It is always an honor to have a team represent Emmaus in district finals. However, it is even more prestigious to brag about having both teams qualify for a chance at this year’s title.
When planning out the season, there are many factors a coach takes into consideration in order to enable a team to have a winning year. Arguably, the most important would be to peak when it matters most–to be playing your best in the big games. In her third year as head coach, Sarah Oswald has trained her girls to do just that and leave it all out on the field for the prize of victory.
Finishing the regular season with a 17-6-1 overall record, the Lady Hornets earned their way to the District XI championship match against rival Parkland, whom the Hornets have lost to three times this season, the score seemingly closer and closer every meeting.
The first time the Lady Hornets met the Trojans, it resulted in a 0-5 loss, which to some teams would have wounded morale, but it only made this group of dedicated girls work harder. The second meeting between the two prompted a 1-3 loss that highlighted Emmaus’ improvement from the previous showing. The most recent showdown between the pair was in the East Penn Conference semifinals where Emmaus fell short of beating Parkland by the narrowest of margins, a 2-3 loss, following a strong second half rebound.
The Hornets have been on a roll and had no problem finding the back of the net in recent games, thanks to the help of junior forward Maddie Fey, senior midfielder Sophie Pickering and freshman midfielder Gianna Albanese. With their win against Easton, the Hornets have clinched their first state playoff berth in eight years, 2009 being their last appearance.
One cannot deny that in order to win you must have an offensive skillset, but Emmaus’ recent defensive leaders have proven stronger than their counterparts and have helped seal critical wins that were imperative to keeping the season going. The performances of Sarah Smith, Grace Eisenhard, Chrissy Lambert, Rachael Miller, and goalkeeper Alexa Ryan will be something to look forward to in tonight’s match.
For those attending, expect to see an all out battle for the district title. These two programs have a lot of rich history and both will not be satisfied until more hardware is added to their respective school’s trophy case.
Will Parkland beat the Lady Hornets for a fourth time this season? Or will Emmaus continue on their hot streak and defeat their long-time rivals? One thing’s for sure–today’s game at J. Birney Crum will more than likely be a nailbiter, filled with quality skill from both sides.