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.”
The Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks football team showcased their dominant defense in a 16-6 victory over a previous second-place Easton Red Rovers.
Easton started the game with possession of the ball. Bethlehem Catholic’s senior Matt Stianche intercepted Easton quarterback Cole Transue on the game’s opening drive. Though, the Hawks weren’t able to get much going and turned the ball back over on downs.
Freedom spent the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference girls soccer quarterfinals trying to read and react against Pleasant Valley’s defense.
The Patriots had it figured out in the second half.
An early second-half goal from Haley Gschrey lifted Freedom past the Bears 1-0 and into the EPC semifinals. The Patriots will play No. 2 seed Emmaus Tuesday.
The EPC announced playoff matchups for soccer and field hockey on Thursday.
In boys soccer, Liberty gets the top seed and a home game against Eastburg South, the 8 seed, on Saturday at 12 p.m.. The winner gets Easton (4) or Stroudsburg (5), who play Saturday in Easton at 10 a.m.
On the bottom of the bracket, Emmaus gets the two seed and hosts seventh-seeded Freedom, last year’s District 11 champs. That game is 2:15 p.m. Saturday with the winner playing the Parkland (3)-Whitehall (6) winner. The Trojans and Zephs play at 2 p.m. Saturday at Parkland.