With two pretty young teams, you get the feeling that Emmaus and Liberty are set for some pretty big battles over the next couple of seasons.
The first two real salvos in the war came in softball’s postseason this year when Emmaus downed the Hurricanes 3-2 in eight innings in the EPC semifinal before Liberty took revenge, winning the District 11 Semifinals 11-2 over the Hornets last week at Patriots Park in Allentown.
Nearly every championship team in any sport and any level needs to overcome some adversity to get to the top.
Although the Emmaus boys volleyball team wasn’t challenged often in the regular season or even in the league and district playoffs, the Hornets had to battle back twice in Saturday’s state quarterfinal against Pennridge.
Each year over Memorial Day Weekend the best of the best high school track and field athletes in the state of Pennsylvania compete at the annual PIAA Championship Meet at Shippensburg University.
The Emmaus girls 3200-meter relay team earned a place in the meet for the second straight season.
The foursome of Katrina Durrwachter, Abby Dalton, Sophie Pickering and Abby Heilenman ran to 12th place in their heat at states, finishing in 9:54.09 and 23rd place overall.
Emmaus couldn’t have asked for a better start when it opened up last week’s District 11 Class 3A boys lacrosse championship with a quick 3-0 lead over top-seeded Parkland. The only thing Hornet head coach Scott Ketchum thought might have deterred his team was that the Hornets might have gotten a bit complacent.
Parkland quickly tied the game at 3-3 minutes later. And after two 30-minute weather delays in the first half, the No. 1 seeded Trojans eventually captured their first district title with a 15-9 win over Emmaus at Lehigh University last Thursday.
It was just another match. Just like every other match against an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference opponent this season. The Emmaus boys volleyball team had taken down every league foe that it faced in 2017 and added one more to the total last Thursday night at Allen High School. But this one carried a bit more importance.
The Hornets swept Whitehall by scores of 25-16, 25-23, 25-21 and won the District 11 Class 3A championship last Thursday for their first title since 2013. They are 19-0 against EPC teams this year.
When the District 11 baseball semifinal game against Liberty went extra innings, fans had to figure that Emmaus had a bit of an advantage. After all, the Hornets were the team that battled Parkland to a 16-inning, 1-0 win during the regular season, so playing longer games was nothing new to them.
The Baseball Gods had other ideas on Monday as Liberty erased a two-run deficit with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to beat Emmaus 4-3 and end the Hornets’ season.
If one were to list the best local high school baseball games of the regular season, it’s possible that number-two would be Emmaus’ 3-1 win over Parkland early in the season.
The top game would have to be the 1-0 Emmaus win over Parkland in 16 innings in a rematch of the two teams at Community Park. That made the third go-around, in the semifinals of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs that much more interesting.
Parkland opened Monday’s district girls’ lacrosse semifinal game with two goals in two minutes. But Emmaus, which lost to the Trojans to end its regular season by a 14-2 final score, proved this time would be much more competitive.
Despite a hard-fought effort with a short-handed team that was missing four starters, the end result was the same.
Emmaus rallied from the early two-goal deficit and even led by a goal late in the second half. But Parkland, coming off an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship last week, had too much firepower offensively.
The Emmaus girls 3200-meter relay team has been preparing all season for this time of year.
The foursome’s goal was to run its best at exactly this time of the season, and through two postseason races it has accomplished that mission.
The foursome of Abby Dalton, Katrina Durrwachter, Sophie Pickering and Abby Heilenman ran its best time of the season for the second straight week to take the silver medal in last week’s District 11 Class 3A Championships, posting a 9:28.82 and finishing just behind Colonial League champ Southern Lehigh (9:25.47).
The Emmaus boys lacrosse team had to be happy to look across the field and see another team besides rival Parkland.
The last two games that the Green Hornets played were against the Trojans, and both were losses, 12-9 in the regular season finale and 13-9 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals.
After two straight defeats, Emmaus was looking for some momentum and wanted to keep its 2017 campaign going when it hosted Pleasant Valley in the first round of the District 2-11 Class 3A boys lacrosse subregional tournament.