The Emmaus girls lacrosse team graduated seven key players from last year's team, all of which either started or saw significant playing time.
While the Hornets are trying to fill those holes this season, several players return that were a big part of last season's 11-10 team that won a league playoff game and qualified for the District 11 tournament.
Sometimes it takes a few postseason games before a young team can get over its nerves and learn to succeed in playoff basketball.
Last week Emmaus took a team with just one senior into Allen's gym for an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys quarterfinal playoff game.
When their only senior got into early foul trouble, things went south quickly for the Hornets, which fell 53-41 to the Canaries.
Eleven Emmaus athletes representing seven sports signed letters of intent to colleges last week.
Athletic director Dennis Ramella estimated the total amount of scholarships to be around two million dollars.
The student-athletes have an average grade point average of 3.46 and include five National Honor Society members, three All-Americans and six all-state players.
The Emmaus' girls cross country team already has the winner of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference's Most Valuable Player award in junior Katie Bacher.
If the conference also gave out a Rookie of the Year award, that would likely go to an Emmaus runner as well.
Freshman Abigail Dalton continued a stellar freshman postseason last week by taking fourth place in the District 11 Class AAA Championship race in Bethlehem.
Emmaus needed to play nearly a perfect game to stay with Whitehall last week. And probably would have needed a flawless performance, or some Zephyr mistakes, to beat one of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference's best teams.
The Hornets had just the right game plan and executed it as well as they have all season. But it still wasn't enough. A late touchdown gave Whitehall a 48-41 win. But even in defeat, Emmaus proved it can play with the top teams in the league.
Before the season started, Randy Cuthbert got some funny looks when he told people his offensive line would be better than last year.
The Hornets had graduated everyone. Not just interior linemen, but tight ends and receivers, too. This year's team has fresh faces up front from sideline to sideline.
But Cuthbert, who took over the team in late spring of 2013, knew the players that would take over in the trenches had been in the weight room all offseason. He knew how close they had become and how big and strong they were compared to last year.
Over the first 45 minutes of last week's Eastern Pennsylvanie field hockey championship game, both teams had some scoring chances, but neither could capitalize.
Finally, with 12:03 left in the game, Stroudsburg's Jennifer Bukowski sent a shot from the top of the circle that bounced through Emmaus' defense and got past keeper Tori Laczo for the game's only goal.
The win gives the Mountaineers the league's first title trophy and keeps the Hornets without a league title for the first season since 2003.
Emmaus advanced through the first round of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference girls volleyball tournament Saturday with a win over Pleasant Valley.
The No. 3 seed Hornets consistently went to their three top hitters to bear the No. 6 seed Bears 25-27, 25-29 and 25-21.
Emmaus' Mackenzie O'Brien (15 kills), Megan Forstburg (nine kills) and Erin Stanton (nine kills) did most of the damage.
When Emmaus has its ground game going, the Hornets are a tough team to stop.
They showed that last Friday night, piling up 371 rushing yards in a 43-6 win over Northampton that puts Emmaus at 3-3 this season.
"I feel like we improved from last week," said running back/linebacker Andy Davidson. "That's the most important thing we can do, improve every week and get better. We have tough match ups in the weeks ahead. We just need to get better."
Emmaus got back to .500 with a win last week. Liberty dropped to 2-2 with a loss.
Their records are one of the few similarities between the two teams that will stand on opposite sidelines Friday Night at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
The Hurricanes bring a spread offense in which quarterback Doug Erney has several different receivers as well as the run the ball himself.
Emmaus brings a hard-nose running game, led by backs Andrew Davidson and Wyl Miller.