It seems that every year, the Emmaus and Parkland volleyball teams meet in the postseason with a lot on the line. The two teams met in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals back on October 20, and once again found themselves across the court from each other in the district playoffs.
When Emmaus knocked off Liberty last weekend in the District 11 Class 6A quarterfinals, there was a bit of a sigh of relief from the Green Hornets coaching staff. They were coming off of a dramatic win against rival Parkland, and were hosting their first district playoff game that any of these players, and most coaches haven’t experienced at Emmaus.
But just as they have for 10 of 11 games this year, the Green Hornets came out focused.
After the players, coaching staff and students cleared the field following a 24-21 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship-clinching victory against rival Parkland last Friday night, Emmaus head coach Harold Fairclough began focusing on the next task at hand.
Yes, the first-year Green Hornet coach was smiling from ear to ear and celebrating the program’s first league title in a few years, but he knows there are bigger games to be played ahead of them, and his team wants more than conference gold.
It all came down to one play and one yard. The Hornets needed to hold Parkland from gaining one yard in one play.
It seems that every year, the Emmaus and Parkland volleyball teams meet in the postseason. They have played some closely-contested matches during the 2016 regular season, and last Thursday night was no different.
After a thrilling five-set win against Bethlehem Catholic just two days earlier, the Green Hornets (14-7 overall, 12-5 EPC) were forced to rally for an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinal match.
Parkland came out and played a sound match, winning all three games by scores of 25-20, 31-29, and 25-20 to advance to the league championship game.
Emmaus football head coach Harold Fairclough told his team on Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after a 17-6 victory at Easton, that they only have one more guaranteed game.
The Green Hornets (8-1 overall) have won eight of their nine games this season, but the experienced coach knows that anything can happen, and nothing is a guarantee.
That one more game left to play during the regular season is a rivalry showdown against Parkland (7-2 overall) at home on senior night. It’s also for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title.
It’s not often that the Parkland girls volleyball team loses an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference match, let alone a single game in the best-of-five match. But last Tuesday night’s clash against Emmaus was a hard-fought match.
The Trojans were nearly taken to the brink, and could have easily lost the first two games.
The defending state champs made the plays when they had to and put the Green Hornets away in the fourth game to win the match 3-1 by scores of 28-26, 25-21, 20-25, and 25-19 at Emmaus High School.
The Emmaus boys soccer team made the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament as the eighth seed of eight teams The Hornets won their last four games of the regular season to clinch the final spot.
Last Saturday afternoon in the conference quarterfinal, however, the Green Hornets (9-6-4 overall) didn’t look like the underdog. They played like the league favorite that they have perennially been over the past decade under head coach John Cari.
The Emmaus football team is in unfamiliar territory after last Friday night’s game against Nazareth.
The Green Hornets lost that game 41-21, their first defeat of the season, and for the first time this season, they will be tasked with bouncing back after a loss.
This week’s preparation is one that first-year head coach Harold Fairclough will use for the rest of the season to be able to see what they have accomplished through seven weeks.
It seems like it has been the norm as of late, especially during the 2016 season. When the Emmaus and Parkland boys soccer teams meet, the games are competitive, and usually end up with a close score in the end. Last Monday night’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference showdown at Emmaus High School’s Memorial field was no different.
Parkland’s Josh Kiser scored with exactly one minute left on the clock in regulation, negating an earlier goal by the Hornets’ Jon Heberlein and tying the game at 1-1.