EHS girls soccer prepares for districts
For a while, it looked like Emmaus was going to pull off a big Senior Night win over Whitehall, which came into the game with just one loss in the East Penn Conference. However, the Zephyrs’ Kate Bonshak put up two goals in the second half to lead Whitehall to a 2-1 win over Emmaus.
As a nod to the seniors, Hornet head coach Sarah Oswald started with seniors in the lineup, including having Allie Stanley in goal. Stanley played about 10 minutes before starter Alexa Ryan took over for the Hornets.
The teams took turns applying pressure and fighting off the attacks of the other team throughout most of the first half of the game. With 5:59 left in the half, Maddie McWhinney took a perfectly placed pass from Kellie Reith and came down the right side of the field and as goalie Grace Clary came out to defend, McWhinney slid the ball across to the far side of the goal and into the corner of the net for a 1-0 Emmaus lead.
Emmaus almost got a second goal when Reith fired a shot just over the crossbar with 20 seconds left to play in the first half.
In the second half, Whitehall became more of an aggressor and did a better job of getting the ball out to Bonshak, who used her speed to come down the left side of the field for shots. Her first goal went in with 34:23 left in the game and about 17-minutes later, she scored on a nearly identical breakaway to give the Zephyrs a 2-1 lead that would stand up for the rest of the game.
“Kate’s a phenomenal forward and there’s a reason why she’s been selected to all-regional teams and all-state teams, she’s committed to Virginia Tech and she’s a really, really special forward,” said Oswald. “We kept her in check for a while and Lily [Schmitt] did a great job of keeping the ball away from her at times. The goals she scored were on counterattacks and we were pressing forward and didn’t get to connect in the final third. If we are able to do our jobs in the attacking end, those goals don’t happen.
“Just like the first time we played them, they showed up with a little more intensity in the second half and they got two quality goals on mistakes that came from us in the midfield and in the attacking third. That’s the stuff that we’ve got to clean up.”
Before the game, Emmaus saluted its senior players including Stanley, Maggie Grant, Grace Hall, Carly McGrath, Kellie Reith and captains Sarah Smith and Maddie Fey. The group of players were Oswald’s first class of freshmen players when she took over the team for the 2015 season and are a special group to her.
“This is a fantastic group of kids. The effort that they put on the field is great and the energy around them is always great. They enjoy being around each other and I certainly enjoy being around them. They’re the type of group that makes everybody feel wanted and feel that they have a place on this team,” said Oswald. “As we go through the postseason and it gets to where it could be a one-and-done in districts, I’ll get a sad feeling when I know that I won’t see these kids on the field again.”
Emmaus followed up their loss to Whitehall with an exciting 3-2 win over Central Catholic in the season’s final game. McWhinney, Sydney Cole and Gianna Albanese scored goals for Emmaus in the win, with Albanese breaking a 2-2 tie with 1:17 left to play in regulation with her goal. The win kept the Hornets hopes of a gaining a spot in the EPC playoffs alive but when Pocono Mountain East downed Pocono Mountain West 2-0, the final spot in the eight-team playoff went to PM East. It’s the first time since 2015 that Emmaus will sit out the EPC playoffs but they’ll return to compete in the District 11 playoffs which begin with the pigtail round on October 23 and the quarterfinals two days later.