Coming off an 0-16 season, the only way is up.
That’s the prognosis for Liberty’s boys’ lacrosse as they head into this spring, as head coach Shaughn Bittner is banking on returning experience to improve the team’s compete level, despite still having many players that are new to the sport.
Sport nutritionist Erin Sparrold from the Bethlehem-based sports psychology company Mind of the Athlete is on a mission, not just to help athletes feed their performance, but to help them develop a healthy relationship with food.
“There is so much negative messaging around food, I want them to understand the power food has to build health,” said Sparrold. “To have a balance is important, not just for an event.”
It may be a slow start to the baseball season for all teams across the Lehigh Valley, but things will heat up this week when the schedule looks to kick into high gear before the Easter weekend hits.
With most teams having played three games heading into this week, the dismal March has pushed the schedule back for most teams, giving teams loaded schedules the rest of the month of April.
Freedom (3-0) will see the uptick this week with three games in three days, starting on Tuesday with Easton, Wilson and Whitehall and capping the week off on Saturday against Allen.
Bethlehem Catholic is looking to make progress this season on the lacrosse field following a 5-13 campaign from a year ago.
Andrew Kroeckel enters his second year as head coach and is optimistic about the Hawks potential this season.
After losing only one player graduation, the Hawks return 19 players in the program and nine starters including Soph. G JoJo Korpics, Sr. D Ray Glemser, Sr. D Mike Barattini, Soph. D Kyle Young (played attack last year), Sr. M Anthony Parise, Jr. FO/M Jimmy VanOsdol, Jr. LSM Luke Talpas, Sr. A Liam McGregor and Sr. A Liam Foley
Liberty’s girls’ track and field team is currently undefeated with a record of 4-0, and Liberty’s boys are 3-1 with their only loss to Easton.
“The girls are an established, well-known commodity, so we knew what they were going to be,” said Hurricane coach Andy Messa, who, along with Chris D’Emilio, is sharing head coaching duties. “With the boys, there were a lot of holes in our team, and we addressed that with them immediately.”
The Hurricane boys have six returning varsity letter winners and are already doing better than last year.
Freedom’s boys’ tennis team scored its first victory of the season over neighboring rival Bethlehem Catholic by a score of 4-3 this past Monday at Becahi.
The Hawks, who had a record of 4-3 prior to Monday’s match were without their number one singles player Colby Treadwell. Yiwei Lyu filled in at one singles but lost to Jon Fiorentino 0-6, 0-6.
Becahi came back at two singles when Andrew Kaeser defeated Justin Szaro 6-3, 6-1.
Freedom High School graduate Brooke Munion and Whitehall High School graduate Brooke Gilson have been both opponents and teammates over the years, swimming separately at their respective high schools and together at Parkland Aquatic Club.
They met again, this time as seniors attending different colleges, at the 2017 NCAA Division II Women’s Swimming and Diving National Championships held back on March 8-11 at the CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala.
Liberty’s undefeated boys’ tennis team won its match against an undefeated Nazareth team 4-3 last Friday at Nazareth High School.
“Prior to the match, I knew it was going to be really close,” said Hurricane coach Leo Schnalzer. “This puts us in a good place right now.”
In singles play, Nazareth’s Ben Tauber defeated Liberty’s Dan Lynn 6-4, 6-4, but the Hurricanes recovered at two singles where Louis Gruber defeated Gabe Knowles 6-0, 6-1, and at three singles where Jacob Berg defeated Ben Tauber 7-5, 6-3.
Freedom’s track and field team is comprised of many individual athletes who can compete, and now coach Ben Reph’s job is to teach the Patriots how to be competitive throughout their lineup in order to win as a team.
“We are very young, especially on the girls’ side. I think we’re on the right track, but we’re a year or two away from peaking there,” said Reph.
Although the Patriots have lost to Easton, Parkland, and Allentown Central Catholic, Freedom’s boys lost to the Vikings by only six points.
Laurie Muller enters her first year with Liberty’s girls’ lacrosse team and the Hurricanes are just looking for an improvement this season.
After last year’s 0-16 mark, Muller is hoping to create something sustainable for the program.
“Liberty lacrosse is a building program,” Muller said. “We’re looking forward to success this season on the field with many returning players that have improved over the off season. We also have a lot of new girls that came out and we can’t wait to see how quickly they will progress.”