Em­maus fi­nally awak­ens

Green Hor­nets stay un­beaten with 2nd-half surge

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Tim Shoe­maker

Dani Swal­low and the Easton de­fense did a rea­son­able job of keep­ing the pro­lific Em­maus field hockey of­fense frus­trated for more than 40 min­utes Thurs­day evening in an im­por­tant EPC 18 field hockey game at Em­maus High’s Memo­rial Field.

Em­maus had av­er­aged nearly 10 goals in its first 12 games, and had only one, from fresh­man Rachel Her­bine, through the open­ing mo­ments of the sec­ond half.

What­ever the rea­son, the goal cage opened up just enough for the un­beaten Green Hor­nets to claim a 4-1 win and re­main the lone un­beaten and un­tied team in the area with a 4-1 win.

Her­bine scored three goals to run her sea­son to­tal to 27. Her sis­ter An­nika had two as­sists and scored on a penalty stroke. Ri­ley McDon­ald scored for Easton (10-2, 9-2).

Em­maus (13-0, 11-0) de­feated the Red Rovers in both the EPC and Dis­trict 11 Class 3A games a year ago. Some ros­ter changes have oc­curred be­tween the two schools, but the end re­sult has not.

Easton gave spir­ited ef­fort, but could not sus­tain an of­fen­sive at­tack as much as coach Casey Eck wanted. Although her de­fense played well, it played too much of it, mean­ing more of­fen­sive pushes might have given the Rovers a bet­ter chance.

”They kids played re­ally well,” Eck said. “When your de­fense is tak­ing as many shots as they are, it’s ex­haust­ing. We have to do a bet­ter job of not just stop­ping the ball and clear­ing the ball. We need to do a bet­ter job of tran­si­tion­ing. I’m not happy with the loss, but I saw a lot of good things.”

Em­maus, No. 7 in the lat­est Max Field Hockey Penn­syl­va­nia rank­ings and No. 1 in the area, did more good things. Rachel Her­bine scored with 12 min­utes left and then five min­utes later. An­nika added a penalty stroke in the fi­nal three min­utes.

Rachel Her­bine said that her team did not ap­proach the Easton game any dif­fer­ently from the oth­ers, de­spite Easton’s de­served rep­u­ta­tion as a fast and ath­letic team.

“We don’t think if they’re a bet­ter team or not,” she said, “We just try to play our hard­est all the time. I think that both of our teams started to get a lit­tle tired. We gad to step up and take ad­van­tage of that. We did that re­ally well.”

McDon­ald, a Univer­sity of Delaware com­mit, got the Rovers close at 3-1 with seven min­utes left be­fore An­nika Her­bine’s stroke iced the win. Em­maus goal­keeper Bai­ley Ti­etz kept her team in front all game long.

“Tonight I re­ally did ex­pect a com­pet­i­tive game,” Em­maus coach Sie Butz-Stavin said. “Easton is ath­letic. They’re fast and quick. They go hard to the ball. [Ri­ley] McDon­ald and Olivia Wat­son are pre­mier ath­letes. They’re com­ple­mented by other girls on the field.”

Putting enough pres­sure on Easton even­tu­ally caved in the Rovers, No. 4 in the rea.

“It was a mat­ter of grind­ing away un­til we found the back of the cage” Butz-Stavin said. “It was one of those games when you just had to keep fir­ing un­til you got one in. We tried to cre­ate things for Rachel Her­bine and she’s been able to fin­ish. [Rachel and An­nika] seem to con­nect. They have that spe­cial con­nec­tion. … There’s a spe­cial in­gre­di­ent there. I can’t ex­plain it.”

SHARON K. MERKEL/SPE­CIAL TO THE MORN­ING CALL

Em­maus’ An­nika Her­bine moves the ball as Easton’s Olivia Wat­son de­fends Thurs­day night.

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