Field hockey’s 81-game win streak ends in PIAA semifinal
Emmaus saw their hopes for a third straight PIAA championship come to an end with a 3-1 loss to Downingtown West. The loss snapped an 81-game winning streak for the Lady Hornets, who finished the year at 26-1.
While the season fell short of another championship, it was not without its highpoints. The team did capture their 29th straight District 11 Championship when it downed Easton 2-1 in overtime at the Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall. Emmaus also captured the EPC Championship, beating Liberty 3-1.
Late in the season, Emmaus had to battle through key injuries and a round of illnesses that hampered the team. One constant was Leah Zellner, who had injuries of her own to deal with, but still finished with 46 goals in the regular season and another seven in the postseason for Emmaus. The senior finished her career with 112 career goals.
Junior Riley Baughman finished second on the team with 45 goals and freshman Annika Herbein was third with 28 goals. Having Baughman and Herbein set to return in 2018 gives Emmaus the opportunity to still have a considerable offensive attack.
In addition to losing Zellner to graduation, next year’s team will be without current seniors Emily Ingalls, Alison Johnston, Olivia Krogermeier and Chloe Tostevin. Krogermeier, who sat out the district championship against Easton, but was available to come off the bench to attempt a penalty stroke, was near-perfect in converting penalty strokes on the season. The miss against the Red Rovers was the only miss of the season for her and she was successful on her other five chances.
Herbein opened the season by scoring the team’s first goal and continued to play well throughout the year. In addition to her 28 goals, the freshman added 15 assists over the course of the season for Emmaus. Emmaus will also return goalie Claire Nielsen, who posted 19 shutouts in goal for the Lady Hornets.
Coach Sue Butz-Stavin finished the season, her 42nd as head coach of the Hornets, having reached the 900-win milestone this season. Coming into next season, Butz-Stavin will bring a record of 919-80-35, standing as the winningest coach in high school field hockey history.