Last season, the Emmaus boys soccer team went deep into districts before falling to Freedom in the championship game as the Patriots captured their first district title since 1990.
Emmaus then lost in the first round of states to Abington, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of players who expected from day one to at the very least go deeper into states.
This season, the Hornets reassembled still carrying that chip on their shoulder and ready to make a deeper run into states, but there’s a lot of work to do before that happening.
The Emmaus girls soccer program took a big step forward last season.
Even though the Hornets failed to fight their way into a crowded field for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, they used the time off to focus on districts and it paid off. The Hornets, who finished the season 8-6-2, reached the District 11 semifinals before falling to rival Parkland by a 1-0 margin.
This season, the Hornets are on a mission to make it into not just the conference playoffs and districts, but to go deep into both, at the very least.
After building upon his accomplishments year after year, you kind of have to wonder what Brendan McCourt is going to do for his senior season as a diver at Emmaus High School. As a freshman, he finished third at districts and followed that up with gold medals in each of the next two seasons. At states, he finished seventh in 2018 and then jumped to the top in 2019, easily winning a gold medal by a margin of 55 points in the competition.
Lower Macungie entered the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in Lehigh Valley Legion. After a furious second-half charge, Lower Macungie wound up on the losing end in its two playoffs games and being bounced from the LVL playoffs in surprising fashion.
The Mustangs came into the postseason seeded fourth and faced a tough Northern Valley team in the first round. After a stumble in late June and early July, Northern Valley was arguably just as hot late in the year and coming into the playoffs as was Lower Macungie, leading to a good first round contest.
The Emmaus Legion team split a double-header with Northern Valley on the final Saturday of the regular season and then fell to Coplay, finishing the year at 5-10. There is still one game to be completed, a suspended contest that has Emmaus trailing unbeaten South Parkland 5-0 in the fifth inning. That game may not be completed because of time constraints with the playoffs starting on Wednesday.
Ironically, the two teams are set to meet in the first round of the double-elimination Lehigh Valley Legion tournament.
Lower Macungie Legion manager Jeff Smith decided to start the season without players from the Emmaus High School team who were competing in districts and states at the time the Lehigh Valley Legion season opened. He could have pushed a few games back to late in the schedule, but it would have meant a hectic final week or two of the season.
When Lower Macungie started last week with a 14-0 win over a good North Parkland team, players and coaches alike believed it could be a turning point to their season. That win has been converted into a current four-game winning streak that has the Mustangs back to the .500 mark at 6-6 on the season.
In their last four games, the Mustangs have scored 42 runs thanks to a pair of 14-run games. The pitching is doing its part as well, allowing just 14 runs over the same span, which started with the win over North Parkland.
A win over the Carbon Monarchs a week ago seemed to be just the type of win that could right the ship for the Emmaus Lehigh Valley Legion baseball team.
In three games since that win, Emmaus has gone 0-3 and has seen its pitching give up 39 runs.
Against Allentown (2-10), Emmaus held a 6-2 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth inning when Allentown put up 12 runs in the inning. Emmaus did battle back for two in the top of the fifth, but couldn’t do any further damage in a 14-8 loss.
The Emmaus American Legion baseball team had a reversal of fortunes in its last two games.
On Sunday, the Hornets put up late runs to blow out the Carbon Monarchs 15-6, but then dropped a 14-8 game to Allentown on Monday thanks to a 12-run fourth inning for Allentown.
With a 10-0 loss to Parkland in the District 11 semifinals, the Emmaus softball season came to a somewhat abrupt end. While the Hornets had lost some tough games along the way this season, they hadn’t experienced the type of loss that they did against their rivals and it left a bit of a sting on the team.
Even with the sudden end, the season was generally a strong one for a team on the upswing.