Just a week ago, it looked as if the road to another championship appearance in the Blue Mountain League would be easy for Limeport.
The Bulls, who finished the regular season with the No. 1 seed in the playoffs at 25-11, quickly built a 2-0 series lead against the Northampton Giants. A pitching spectacle from ace Adam Maini in Game 1 led to an 8-0 win. A 7-5 victory the next day brought the Bulls within one win of their fourth championship appearance in six years.
After plenty of success in the Tri-County ranks in recent years, the Northern Yankees transitioned to the Blue Mountain League a year ago with much of the same triumph. In their inaugural BML season, the Yankees were one of the final four teams standing in last year's playoffs.
But a 1-0 series lead in the semifinals against Limeport quickly diminished to a 3-1 series defeat in a matter of days, leaving an uneasy feeling in the Yankees' stomachs.
When Tim Hertzog took over the Lower Macungie Connie Mack team this summer, he would have been pleased with a .500 record.
Lower Mac achieved more than that, and one win separated the Mustangs from a potential spot in the state tournament. After a 10-8 record in the regular season, a 2-1 series defeat to Nazareth was the only thing that kept Lower Mac from being one of six teams representing the Lehigh Valley in states.
And while Hertzog would have enjoyed that stage with such a young team, he's particularly proud of how Lower Mac finished 2015.
In four meetings this season, including a match at the Koller Classic Invitational, the Emmaus volleyball team put together its best set of the season against Parkland to open last week's District 11 Class AAA championship.
Yet it still wasn't enough.
The Hornets, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, held a 23-21 advantage on a Patrick Bryan kill set up by Robert Haag in the opening set.
Emmaus' Katie Bacher remembers just how close she was to missing states last year in the 1600-meter run.
The junior finished in third place in last year's meet, but after the first- and second-place finishers dropped the 1600 to focus on other events in states, Bacher got her opportunity on the highest stop of the podium.
Bacher didn't want to take that risk again this season, so she took matters into her own hands last week at teh District 11 Championships at Whitehall High School.
Emmaus has had a tradition of successful distance runners in recent years.
The current group of Hornets leading those distance events isn't new to the scene. During the William Allen Invitational on Saturday at J. Birney Crum Stadium, juniors Katie Bacher and Ryan Paradise continued their successful seasons on the track.
While both teams entered Thursday's Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys volleyball clash without a blemish on their league records, the Hornets knew the task at hand against Parkland would be a tough one.
After dropping the first two games 25-13 and 25-18, respectively, it looked as if Emmaus had found its rhythm. However, every time the Hornets threatened in the third game, Parkland had an answer and eventually won the game 26-24.
Emmaus guard Tyler Prescott was the lone senior on the Hornets' basketball team this season. The Hornets' unquestioned leader on and off the court didn't have the luxury of playing with other upperclassmen.
On Saturday, Prescott got a taste at what it feels like to play with some of the top seniors in the area.
In the second game of Saturday's Via All-Star Basketball Classic, Prescott scored eight points for the South all-stars. Despite coming up short to the North team, 105-82, Prescott left a lasting imprint in the final game of his high school career.
When Emmaus' track and field season begins, one of the Hornets' biggest question marks revolves around replacing a highly talented senior group from a year ago.
That group was headlined by Hanna Brosky, who earned three District 11 Class AAA gold medals and a fifth-place finish at states in the 400-meter dash. Amber Blunt also won gold three times at districts, including two relay teams to go along with her first-place finish in the 200-meter dash.
The Emmaus boys' lacrosse team watched each of its previous two seasons end with district championships.
When 2015 begins and the Hornets start their chase for that third consecutive district crown, there will be both familiar faces returning and key departures that need to be replaced.
The Hornets (18-5 overall in 2014) believe they are ready for that challenge as the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference schedule opens next week.