EHS edges Easton in title game
As the seconds ticked away during last week’s East Penn Conference field hockey championship, Emmaus found itself in unfamiliar territory. The unbeaten Hornets were tied with No. 2 seed Easton late in the game after the Red Rovers opened the game with an early goal.
But senior midfielder Kacie Patton, who was named a First Team EPC all-star prior to the game, was more than willing to play the role of hero.
Patton lined up a deep shot on Easton’s goal that found its way by Rover goalie Danni Swallow for a 2-1 lead with 2:31 to play. No. 1 seed Emmaus (21-0 overall; 16-0 in EPC) held onto that score for its fourth straight league title and remained perfect this fall.
“It was a tough game,” Patton said. “Getting the winning goal and coming out on top was exciting because they pulled out a big fight for us. We didn’t come out as strong as we wanted to in the first half.
“We just needed to pick up the tempo. Our main goal for the second half was coming out stronger, setting the tempo and beating them to the ball.”
In another unfamiliar situation, Emmaus found itself in a 1-0 deficit after Easton’s Ellie McIntyre ripped one into the cage in the 17th minute. For an Emmaus team that allowed just three goals in its prior 20 games, it was interesting to see how the favored Hornets responded.
And it didn’t take them long to come up with an answer. After a Red Rover was called for a penalty, Annika Herbine tied the game at 1-1 on a penalty stroke with 7:29 to play in the first half.
“We choked up the ball quite a bit,” head coach Sue Butz-Stavin said. “And our lines got too separated, so that caused a lot of chaos out there tonight. But so be it. A little bit of adversity always makes you a better team to practice tomorrow.”
Butz-Stavin asked for her players to give just a tad more effort in the second half. The Hornets came out of intermission looking like a different team, particularly early when there was a stretch with five Hornet corners.
None of those corners found the back of the net, but momentum had suddenly shifted back to Emmaus. And when it looked like both teams would need at least overtime to hoist the coveted trophy, Patton came through with the game’s most clutch play.
“It did get frustrating, but we just needed to stay out of our heads and stay strong,” Patton said. “We knew that one of them would hopefully go in.”
“We were definitely a different team in the two halves today,” Butz-Stavin said. “I guess it’s better to finish with a good second half than vice versa. We turned it on. We said ‘Just give us 10 percent more of energy from every one of you when you get off this bench and go back out.’ And we did.”
Emmaus are the top seed in the District 11 Class 3A tournament that begins on Wednesday. The Hornets will face No. 8 Parkland at 6 p.m. at Emmaus High School.