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.
The Emmaus girls volleyball team has been clicking on all cylinders so far through the 2018 season. The Hornets continued their win streak last Thursday night by defeating Freedom in straight sets by scores of 25-12, 25-22 and 25-18 in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference action at Freedom High School.
Emmaus (7-1 overall, 6-0 EPC) has now won six conference games in a row, including three in straight sets. It is 4-0 in Skyline Division games, with the Patriots (4-3, 4-2) playing in the Steel Division.
The Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer teams know each other well. They sometimes square off as many as four times in a year, like last year.
The Trojans went 4-0 against the Green Hornets last season on their way to Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11 championships, breaking Emmaus’ streak of two straight district titles.
But despite all of those setbacks last season, this year’s Green Hornets team has a lot of talent and experience returning, while the Trojans lost more than half of their starting lineup.
Emmaus vs. Parkland matchups are important in every sport. The student-athletes know each other and want to beat one another.
In volleyball, the Trojans have been a dominant force over the last decade-plus, winning the last four District 11 championships. They have also gotten the better of the Hornets in a majority of those years.
But last Thursday night at Emmaus High School, Emmaus broke through and defeated Parkland, coming from behind in dramatic fashion.
Recent Emmaus High School graduate James Haag had a decision to make. Yes, like all upperclassmen, he had to choose which college he would attend. But to go along with that, he also had to pick which sport he would play on the next level, eliminating one of two in which he starred at Emmaus.
Haag was a member of Emmaus’ soccer team in the fall and the volleyball team in the spring. He excelled at both and enjoyed competing in each one.
After a successful 2017-18 senior campaign, Haag was voted as the East Penn Press Male Athlete of the Year.