Bethlehem Press

Friday, November 15, 2019

Hurricanes set to face Emmaus

Friday, October 18, 2019 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

Liberty’s field hockey team pulled off an upset over the weekend in the opening round of the East Penn Conference tournament, but now the Hurricanes will need to be David in a Goliath matchup during Tuesday’s semifinals.

Liberty, the fifth-seed, topped fourth-seeded Pocono Mountain East 4-3 on the road last Saturday. The win earned them a trip to Tuesday’s semifinal round against an undefeated Emmaus (19-0) team, who beat Nazareth 11-0 in their EPC opener.

The task for Liberty (15-4) will be tough, but head coach Jill Dorn hopes that they’ve learned something from their first encounter this season, which resulted in a 6-1 defeat.

“The first time we played them we took a lot away in lieu of being able to prepare both strategically and mentally for a second meeting with bigger stakes in line,” said Dorn. “We will prepare by first addressing our own shortcomings and how we moved the ball, the amount of time we possessed the ball, and our one-on-one elimination skills. We then will address our defensive attack as a whole, not just put the responsibility on our backs. We need to take ownership everywhere on the field- we lose possession we fight to get it back. We also must significantly cut down the amount of corners we allowed. Our score was indicative of them finishing on corner plays, which are definitely Emmaus’ biggest strength, in my opinion.”

Reaching the semifinal stage of the tournament was always something that Dorn and the program had expected. Having the unfortunate seed of being in Emmaus’ top half of the bracket is something you can’t always plan for, but the Hurricanes are the one local team that has successfully played the David role against Emmaus and that’s something Dorn and the Hurricanes shouldn’t forget.

“We addressed our players at halftime when we played them the first time,” said Dorn. “We were down 5-0 and we talked about the fact Liberty was the sole team to beat Emmaus in the past in a time where no one thought any teams could. That’s a great legacy for this program to have. As a coach, you know playing Emmaus is going to make your team better. The program is led by one of the most talented coaches this sport or any sport has ever seen. But it has to reveal itself during the course of play, not after. The second half of the same game we scored one, we gave up one goal. Had we played with that mentality for 60 minutes, there’s a different life to the game.”

Whenever the EPC tournament ends for Liberty, they’ll then prepare for next week’s District 11 3A tournament, where they’re likely going to be a fourth or fifth seed. A rematch with Pocono Mountain East (14-4-1) is also not out of the question.

In the 1A bracket, Bethlehem Catholic (9-9) awaits their opponent in next week’s district tourney, as the Hawks will likely come in as a fifth seed as well.