Coming off of three straight wins against conference opponents, the Emmaus volleyball team was on a roll heading into its clash against the No. 1 team in the state last Friday afternoon in Orefield.
But then the Green Hornets ran into a brick wall that is the Trojans.
Parkland (15-0) took it to Emmaus (12-3) in the first two games, and held on in a dramatic game three to take the match by scores of 25-20, 25-13, and 32-30.
The Emmaus volleyball team was put in a hole, one that it had to climb out of desperately. Coming off a conference loss to Central Catholic 3-2 just three days before, the Green Hornets again were challenged in the East Penn Conference.
The Nazareth Blue Eagles came out like their season was on the line, and played every point hard and to the whistle.
It may have been too early in the season to say it, but last Friday night's game at Nazareth was seemingly a must-win game for Emmaus. Having lost their last two games, the Hornets were searching for some momentum and a signature win that could propel them forward.
Emmaus (2-2 overall) used its rushing attack to build a lead against the Blue Eagles and then held on to defeat Nazareth 34-27 at Andrew Leh Stadium last Friday night.
At a time during his junior year at Emmaus High School, Brian Velasco was feeling the love during the recruitment period. Division I schools from the Patriot League, including Lehigh and Lafayette, and the University of Pennsylvania all kept in regular contact with Velasco, and all wanted him to be a part of their programs.
But then they changed course, and decided to look elsewhere.
While Velasco could have gotten down over this, he kept moving forward, and with the help of his coaches, started thinking about the Division III route for his football career.
It was a Saturday afternoon girls soccer game that would have been a perfect fit for the turf of Emmaus High School's Memorial field, but it was played up the road on Parkland's grass field.
The Trojans (7-0) remained unbeaten thanks to two goals from sophomore forward Brooke Schutter, and solid defensive play, holding the Green Hornets (3-2-1) scoreless for a 2-0 defeat on a rainy, muddy field.
The conditions were not in the favor of either team, especially for Emmaus, which plays most of its games on turf.
The Emmaus girls volleyball team faced some adversity for the first time this season last Monday night in its home gym. The Green Hornets were undefeated and hadn't lost more than one game in a match yet this season, but Parkland came out strong and took three straight games, 25-17, 25-18, and 25-21, in a match featuring the top two teams in the state according to Max Prep.
The Trojans sent a message, but also amassed some revenge after being ousted from the district tournament a year ago in the semifinals to Emmaus.
The Emmaus girls volleyball team entered 2014 with high goals and expectations after a successful 2013 campaign, and a large chunk of their rotation returning.
One of those returning players, senior Mackenzie O'Brien, was one of the top athletes in District 11 a year ago. Her 11 kills and 8 digs helped lead the Green Hornets (2-0) over Dieruff last Thursday by scores of 25-7, 25-5, and 25-6 to keep Emmaus undefeated.
After Bloomsburg wrapped up the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division chamionship in November, the focus was shifted to the 2014 and a new slate for each of the eight teams in the east.
All eight teams were represented by their head coach and two or three captains at the PSAC media day held last Monday afternoon at Kutztown University.
Each team was introduced by its respective sports information director, and that was followed by the preseason poll.
Lehigh Valley Conference offenses are cringing at the thought of having to line up one more time against Andrew Davidson. The rising senior linebacker took home the defensive MVP award in the LVC for his fierce play on the field, which has also gotten him scholarship offers from a couple of Patriot League schools.
The Emmaus athlete plays running back as well, but said he is being recruited as a linebacker.
If it wasn't for the wrong bounce of the basketball, the Emmaus boys basketball team could have been playing in the final four of its second straight Allentown summer tournament.
Two weekends ago, the Green Hornets lost in the semifinals at the Stellar Catch A Rising Star Tournament. And it took an extra period, but Reading High School took down Emmaus in the quarterfinals of the Sportsfest A-town Throwdown Tournament last weekend at Cedar Beach.