Heading into the 2018-19 season, the Emmaus boys basketball team has plenty of positive hype and energy surrounding the program. It had won two District 11 Class 6A playoff games last year and advanced to the state tournament. The Hornets also had a successful summer season.
With four starters returning and a transfer that started a majority of games for Whitehall last year joining the fray, expectations were high for Emmaus.
Even in somewhat of a rebuilding year last year, the Emmaus boys basketball team finished with a winning record (14-13 overall) and reached the District 11 Class 6A semifinals and the state tournament.
Now, looking into the 2018-19 season, the Green Hornets have plenty of key ingredients back to do even more damage and make an even deeper run this year.
Emmaus returns four starters and has added a transfer who started at his former school to form a group capable of competing for both league and district crowns this season.
The Emmaus ice hockey team had a rough start to its 2018-19 campaign, losing its first four games. But since it has gotten back on the right path with wins in four of its last six outings.
“We opened the season with four very difficult games: Parkland, Freedom and two games against Northampton,” said Hornet head coach Keith Hurlburt. “These are the top teams in the league and we struggled a bit.
The Emmaus girls volleyball team was able to check off all of its major goals this season.The team won a large number of games during the regular season, qualified for both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 Class 4A playoffs, and competed in the state playoff tournament.
But the Hornets’ magical 2018 run came to an end in the first round of the state playoffs. Emmaus fell to District 1’s Garnet Valley by scores of 25-17, 25-20, 25-23 at Upper Dublin High School.
It had been over a decade since the Emmaus girls volleyball team won a district title. Coming into last week’s finals as the top seed, the Hornets needed only to defeat the four-time defending champs in the title match.
Playing in their first district championship game since 2014 and looking to become just the second girls volleyball program to win a district title since the 1995 team, the Hornets met a tall task in rival and perennial district championship participant Parkland.
Emmaus senior setter Caroline Bond wanted her season and volleyball career at Emmaus to keep moving on.
Lst Thursday night on the Emmaus home court, the Green Hornets were able to allow Bond and the other senior members of the team the chance to keep playing for a District 11 Class 4A championship by downing Whitehall 3-1 (25-14, 16-25, 25-21 and 25-13) in the district quarterfinal round.
Emmaus was also just happy to get back out on the court after falling in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals to Nazareth a week prior.
It was just another Parkland-Emmaus boys soccer postseason game. Another one-goal, overtime thriller that has become the norm when the two teams meet, especially in the postseason.
The Trojans and Hornets were tied at halftime, and then tied at the end of regulation and again after both 15-minute overtime periods. The game would have to be decided in penalty kicks.
The Emmaus girls volleyball team might have nightmares about playing against Nazareth. The Blue Eagles have been a thorn in the side of the Green Hornets the last two years.
That continued last Thursday night.
Fourth-seeded Nazareth was once again on the winning end of things in last week’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs, taking down number one seed Emmaus 3-1 by scores of 27-25, 17-25, 25-19 and 27-25 in a semifinal match at Whitehall High School.
The performance was unlike the 2018 Emmaus girls volleyball team this season. The Green Hornets had won their first 12 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference matches, including wins over some of the top teams in the league.
But the last full week of the regular season was unkind to the Hornets.
Emmaus dropped two East Penn Conference matches last week, falling to Parkland and then Nazareth.
But the Green Hornets (14-3 overall, 13-2 EPC) bounced back on senior night, and took down Whitehall 3-0 by scores of 25-19, 25-16 and 25-12 last Thursday night at Emmaus High School.
Back on Sept. 6, nearly a month before their most recent meeting, the Emmaus girls volleyball team got the better of rival Parkland, coming back from down two sets to one, and getting an important early season win over a team that it has not found much success against of late.
But that was in the friendly confines of the Hornets Nest. Last Monday night, it was a different story.