Despite loss, Hornets reach ‘gold standard’
Momentum is something that every team wants to have.
The Emmaus boys lacrosse team was outscored 5-1 in the second half of its first-round state playoff game and fell 7-3 to District 12’s St. Joe’s Prep last Friday evening in the PIAA Class 3A tournament at Northampton High School’s Al Erdosy Stadium.
The loss defeat came after Emmaus took down two-time defending District 11 champion Parkland to win the program’s first district title since 2015.
“To put the whole season into one word: momentum,” said Hornet head coach Desi Gonzalez said. “We have momentum. We’re back to the Emmaus gold standard. Now we have to rise from here.
“We wanted to try to win a state game, to put Emmaus and District 11 on the state map. Obviously, it didn’t go our way, but I think, as a team, we tried as hard as we could and I feel like we left everything out here. We’ve got some tear-shedding now, since it’s over and stuff, but it was a great run and we had a good season.”
It was an odd week in preparation for the game as three straight rain outs forced a game originally scheduled for Tuesday to be played on Friday.
The Hornets (15-8 overall) did not seem to have any rust, however, as they started fast and scored the game’s first two goals in the opening quarter.
“We were out-shooting them and things were going in our favor,” Gonzalez said. “Everything was going our way and the game plan was working well.”
But then Emmaus could not find the back of the net, and the Hawks began to muster up some offense. St. Joe’s used the next three quarters to score seven goals, and only allowed one Emmaus goal in a complete turnaround.
With the score at 3-2 heading into the fourth quarter, Emmaus’ Bailey O’Connor burned the back of the net just 50 seconds into the fourth quarter to tie the score at 3-3.
A fluke goal put the Hawks in front when Emmaus goalie Ben Franco made a save and then quickly tried to release a pass to start a run up field. The attempted pass was deflected at the line by a Hawks’ defender, and the ball fell into the net.
That goal seemed to deflate Emmaus.
“I felt like we were going to have a rally behind us, but that unlucky goal really hurt,” said Gonzalez. “It’s a goal for us 10-out-of-10 times. We had a guy going up the field with nobody near him [and goalie Ben Franco in possession]. It was one of those unlucky plays that led to them scoring the goal and them getting the momentum going their way.”
Michael Leschinsky and Sam Conway joined O’Connor in scoring a goal in the game, while Leschinsky also added an assist. Franco made 10 saves.
Emmaus ends the season 15-8 overall.