The Morning Call (Sunday)
Emmaus boys show off offense in win over La Salle
The Emmaus High School boys soccer team rolled into the PIAA Class 4A tournament on the strength of a defense that posted a trio of 1-0 victories in the District 11 tournament.
Against an extremely talented District 12 champion La Salle College High School squad, the Green Hornets rediscovered their offense to throttle the Explorers 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field in Emmaus.
Senior midfielder Pat Walsh headed in a corner kick by Hudson Peck from the right side with 9:21 remaining to break a 2-2 tie and send the District 11 champion Green Hornets (14-1) into the state semifinals on Tuesday against District 1 champion Neshaminy, which defeated Pennridge in kicks, in their district final on Saturday.
“I saw my teammate Hudson Peck [kick it] and I ran to the front post,” Walsh said. It absolutely was my biggest goal. It feels great to be a part of history.”
In the second game of the doubleheader at Memorial Field, the Central Catholic girls team dramatically advanced to the PIAA Class 2A semifinals on a goal with 33 seconds left for a 1-0 win over District 12 champion Archbishop Wood.
The Emmaus boys team last reached the state semifinals in 2000 and this was their first state victory since 2006.
“This was a big step for the program and we’re super excited,” Emmaus coach John
La Salle (15-2) struck first with 25:10 left in the first half on a shot by Sean Jennings that got past goalie Ty Bleiler, who was screened on the play.
Emmaus responded eight minutes later. Super sub Nate Romig, who scored the game-winn erin the second overtime in the District 11 title gameagainst Nazareth, redirected a ball by Alexzander Toto for the goal.
Toto, a senior midfielder, then gave Emmaus a 2-1 lead 14 minutes into the second half by bending in a blast from nearly 40 yards out.
“I made a shot from almost the exact same spot against Southern Lehigh [on Oct, 12],” Toto said. “I was wide open and I decided to take the shot when I saw the goalie was off his line.”
“He’s our best long shooter and that was a big goal,” Cari said.
The Green Hornets tried to ride out the rest of regulation by packing in their defense. They were successful until all-state forward Brandon Curran popped in a low line-drive from the left side after corralling an entry pass from Seth Michalak with 13:34 remaining.
“Wehada little scouting report on them, but we didn’t know they’d pressure us this much,” said Bleiler, whounofficially was credited with 17 saves.
All that did was set up Walsh’s go-ahead goal and nine more minutes of defensive intensity from the Green Hornets.
“This was immense pressure and wehaven’t been in this situation for a while,” Bleiler said. “It’s nice to feel that pressure and it should help us moving forward.”
As a mad scramble ensued in front of the Archbishop Wood goal area in the final minute of Saturday’s Class 2A scoreless quarterfinal, Central Catholic sophomore Madalyn Szoke found the ball on her foot to the left of the goal.
“I was just hoping someone was there,” said Szoke on what she was trying to accomplish when she pushed the ball to her right and it deflected off goalie Isabella Diodato’s hands.
Though Szoke didn’t see her, senior forward Erica Dietz was that “someone” who was at the right place at the right time. Dietz redirected the ball into the back of the net for the game-winner.
“I saw her cross it and then the goalie tipped it to me,” Deitz said. “It’s amazing … a great, great win for us.”
The Vikettes (12-3-1) needed one last heroic defensive stand in the closing seconds as Archbishop Wood tried a final corner kick. A Wood player secured the loose ball and appeared to have the equalizer — except junior Carly Rohrbach sacrificed her body to fend away the shot and preserve the victory.
“Wewere a little dysfunctional on defense there for a little bit, but I saw her shoot it and knew I had to be there to stop it,” Rohrbach said.
Central Catholic will play District 4 champion Bloomsburg in the state semifinals on Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.