Whitehall stays white-hot
Whitehall started the year with records of 1-4 and 2-5, but even though the Zephyrs did not start the way they wanted to, there were signs of hope and progress. Whitehall lost by a combined score of 18-0 to Easton and Emmaus to open the season.
“It took us some time to get our bearing,” Zephyrs coach Jenn Bodnar said. “We learned a lot and grew a lot. I’m excited about the run we were able to make in the second half of the season.”
Bodnar was expecting improvement from last year (6-12), when the team did not qualify for the District 11 tournament in a long time. But after a 4-2 loss to still-unbeaten Parkland and contender Nazareth, Whitehall has been close to white-hot: the Zephyrs (10-6) have won eight of nine to secure spots in the EPC and District 11 Class 3A tournaments, something that they did not do last year.
“It was definitely our goal to get back into the District 11 team tournament this year,” she said. “I’m super-proud that we were able to do that. … The girls did commit themselves in the offseason. Our goal was not to let that happen again.”
Maddie Trocki has scored 26 goals and is one of the area’s scoring leaders. Senior defenders Jayne Lu and Hallie Kern — two of the best students in Whitehall’s senior class — have been important in Whitehall’s turnaround, along with midfielder Olivia Mittura.
Carr Part Of Saucon Valley’s Surge: Salome Carr has aspirations of working in the medical field, specifically athletic training, after she graduates from college, and perhaps before.
A senior field hockey and lacrosse player at Saucon Valley High School, Carr is unfortunately immersed in the medical field sooner than expected.
Carr was playing a significant role in Saucon Valley’s turnaround season when she suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a loss to Bangor. She said that she will be out for about six months.
Carr has an interesting past, present, and hopefully, future. She is the fifth of eight children of Ron and Sue Ellen Carr of Hellertown. The Carrs have four daughters in their late mid-to-late 20s and four adopted children from China: Salome, Lei, Ronnie and Steven, who are all from different parts of China.
Salome arrived in the United States at 10 months old in 2002.
“I love being in a big family,” he said.
Carr unfortunately has to watch as her Panthers teammates complete a season that is a vast improvement from 2018. New coach MK Omdahl, who resigned from Liberty last season, has returned to her alma mater and given Saucon a chance to compete.
“It’s an astonishing difference, having a coach that understands the game and can recognize our strengths and weaknesses. We have made a big improvement.”
Offense helps, too. Saucon scored 28 goals in 2018 and has 53 so far this season.
“The nice thing is our scoring is spread all across our front two lines,” Omdahl said. “No one person in particular is carrying the load. That’s helped us a lot. We don’t have to rely on just one person.”
Omdahl also cites the fact that most players on the team, like Carr, also play lacrosse.
“They’re really good friends. That has really helped,” she said.
The Defense Never Rests: Emmaus’ Annika Herbine defensive save against Liberty. Kaitlyn Csensits penalty corner defensive flyer denying Liberty and Pocono Mountain East.
Parkland senior Erica Steele successfully thwarted Northampton and Easton to less than 10 shots on goal this week. So. GK Tess Garchinsky. In her first season playing varsity, Garchinsky pitched 2 shutouts versus top contenders in the league, Northampton and Easton.
Liberty DB Sammy Taylor has been leading the team with 2 major defensive stick saves. GK Kat Borda has a 94 percent save percentage.
Northampton fr. GK Kadee Schrader had 19 saves in loss to Emmaus 3-1, 11 saves in shutout victory against PM East
Playoff Picture: There is still a mess to be untangled in the EPC. Whitehall (9-6), Nazareth (9-6) and Stroudsburg (9-6) are tied for the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds in the EPC playoffs, which start Saturday. That game of musical chairs will be settled Tuesday after the results of three games — Nazareth vs. Easton, Northampton vs. Whitehall and Stroudsburg vs. Pleasant Valley.
If the teams are still tied after Tuesday, EPC officials will look to the District 11 power points system to break the tie and determine the odd team out. That scenario might favor Whitehall and Stroudsburg, but Nazareth has the most to gain Tuesday, because the Blue Eagles play Easton and could claim more power points with a win because of Easton’s highquality record (13-3).
At any rate, the EPC quarterfinals are set for Saturday. Parkland still has a chance to wrest the top seed from Emmaus. Those two rivals meet Tuesday night at Parkland. Easton, Liberty, Pocono Mountain East and Northampton are also in the tournament.
The EPC semifinals and championship are set for Oct. 15 and 17.
The Colonial League expanded its playoffs to allow in six teams. Saturday will be the wild-card round. The winners will move into Monday’s semifinals against the top two seeds. The championship is scheduled for Oct. 16.
West champion Southern Lehigh and East winner Moravian Academy are set as the top two seeds. Bangor (11-4), Northwestern Lehigh (10-4-1),Saucon Valley (9-5) and Palisades (8-7) were in before the results of Monday’s games.
Palmerton (7-8) could tie Palisades for the No. 6 spot, but Palisades defeated the Blue Bombers 2-1 on Sept. 17, giving the Pirates the tie-breaker.
Notes: Both the EPC and Colonial end their regular-season schedules by Wednesday, giving their teams a chance to play one more game. Some took advantage, giving observers some interesting matchups on Thursday: No. 3 Southern Lehigh at No. 2 Parkland, Phillipsburg at No. 4 Easton, No. 6 Moravian Academy at Whitehall.
Saucon Valley field hockey player Salome Carr was part of the Panthers’ bounce-back season before being sidelined by an ACL injury that is expected to keep her off the field for six months.