Hornets seek 30th straight district crown
A 2-0 win over Stroudsburg Monday night has Emmaus poised for its 30th straight District 11 championship in field hockey. The Lady Hornets got two second half goals from Riley Baughman off assists from Kaitlyn Csensits and Annika Herbine to advance to the finals against Easton. The championship will be played Wednesday at Whitehall high School and will feature the top two seeds in districts, with both teams advancing to the PIAA tournament.
After seeing their offense slide a bit, with nine goals in three games coming into districts, Emmaus found its stride against Parkland in a 7-0 win in the quarterfinals. Annika Herbine scored three goals against the Trojans and Baughman added two goals and an assist in the win.
One of the keys for Emmaus against Parkland was coming out strong and scoring early. The Hornets tallied their first two goals within the first 10 minutes of the game, the first by Kayla Kisthart off of a corner and then Herbine scored her first off of a rebound. Kisthart, who scored a goal and had two assists in the quarterfinals, believes the team has gotten its offensive woes straightened out.
“We’ve been changing it up on corners and we’re getting them out a lot faster and I think that’s really helping us a lot,” said Kisthart. “I think we were a bit shaky after the last game [a 2-1 win over Easton in the EPC finals], but we’re coming out strong. We know what our ultimate goal is and we’re working hard to get there.”
Joy Muller also had a big night against Parkland with two assists and a goal of her own.
For most teams, the average of three goals per game over three games wouldn’t have been a big concern. In fact, some teams would love to have that type of scoring output. For an Emmaus team that had averaged just under 10 goals per game coming into the postseason, the drop-off was significant.
“After the first five minutes of the game, our offense seemed to flow and I think we were more disciplined in our positions,” pointed out Hornet head coach Sue Butz-Stavin. “We’ve been working on some little concepts and tactical things and the kids put those things to good use tonight.”
Throughout the season, Emmaus’ defense has been dominating. They didn’t give up their first goal of the season until their seventh game of the season in a 3-1 win over Stroudsburg. They’ve allowed only four goals through 23 games in 2018.
Emmaus enters the District 11 final at 23-0, giving Butz-Stavin a 942-80-35 career record as the Hornets coach. Easton comes in at 20-3 with two of its losses coming to Emmaus. The Hornets won the regular season meeting between the two teams, beating them 5-1 in September and then taking a 2-1 decision to win the EPC championship. Easton’s only other loss came to Pocono Mountain East.
With both teams guaranteed a spot in states, Emmaus will be seeking its 13th PIAA championship starting next week. The Hornets’ last championship came in 2016 and they followed that up with a trip to the state semifinals last season.