Girls volleyball falls to nemesis Nazareth
The Emmaus girls volleyball team might have nightmares about playing against Nazareth. The Blue Eagles have been a thorn in the side of the Green Hornets the last two years.
That continued last Thursday night.
Fourth-seeded Nazareth was once again on the winning end of things in last week’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, taking down number one seed Emmaus 3-1 by scores of 27-25, 17-25, 25-19 and 27-25 in a semifinal match at Whitehall High School.
It was the fourth time in the last five matches between the two teams that the Blue Eagles (20-3 overall, 13-3 EPC) have won, and twice in the last week, including in both the EPC and District 11 tournaments last year.
“It was a very exciting match and I thought we played really well,” said Hornet head coach Gwen Millets. “They are a pretty good volleyball team. We always have that type of match with Nazareth — thrilling, action-packed and fun. We knew and prepared for a tough match and that it would be decided by a few points either way.
“I am proud of our play. Of course, no coach likes to lose a match in postseason play, however, the girls gave everything they had and played with a purpose. I am exceptionally proud of our defense.”
With every set being close, both teams had their chances to pull out wins, including Emmaus, which led in both set one and four, both of which they fell.
“In games like this, every point, every play matters,” Millets said. “Our consistency behind the serving line is important for us during big games. We serve tough and sometimes that means balls are in/out by fractions of inches. Same thing is true around the net.”
Despite the defeat, Emmaus (17-5, 14-2) had a milestone to celebrate.
Junior attacker Macy Van Den Elzen recorded her 1,000th career kill during the EPC tournament. She finished with a team-high 25 kills and seven digs against Nazareth.
“Macy is a very good outside hitter and she’s been a really big part of our offense all season,” said Millets. “It was really special to see her reach the 1,000-kills mark, especially as a junior. I think the momentum of that moment really helped propel our team forward. We had a big week of milestone celebrations and Macy has been a catalyst for many of the assists Caroline Bond has recorded. Together, they are a one-two punch and a dynamic duo. We are proud of all of our girls as each of these milestones are not possible without the team effort.”
Bond also highlighted a special week for the Green Hornets program by tallying her 1,000th career dig. She also became the school’s all-time leader in assists. She had 47 assists and 17 digs against the Blue Eagles.
Emmaus secured the top seed in the District 2/11 Class 4A sub-regional tournament and will face the winner of Whitehall and Wyoming Valley West Thursday at approximately at Emmaus.
“The team is ready for districts and they are excited to compete on Thursday,” Millets said. “We will work hard in practice to prepare for districts and we are looking forward to pushing ourselves to achieve at the highest levels.”