Coming into the season, Emmaus coach Tim O’Connor knew there was a lot of work to do with his young team. Both the boys and girls teams have made it through their first six dual meets with perfect records intact, with the latest win coming over Northampton.
It’s easy to see the progress that the Emmaus diving program has made in just one year. A year ago, Jess Hurlburt was a freshman who was untested in 11-dive competitions at the high school level. On the boys side, Andrew Vanim admittedly let pressure get to him in the District 11 Diving Championship, which almost cost him a bid to the state competition.
This year, Hurlburt came in as one of the favorites in the EPC Diving Meet and Vanim has a completely different outlook that has put him past the nerves that he felt last season.
Perhaps no other girls basketball team in the area faces a tougher task than Emmaus this season.
First, the Hornets have a new coach for the third straight season after Jeff Williams had to step down because of personal reasons. Williams coached one season, taking over for Billy Dunn, who stepped down following the 2013-2014 season.
Carl Scheitrum, who was on both Dunn’s and Williams’ staffs, moves up to be the head coach of the team this season and is looking to stick around for a while.
To win a state championship and do it with an undefeated season takes a lot of hard work and talent, mixed with a pinch of luck here and there. It also doesn’t hurt to have an All-American player on the team that scores 64 goals in 27 games.
In the first game of the season, the Emmaus field hockey team celebrated a record-setting win over Easton that tied coach Sue Butz-Stavin for the national record for the most wins by a high school field hockey coach.
The season ended with junior Meredith Sholder scoring a game-winning overtime goal to not only make her the school’s all-time leader in goals scorer, but also to make her team this year’s PIAA Class AAA champions with a 1-0 win over Palmyra.
In case Phantoms fans forgot what minor league hockey is all about, the Flyers gave them a not-so-gentle reminder when they recalled two popular players to provide help for the parent club.
Forward Taylor Leier and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere were recalled, delivering a blow to the Phantom lineup.
Leier, 21, recorded four goals and five assists in 14 games with the Phantoms this season, his second in the AHL.
After an hour-and-a-half bus ride to Central Columbia High School for the PIAA Class AAA field hockey quarterfinals, Emmaus came out a little flat against Wilkes-Barre Coughlin. A second-half surge turned the game around and the Lady Hornets enjoyed the ride home after beating the Crusaders 5-1 to advance in the state playoffs.
“We just didn’t have the mojo going,” said head coach Sue Butz-Stavin. “We did some things, but we were a little careless with the passes and stuff. Once things started clicking a little better, we drew a few more corners and finished”
Most fans, players and coaches agree that using penalty kicks to determine the outcome of a soccer game is not the best way to decide the winner, especially in the postseason.
Unfortunately for Emmaus that’s exactly what happened and the Hornets came up on the wrong end of the penalty kick against Conestoga in the first round of the PIAA layoffs, losing the penalty kicks 6-5 and the game 2-1.
The third annual Scheitrum Classic was held at Emmaus High School recently to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. This year’s tournament featured 18 teams – 13 varsity and five junior varsity – playing in games throughout the weekend in both the main gym and auxiliary gym at Emmaus. This year’s tournament raised $1,000 that will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Through its three years, the Scheitrum Classic has now raised $2,500 for the American Cancer Society.
In their three previous meetings this season, Parkland and Emmaus played to a scoreless tie and a 1-0 Emmaus win in their regular season meetings, along with a 3-2 Parkland victory in the league championship. Their fourth meeting was for the District 11 championship and a trip to the PIAA playoffs and Emmaus came away with a hard-fought 2-0 win.
The trip to states allows Emmaus to meet a goal that the team set at the beginning of the season.