EHS girls soccer shows no rust after time off
When the Emmaus girls soccer teams missed the East Penn Conference playoffs, it meant the team would go 12 days between games. In some cases, that can be too long of a layoff for a team to come out sharp in districts. For Emmaus though, the team used the time well and came out rejuvenated to pick up a 3-1 win over Nazareth in the quarterfinals of the District 11 Class 4A playoffs.
The win puts the Lady Hornets into the semis against familiar foe Parkland, who they met twice during the regular season, splitting the two games.
The Hornets and Trojans met in what may be the most significant game of the season back in September when Emmaus won 2-1 and snapped Parkland’s 70-game win streak against District 11 opponents. Parkland rebounded to beat Emmaus 3-1 earlier this month, but the message had been sent that Emmaus was continuing its ascent toward the top in District 11 soccer. With its win over Nazareth, Emmaus now gets a postseason shot at Parkland, winners of the last two District 11 titles.
“We had played so many games in the last couple weeks of our season that for us, the two weeks off was really beneficial,” said Hornet coach Sarah Oswald. “We got our legs underneath us and were able to train and work on specific things, so for us as a group, I think it was very beneficial.”
In facing Nazareth, Emmaus was up against a team that came in hot, with upset wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the EPC tournament to reach the finals where they lost to Parkland. The Blue Eagles also feature one of the better goalies in Caitlyn Lazzarini.
Emmaus got on the board first, but it took until eight minutes into the second half to get the first goal of the game. Maddie Fey took a crossing pass and stuck a leg high in the air to deflect the ball past Lazzarini to give Emmaus a 1-0 lead.
“Yesterday, all we did was work on services and being able to finish out of the air and the goals from Maddie were exactly what we worked on. They were excellent,” said Oswald. “Kellie [Reith] had wonderful services that created opportunities for us. They [Nazareth] have a ton of talent and have one of the best goalkeepers I’ve seen in the Lehigh Valley. I knew it was going to be a game that went back-and-forth and our defense was great and Alexa [Ryan] came up great.”
Ryan made seven saves in goal for Emmaus, allowing just one goal. The goal was scored by Allison Hoff on a penalty kick after Emmaus was called for a handball in the box with 9:23 left in the game. At that point, Emmaus had moved to a 2-0 lead on a goal from Lindsay Phillips off of an assist from Reith. A few minutes after that goal, Emmaus almost had a third goal when Maddie McWhinney put a shot off of the post.
“I always feel confident with her in the back, we all do,” said Fey of junior goalie Alexa Ryan. “We never get nervous with her back there. We all trust her a lot.”
Fey finished off Nazareth with 4:09 left in the game when she took a feed from Reith and put it past Lazzarini for a 3-1 lead.
“It felt so bittersweet tonight, because it was the last game on our home field ever, so it felt great,” said Fey.
A win over Parkland in the semifinals would set up a match-up with the winner of the other semifinal game between Easton and Whitehall. It would also guarantee Emmaus a trip to the PIAA tournament since the top two finishers in District 11 gain a spot in the state tournament.