, who scored the winning goal when Easton was down a player because of their second green card of the overtime period. Zellner’s game-winner came with 10:08 left in the first overtime.
Krogermeier’s penalty stroke opportunity came with 26 seconds left in regulation when the officials ruled that an Easton player intentionally held and Emmaus player in the circle. Krogermeier’s shot went just wide left of the cage. Easton was then given a green card with 14:40 left in overtime. Just 45 seconds after returning to even strength, Easton was given a second green card, setting up Zellner’s heroics.
“They should have been more than just green cards,” said Emmaus coach Sue Butz-Stavin. “It was happening all night; it was an official call and I’m not officiating. I don’t call a perfect coaching game either, so I leave that to the officials and we just take care of our business on the field.”
“The official’s opinion is the only thing that matters, although I did feel that our aggressiveness was being looked at as a negative,” said Easton coach Casey Eck. “I feel that we had a handful of calls that didn’t go our way and that I can’t explain, but at the end of the day, it’s the official’s call.”
Ellie McIntyre had given Easton a 1-0 lead with 16:49 left in the first half and Emmaus wasn’t able to get on the board until the second half.
“We had long faces at halftime and we tried to just get them all upbeat and let them know that we had 30 minutes left and we’re very capable of scoring goals and playing good defense,” said Butz-Stavin. “We made a catastrophic defensive error at the beginning of the game and it took us a little while to get back. We persevered and that’s a sign of a great team.”
When Emmaus did tie the game, it was Kristen Zellner who made it happen. The goal was the third of the season for the Emmaus junior.
“I was playing right forward, which I normally don’t play,” said Kristen Zellner. “I was very lucky that I got a gorgeous ball across the cage and it was nice and easy. It was exhilarating and I can’t believe it.”
With her team battling a number of injuries and having to rely on players stepping up at the right times, Butz-Stavin still doesn’t believe that this postseason has been any more stressful than the others that her teams have had to fight through in her 42 seasons at the helm of Hornets field hockey. In fact, she thought back 32 years to the last time that her team faced Easton in a district championship.
“They’re all a stress level,” said Butz-Stavin about playing in districts. “In the past we’ve had some overtimes and the last time we faced Easton in a district game was 1985 and we went to OT after beating them pretty badly twice during the regular season.
“We lost in OT and they only took one team to states that year and we had been undefeated on the season, so that was devastating. Every district final game has its ups and downs.”