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 East Penn Conference announced their boys soccer all-stars over the weekend. Liberty goalkeeper Blake Koski (senior) took home MVP honors and Liberty head coach Ian Larimer was named Coach of the Year.
The Hurricanes had three first-team all-stars, as senior defender Maxwell Molloy and senior midfielder Chris Schray also made the list. The Hurricanes finished the regular season 16-2 and earned the top-seed in the EPC playoffs, as they knocked off East Stroudsburg South 4-0 in their conference tournament opener.
The East Penn Conference volleyball tournament kicked off on Tuesday night, past Press deadlines, but all three Bethlehem teams were looking to make a run at the EPC title.
Fourth-seeded Freedom hosted fifth-seeded Bethlehem Catholic in Tuesday’s showdown, a week after both teams met in regular season play where the Hawks pushed Freedom to a five-game set before ultimately succumbing.
With the EPC race seemingly wide-open, Freedom head coach Donna Roman understands that anyone can grab the league crown.
Week seven didn’t bring many surprises to the table, outside of Easton continuing to crumble with the real part of their schedule in tow.
Freedom stays on top after a record passing night by quarterback Jared Jenkins, as the top three teams seem to be cemented now until the end of the regular season, barring upsets.
Central Catholic preps for the postseason, while Northwestern looks to continue its quest for the Colonial League crown.
With Week 9 on the horizon, here are this week’s picks.
1. Freedom (7-1)
Last week’s rank: #1
Liberty saw its six-game winning streak come to an end last week following a 6-1 defeat to Emmaus. Losing to Emmaus in field hockey, of course, isn’t anything new to schools, but the Hurricanes will look to finish this week off strong before preparing for Saturday’s opening round of the EPC playoffs.
The Hurricanes (12-4, 11-4) should be able to lock up a top-five seed this week if they handle their business against East Stroudsburg South (4-11) and Freedom (5-12) in their final two regular season bouts this week.
With Easton proving it really wasn’t the top squad in the area, Freedom regains the top spot in this week’s poll. However, Nazareth is just as viable of a contender.
This week’s Becahi-Easton matchup will be telling for both schools, as it’s certainly the marquee bout of the week, while the Colonial League saw a shakeup with Northwestern downing Southern Lehigh.
Northampton keeps piling on points to lead the EPC North, but they’ll face Whitehall in two weeks to give them a taste of what they can do against the EPC South again.
With the volleyball regular season wrapping up this week, Freedom holds the cards to the EPC playoff picture.
The Patriots (13-2, 12-2) entered this week as the top-seed for the EPC tournament with three matches to go against Bethlehem Catholic, Easton and Liberty this week. With a win over Liberty (11-2, 11-2) already under their belt this season, Thursday’s regular season finale against the Hurricanes could be a huge match for league tournament seedings.
Liberty desperate to turn things around
Liberty might be looking at a daunting task ahead of them, but the Hurricanes have been down this road before.
Off to a 2-5 start following last week’s defeat to Nazareth, the chances for a district berth look bleak, but if recent memory can serve a purpose, Liberty’s faithful can only look at last year’s turnaround as proof that John Truby’s troops can right the ship.
The Hurricanes were 2-5 at this point of the season a year ago and parlayed three game win streak to end the regular season into qualifying for the postseason.
The playoffs are in play for every Bethlehem school heading into the final two weeks of the season, as Liberty (10-1), Freedom (10-2) and Bethlehem Catholic (9-2) have all secured volleyball berths in the District 11 tournament.
It might be the best run during the regular season for all three schools, which will only heat up this week when the Hurricanes take on the Golden Hawks in a key EPC showdown.
Freedom and Bethlehem Catholic both took steps in the right direction following victories last weekend to open up the second half of the regular season.
The Patriots (5-1) dispatched Pocono Mountain West easily last week 42-8 and Bethlehem Catholic (4-2) bounced back from their uninspiring defeat to Nazareth the week before to handle a winless Whitehall squad to the tune of 42-17.
After an easy game last week, Freedom now enters a pivotal week with a road trip to Easton (6-0) Friday night to take on the undefeated Rovers.