The Emmaus field hockey season came to a surprising end in a 4-0 loss to Palmyra in the semifinal round of the PIAA playoffs last week. The biggest part of the surprise wasn't that the Lady Hornets lost, but the margin. It was the first time all season that they allowed more than one goal in a game and just the second time that they failed to score, with the other being a 1-0 loss to Stroudsburg in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference final.
Coach Sue Butz-Stavin is in her 39th season as the head coach of the Emmaus field hockey team, so it's safe to say that she knows every strategy that works in the game.
That's why when she looks at her team, she doesn't recognize its current trend of falling behind early only to rally back as any sort of solid strategy. The team's latest comeback was a 3-1 win over Wyoming Valley West in the PIAA quarter-finals, which were played in Berwick.
"That's not a new strategy," said Butz-Stavin about falling behind early. "It never was in my book."
For much of the season, most folks thought the District 11 boys soccer championship would come down to Emmaus and Parkland. Southern Lehigh wasn't very involved in the discussion, but the Spartans beat both of the favorites on their way to winning their first district title since becoming a Class AAA school.
Southern Lehigh downed Emmaus 2-1 in last week's title game, with all three of the goals coming in a span of 1:39. It started with Southern Lehigh's Ryan Fowler firing a shot past goalkeeper Ethan Lang with 22:39 left to play in the first half.
While it's the offense that gets the lion's share of the attention in most sports, the defense often winds up winning championships. In picking up their 26th straight district title, the Emmaus Hornets field hockey team can credit its defense with having played a big role in the success.
Consider some of the numbers.
The Lady Hornets had a lot of motivation at their disposal and they used it all to beat Stroudsburg, 2-0 in Saturday's District 11 field hockey championship. The win gives Emmaus 26 straight district titles.
The two teams were both undefeated at the time they met for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship, where the Mounties pulled off a 1-0 victory over Emmaus. It wasn't only the first loss of the season for Emmaus, but it was the first time all season that the Hornets were shutout.
Following the 1997 baseball season, Mike Mihalik Sr., resigned as the Emmaus baseball coach so he would have more time to spend with his son, who was a pretty good baseball player at Parkland High School.
Fast forward to the end of the 2014 season and Mihalik's successor, John Schreiner, left the program to spend more time watching his two sons play baseball at Northwestern Lehigh High School. Now, that young Parkland baseball player takes over the program that his dad coached.
The second annual Scheitrum Classic will be played this weekend at Emmaus High School. The girls basketball tournament opens Friday at 6 p.m. and the final game, which features the Emmaus varsity team, is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday.
Emmaus made it to the finals of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference field hockey playoffs before suffering a tough 1-0 loss to top-seeded Stroudsburg. That loss, and the nine days before the team's next game, may have served as motivation for the Lady Hornets' latest effort. They came out blazing against Pocono Mountain East in the District 11 Quarter-Finals, picking up a 10-0 win over the Cardinals. Maddy Dorn, Meredith Sholder and Alicia Cooperman all scored twice in the win, with Morgan Will, Chloe Tostevin, Tara Tracchio and Kira Koehler all adding to the score.
Now that its season is over, the Emmaus girls soccer team can look back on a season that saw a lot of ups and downs, not just over the whole season, but in the final couple weeks. A 1-0 loss to Northampton in double overtime in the District 11 quarterfinals ended the season for a fairly young group of players.
The Emmaus boys soccer team had to endure two yellow cards within the first 10 minutes of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference finals, but it was able to walk away with a 2-1 win over Liberty and the inaugural EPC gold medals around their necks.
Goals by Parker Landis and Greg Lind and one of the more acrobatic saves you could ever expect to see from a goalkeeper were the key components in the win.