Field hockey extends streak
And the beat goes on. Make it 31 straight District 11 championships for Emmaus field hockey under head coach Sue Butz-Stavin, the winningest coach in high school field hockey history.
The Lady Hornets beat Easton 4-1 in the district finals to take home more gold and give Butz-Stavin the 969th win of her career, stretching the team record to 24-0-0 this season.
On a cold, misty night at the Zephyr Sports Complex in Whitehall, Emmaus came out firing on all cylinders. Just over three minutes into the game, freshman Rachel Herbine tallied her 51st goal of the season to put the Hornets up 1-0.
The early score put pressure on Easton and Emmaus didn’t let up. Before the teams reached the midway point of the half, Kaitlyn Csensits scored off an assist by Annika Herbine and Madison Bruns also hit the back of the cage for an early 3-0 lead.
Easton forced a penalty stroke, its only real scoring opportunity of the night. Olivia Watson took the stroke and found an opening past goalkeeper Bailey Tietz in the lower right side of the cage to cut Emmaus’ lead to 3-1. The goal gave some momentary hope to Red Rover fans, but Emmaus quickly washed that away when Annika Herbine made it 4-1 less than a minute after Easton’s penalty stroke goal, with 8:14 left in the first half.
“We battled defensively. I thought we were in good defensive position,” said Butz-Stavin. “We tested our corner defense out, which we haven’t really tested out all season. I was really happy with that process. The game gets called in all different fashion and you just have to roll with the punches.”
Easton’s goal against Emmaus was the first the Hornets allowed in districts and just the second they’ve given up this postseason, which also saw them win the EPC championship with a 3-1 win over upstart Parkland.
Butz-Stavin approaches each season as if it’s a new start, since there are always players coming and going. For junior Annika Herbine, it was a matter of the team executing what the coaches had put in front of them, which led to her third district gold medal.
“It feels great. We came into the game prepared and I’m really happy for our team that we did so well,” said Herbine. “We followed the plan of what we were going to do coming in and it worked well.”
Emmaus will look for their 13th state championship in the PIAA tournament, which gets underway this week.
The Lady Hornets went to the state semifinals in each of the last two seasons and last won the state title back in 2016.