The Lady Hornets finished last season at 8-14 overall and are tasked with trying to improve on that record even though they lost their top three scorers from last season to graduation. Add to that an ACL injury to Megan Navitsky, who was fourth on the team in scoring last season, and there’s a lot of rebuilding for the team to do in the 2018-19 season.
Gone are Kathryn DeJohn, Cayley Grabowski, Bri Hart, Leah Tannous and CC Wippel. Grabowski was injured for all of last season and spent the year serving as a student-coach under first-year coach Kelsey Gallagher.
The Emmaus boys went 11-0 in the EPC last season and 12-1 overall. They also won their 11th straight District 11 championship and performed well in states. With their biggest roster in recent years, Emmaus has plenty of young swimmers pushing for spots and it’s created great competition, especially on the boys side, which head coach Tim O’Connor welcomes.
While there are big numbers, the team has just three seniors and six juniors. There are a total of 13 boys sophomore and freshmen swimmers on this year’s team.
There was a time when people speaking about high school swimming in the Lehigh Valley spoke mainly about Emmaus and Parkland. Those days are changing, as the Liberty girls finished last season 13-1 overall and were perfect in the EPC. Girls teams from Easton and Nazareth both won eight EPC meets. The Emmaus girls finished second to Parkland in districts last season, but continue to close the gap between the two rivals.
Emmaus had gone 26 straight games without allowing more than one goal in a game and they hadn’t been beaten in those 26 games. In fact, over the past five seasons, Emmaus has allowed more than one goal in a game just six times.
Emmaus captured its third straight one-goal win in the postseason with a thrilling 2-1 win over Central Bucks East to advance to the semifinals of the PIAA Class 3A field hockey championship. Not only was the latest victory a one-goal game, but it took double-overtime to decide the outcome. Emmaus had previously beaten Downingtown West 1-0 and finished off their District 11 championship run with a 1-0 win over Easton.
Injuries and a tough postseason schedule finally caught up with the Emmaus boys soccer team as it fell to Abington 4-0 in the opening round of the PIAA soccer championship.
The Hornets limped into the game with a number of players banged up, but were hoping to find a way to win just as they had been doing since late in the regular season when injuries started to mount.
Sarah Oswald knows a thing or two about soccer. At halftime of the District 11 semifinals, after observing 60 minutes of play between her team and the Lady Trojans from Parkland, she predicted that the scoreless game would need just one goal to determine a winner. She was right. That goal came from Parkland in a 1-0 game that sent the Trojans on to the district championship and ended the season for Emmaus with an 11-6-2 record.
There are very few local sports programs that can even enter into a discussion about the most impressive local sports streaks of all-time when they’re compared to what is now a 30-year win streak for Emmaus field hockey in District 11 title games. Head coach Sue Butz-Stavin and her team picked up number 30 last Wednesday at Whitehall High School when they downed Easton 1-0.
As a Freedom player lay on the turf at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Freedom had pressure on Emmaus’ goal early in the second overtime. With the player obviously injured, the referees made the call to not blow the whistle and kill the Freedom opportunity.
It was the right decision, but it turned out to have a bad result for Emmaus when Brad Turocy fired a shot past goalie Aidan Connolly to beat Emmaus 1-0 in the District 11 Championship.
For three seasons now, goalie Claire Nielsen has been one of the more lonely players on the Emmaus field hockey team.
Most games, she’s standing in front of the goal cage watching way down field as the team’s offense gives her a nice cushion. And on the occasions where she thinks she may get to make a big play, most times, the defense shuts it down before she even gets a chance.