Whenever EPC South teams have locked horns with their counterparts from the North, it’s usually been a one sided affair.
That was the case again last weekend, as Freedom (6-0) demolished Pocono Mountain West 55-6 to continue its unbeaten streak to start the season.
Now, the Patriots start a difficult month to close out the regular season with Easton (5-1) this Friday night at home.
Freedom’s field hockey team is in a rough stretch and the Patriots hope it won’t be too late to get things back in order before the season closes out.
The Patriots (3-6) are in the midst of a three-game losing streak heading into this week, but they have an opportunity to claw their way toward .500 this week with the slate of competition on the schedule this week.
Facing some of the East Penn Conference’s top teams over the past week, Freedom has dropped contests to Parkland, Northampton and Easton by a combined 15-1 score line.
Midway through the volleyball season, it appears to be a tug-of-war battle for the lead in the EPC’s Steel Division.
Liberty (4-2), Freedom (4-3) and Bethlehem Catholic (4-3) are all battling for the top spot in the division and this week can further bolster that case when Freedom and Liberty square off Thursday night at Freedom.
The Patriots are hoping to prove that they’ve learned from last week’s results, where they swept Whitehall, but lost to Emmaus in three games, in order to truly vie for the division title.
Through five weeks of the season, I’m not sure we’ve had many more clear cut number one team in the area than Freedom this year. In a year of parody in the EPC, the top three teams in the poll have solidified their footing, but only Freedom has asserted themselves as the top dog.
That all could certainly change in the second half of the season, but Freedom and Saucon Valley are looking like league champs in their respective conferences.
Here’s a breakdown of this week’s poll.
1. Freedom (5-0)
Last week’s rank: #1
Not much has changed for Liberty’s volleyball team heading into this season and the Hurricanes want it to continue that way.
Liberty is off to a 4-0 start as they head into a week with two tests against East Penn Conference stalwarts with Parkland (3-1) and Central Catholic (2-2) this week.
Head coach Missy Lynn is hoping that this week can pose some challenges to her team this week, as they’ve swept all four of their opponents this season so far.
The Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association named their All-State teams recently with several members from District 11 named to the 3A team.
The Emmaus trio of James Haag, Cameron Parsons and Matt Swanson earned honors, while Whitehall’s Joseph Herman and Nazareth’s Michael Dougherty also made the squad.
The complete 3A list is below.
PIAA DISTRICT I
Nick Baniewicz Council Rock North S 6’-4” 12
2 Charlie Bluestein Pennsbury LIB 6’-1” 12
3 Dylan Colbert Central Bucks East OH 6’-4” 11
4 Jack Gunshenan Council Rock North OPP 6’-2” 12
After a slow start to the season, Bethlehem Catholic’s field hockey team hopes things could be changing in their fortune heading into this week.
After dropping three straight contests to start the season, the Hawks have now won two straight games to bring their record to 2-3.
Becahi has knocked enjoy success against their EPC counterparts from the north, topping East Stroudsburg North 3-0 and Pleasant Valley 4-1 last Friday.
Getting in the win column is something head coach Lucas Wilde hopes can start some momentum for the team.
Freedom head coach Jason Roeder has been here before with undefeated starts to the football season. Following last week’s 49-28 road win at Nazareth, the Pates continued their trek to an undefeated first month of the season.
Sitting at 4-0 heading into this week’s matchup with Whitehall (1-3), Roeder has seen fast starts play out in the past, as the Pates started 7-0 in 2014 and 6-0 in 2015.
The difference in this year’s start compared to those is the quality of victories the team has been able to muster together thus far.
The Patriots move to the top of the poll with their impressive win over Parkland last week and have fully cemented themselves as the area’s best team through the first three weeks of the season.
Now the question is who can beat them?
Easton still lurks in the background, while Central Catholic jumped back in the poll.
Check out this week’s picks to see where each team stands.
1. Freedom (3-0)
Last week’s rank: #2
Pates are the area’s true number one team.
The Pick: Freedom 35 - Nazareth 17
2. Parkland (2-1)
John Truby took all the blame after the final whistle blew at BASD Stadium last Saturday night.
With Liberty battling Bethlehem Catholic on a rainy night, the Hurricanes special teams let the game slip through their hands.
Special teams miscues led to 24 points for the Hawks, as they bounced back from Liberty’s opening score and went on to cruise to a 45-16 victory.
It was a rebound win for the Hawks (2-1) after losing to Freedom the week before and it was the first taste of defeat of the season for Liberty (2-1).