Last season, Emmaus' boys tennis team gave Parkland a scare when it fought a prolonged battle on Emmaus' home courts. This year, the two teams met at Parkland and the outcome was different than it was a year ago, with Parkland sweeping all seven matches to move to 4-0 on the season. The loss drops Emmaus to 2-2 after back-to-back losses to Nazareth and now, Parkland.
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.
After losing 10 seniors to graduation coming into the 2014 season, the sting wasn't quite as great entering 2015 for the Emmaus boys tennis team, but it still took hits.
The big loss comes from the graduation of number two singles player Rowan Hobson, who won gold in the final LVC Tournament. Hobson also teamed with Matt FitzMaurice, who is now a junior, to form the top doubles tandem in the area.
The Emmaus boys volleyball team was close last year. The Hornets not only beat District 11 champion Parkland in a regular season match, but they also took one game from the Trojans in the district title match, losing 3-1.
Emmaus could be set up to return to the district title game this year as the Hornets graduated just two players from last year's team in setter Jake Reynold and middle hitter Drew Switzer.
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.
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.
Mike Mihalik takes over for his first season as Emmaus' baseball head coach and he's already had some challenges to face.
The opportunities for true practices have been almost nonexistent thanks to winter hanging on longer than Mihalik and his players would have liked. Fortunately for Mihalik, the other teams in the EPC are facing the same challenges, so at least everybody is on the same snowy footing.
Emmaus swimming may not have had the team outcomes that they had hoped for at states, but they came away with some pretty significant accomplishments, including something that hasn't happened in at least 20 years: a medal in diving.
Freshman sensation Jess Hurlburt came into the meet seeded third and finished exactly where she was seeded, thanks to a strong last dive that moved her up a spot.
Hurlburt, who won gold in the District 11 Championship, shook off some nerves to give a strong showing, especially considering it was her first time diving in a competition this big.
Emmaus softball head coach John Eyer is about ready to head out to a softball field with a blow torch to melt the remaining snow away so his team can practice on an actual field. For the most part, they've been in the friendly confines of the high school gym, with the exception of a couple ventures onto the parking lot.
"It's hard, because there's cars all over... it hasn't been easy," said Eyer, who is heading into his 16th season as coach.