It’s late in a high school basketball game and the score is close. Time is running out, so the coach of the team trailing on the scoreboard instructs his players to start fouling in an effort to stop the clock and hope that the opposing team misses their foul shots. The strategy turns the final minute of a game into a 10-minute affair.
The annual tradition of Emmaus field hockey winning the District 11 championship continued last week when the Hornets downed Easton 2-1 in overtime to win their 29th straight district championship. Now, the team turns its focus to winning its third straight PIAA championship.
The win over Easton didn’t come easily, with Emmaus battling a number of illnesses and injuries. Emmaus was without Olivia Krogermeier, who is battling a calf injury and wasn’t cleared to play, but was cleared to shoot a penalty stroke if the opportunity presented itself.
Emmaus coach John Cari wasn’t about to make any excuses for his team’s 2-0 loss in the District 11 championship game against Parkland.
It was the fourth time this season that the Trojans downed Emmaus and the game was filled with officiating that was disputed by both sides and yellow cards that were handed out pretty freely late in the game.
Even though Parkland has gone undefeated so far this season, one could make an argument that Emmaus (15-8-1) had the momentum coming into the District 11 Class 4A girls soccer championship, thanks to dominating the second half of play against the Lady Trojans in the league championship. Emmaus played a near-perfect game last week, taking Parkland to double-overtime before falling 1-0 to finish as the silver medalists in District 11.
Maddie Fey scored three times as Emmaus downed Stroudsburg 7-0 in the first round of the District 11 playoffs and then went on to beat Whitehall 1-0 in the quarterfinals last week. The wins put the Lady Hornets into the semifinals where they faced Easton with an eye toward reaching the District 11 Championship.
After playing 80 minutes of soccer in regulation and an additional 15 minutes in the first overtime, tempers started to flare a little between the Emmaus and Whitehall boys soccer teams as they entered the second overtime period locked in a scoreless tie. The result was a couple of yellow cards for players on both sides and a red card to Emmaus’ Jonathan Heberlein, which means he will be suspended for the District 11 Semi-finals against Easton.
The Emmaus field hockey team was already banged up coming into its District 11 Class 3A semifinal meeting with Pocono Mountain East on Monday night and the Hornets left even more banged up when Leah Zellner went down with an ankle injury and had to be helped off the field. The good news is that Emmaus picked up a 2-0 win to move to 23-0 and advance to the District 11 Championship as the Hornets look for their 29th straight district title.
Coaches of both Parkland and Emmaus don’t like the fact that their teams wind up playing each other a minimum of three times, and often four times in a season. The teams meet twice in the regular season and then usually play against each other in the conference playoffs and in districts.
For the second time this season, Emmaus boys soccer team has a five-game shutout streak going. Overall, heading into Tuesday’s Eastern Conference semifinals, the Hornets had recorded 13 shutouts, 12 wins and a tie. For head coach John Cari, that’s exactly how he wants his teams to win games.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I build a team defensively first,” said Cari. “I’m confident in what I have back there. I know they’re going to do their job. I know they’re going to stand tall and if you’re going to score, it’s going to take an effort.”
When Emmaus and Pocono Mountain East met during the regular season, Hornet head coach Sarah Oswald didn’t leave the field in a good mood.
It may have been the low point of the season for her team performance-wise as it lost to the Cardinals 4-1 at Memorial Stadium, putting Emmaus in a bit of a bind as far as the standings were concerned.