One might think that having a first-round opponent in the playoffs who you’ve beaten twice during the regular season would make for an easy win. That’s not always the case.
Emmaus (14-3-1) had to face Northampton (12-6-1) to open the EPC quarterfinals on Saturday. The Konkrete Kids had served notice that they were looking for some revenge against Skyline Division opponents now that the playoffs had arrived.
The Emmaus boys soccer team struggled through a rash of injuries that helped send it on a three-game losing skid late in the season.
The Hornets bounced back to win their final two regular season games and seemed to have found some of the earlier form that they had this season in a 6-0 quarterfinal round win over Freedom (10-9-0) in the East Penn Conference playoffs on Saturday.
As the rain poured down Monday night, Emmaus and Central Catholic battled through a scoreless first half of soccer. The two teams continued to battle through the second half, but Emmaus was able to put two shots through the rain and into the back of the net to gain a 2-0 win over the Vikings in the season finale for the Hornets.
The first time that Emmaus and Parkland met in girls soccer this season, the Hornets came out strong and held a 1-0 lead going to the half. In the second half, Parkland found two unanswered goals to get away with a 2-1 win.
This time around, Emmaus again came out firing, but both teams came up empty in the first half Monday night. And the second. And the first overtime. And the second overtime. The game ended in a scoreless tie, giving Parkland (14-0-1 overall, 12-0-1 EPC) the first blemish on their record this season.
Last season, the Emmaus field hockey team won 26 straight games before falling to Hershey in the state semifinals.
This season is taking much of the same course, with the Hornets going 11-0-0 to open the season and already having qualified for districts where they will attempt to make it 31 straight District 11 championships.
The Emmaus defense continued to play tough soccer Monday night in an 8-0 win over East Stroudsburg South. Emmaus now has four straight shutout wins, having scored a total of 29 goals in those games. On the season, the Hornet have held opponents to just 12 goals in 11 games.
Against the Cavaliers (2-9 overall, 2-8 EPC), the Hornets got three goals from Gianna Albanese, two of which were set up perfectly by junior Maddie Brown, who also assisted on a goal by senior Sydney Cole.
It’s hard to believe, but Emmaus boys soccer season reached the halfway point Monday night with a 5-0 win over Pocono Mountain West.
Through the first nine games, the Hornets have remained undefeated, going 7-0-0 in the EPC and 2-0-0 in nonconference games. Emmaus joins Liberty (7-0-0 overall, 7-0-0 EPC) as the only two unbeaten teams in the EPC. On the season, Emmaus has outscored their opponents 27-5.
Sometimes, when teammates have played together enough, they develop a sixth sense about where the other guy is going to be and how they can get the ball to them.
Emmaus boys soccer players Andrew Gaines and Hudson Peck had that working for them on Saturday as Gaines twice fed Peck, who fired a shot into the net. The goal helped Emmaus to a 4-0 win over Northampton. The win came on the heels of a 1-0 win at Cumberland Valley on Friday, starting Emmaus with a 2-0 record for the season.
If their opening game is any indication, it’s going to be another big season for Emmaus field hockey. The Lady Hornets downed Nazareth 11-0 to open the season with an East Penn Conference win.
Emmaus jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the first half and didn’t look back. Elizabeth Mazzella got the scoring underway with the first goal of the season for Emmaus. Annika Herbine assisted on the goal and would later score a goal of her own.
Sue Butz-Stavin hasn’t become the winningest field hockey coach in the country by overestimating the talent that she assembles each season.
Every season is different for her and she approaches them all with an understated confidence in her team. Through 30 straight District 11 championships and 12 state titles, the approach has remained the same.