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Emmaus coach John Cari was awarded the District 11 Class 4A championship trophy Saturday and it remained in his car until Tuesday night. Turns out, Cari and his Green Hornets get to hold onto the trophy for the rest of time.
Emmaus, which thought it won the crown when Nazareth withdrew from the tournament Friday, secured the title on the turf at Whitehall High School’s Zephyr Sports Complex Tuesday night with a thrilling 1-0 two-overtime win over Nazareth in the 4A boys soccer final.
Senior Nathan Romig redirected a shot by Hudson Peck past Blue Eagles goalkeeper Nolan Booth and into the net with 11:43 remaining in the second OT period to secure the program’s second straight district championship and its 17th overall.
“The coaches told me to get in front of the post and I listened to them,” Romig said. “The ball bounced out and Hudson had a great shot that just redirected off my foot. Definitely, the biggest goal I’ve ever scored.” “Nate was on the near post,” Cari said. “He was in the right spot at the right time. Nate had a great game off the bench and I feel good he came up with the big one.”
Emmaus improved to 13-1 overall and advanced to the PIAA state tournament, which kicks off Saturday with quarterfinal-round action. The district’s No. 1 seed, Emmaus put pressure on in the second half and both overtime sessions.
The Green Hornets also did a wonderful job defensively on Nazareth’s Alex Marouchoc, who entered with 19 goals, and Jakob Braman. The 1-0 shutout was Emmaus’ third in three district tournament contests. They topped Whitehall and Freedom by that same score. Junior Jaeden Amato anchored Emmaus’ defense. Junior Ty Bleiler registered five saves for the clean sheet.
“Nazareth came to battle; I knew they would,” Cari said. “I thought we did a great on their two big players, shutting them down. They’re dangerous anytime and anywhere on the field but I thought we were effective controlling them.”
Booth, a junior, was outstanding in the goal for coach Gerry Petrozell’s second-seeded Nazareth squad. He made two saves on point-blank shots and was credited with 10 in total. The 4A final was originally scheduled for Saturday evening at Whitehall.
Nazareth, though, was forced to withdraw from the tournament late Friday afternoon due to an active COVID-19 case at the high school. The Blue Eagles reentered the playoffs Saturday when it was discovered the case did not affect the athletic programs and the championship was rescheduled for Tuesday night.
“There are no questions now, which is great,” Cari said. “I’m glad we won it on the field. It was just a very frustrating situation, on-off and is it a postponement or is it a cancellation. There was just a lot of emotion going through it. But Nazareth has a great team and I’m proud we were able to beat them.”
In a matchup of two teams that held the #1 Boys Soccer ranking in PA this season for a combined 7 weeks (topdrawersoccer.com), the Hornets lost 1-0 to Lower Merion, the District 1 – 3 seed, on Tuesday November 5 at J Birney Crum Stadium.
The Aces carried the momentum through the first 25 minutes of the game, using solid team defense, speed on attack, and long throws from the sideline. Under pressure, Emmaus had difficulty maintaining possession on attack and trouble clearing the ball from the defensive end. Lower Merion earned 5 corners in the first half and probably had the same number of long throws into the box, while Emmaus was unable to create a dangerous shot. Junior keeper Chris Buck came out of the net to challenge deep balls effectively to prevent several shots. On the Aces’ best opportunity of the half, Buck charged an attacker who had broken away beyond the defense to force a weak shot that trickled toward the net. Sophomore defender Jaeden Amato, whose defensive play rescued the Hornets on multiple occasions, was able to streak back and control the ball a short yard in front of the goal. Despite the pressure, the Hornets maintained composure. The last 15 minutes of the half, Emmaus adapted to the Aces speed and controlled possession more effectively so that the teams entered halftime tied 0-0.
The first minutes of the second half started on a similar note. However, the Hornets were quicker to adapt this half. Emmaus, with superior fitness, began to wear down the Aces and dominated the last 20 minutes. The Hornets won free balls, controlled the midfield, and created multiple shot opportunities. Jake Groh and Jake Perry had headers from consecutive corner kicks that just missed. Groh worked for a few shots that were saved or crossed outside the goal. With under 10 minutes to play, Lower Merion was called for a hand ball just outside the box and Groh struck a laser free kick that hit the inside far post. Andrew Gaines hustled to find the rebound in front but his shot snuck over the crossbar. Despite these opportunities, Emmaus was unable to capitalize. Lower Merion pressured inside 5 minutes with a few free kicks but the Hornets held firm and it looked like the game was heading to overtime. Inside 2 minutes, Lower Merion won the ball at midfield, made a quick pass to the right and sent a through ball to the corner. As two defenders closed on the runner, he was able to thread a ball through the narrowest of gaps to an unmarked player at the 12 who drove a hard one-touch into goal to put the Aces up 1-0 with 1:30 to play. Playing the last 1:30 with only 10 players, after Groh drew a red card following the goal, the Hornets still managed to pressure with a long ball into the box. The Hornets thought that a Lower Merion defender committed a hand ball to give a chance for overtime, but the official’s line of sight was obscured and no penalty kick was awarded. The Aces were able to run out the clock to assure the 1-0 victory.
For the season, the Hornets finished 21-4-0, capturing Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and District XI Championships in the process. Congratulations to the 2019 Hornets for an outstanding season!
Final 2019 season statistics:
The document 19EmmausBoysStatisticsFinal.pdf was attached to this post.
The Emmaus High School Boys Soccer Team Captured the 2019 District XI Championship with a 1-0 victory over Whitehall at Parkland High School on Saturday November 1. The Hornets scored the only goal they needed 8 minutes into the 2nd half. Senior Jake Groh headed a ball from the top of the box into senior Andrew Gaines. Gaines juggled the ball a few times, then directed the ball back to Groh who struck a volley low into the left corner for the goal.
Most deserving of recognition for this victory are the boys who spent the season with the Varsity but didn’t get onto the field this night. Congratulations to sophomores Ty Bleiler, Holden Brown, and Carlos Morales, and juniors Jake Hain, Josh Miller (injured), Nate Romig, Josh Whalen, and Ed Zellner. These young men, who would be starters for almost any other team in the District, filled in admirably during an injury-plagued season to keep the Hornets winning to qualify for District playoffs. They provided quality opposition in practice that challenged the team to elevate its skills. When we remember how high the Hornets stood to win a District Championship, we should remember that they stood on these boys’ shoulders to get there. You earned District Gold gentlemen, well done!
Emmaus moves on to play District 1 #3 Lower Merion on Tuesday November 5, 7:00 pm at J Birney Crum Stadium.
Highlights are available from WFMZ.
Current 2019 Statistics:
The document 19EmmausBoysStatistics9.pdf was attached to this post.
The Emmaus High School Boys Soccer Team dominated Stroudsburg 3-0 in a District XI Semifinal game at J Birney Crum Stadium on Tuesday October 29. Emmaus dominated possession in the first few minutes, then traded touches with Stroudsburg. The depth of the bench was apparent as the Hornets inserted some fresh legs to turn up the pace of play and dominate the last 20 minutes of the first half. Senior Andrew Gaines, who has elevated the team so many times this season, scored with under 10 minutes to play in the first half. Senior Thomas Hanvey drove a shot that struck Gaines and fell to his feet where he kicked the ball into the net to take a 1-0 halftime lead. The second half was all Hornets. With 6 minutes played in the second half, senior Jake Groh fought down the right side and sent a cross to junior Marco Silva who struck a shot under the keeper to the far post. The Hornets threatened a few more times in the second half. Silva struck a ball that hit the post and senior Jake Perry drove a half volley from 35 yards out that the Stroudsburg keeper had to deflect into the crossbar to save a goal. Late in the second half, junior Alex Toto converted a free kick from senior Eric Johnson with a header into goal to seal the 3-0 victory. The Hornet midfield and defense were strong in the shutout, not allowing any shots to challenge the Hornet keeper, and avoiding the fouls that have plagued Emmaus this season. The top seed Hornets advance to their 9th consecutive District XI Final, against 6th seed Whitehall, scheduled for Thursday October 31, 7:00 pm, at J Birney Crum Stadium, but threatened by forecast of thunderstorms. Emmaus also qualifies for PIAA playoffs with the win. The Hornets’ record improves to 20-3-0.
Game highlights are available from WFMZ sports.
Updated 2019 Stats are available.
The document 19EmmausBoysStatistics8.pdf was attached to this post.