It was a tale of two different games for the Emmaus girls lacrosse team and its rival Parkland.
In the first matchup, a 20-9 loss on April 7, the Green Hornets were right there neck-and-neck with the Trojans, just one goal down at halftime.
But last Thursday afternoon, Parkland raced out to an early 5-0 lead in the first five minutes before Emmaus could even get a shot on goal, and the early deficit was too much to overcome as the Green Hornets fell to the Trojans 12-5 at Troxell Middle School field.
The Emmaus softball team certainly isn't making it easy on itself or coach John Eyer. The early part of the season was filled with comeback wins, with the Lady Hornets (8-7, 10-8) finding ways to pull out games in the late innings.
Not always a great strategy, but they opened with a 7-0 record, so it seemed to be working. Since that auspicious start, Emmaus has gone just 3-8, which has gotten them a spot in the District 11 Tournament, but has left them on the outside looking in for the EPC playoffs.
Unlike the last time Parkland and Emmaus met last month, a 10-8, back-and-forth contest won by the Green Hornets, Emmaus led by four goals Monday afternoon at Orefield Middle School. But the Hornets lost it in the second half as the Trojans stormed back to win 11-6.
"Possession was the key," said head Emmaus coach Scott Ketcham. "We weren't able to possess for the better part of two and a half quarters. Even if you have a good defense, it's going to wear you down if the offense doesn't have the ball.
Emmaus qualified for the District 11 baseball playoffs with a win over Northampton 10 days ago, which was the Hornets' 10th win of the season. Until a recent three-game losing skid, it looked like they were destined for the EPC Playoffs as well. Since putting together a seven-game losing skid, Emmaus has gone 2-4, dropping its conference record to 8-6.
April 7 was a rainy, miserable day in the Lehigh Valley. Emmaus and Parkland hoped to get the first of their two regular season meetings played that day, but it just wasn't going to happen.
The Hornets might have probably been better off just calling off the game, because the Trojans jumped on pitcher Trey Hinkle for six runs in the top of the first. Parkland's Rhett Jacoby put down the Hornets in the bottom of the inning and the rains poured down at a pace that forced the game to be halted for a little over two weeks.
Matt FitzMaurice is in his third year of high school and in each of those seasons, he reached the finals of the District 11 singles tennis tournament. The first two times, he came up short, losing to Freedom's Andrew Sinai in the finals. This season was different for FitzMaurice as he downed Parkland's Nick Kshatri 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the district finals to earn his first berth in the PIAA Tournament.
Earlier in the season, as his team was rolling right along with a perfect record, softball coach John Eyer predicted there would be some rough spots for his team to get past at some point in the season.
The key would be how his team would handle that adversity and how quickly it could get past those spots.
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.
It was one game that could have been the difference in last week's showdown between Liberty and Emmaus on the volleyball court, but that game also turned out to be the nail in the coffin for the Hurricanes.
Liberty was swept in three games last week 25-16, 34-32, 25-17, but a defining game two was the decisive bout throughout the match that determined the outcome for both sides.
Battling to a 34-32 defeat was a game that Liberty head coach Neiad Ammary knew would be the difference maker in the clash.
It wasn't easy, but Emmaus stretched its win streak to five straight games with a 6-5 win over Central Catholic Saturday at Coca-Cola Park. Emmaus needed extra innings and had to come-from-behind in the bottom of the eighth, to pull out the win and stretch its record to 6-3 on the season.
After Central Catholic broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth inning, the Hornets came to bat trailing by a run and went to work quickly to erase the deficit.