With a district playoff berth hanging in the balance, the Northampton boys soccer team traveled to Southern Lehigh last Thursday afternoon for the final game of the regular season.
After a season in which they were 3-6 about midway through their schedule, the Kids reeled off five consecutive victories, handing Emmaus their first loss of the season, and defeating an explosive Whitehall team during that stretch.
Still, their future was uncertain after two losses and a tie in their next three matches.
The Northampton girls volleyball team drew another step closer to a district playoff berth with their win against East Stroudsburg North a couple of weeks ago and senior setter Sydney Heffner was in the thick of all the action.
The Kids would eventually go on to clinch that berth and now look forward to the start of the playoffs.
Heffner, a senior never left the court in the match against ESN, and set up the winning point in the final two sets of a 3-0 sweep over the visiting Timberwolves.
In the highly competitive world of girls soccer in the Skyline Division of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference where teams play one another twice a year, sometimes adding a new wrinkle is a necessary gambit.
After losing to Emmaus earlier this season, Northampton head coach Michael Missmer said that they tried a couple of different formations since the Green Hornets’ staff were well aware of how they approached the match in their prior meeting.
With Northampton fighting for a district playoff berth, boys soccer head coach Ryan Brazuk admitted that they needed to steal a game against one of the teams above them in the division.
Well, the Konkrete Kids broke into the vault last Friday afternoon and committed the perfect heist. They defeated previously unbeaten Emmaus, a nationally-ranked team that had spoiled the Kids opener with a 4-0 win. Moreover, they shutout the Green Hornets who had scored 51 goals prior to last week’s rematch.
When assessing this season’s Northampton girls volleyball team, the word unity is at the forefront of the discussion.
“They play together as a team and they have that talent,” said head coach Jess Finlayson.
It’s what’s propelled the Kids to a 6-4 mark so far this year.
And when that togetherness is combined with experience, wins like the one they had against Parkland, a first in their program’s history, have been the result.
“I think that’s making a big difference in the play of our team this year,” said Finlayson.
Last Friday’s night soccer game versus Bethlehem Catholic was a prime of example of the old sports adage that no one should ever give up on a play.
It was deuces wild for a pair of Kids as Northampton netted eight goals in last week’s girls soccer win over Stroudsburg.
Striking for those two goals were Alex Benedict and Becky Galicki. Head coach Michael Missmer said that both players stepped out of their usual roles to tally their first goals of the year, sparking the victory.
Understanding body language is a valuable commodity in many aspects of life, and that ability to decipher physical intent is something Northampton goalkeeper Brady Rimple used in Saturday’s win over Salisbury.
Facing a penalty shot late in the second half against the Flacons, Rimple observed the shooter and immediately assessed the direction in which he was aiming.
The Northampton boys soccer team capitalized late in the firs half, and then relied on some late saves in the second half to defeat Allentown Central Catholic on Monday for their first win of the season.
The game’s lone goal came with 49 seconds remaining in the opening half. It was the result of a nifty header by Joseph Tiwold as he notched his first goal of the season.
Another Cement Bowl Challenge is in the books with Northampton retaining the Cement Belt Championship for another year.
The rivalry series, which was conceived in the 2016-17 school year, has seen the Kids from Laubach Avenue win the first three installments of the challenge.