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Field hockey cruises to playoff win

The Emmaus High School field hockey team was fresh off its 32nd consecutive District 11 championship. The Green Hornets have earned a berth in the PIAA State Tournament for as many years, including reaching the state’s final four 10 straight seasons.

Their opponent Saturday in the first round of this year’s state playoffs, District 2 champions Honesdale, had just won the program’s first ever district title and was playing in its first state tournament game.

The experience showed from the onset. Emmaus jumped ahead and put the game away early, scoring three goals in each of the first two quarters, on its way to an 11-0 win in a PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal game last Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field.

“We played really well,” said senior Mackenzie Bruns. “I think we really emphasized our passing game. In our previous games we’ve gotten away from that a little bit. Throughout this game, I thought we really started to pass a lot and we utilized that. We utilized our speed, as well.”

Bruns is a member of the Emmaus defense that recorded its 11th shutout of the year and helped improve the Green Hornets to 14-0 overall. Goalies Baily Tietz and Emma Cari did not face a shot in the game.

But the Emmaus offense did enough scoring for both teams. Sophomore Rachel Herbine finished with a team-high four goals. Her sister, senior Annika Herbine tallied two goals and six assists and Alexis Kociban contributed two goals and two assists. Jenna Villeneuve, Ava Zerfass and Abby Burnett rounded out the scoring for Emmaus.

It was just another day in the office for Emmaus in the state tournament. But the players never take any game or opponent lightly.

“Throughout this program, we have to be mentally tough,” Bruns said. “We’re coached by Sue Butz-Stavin. She’s tough. Since we’ve entered the state tournament (many) times that gives us the confidence that we’ve been through this and we can keep going forward. We’ve been here before and hopefully we can continue to the state championship.”

Bruns is happy to still be playing. Being undefeated entering the state final for in 2020 is a bonus. Several programs across the Lehigh Valley and the state have been forced to cancel seasons entirely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a lot different from what we usually do,” Bruns said. “Obviously, there are masks and even our practices are structured differently. This is a good group of girls. We just work as a team. COVID has really impacted us a lot, but we’ve pulled through. I’m really proud of us.”

Emmaus will next take on District 1 champion Central Bucks East on the road in the semifinal round. A victory advances them to the final on Saturday at Whitehall High School.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Rachel Herbine scored four goals in Emmaus's state playoff win over Honesdale.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Mackenzie Bruns and the Emmaus defense have posted 11 shut outs this season.