Bethlehem Catholic girls volleyball head coach Paul Abi-Daher knew his team was going to be in for a battle all night when the fourth seeded Golden Hawks (13-4 overall, 13-3 EPC) took on number five seed Emmaus (14-6 overall, 13-5 EPC) last Tuesday evening at home in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinal round matchup.
Besides the close seedings and records, the two teams have met in the postseason in recent years, and have been tight contests. Tuesday night was no different.
It was a game that the Bethlehem Catholic football players, coaches, and fans had circled on their calendars for a while. Even with all of the success in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District 11, the Golden Hawks hadn’t played the four-time district champion Parkland Trojans for a few years.
The way that the conference was aligned, it didn’t allow these two powerhouses to meet on the gridiron until the league realigned before the start of the season.
The Emmaus boys soccer team snuck into the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament as the 8th seed, winning their last four games of the regular season to clinch the final spot.
Last Saturday afternoon in the conference quarterfinal, however, the Green Hornets (9-6-4 overall) played like the league favorite that they have perennially been over the past decade under head coach John Cari.
James Haag headed in the game’s opening goal and Emmaus held all of the momentum.
Heading into the clash last Friday night at Parkland School District stadium, the average Lehigh Valley football fan would assume that it would be a high-scoring affair between the undefeated Liberty and Parkland football teams.
With the Trojans averaging 47 points through their first two games, and the Hurricanes with a 35-point average a game after their first two contests.
But that was far from the case.
Execution and focus were two words that assistant coach Chris D’Emilio used to describe how his Liberty boys basketball team’s second half surge came to fruition. The Hurricanes (6-1 overall) outscored Northampton (1-5 overall) 25-19 in the second half to take the game 54-46 in summer league action last Thursday night played at Allen High School’s Sewards gymnasium due to rain.
In only their second year as a varsity program, the Freedom boys lacrosse team has faced some bumps and bruises.
Last year they finished 4-11 overall and 3-7 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. With aspirations of a District 11 berth in 2016, the Patriots hoped a new year brought new and better outcomes this time around.
But 2015 EPC runner-up Parkland did not help out. The Trojans dominated on both ends of the field in a 17-1 victory last Monday afternoon at Bethlehem Area School District stadium.
Zachary Thatcher brought the Hellertown community to life last fall, helping to lead Saucon Valley further than any other program in school history.
The Panthers won the Colonial League and the District 11 Class AAA championships, and advanced all the way to the PIAA state semifinals.
And Sunday night at the 2016 Scholar-Athlete awards banquet for the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Football Foundation at the Northampton Community Center, Thatcher was named the overall winner.
It has been a year the senior won’t ever forget.
Michael McDaniel was a thorn in the side of Lehighton all night, and on both sides of the ball. The senior tailback/cornerback rushed for 251 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns on offense and threw in a 73-yard fumble return on defense as Bethlehem Catholic (10-1) earned a berth to a second straight District 11 Class 3A final with a resounding 55-18 win at Bethlehem Area School District stadium.