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.
Bethlehem Catholic’s girls’ soccer team ended its season with a 6-1 victory over Catasauqua last Wednesday at Catty after losing to Easton, 3-1, last Tuesday.
“I think they really keep the ball spread out and that’s always difficult,” said freshman defender Emily Pepe after the Easton game. “They have that one really good girl, so she’s really fast which we’re not used to but I think we handled them pretty well.”
Becahi coach Angelo Amato said that Pepe has never been subbed out of a game this year.
In their season opener, the Phantoms had a bunch of near-misses when it came to shots. The team’s chemistry looked a little off as a number of new faces, many of them young, inexperienced pro players, tried to fit together into a cohesive unit.
They quickly put the opening 3-0 shutout to Providence aside and came out firing against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The result was a 4-1 win, which they followed up with an overtime loss to another rival, the Hershey Bears.
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.
Heading into the first overtime of the Liberty versus Freedom boys’ soccer game last week, Hurricane coach Ian Larimer came up with a plan. Heading into the second overtime, Patriot coach Matt Reightler had a plan too.
While the game-winning goal by Liberty forward Christian Tackett was a result of neither plan, it defined how this particular rivalry game plays out most years.
The Hurricanes and Patriots played through almost 92 scoreless minutes last Tuesday night at Freedom until Tackett saw the ball roll from Chris Schray through a player’s legs.
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.
Bethlehem Catholic hosted last week’s cross country meet at Illick’s Mill where the Hawks competed against Freedom, Liberty, Easton, Northampton, and Nazareth to end the regular season last Tuesday.
Freedom’s boys’ team edged out Northampton, 27-28, and defeated Becahi, 18-41.
Liberty defeated Northampton, 21-37, and Freedom, 25-34.
Easton’s Marco Cardone won the boys’ race with a time of 15:47.
Liberty’s Cole Frank was second in 15:52.
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
The Freedom boys soccer team came into the opening round of the EPC playoffs needing to play well against second-seeded Emmaus if they wanted to advance to the semifinals. What happened Saturday at Emmaus’ Memorial Field was anything but the type of performance the team needed now that the postseason is here.
Leaving nothing to chance, number one seeded Liberty prepared well and came out kicking at number eight seeded East Stroudsburg South, playing to a 4-0 victory over the Cavaliers in an EPC soccer quarterfinal on Saturday at Liberty.
“I think it was something that they weren’t expecting,” said Liberty senior forward Caleb Mendoza. “I think it did mess up their rhythm a little bit, but I don’t think they expected us to come out swinging as fast as we did from the beginning, so I think that’s what gave us that leverage.”